Bloggers accept sponsored posts because they are a good source of income. That means companies collaborate with content creators to market their brands and products on their websites or social media platforms. This partnership aims to drive the audience to their brand and product in exchange for money, a free piece of eBook or software, free access to a platform, and more.
While it’s not wrong to publish sponsored posts, you have to comply with certain rules of the trade. Google is not against paid-for content, but it has set some rules to prevent the manipulation of rankings using sponsored content.
Therefore the article will review these rules to help you remain in Google’s good books and avoid penalties.
What Does Google Say About Guest Posts?
As mentioned above, a sponsored post is a promoted or paid-for post whose objective is to get a brand in front of the target audience. So sponsored content holds vital information and tells people more about the company and its product via a blogger’s site or social media.
In the past, Google paid bloggers to generate and publish sponsored content in order to promote the Chrome browser. So the search engine company can’t prosecute bloggers and advertisers for doing what it did a few years ago.
However, between 2012 and 2013, Google penalized popular sponsored posts network PostJoint and MyBlogGuest, thus creating confusion in the market. As a result, many content creators have become reluctant to pursue sponsored content because they are afraid of being penalized.
The fact is Google has not banned sponsored posts; but instead, it has provided some guidelines that make publishing promoted content acceptable. These are:
- All the links mentioned in the sponsored content should be nofollow.
- No publishing of thin content.
Adhering to the two rules will eliminate manual penalties from Google.
How You Can Publish Guest Posts without Offending Google
A content creator who owns a site with steady traffic can partner with brands and publish their sponsored articles. Brands benefit in the following ways:
- They get good traffic and audience loyalty originating from well-known websites.
- They get a better ranking on Google due to backlinks from a reputable website.
Backlinks are one of the main factors many bloggers regularly generate interesting, engaging, and unique content. However, earning backlinks naturally is not a walk in the park unless your website is very popular, really useful, and offers what nobody else has. So a high-quality site with huge authority, tragic and reach can charge t $2000 per sponsored post.
Google will penalize you for publishing sponsored posts when they have links that pass PageRank. The search engine wants to create a level playing ground and doesn’t allow companies to buy many links in order to dominate the search engine. This will create a poor user experience for everyone.
So Google spends a lot of time recognizing patterns of natural and unnatural links and penalizes bloggers when it discovers sites with a lot of unnatural outbound links. The outcome of a manual webspam action is reduced organic traffic and business. That means your monetization channels will drop, product sales and affiliate income will decrease as well.
So because Google has not banned the publishing of sponsored posts, it monitors unnatural links, so you have to follow its rules in the following ways.
Nofollow Attribute in Links
A nofollow link doesn’t boost your ranking, and many brands insist on dofollow links. So instead of focusing on PageRank benefits which can attract a penalty, you can use the nofollow attribute on all guest posts links, which tells Google not to pass the link juice to the brand.
More so, you should disclose to your audience all the sponsored posts, avoid publishing a large number of promoted content, keep dofollow links away from such content as well as poor quality links.
“Advertising and other paid promotional material on your pages should not exceed your content. We do not allow content that conceals or misrepresents sponsored content as independent, editorial content. Sponsorship, including, but not limited to, ownership or affiliate interest, payment, or material support, should be clearly disclosed to readers. The subject of sponsored content should not focus on the sponsor without clear disclosure.”
While brands and advertisers pay bloggers to get a dofollow link for their websites, they are not happy when they get nofollow links from their sponsored posts. However, they can still grow their ranking in another way, as discussed below.
Publish High-quality and Relevant Content
The search engine rankings that the brand and your site are looking for can be achieved by generating quality content, and there is no substitute for it. Publishing thin content will cause your organic search traffic to drop because Google finds such material valueless to your audience.
Indeed one is able to tell when the intended users are happy with the quality of their content. Such content drives increased site traffic which translates to its authority and relevance.
So you can strategically place keyword words or phrases on the page. Also, you can use a writing style and language that makes your content read naturally. Thus as much as you want rankings, it’s important to note that the best-sponsored posts are written for users, and quality should never be sacrificed for SEO.
Further, besides feeling strong about content, you should keep your site fresh regularly. That means you should audit the content and make updates as needed.
It’s through content that you’re able to meet each ranking factor such as traffic, backlinks, topic authority, user engagement, trustworthiness, and more. So prioritize quality and consistency in order to get the traffic and backlinks you and your sponsor are seeking.
The article has revealed that Google is not opposed to publishing sponsored posts; however, you can’t use them to manipulate rankings. Such a violation attracts manual webspam penalties.
To avoid that, Google recommends the use of the nofollow link to avoid vouching for the target link. Second, a blogger can generate high-quality content to drive traffic and build backlinks naturally.
So continue publishing sponsored posts and at the same time adhering to Google’s terms of service. In the end, your site will have increased traffic, and you will generate a lot of income from promoted content.