Official FTC recognition and adoption by The New York Times leaves no doubt in my mind: 2014 is native advertising’s break-out year. Concurrently, the Google Oracle stuck a fork in guest blogging and declared it dead. Coincidence?
I won’t discuss Mr. Cutts’ delineation between guest spammers and legitimate contributors. (The subject is well covered here.) Instead, I’ll discuss why 2014 is the year native advertising could begin to replace guest blogging in the content marketing universe.
Comparison of Native Advertising and Guest Blogging
Before diving into the reasons, let’s compare native advertising and guest blogging as it pertains to legitimate content marketing. (Guest spamming will not be considered within this comparison.)
- Both guest blogger and advertiser provide unique content to the publisher.
- Both guest blogger and advertiser receive full attribution from the publisher (i.e. author bio/sponsored brand).
- Typically, both the guest post and native ad are visibly separated from the publisher’s normal content (i.e. guest blog label or sponsored ad label).
- Both guest blogger and advertiser receive attention and traffic from the publisher.
- While both tactics benefit from increased awareness and traffic, guest blogging is heavily focused on acquiring follow links. Native ads are typically noindexed or embedded with nofollow links.
- Legitimate guest blogging is unpaid. Native advertising is paid.
Move over guest blogging. Here’s something leaner.
From the perspective of a non-SEO, like a media buyer, the differences could be viewed as negligible. But, from the perspective of an SEO, the difference is huge—so much so that native ads and guest posts currently serve very different purposes. So how can I suggest native advertising could replace guest blogging?
Below are three forces which will contribute to the transfer of power.
Google Will Neutralize Off-Site SEO Strategies
From “nofollows” to fear propaganda, Google is slowly dismantling how webmasters traditionally have built site authority—on the backbone of the Internet (hyperlinks). Publishers are spooked—increasingly opting against guest posts or slapping nofollows onto links within guest posts. This will push content marketers focused on attention and traffic towards native ads, which do not interfere with Google’s algorithm.
Banner Blindness Will Squeeze Publisher Revenue Streams
Banner blindness is causing display ad revenue to plummet. Native advertising’s higher engagement level and healthy rates are increasing publisher participation. As more publishers adopt native advertising, guest posts, once accepted simply on the merits of quality content, will require payment for display.
Diminishing SERP Real Estate Will Push Smart Marketers into the Arms of Publishers
Google will continue to displace organic content with ads and other Google sourced content. As SERP real estate diminishes, smart content marketers will realize that attention and traffic can be generated from well-placed native ads. By this time (several years down the road), native advertising will have become as big a part of marketing as SEO and PPC.
The idea may seem far fetched. But, all trends point to this as a possibility. While this change may not take place in 2014, content marketers that understand how to capture attention and traffic with native advertising will have an edge on the competition. In my next post, I’ll discuss the “dos” and “don’ts” of effective native advertising.
What other factors do you see as contributing to native advertising’s replacement of guest blogging?