Digital publishers, Instagram influencers, and bloggers use sponsored content to generate revenue. That means you can publish these posts on your site as long as they provide value to your audience.
However, Google has something to say about sponsored content and has recommended guidelines to follow to avoid the penalty as well as enhance your ranking.
Continue reading this article to find out how your sponsored post can affect your site’s Google ranking.
What is a Sponsored Post?
For many years, people have been associating sponsored posts with paid text that aggressively advertises a brand and its products. While this is one reason brands sponsor articles or use influencer marketing, they can sometimes use sponsored posts when introducing new products or launching an app or company. Thus they can use the avenue to give its target audience valuable content about its business activity.
On the other hand, websites accept sponsored posts in exchange for money, free access to a platform, free copies of eBooks or software. Accepting sponsored content on your site can benefit it in various ways.
- Several brands are interested in advertising via sponsored posts, and you have several options of partnering with them by accepting the sponsored content post, sponsored guest post, sponsored link post. So accepting sponsored content helps you to find content for your readers that is interesting or entertaining.
- Sponsored posts are a great way of earning money. They help to keep your lights on as you have to pay for hosting and other services.
- It increases your backlinks. When your site grows in popularity, many people look for it as they search for information found in the sponsored article, thus increased traffic originating from the paid-for post. So your website will get more visitors as well as many backlinks which is an important Google ranking factor.
Sponsored articles are most likely to receive organic search results, and if it’s well written, then Google will rank this content in the Search engine results pages (SERPs).
Since backlinks should be obtained naturally, you should ensure you only publish valuable content so that readers can link the articles on their sites. Thus backlinks obtained in any other way should be labeled appropriately to avoid being penalized by Google. This leads to a question of whether Google is against sponsored content.
How Does Google View Sponsored Content?
Google understands the idea of partnership and how it increases traffic in a site. Therefore sponsored posts are a great way of earning from working with brands. Further, these collaborations help sites to generate more valuable content for readers.
So to avoid penalties because of breaching terms of service, Google has recommended guidelines that you should follow. You should adhere to the following simple rules when publishing branded content on your site.
Disclose Sponsored Posts: The post should have a disclosure message that tells your reader that the content was produced for a partner. Further, Google says that,
“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.”
Nofollow Outbound Links: You shouldn’t gain any natural link authority from paid-for content. You should instead nofollow static links, logos, infographics, and images that link you to the client.
Avoid Thin Content: Publishing low-quality content for your client will cost you organic search traffic because the search engine finds it valueless to readers.
Don’t Publish Content with Poor Quality Links: While Google algorithms ignore poor quality links, publishing content linked to toxic domains is harmful, and so you should carefully plan your link-building campaign.
Why Should You Avoid Dofollow Outbound Links on Sponsored Posts?
The use of dofollow links on sponsored content is dangerous and violates Google’s terms of service. The reason is that they pass PageRank to the linked page, which is a manipulation that attracts a penalty.
So don’t publish your client’s sponsored post using dofollow links because Google will discover it, and you won’t escape its penalties.
Instead, use a nofollow link to signal Google as well as other search engines not to pass any benefits to the destination site. That means using the nofollow attribute on all links available in the sponsored posts protects your sponsor and yourself.
Actually, Google addresses website that publishes sponsored content this way.
“A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. In order to prevent paid links from influencing search results and negatively impacting users, we urge webmasters use nofollow on such links. Search engine guidelines require machine-readable disclosure of paid links in the same way that consumers online and offline disclosure of paid relationships (for example, a full-page newspaper ad may be headed by the word “Advertisement”).
Still, nofollow links may not give you instant traffic, but any well-written review with proper SEO and keyword research will rank well on SERPs, hence bring you the traffic you’re are seeking.
Sponsored posts or other people’s blogs can earn you income; however, these contents don’t generate a lot of traffic to your site because all backlinks on these types of articles must have a nofollow link attribute. This protects you and your sponsor against violating Google’s terms of service, which has a penalty attached to it.
Also, you cannot publish only sponsored posts on your site or accept a ridiculously large number of them. The content should be of genuine interest to your target audience and should avoid links from Sammy industries. Then label paid for articles appropriately so that your target audience can know that they are reading sponsored posts the same way traditional marketing methods label some ads as “Advertisement.”
Observing such guidelines will help you avoid Google’s penalties, and the content will rank well on SERPs.
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