Advertorials vs. Editorials - What's the Difference? Which is Better SEO?
There have been talks and rumors circling the interwebs about the benefits or harm that comes from advertorials and editorials and what the difference is.
Basically an Advertorial is a PAID advertisement in the form of a news brief or content information.
An Editorial is a NON-PAID News article that is relevant and informative without being spammy or otherwise pushing a particular brand or company.
For instance, this blog, right here, is an editorial. No one paid me to write this; I’m writing it out of my own free will to convey information to my readers. If I put a link in the text it must be relevant, related and important to my readers on some level.
This is a blurry line when it comes to SEO. As a content marketer it is my job to write FOR people for their business. Google has gotten little fuzzy on how they view advertorials lately. They feel that if someone paid for the information to be out there, it shouldn’t count nearly as well as an editorial. But this is just a hard line and difficult to determine if the information is really non-relevant to the reader. Many shady SEO companies write nonsense on a global scale just for the sake of words out there in internet land. It means nothing and garners no readers and yet they throw in a link for their clients in the hopes the back link will be picked up. The problem with this is if no one is reading it Google finds the information useless and therefore discounts the link or worse yet, penalizes the site altogether.
I get it; Google doesn't want to rank a paid advertisement over a real, live editorial on a subject... or do they? I guess if you are paying Google for it directly that's one thing, organically speaking, it's a whole new story.
I have told my clients from day one; I don’t want to write fluff. I don’t write for the sake of writing. I write information I hope and assume someone would want to read and benefit from and in the end provide relevant information back to your website and ultimately a lead.
Does Google differentiate between informative advertorials and spammy ones? I’m not sure but I know that they are getting stricter and tougher on how they calculate the information. The focus is in either linking to a client’s related page in whatever editorial I am writing or writing directly on their site, which I prefer. But many of my clients have difficult sites with restrictive control panels that don’t allow for additional pages, such as Chris Harrison. His site is maxed out on pages so informative editorials that discuss his site, such as this one, is one of the ways to incorporate a back link in an editorial rather than writing something specific on my SEO blog about his area.
Again, I do prefer to write on the customer’s website since Google identifies the content coming straight from the source and assumes its non-paid blogging. Other client’s such as our client in Ulster County NY prefers to create a separate blogging platform just for the link backs since the source is related, relevant and informational for their site. So, this works great if you don’t have blogging website and don’t want to appear advertorial.
So, does this mean you shouldn’t hire an SEO company to write content for you off-site? Well, I would be very cautious about what content they are posting and where. How are they linking back to you? Is it related and relevant? If your customers would not find you from their articles, there is no point.