4 Ways Native Can Help Local Advertisers In Search

04 Nov 4 Ways Native Can Help Local Advertisers In Search

As much as Googlebot loves original, local, quality content, Goggle’s shadowy algorithm hates paid links. So much so that it has a policy that organizations selling paid links must mark them “Do Not Follow” so the bots won’t be taken in. Here’s how Google’s Matt Cutts explains it in a video and article:

Paid links: A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. In order to prevent paid links from influencing search results and negatively impacting users, we urge webmasters use nofollow on such links. Search engine guidelines require machine-readable disclosure of paid links in the same way that consumers online and offline appreciate disclosure of paid relationships (for example, a full-page newspaper ad may be headed by the word “Advertisement.”)  More information on Google’s stance on paid links.

The worst case scenario for violating Google’s policies? Your site gets removed from the Goggle database. Not good.

Local news organizations live in fear of being removed from Google’s database with good reason. According to the Pew Research Journalism Project report, Who Drives Traffic to News, referrals drive 35 percent to 40 percent of total traffic. Google is by far the biggest driver. 

What’s a Media Company to Do?

When it comes to native advertising there is an inherent contradiction in Google’s policies. On the one hand, Google rewards original, relevant (local is a strong indicator of relevance) and quality in roughly that order. That’s what good native advertising is. On the other hand,Google doesn’t want you linking to paid content. As a result many SEO experts will tell you native ads won’t help advertisers in search.

I am no SEO expert, not by a long shot. And even the experts warn that the algorithm changes so frequently what works today may not work tomorrow. However, we have seen native help clients in search.


  1. We build key words into all of the content we produce for local advertisers. Over time, with multiple insertions, these key words increase the advertiser’s opinion leadership in its category of business and  the probability of the native content being picked up in search.Cat Acupuncture
  2. Even with a nofollow link, try to link to a page on the advertiser’s website that is relevant to the content of the native ad. Most home pages offer little of value to your readers, but many websites actually have interesting content. For example, an HVAC contractor may have really good information about energy-efficient units or tips on how to save energy. If they exist, we find those pages and link to them from the native ad. Again, it is all about satisfying your readers.
  3. We make sure every native ad has a great graphic and/or great line in the article that is more likely to get shared by people on Facebook and Twitter. The picture of the cat shown here appeared in a native ad for a mobile animal acupuncturist. It was designed to get shared and generate links back from social media posts to our advertiser’s native ad.
  4. We advise local media and advertisers to aggressively use all social media to promote and link to their native ads. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the others are beyond Goggle’s control, and they influence search results. We think this is the secret sauce of native advertising.

Social Media Web copy

Although it looks messy to us, this interconnected web of links from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites looks very sexy to a search engine bot. In fact, the more your native ad is shared and cross shared, the more your advertiser’s message is amplified and the more attractive it becomes to search engines. Due to the fact all of the posts link back to your parent media site, this social media cross-pollination actually increases your unique visits and impressions, too. Pictured here is an example of a Facebook post for a native ad for a school district.District 11 Social

Facebook Challenging Google in Referrals

There’s another reason to deploy Facebook as a weapon in your battle for local native ad dollars. Facebook is closing in fast on Google for news site referrals, according to an article in The New York Times on 26 October 2014. Facebook referrals already represent up to 20 percent of top news site traffic and are growing fast. Native advertising or not, it makes good sense to make Facebook an important part of your marketing strategy. Says Cory Haik, senior editor for digital news at The Washington Post:

“People won’t type in WashingtonPost.com anymore. It’s search and social.”

So isn’t it time we all put the tools of search and social to work on behalf of our advertisers?

To be clear, you can give your advertisers suggested social posts: Why it’s better to own than rent. Check out 5 great reasons just published today by The Post and Courier. http://bit.ly/1jXC7Xj  Unfortunately, while many of your advertisers have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, they really don’t know what to do with them. When we produce native creative, we give you the posts for Facebook and Twitter and you can give them to your advertisers along with suggestions about when and how to use them. Still, your advertisers will need your help.

We’ll talk about how to sell them and how to help them in tomorrow’s blog. In the meantime, please share your views, ideas and suggestions. Thanks!