Hey there, fellow bloggers! 🙌
When it comes to monetizing a blog, sponsored posts can be a great way to earn some income while sharing cool stuff with your audience.
But when it comes to sponsored content, transparency is the name of the game! 🎯
It’s important to disclose when a post is sponsored and to mark those links as “Sponsored” and “No-Follow.”
Don’t worry, I got your back.
In this blog post, we’ll break down why these steps are crucial for maintaining trust with our lovely readers and keeping our blog in good standing with the search engine giants.
If you’re interested, make sure to check my video version of this post.
The Problem with Sponsored Posts
As a blogger, you have probably seen a sponsor email like this countless times throughout your career:
Unfortunately, this email is most likely part of a link-building scam—a type of scheme that’s really common in the blogging industry.
If you get paid for a sponsored guest post (or whatever they call it) and you have a link to their website, you need to disclose it. Otherwise, you’re breaking the law!
But that’s not all. You also need to manually make the links in the post “no-follow” and “sponsored”.
If you have ever published a sponsored post, I encourage you to take action right now. Edit each sponsored post to have a clear disclosure. Then mark every link “No-follow” and “Sponsored” manually.
Basically, it’s illegal to publish sponsored content that is not marked as such.
Here are 4 reasons you need to disclose every sponsored post you ever publish:
Your audience deserves to know when a post is sponsored, as it may influence their perception of the content.
By clearly disclosing that it’s a sponsored post, you’re giving your readers the context they need to make informed decisions. 📚
#2 Legal Requirements
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires influencers and bloggers to disclose sponsored content.
So, adding that disclosure isn’t just a matter of trust—it’s also about staying on the right side of the law! 🚨
When you’re open and honest about sponsored posts, it shows that you’re genuine and care about your audience’s interests.
This helps build your credibility as a blogger, and it signals to your readers that you aren’t trying to deceive them. 🌟
#4 Blogging Integrity
Let’s face it; we all know that some influencers may promote products they don’t actually love or believe in.
By disclosing your sponsored posts, you’re demonstrating your commitment to honesty and making it clear that you only partner with brands you trust. 🤝
Remember, adding a disclosure doesn’t have to be a chore. Keep it light-hearted and friendly!
A simple line like, “This post is sponsored by (brand), but all opinions are my own!” can work wonders.
In the end, it’s all about keeping things real with your readers and creating an open, honest dialogue. 💬
Why No-Follow/Sponsored Links Are Required?
Now that we’ve got the disclosure part down, let’s talk about marking those links as “No-Follow” and “Sponsored” in your sponsored post content.
Read more about no-follow vs do-follow links.
It may seem like a minor detail, but trust me, it’s a big deal!
#1 Google Guidelines
Google has set up specific guidelines for handling sponsored content.
They expect you to use the “No-Follow” and “Sponsored” attributes for links in sponsored posts to ensure that they don’t unfairly influence search rankings.
This helps maintain a level playing field for everyone and keeps search results unbiased. 🔍
By default, all links you publish are “Do-follow”.
These do-follow links actually matter when Google evaluates websites.
If there’s a site that has a ton of do-follow backlinks, Google and other search engines might trust that site more.
#2 Search Engine Penalties
If Google detects that you’re not using the “No-Follow” and “Sponsored” attributes for sponsored post links, it may penalize your blog.
This can result in lower search rankings or, in some cases, your blog being de-indexed altogether. 😨
So, how do you mark links as “No-Follow” and “Sponsored”?
It’s pretty simple.
If you’re using WordPress, just open up a sponsored post, click “Edit Post” and click a link you want to modify.
This opens up a modal where you can tick the “No-follow” and “Sponsored” attributes on.
Behind the scenes, this modifies the HTML code of the link to look something like this:
<a href="https://example.com" rel="sponsored nofollow">Check out this amazing product!</a>
Nonetheless, by doing this, you’re signaling to search engines that the link is part of a sponsored post and shouldn’t be considered when evaluating the sponsor’s website ranking.
It’s a small step, but it goes a long way in keeping your blog in good standing with Google! 🌟
Your Sponsor Might Get Mad, Though
But then there are those violators…
These so-called “sponsors” often refuse to work with bloggers who disclose their sponsored posts because they have a hidden agenda.
Their primary goal is to manipulate search rankings in their favor, which often involves violating Google’s guidelines.
This is what they’re usually up to:
#1 Tricking Google
By avoiding disclosure and “No-Follow” or “Sponsored” link attributes, these Blackhat SEOs aim to make their sponsored links appear as natural, organic links.
This can mislead Google’s algorithm into thinking that their website is more relevant, resulting in higher search rankings. 📈
#2 Shortcuts and Deception
Illegitimate sponsors are all about taking shortcuts and manipulating the system.
They’re not interested in forming genuine partnerships with bloggers or providing valuable content to audiences.
Instead, they prioritize their own gains and take advantage of unsuspecting bloggers in the process. 🐍
It’s your duty to stay vigilant against these types of practices. If you come across a potential sponsor who isn’t comfortable with disclosure, consider it a red flag.
By following best practices, like disclosing sponsored posts and using the appropriate link attributes, you’re not only keeping your blog compliant with Google’s guidelines but also doing your part in promoting a more transparent and ethical blogging ecosystem. 🌱💚
How to Identify These Link-Building Schemes?
Here are some tips on how to steer clear of potential link-building schemes.
#1 Demand Transparency
When dealing with potential sponsors, always emphasize that you will be disclosing the sponsored nature of the post and marking the links as “No-Follow” and “Sponsored.”
Legitimate sponsors should have no problem with this, while shady operators will likely back off. 🚦
#2 Evaluate Outreach Emails
Be cautious when you receive generic-sounding outreach emails, especially those starting with phrases like “Hello Dear” or “Hello Webmaster.”
These are often telltale signs of mass-produced emails sent by Blackhat SEO practitioners.
Keep an eye out for vague or overly promotional language, and don’t be afraid to do some research on the sender before responding. 📧
#3 Research the Sponsor
Take the time to dig a little deeper into potential sponsors.
Even if they’re fine with transparency, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically someone whom you should work with.
Investigate their website, social media presence, and any reviews or feedback available online.
This will help you gauge their credibility and ensure that you’re partnering with a trustworthy brand. 🔍
#4 Trust Your Instincts
If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your gut.
It’s better to err on the side of caution than to jeopardize your blog’s reputation and search rankings.
By following these tips and staying vigilant, you’ll be well-equipped to avoid link-building schemes and maintain a healthy, trustworthy blog that your readers (and Google!) will love.
Keep up the great work, and happy blogging! 🎉