Sponsored Links & (PayPerPost?) Get Google-Penalized ... I know the feeling of Google hating repetitive anchor text, but my blog's links were non-paid

by Paula Neal Mooney

The whole Google-hating-sponsored-links from link farms (and PayPerPost reviews, perhaps?) fascinates me.

  • Michael Arrington made sure to review PayPerPost and their offensive ClubMed employee retreat.

Sponsored Links, PayPerPost Reviews and Google Penalties -- What's the deal?

So I know that Google technically defines "sponsored links" as these things, and not PayPerPost reviews with links embedded in the content.

But therein lies the big question:

What's the difference?

One website owner may go buy an advertisement thru Google Adwords so that when a person types in "get sponsored links," the company's ad pops up close to the first page -- they hope.

Another website owner may go thru a place like PayPerPost and buy a review that contains three sponsored links named "get sponsored links" in the reviewee's post.

I guess the issue is the line being blurred between advertising and advertorials. But they do it in magazines and newspapers all the time, and I doubt that it's going away.

PayPerPost Reviews and Sponsored Links Controversy -- Write with personality, honesty and interest...

Basically my rule of thumb with PayPerPost reviews I've written that contain sponsored links is this -- just to be honest and personal and interesting.

I always disclose that it's a sponsored review on my PayPerPost reviews.

And I try to include personal photos and real life stories when I can to entertain my readers.

Will Sponsored Link Sites Containing PayPerPost Reviews Get Penalized by Google?

The next question is that if Google is cracking down on not only obvious link farm sites like mentioned in the above linked-to article -- but also cracking down and penalizing everyday bloggers like John Chow and me -- will PayPerPost reviewers be the next ones bumped to the bottom of Google's search engine results pages?

I don't know why I was penalized by Google -- perhaps because of all the people linking to me with "Paula's List of Blogger Salaries" anchor text, or something similar that I asked for.

Or maybe it was me linking to my own name so much from the same site, but traffic has definitely plunged on this blog for certain anchor text.

(Funny, just when God is exploding my text on the TV site, which He has on hold right now -- mysterious, higher ways than ours indeed.)

So the more this whole game plays out with Google, PayPerPost (who got their $10 million in funding despite the naysayers last month), getting sponsored links and penalization -- the more interesting it will all become.

I'm still writing PayPerPost reviews where people get sponsored links in the mean time, choosing only the ones that let me sleep at night.

Since Google has penalized this blog (for some search terms), it'll also be a good experiment to see which terms I can still rank for.

And I'll continue to be a paid postie for now -- I ain't wasting this good Google Pagerank of 5 that the blessed "Son of Man" blest me with!


5xmom.com said…
I got smacked, Paula. I lost my PR5/10 on a blog that I don't do much paid posts, only 1/10 of them consist of paid posts. So, I won't feel too bad about it because all my PR 4/10 remains. I suppose I should give thanks rather than feel bad because the paid posts paid me a lot more than what Adsense can make. I made USD5K in September, all glory to the Lord for most of them are divine intervention.

We will come back, much better and stronger, eh?
Amen to that, Lillian!

I'm learning to seek His presence more than His presents right now.

God is a constant Teacher...
Jaz said…
I have a "yeah but" for you. When I write sponsored ads, whether it's for PPP or any other place, I try to put personality into everything. People tell me that I write like I talk. ROFL! You don't wanna know.

But, when you stated that you put sponsored links in your post somewhere, and I did the same by the way, it was okay in the past but now, apparently, it is not. Many of the advertisers are now wanting the post not to have any sign that it's sponsored like we dug it up as a review and loved the product or service.

I have disagreed with that practice for a while. I wanted everyone to know that this is a sponsored link. BUT, now that things are changing, it has become increasingly obvious that this practice is not going to be useful anymore...unfortunately.

Because of Google changing, PPP changing to Argus or whatever the thing is being called and other places advising getting rid of the sponsored category or any mention of it anywhere, what are we going to do to indicate that it is a paid advertisement?

I am having serious issues with this. I want to be honest. I want to do this the right way but it is not as easy as it might seem. Apparently, if you keep those categories or say anything in the post, you get rejected. Now what?
Jenny said…
I think I got penelized big time by google because I got a PR of zero. :(
kystorms said…
Hi Paula
Same here, I had a three on my blog, lost it all... and i had only done a few paid posts :-( and had stopped since the amount of writing is not equal to the work or benefit the company gets.
better to keep it ppp free if ranking is important to you, as it is to me
god bless
Laura said…
This is interesting Paula since I've starting doing a few paid posts. So far I haven't been penalized.

I agree that paid posts should be disclosed.

Of course, I've heard that Page Rank is going away. I would say that means that page rank penalties may also go away?
perros said…
Very thorough article and nice link to the forbes one. Google behaving like this is questionable... but there is a big difference between blatant search engine manipulation and search engine optimization. Pay per post seems like a completely legitimate advertising method, however I question sometimes the legitimacy of some posts and if they are solely for SEO or is actual advertising.
Hair Removal said…
Very nice article. google loves fresh content. If you want google to visit you then you need to welcome it with fresh and good content every time.
car audio said…
Way to go Paula. Keep doing what you have been doing. You will see what happens by and by. There are a lot of people out there backing you. Google has become too I repeat too big and too I repeat too mechanised. Be a little charitable.
Anonymous said…

this is out of the blue, but I saw a piece you did on LeBron's various homes...I'm writing an article about luxury living downtown; I can't seem to find out whether LeBron now or has ever actually lived downtown, during building of his home. Can you tell me anything about that? I'd really appreciate it.

Tom in Beachwood
Hi Tom in Beachwood -

Yeah, you must've caught this piece about Lebron's new house before.

Lebron James' new house is right next to my heath club, so I'm near there all the time.

My sources tell me that LeBron has an apartment in Cleveland, plus that he stays in his girlfriend's home near Route 91 in Medina.


Your blog is wonderful. I don't understand why Google is penalizing...but the bottom line is you serve a much higher power. No weapon formed against you (not even Google) can stop the pouring of blessings coming your way. Keep doing what you do; as you inspire, encourage, educate, and empower so many (as evidenced by your readers).

I applaud you :)

Best Wishes Always,
Kate said…
I woke up today to find my PR4 site was down to PR3. I'm trying to convince myself this is a gift, not a burden: it's just an incentive to be more diligent about blogging better and sharing the link love.

But... oooooh... it wasn't a fun way to start my day.

What's truly frustrating is that, like you, I try to write my sponsored reviews so they're interesting and entertaining, not merely an advertorial. To have put so much effort into it and yet still get dinged by Google is truly annoying.
You are not alone. A lot of other blogs are going through this kind of treatment or similar treatment. I would not be surprised if a groundswell of opinion against G builds up and take them head on.

All the best to you. It is the day of the underdog. Do not worry. It will all work out alright eventually.

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