Marketing April 28, 2016 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,405 Reads share

Negative SEO: Five Reasons Paying to Place Guest Posts Can Hurt Your Brand

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This is the moment when you reach out to the site owner, either through email, social media messaging, or a contact form on the site and ask if they are interested in your content.

Inevitably when outreaching sites to post your content, you will receive an email that looks something like this:

Attached to this email are the prices for guest blogging posts on my websites, along with other details. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate and contact me.”

The attachment is a spreadsheet detailing what it will cost you for the right to publish articles on the site or sites in question. But isn’t that just an advertisement? It is, and usually it is called a sponsored post. A reputable site will distinguish such posts from others on the site by making it clear the post in an advertisement. However, there is a difference between a guest post and a sponsored post, both in purpose and content.

If the majority of posts on a site are sponsored rather than informative guest posts, the result can actually harm your web presence rather than enhancing it.

  • A sponsored post is an advertisement and most often links to a landing or conversion page.
  • A guest post is informative and links to more top of the funnel content on your site. That content should lead to your conversion page or pages.
  • A sponsored post usually has a clear call to action.
  • A guest post seeks to inform, engaging a potential lead when they are still in the questioning phase and have not yet made a decision to purchase.

If a site is filled with only paid content, the lack of truly informative content will probably hurt their rankings. Not only that but If the site is penalized by Google for poor practices or illegal activities such as copyright infringement or identity theft, it could be removed from Google’s Index entirely, making your link building efforts useless or even harmful.

Poor Content

Even if your guest post is good, it may be surrounded by horrible content. Sites that demand payment for posting content tend to drive off legitimate writers and those doing link building for many reasons, but primarily because many sites trade guest posts for exposure to a broad, quality audience. Still others offer the same benefits and pay authors for content.

Unless someone is simply going after a link for the link’s sake, and not as part of an overall content marketing strategy, they won’t pay to post content on a specific site.

Poor Link Neighborhood

Link neighborhood refers to the links you are linking to in your article besides your site. A part of creating great guest content is linking to reputable sources. However, if the articles around you are linking to poor quality content or even spam, this hurts the credibility of your content as well.

Do you want your website and your content associated with the content already on the site? If the answer is no, you may want to submit your work elsewhere.


A good quality site will examine the links in pieces submitted to them and make sure they are pointing to relevant, informational sources. A pay per post site may not. This is a place for creators of spam to post their content.

Your content then gets lumped into the same category regardless of the quality of your work. The content you surround yourself with will determine how your content is viewed.

Low Click Through Rates

Pay per post sites often have a falsely elevated authority ranking, in part because they get a lot of back links. While the site may initially look good, they likely get little meaningful traffic, primarily due to the sheer volume of posts they publish.

The likelihood your post will be seen at all, let alone read by potential customers who might actually click through to your web content and then convert is extremely low. For the same money you would pay to post on one of these sites, you could invest in a Pay Per Click campaign with much better results.

Poor ROI

Pay per post sites simply are not worth the time, effort, and money you will put into creating content for them. Pay per click ads, legitimate guest posts, and a true content marketing strategy are a much better investment.

Most businesses have an overall SEO strategy for their website, and blogging and accepting guest posts is just a part of it. While monetizing a blog is desirable if practically possible, there are better methods.

Charging people to provide content is never truly effective. Eventually, the poor quality content and link neighborhood, spam, low click through rates, and poor ROI will catch up to any site. If your brand is associated with it, you too could be caught up in the downfall.

It’s a scenario best avoided in the first place by not paying to post guest content on any site.

Images: ”Seo business, search engine optimazion, concept cloud chart. Blue Toned /


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Troy Lambert

Troy Lambert

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