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When people email me to "sponsor" or buy a blog post, is that illigal according to google rules?

Or is it only illegal when they request a straight up link placement in exchange for cash?

Also, will Google penalize me in terms of SEO if I have those sponsored blog posts? Do they frown on such things?

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how would google know if you paid or not for a blog post ? –  sdadffdfd Apr 30 '11 at 22:15
    
@Vic someone could tell them, namely the person who paid if they didn't like something for example. They can find out in a number of ways. –  Genadinik Apr 30 '11 at 22:35
    
If you're at all concerned about this you could just nofollow any links in the sponsored post that go to the sponsor's own site. –  Tim Fountain May 3 '11 at 12:17
    
@Tim no one and nothing has cared about no-follow links since 2007 - very outdated/novice information you have there ;) –  Genadinik May 4 '11 at 22:06
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2 Answers 2

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I'll try to say it other way.. It's too risky for them to take into consideration such kind of reports.. Imagine the following situation: I have a blog. You don't know me. Now I'll write a review for your website, I'll post it to my blog, I'll photoshop a screenshot of my paypal transactions, I'll put your name there, and then I'll report to google. :) how does this sound to you ?... But, if google indexes thousands of links coming from blogs, I think this may raise some questions...

The only thing you should worry about are the TOS agreements and so on..

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Google has a strong history of finding such things out. The question is more of whether it is against their policy. –  Genadinik May 1 '11 at 0:25
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YES!

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results: ...

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links...

    ...

  • Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank

ref. Official Google guide about Link schemes

But according to the same phrase you are NOT creating a link schemes if you sell articles in your blogs as long as:

  • your article does not contain a link at all
  • OR your article does contain a link that does not pass PageRank, thus the link uses rel="nofollow" in <a> tag (or an in intermediate page of your site that is blocked by your robots.txt)

Obviously you can ignore what they suggest and think: "well how does Google will ever know I'm selling blog articles?!"

IMHO (i don't work for Google) if you sell an article with links that pass PageRank just once in a while it'll be hard for Google to spot your blog as an affiliate of link schemes, but if you often sell articles with links, and even worst the links in the articles are not (or poorly) related to the main subjects of your blog, I would be careful. Moreover new tools like the disavow links provided to Webmasters along with the spam report for paid links could easily change any webmaster into a squeaker.

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