ASA’s remit to expand
Search engine optimisation providers will come under increased scrutiny from the Advertising Standards Agency as of next March, one leading organisation warns.
ASA to investigate SEO practices in future, warns expert
Friday, 17 December 2010 by Steve Swallow
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK will see its remit expand in March 2011, with Google’s backing, to look at sales practises and associated claims on websites, Econsultancy has warned.
From that time next year, search engine optimisation providers are to look at specialised content provided for use in marketing communications, though natural content and user-generated items will not be considered.
Econsultancy highlighted the new development, explaining: “It might be tempting to consider [search engine optimisation] outside the ASA’s area of interest but this is not the case.”
It asserted that the ASA will likely consider investigating brands, agencies and website owners for work with search engine optimisation firms during 2011 when there is the presence of undisclosed paid-for links used for website promotion.
Malcolm Philips, the code policy manager at the Committee of Advertising Practise, told the technology resource that the ASA would likely investigate these techniques during a run-through scenario of a search engine optimisation agency acquiring a link from a blogger and then using it with the intent of pushing it through the rankings.
The ASA’s main concern is that it needs to ensure that paid-for links and other promotions are disclosed in a way that the average consumer can see the relationship between bloggers and advertisers, giving more power to customers and readers.
Econsultancy warned of the new rules: “It’s therefore possible for links to be safe by Google standards but still in breach of the ASA.
“You can imagine black hat SEO agencies are not likely to buy links from sites and ask the website owner to then publicly disclose that those links were bought.”
Yet while search engine optimisation providers are still in big demand, eMarketer recently released a new report entitled Social Media in the Marketing Mix: Budgeting for 2011. This noted that businesses have shifted from part-involvement with social media to full-blown deployment, with 73 per cent of businesses now integrating it into their website marketing solutions.
Living Streams “Improving clients’ profitability through better use of the internet”.