This week: bad news if you like to guest-post, Google shows third-party reviews in local search, and hiding structured data is the same as cloaking.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Study: Facebook Branded Content Ads Outperform Standard Ads
It looks like the average Facebook user sees branded ad content as more share-worthy than standard ad content.
According to a study by Shareablee, branded content ads eclipsed standard ads in terms of paid impressions and earned impressions.
Specifically, the company looked at 833 branded content ads and 265 standard ads from July through October of this year. It found that the branded content ads received 617,986 paid impressions and 1,248,448 earned impressions while the standard ads received 375,489 paid impressions and 34,718 earned impressions.
Viral reach accounted for almost 47% of branded content ad impressions versus just 7.4% of standard ad impressions.
Google Once Again Shows Third-Party Reviews in Local Results
Several years ago, Google got its hand slapped for scraping reviews from third-party sites and displaying them in the search results. Companies like Yelp and TripAdvisor cried foul and the FTC agreed.
Google settled with the FTC by allowing third-party sites to block review content without excluding it from the search index. That settlement expired on December 27.
But that doesn’t mean Google is going back to scraping and sharing. Instead, the company said it will adhere to the terms of the settlement even though it doesn’t have to do so.
Now, the Big G is working directly with third-party sites to include reviews in local search.
Keep an eye out for some of those reviews in your own search optimization efforts.
Google: Noindex Will Eventually Lead to Nofollow
If you don’t expect Google to index your page, then don’t expect Google to follow the links on your page, either.
That’s what John Mueller said during a webmaster video earlier this week.
Specifically, he pointed out that the “noindex” command will eventually cause the Googlebot to stop crawling the page. That means it won’t find the links on that page and possibly remove them from its index.
Basically, he said that “noindex, follow” is the same as “noindex, nofollow.”
Google: Hiding Structured Data Markup Is Cloaking
It might seem like an easy shortcut to put all your structured data in a hidden <div> element so that Google can easily parse it. Unfortunately, Google considers that cloaking.
Cloaking is against the rules.
This past week on Twitter, John Mueller fielded a question about showing structured data only to bots.
Here’s how he responded: “That’s cloaking, I’d avoid doing that. Sometimes using a sitemap file is an option.”
That's cloaking, I'd avoid doing that. Sometimes using a sitemap file is an option.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) November 28, 2017
Google: Nofollow All Your Guest Link Posts
Here’s some advice that you’re likely to ignore.
In a web hangout this week, John Mueller said that you should nofollow all guest post links. Of course, if you do that, then those links won’t pass page rank.
But the reason you publish articles on other blogs in the first place is probably to get some link juice from the other site. It’s a fairly standard SEO practice.
If guest-posting is part of your SEO strategy, Mueller seems to be raining on your parade.
Here’s what he said: “I would almost go so far as to say well, even those those kind of guest posts where you do contribute significantly to the site maybe it makes sense just to have those links as nofollow. And have it such that you kind of profit from from the people who actually go to your site because I think that you wrote something fantastic and they’re really interested in hearing more from you.”