Advertorials, an advertisement made to look like an editorial, are being scrutinized by Google and major UK newspapers have already fell victim to PageRank penalties. Matt Cutts, the head of webspam at Google released the official statement,” Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations.”
A popular UK flower company, Interflora, has already seen repercussions from the use of advertorials. Interflora tried to boost its site’s rankings before Valentine’s Day by asking news sites all over the UK to place an estimated 150+ advertorials for them. Google not only penalized Interflora, but also the sites that agreed to host the advertisements. It is estimated that Intraflora lost about 95% of their SEO visibility.
Many webmasters are sounding off against these penalties because Google themselves are guilty of using advertorials for Chromebooks, Google Analytics, Adwords & Google+. The hypocrisy of this situation is evident so we are all waiting to see if Google will penalize parts of their own company for these marketing tactics. It wouldn’t be the first time if they did, which adds to the mystifying world of SEO.
By: Tony Fong