There have been a few recent indications that the ever-present content marketing technique of guest blogging is in decline, with native advertising taking its place. Back in January 2014, Matt Cutts bravely suggested that businesses using guest blogging should probably stop, due to its increasingly spammy nature.
While it is fair to say that some content contributors simply publish material to gain links or increase exposure, there are several genuine writers out there who produce informative, engaging and entertaining blogs, which serve a purpose and provide value to consumers.
But with the FTC recognising native advertising and recent adoption by the New York Times, could this promotional and publicity technique eventually replace guest blogging or even succeed content marketing?
Native advertising vs. guest blogging
Native advertising and guest blogs are remarkably similar in many ways, however they also have their distinct differences. When a publisher chooses to host a guest blog or native advertisement, it will benefit from unique and engaging content, which is visibly different from the rest of the page’s materials. Full attribution, such as an author bio or sponsored brand, is ever-present with both of these methods, while attention and traffic for the content will be generated by the publisher’s site.
On the other side of the coin, guest blogging is typically concerned with acquiring follow links, whereas native ads are not too bothered by this content marketing tactic. What’s more, native advertising is paid for, while legitimate guest blogging is not.
Google’s ever-changing algorithm
With Google seemingly intent on pulling apart the ways in which webmasters have built authority online, through things like hyperlinks, the marketing community is running scared and looking at alternative methods of online promotion.
In response to Google’s neutralisation of off-site SEO strategies, several marketers are shunning guest blogging in favour of techniques or tactics that have nothing to do with the search engine’s algorithm, such as native advertising.
Increasingly futile banner advertisements
When it comes to advertising online, banners and pop-ups are becoming increasingly futile, as consumers do not often respond well to these intrusive and blatant commercials. Internet users often ignore display advertisements, which can prove expensive for marketers.
Native advertisements on the other hand are much more engaging and valuable for the consumer. What’s more, their healthy price point has encouraged more publishers to get on board. Future guests posts, which were previously distributed based on the quality of content alone, might require a payment or fee.
Search engine ranking difficulty
Another side effect of Google’s constantly evolving algorithm is that organic content is gradually being displaced by ads and other pieces of work sourced by the search engine. Rather than concentrating on guest blogging, marketers may find that more attention and greater traffic can be generated by well-placed native advertisements instead.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP) real estate is diminishing quickly, which requires a change in approach or strategy. Even though top notch content can still achieve exposure and visibility, it is difficult to argue against the competitive advantages that native advertising can afford.