Easy Money or Bad Deal? What You Might Put at Risk by Posting Paid Links in your Blog Posts
Last week, I received an email with this message…
Hello and Good Afternoon,
I represent a client who is interested in purchasing a link advertisement on a new or upcoming post on your website, The Insatiable Solopreneur. I feel as though it is relevant and a great fit for your site! You can be as creative as you like when it comes to relating the link to your readers. Please let me know if this is something that may interest you or if you have further questions. I look forward to your response.
Thank you in advance.
Sounds like easy, passive income for the earning, right? Accepting pay for posting links is legal and apparently not at all uncommon. But with Google’s refinement of its algorithms to identify (and give ranking priority to) quality, relevant content, you might want to weigh the risks and rewards before saying “Yes” to opportunities that cross your path.
Walking the Fine SEO Line
In case you’re approached with a similar opportunity, I’ve found several posts by SEO-savvy folks that share more insight about what might be at stake.
My take away from these is that you can include links for pay in your blog posts, but do so at the risk of your site’s own SEO well-being. The sites that the paid links connect to are apt get a slap from Google if the links are deemed “unnatural” (aka there purely for the sake of improving rankings). And as the publishing site, a particular blog post or your entire site might get also get penalized with lowered rankings on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Penguin 2.0 Forewarning: The Google Perspective on Links by Eric Enge via Search Engine Watch
Google: That Paid Links Thing Goes For Google News Too by Chris Crum via WebProNews
Google Admits To Penalizing the BBC, But Only Granularly by Barry Schwartz via Search Engine Roundtable
Why You Should Fear Paid Links by Dustin Wright via Collective Publishing Company, Inc.
Tossing Credibility to the Curb
As scary as taking an SEO hit because of posting paid links might be, would you want to risk losing credibility with your readers? Your blog readers follow you faithfully because they trust you and find value in what you share. Start adding links to your posts for the sake of money rather than for the benefit of your readers and you’ll shatter your credibility. Unless the links are explicitly related to the content in your posts and add depth and additional information, it really won’t take very long for your followers to figure out that you’re a sellout.
What about you? Have you been approached about publishing links in your posts for pay? Or do you pay to have links to your posts published on other blog sites? I’m always open to alternative points of view and friendly debate, so I welcome you to comment here and share your thoughts!