Jan 25, 2011

Paid Ads vs. Paid Links: The Important Difference

In Passive Income Tip: Advertise on Your Blog, I talked about adding paid ads on your sidebar. The question is, what is the difference between a paid ad and a paid link?

Why is this a relevant question? Well, you see, Google hates paid links. It penalizes sites who have paid links by lowering those sites' Google ranks.

But a paid ad and a paid link look very similar: they are both paid, and they both contain links. So what's the difference?

Ads vs. links

With a paid ad, the advertiser is paying to display the ad on your site so that your readers could be enticed to visit the advertiser's site.

With a paid link, the "advertiser" is paying you to simply put a link on your site towards the advertiser's site, not to invite people to visit their site, but simply to gain backlinks.

If you own a blog, you are probably familiar with what backlinks are and why they are important. Backlinks are links from other sites that lead to your blog, and they are important because the more backlinks you have, the higher you rank in Google.

The downside of paid links

If you put paid links in your blog and Google discovers it, then they will penalize you on their search ranks.

So how do you avoid getting penalized if you put in paid ads? You need to modify your link. Instead of simply putting in A HREF=" " around your paid ad, you put in A REL="NOFOLLOW" HREF=" ".

The nofollow tag prevents your link from being counted as a backlink and will therefore not affect the target site's Google ranking.

When to put in paid links

This is not to say that we should avoid paid links altogether. After all, what do we want Google rankings for, if not to attract Web traffic, hoping those readers would click on our Google ads?

If your earnings from Google ads are less than what the link buyer is willing to pay you, there is no good short-term reason why you should shun the paid link.

After all, Google search is not the only way to invite traffic to your blog. There is also Facebook, Twitter, and your friends' blogs!

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