Placing posts on high-authority blogs that include links to
your own pages is a sure-fire way to boost your website’s organic optimisation.

Gaining sought-after link juice by negotiating guest
blogging slots on popular websites can be a really powerful weapon in your
search engine optimisation (SEO) tool kit. So powerful in fact, that many corporations and SEO execs are very willing to pay in order to secure the link.

But it’s now looking bleak for anyone who relies on paid-for placement, with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) taking an interest back in December.

Following legal action against the company Handpicked Media,
it declared: “The OFT has confirmed its view that online advertising and
marketing practices that do not disclose they include paid-for promotions are
deceptive under fair trading laws.”

That doesn’t just refer to comments about services on blogs,
but also microblogging platforms such as Twitter.

What will this mean?

At the moment, it’s hard to see precisely how this will
affect those businesses that do pay for blog posts.

Certainly it will no longer be possible for blogs to receive
money in order to rave about a product or service, unless they are willing to
emblazon the content with ‘Sponsored Article’ or similar.

It’s not immediately obvious how this will affect more
generic posts that have been placed on a blog simply in order to secure a link.

For example, if you run a holiday website then it’s
obviously against the rules to pay a blog to carry a post enthusing about one
of your packages without flagging up its sponsored status.

But, it’s not clear if you’d be able to pay to place an
article on ’10 top tips for travelling with kids’ for example, without
including the information that it’s sponsored.

It will be interesting to see how firm a stance the OFT
takes on this.

How can I keep my posts legal?

Many cautious companies will be steering clear of the whole
issue by ending paid-for blog post placement. No one wants to be at the wrong
end of an OFT challenge, it’s not great for a company’s reputation.

But if you’re planning to end your blogging SEO efforts then
let me recommend you think again.

Instead of paying for your links, earn them. Write articles of such usefulness and interest
that high-authority blogs willingly include them on their pages.

That way, the benefits go far beyond simply building a link.
Your blog articles build your reputation, earn the respect of your industry
peers, share useful information and encourage new customers.

It’s much, much better to write articles that are valuable
than to pay for churned-out rubbish simply in order to
secure a link.

So, it’s better, it’s legally safer, it’s more valuable and
it enhances your reputation. But how do you do it? Here are my 10 top tips.

10 ways to secure free space on a blog

  • Write
    useful and insightful articles.
  • Make
    friends with bloggers at conferences.
  • Keep
    a regular blog on your own website to showcase your skills.
  • Add
    value, don’t be worried about sharing your industry knowledge, it’s worth
  • Build
    connections and a following on Twitter, in order to promote posts.
  • Get
    active in the blogosphere and regularly comment on posts.
  • Don’t
    be afraid to link to other blogs from your own pages.
  • Keep
    current: writing about breaking news is a great way to secure free posts.
  • Offer
    posts at unpopular times, such as bank holidays or weekends.
  • Don’t
    leave blogging to so-called link-builders, get authorities like the CEO to
    write articles.