Are SEO advertorials worth the cash? Now and in the Future?
Note: This article assumes you have intermediate-advanced SEO knowledge.
Ultimately Google must know some companies utilise this link building tactic to game SEO (thought there are obviously other reasons for engaging in this tactic such as Brand building). They know as Google have an ever so slightly intelligent Search team managing practices that look to game PR (Page Rank) and inflate rankings but also SEO’s have been guilty of dobbing themselves in via articles such as the EConsultancy Express post back in April 2010 (the practice of SEO advertorials dates back to 2008).
Poor examples from back in the day include a Birmingham Post post however more recently advertorials have become much more subtle, intelligently written and might make a difference to where you rank in the SERPS.
Still if Google knows this practice exists what is it doing about it? And in fact should Google do anything about it? There is little proof that Google is demoting the link equity/juice value these powerful domains could be passing however I’d be super surprised if Google are not at the very least reducing the link equity by a %.
…Still I think for now the practice of obtaining advertorials will continue however in the future I feel these SEO advertorials will go the way of syndicating Press Releases via press release services (Matt Cutts recently eluded to this practice not aiding a sites ranking though SEO Consult conducted a recent test and suggested otherwise) and become less popular/ impactful.
22nd February 2013 update:
Interesting (to say the least) update on SEO advertorials from David Naylor’s site