In recent years, Scandinavian bloggers have created a pretty nice revenue through content marketing, thanks to advertisers in search of new channels to communicate with a young demographic that, due to the ever-changing digital landscape, is even more fragmented than ever before.

The biggest bloggers in Norway earn between 50 000 – 80 000 NOK per post, making it an important ground of exchange for themeselves and advertisers alike.But the amount of traffic and social engagement these sites have, makes also for an authoritative domain that attracts SEOs as well.

But for international SEOs that would like to target the Scandinavian market, content marketing is a foggy landscape filled with algorithmic mines. I feel this is a topic many SEOs have wanted some insight on due to these unclear regulations, but Scandinavian bloggers themselves are generally not informed enough about how Google could potentially penalize their site – and the advertisers – through the backlinks they are creating.

Bear with me through my poor graphic design skills as I try to give you an example.

Scandinavian SEO: How To Do Link Building When Your Mentions Are Tagged As "Sponsored Content"

In the Nordics, Sponsored Content Is Always Marked As Such

In Norway, it is common for bloggers to mark content marketing posts with a “Sponsored Content” tag, clearly visible for the users. They don’t do this with Google in mind, but rather because the web guidelines of The Consumer Ombudsman and the Market Council in Norway addresses website owners to make this clear, in order to bring transparency to users.

Norway is a country that has public records on how much your salary income and taxes are, after all.

But for Google, straight up selling or buying links that pass PageRank will get you in trouble. Google have always made this clear: Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates their quality guidelines, and they take action on such violations. Google investigates links with a rel=follow attribute, and if the corresponding content is marked with “Sponsored Content”, chances are that the alarms will go off. This could penalize the site and the visibility for both the blogs and even you.

I asked Trond Lyngbø, Head of SEO at MediaCom Norway & Search Engine Land columnist about this:

Scandinavian SEO: How To Do Link Building When Your Mentions Are Tagged As "Sponsored Content2"

For those of you still not speaking Norwegian (what are you waiting for?), Trond says the same: Make sure the backlink you get are of the nofollow kind.

So How Does This Affect Your Daily SEO Efforts?

For Norwegian / Scandinavian SEOs, this basically means: Be extra careful with the backlinks you build. A good percentage of Norwegian bloggers follow the guidelines of the Consumer Ombudsman, so convincing the blogger you are in contact with to not display the “Sponsored Content” tag is very hard. The Consumer Ombudsman could take affair into their own hands, and the blogger who took money to mention you with a backlink could end up with a hefty fine to pay.

On the other hand , a great majority of Scandinavian bloggers are simply not familiar with Googles guidelines, so for a lot of cases, this results in a great deal of backlinks marked as “sponsored”, and with a follow attribute on top of that. This could very well end up in penalization for these bloggers, making your brand (and themselves) invisible for searchers.

So in order to keep the alarms silent, a rel=nofollow attribute should be implemented on all content marketing backlinks.And while you’re at it: Teach the Scandinavian blogger community a thing or two about SEO as well. It will benefit us all.