Accepting Paid Posts? Watch out - Else you are going down.
Google dropped a thermo nuclear bomb yesterday by decimating about 80 or more sites in UK for selling links to one particular company Interflora. It may not sound like a big deal, because we know Google is strictly against any link selling or buying to influence search rankings.
But this case is severe, Interflora lost 95% traffic and its traffic came down from 22,000+ to 1,200. That’s not all. I won’t call it severe if only the site buying links was penalized brutally. The sites selling links were penalized brutally as well. Like I mentioned before, 80 or more sites that have been selling links to Interflora have been grounded.
- Each of them lost their entire PR. Most of them had PR5+ and that’s a bid deal.
- Each of those linking sites have lost more than 50% of their traffic. In some cases they have lost close to 90% of their traffic.
- Major brands with high Google reputation and high Geographic significance have been grounded. DailyMirror.co.uk is now PR3 from PR6. Independent is languishing at PR4 from PR Scotsman is PR3 from PR7 - these 3 are one of the best newspapers in UK. (details by David Naylor).
Now, if you are a blogger and are accepting paid post its time for you to watch your own back. If heavy weights in the News industry have been smashed to pulp you are no where close to safety.
I don’t say one should not accept paid post. Rather you should be careful when doing so. I have listed a few easy things to remember while accepting paid posts. Take those seriously before your world comes crashing down.
Things to remember while accepting paid Posts
- Avoid linking to money keywords.
You can links to the brand name, the exact domain name or any informative page with a suitable long tail anchor text, but avoid money keywords at any cost. e.g avoid linking to "Peanut Butter Suppliers, Canada", instead try linking to "Montague FMCG, Canada" which might be the brand name of the company that is selling peanut butter in this case.
- Avoid linking to sales pages.
Instead of liking to a page that sales, link to a page that provides information about the product or service. Follow a pyramid link structure. This will give you much better control over the pages you want to rank for.
- Nofollow all sponsored links
Whenever possible no-follow all your affiliate links.You wont loose the sales and yet you would not loose your trust. So put that rel=’nofollow’ attribute to the anchor tag. It might save your life. :)
- Avoid linking to paid links from the top half of the page.
I don’t have data to back this up but most of the articles sites implemented that rule after the Google algorithms updates started penalizing them en masse.
- Do a quick history check
of the site asking for a link. If they are not related to your niche, please avoid it. Make sure they are not targeting high value money keywords form a lot of blogs like yours. Else you are going to end up exactly like those news sites above who lots their PR and traffic.
- Keep your outbound link profile natural.
Link to high trust informative sites as references to any facts you claim in your posts. They act as verification for the numbers/dates/fact/ you claim in the content and add to your sites trust. They also help dilute the out bound link profile so that the paid links are masked to some extent.
That’s is all I could think off right now. I will update the facts and findings if some new information comes up. Feel free to comment; your thoughts will be added here with appropriate credentials if deemed useful to the context.