I have to send a very special thank-you to two bloggers for today’s post—Krysten of Why Girls Are Weird (that’s two mentions in one week!) and Coco of Running with Perseverance who published this amazing and insightful post that all bloggers should read. Immediately. There are a lot of rules when it comes to blogging and red tape that we all need to be aware of in order to keep our good standing and credibility on the web.
In my early days of blogging, I encountered a lot of pushback from advertisers who insisted I include “do-follow” links in posts where I was sent a product to review OR paid to include a mention of a product or service on my blog. To put this in layman’s terms, there are some links you’ll WANT Google to follow, and others you don’t want Google to follow. According to Google, here are some instances where you’d want to consider using “no follow” links:
- Untrusted content: if you can’t or don’t want to vouch for the content of pages you link to from your site
- Paid links: If you are getting paid to link to a specific site, this influences search results and could negatively impact you
- Crawl prioritization: Because search engine robots can’t sign in or register as a member on a forum, there’s no reason to invite a Googlebot to follow one of these links.
According to FTC regulations, it is very important that all bloggers comply with a few basic rules in their sponsored content:
- Make sure your blog post is truthful and not misleading (this is very important—but think of it from the reader’s perspective. No one wants to feel duped, and this could ultimately affect your credibility in the blogging sphere)
- Disclosures must be clear and conspicuous—if you go back to some of my sponsored posts, you’ll see that I list at the top of each “I was compensated/sent product by X for a review. All opinions are entirely my own.” Do not bury this message/make it hard to find for the reader
- Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims (known as “substantiation”)
- Social media: while the FTC isn’t currently mandating the specific wording of disclosures on platforms like Twitter for example, including a tweet with “#ad” would be an effective (and concise!) way to indicate your post is sponsored
To go back to my initial point, you don’t want to work with advertisers who ask you to use “do follow” links OR who insist you don’t mention that this post was compensated or endorsed in any way. It is, put simply, unethical and can very impact you as a blogger very negatively. Also it’s a bullying tactic that bloggers should not stand for.
Thoughts? Enter them in the comments below!