Should You Pay for Placement When Doing Blog Outreach?

Should You Pay for Placement When Doing Blog Outreach?

We have been doing blog outreach for Marketer’s Center’s own website for a few years now. We have our fair share of webmasters who ask for payments for guest posts and links. Personally, we don’t pay for such placements. We are able to get backlinks for free, save for the costs of content creation and outreach.

But should you pay for your placements? Yes, some sites will ask. But the answer depends on a site-by-site basis. And some sites are not even worth the cost.

1. Some sites will ask for money

There are many reasons why some sites ask for payment for placements. But they all boil down to this – they are doing you a favor, not the other way around. And because so many people reach out to them, they need to find a way to filter out the bad ones.

The link is often more valuable to you than to them

When you are trying to build links with guest posts, it’s important to provide real value to the webmaster’s blog. The value comes first before the links. Everybody understands that. But here’s the thing – at the end of the day, you need the links more than the webmaster needs your guest post’s value.

They already have a blog. And there is a good chance that their blog is already doing well, considering that you are reaching out to them already. They can live without your guest post, but can you live without the link?

The webmaster has the advantage and the leverage. If you really want that link, you may have to pay for it.

They use payments to filter out bad submissions

Webmasters receive a lot of blog outreach emails a day, especially those with highly authoritative and reputable blogs. Naturally, many of these senders and emails are low-quality. Here are just some of the red flags they see:

  • Senders who are basically just paid writers, not link builders
  • Senders who are not known in the industry, especially in small niches where everyone knows everyone else
  • Senders who have no proof of their previous success
  • Emails that are spammy
  • Emails with grammatical errors
  • Emails that don’t go straight to the point

If the senders or emails have these characteristics, chances are, the webmasters will just receive guest posts or links that are low-quality. They need to find a way to filter out these bad senders and emails and save them the time of coordinating with senders who will only deliver poor blog posts.

One effective way to filter them out is through a paywall. Many webmasters think that only those who are serious about their blog outreach campaigns will be willing to pay for placements.

They ask for payment for the work and time

Yes, blog outreach takes a lot of time and effort for you – you look for sites, reach out to them, and write a solid post that provides value. But many outreach specialists forget that blog outreach also takes a lot of time and effort for their prospects – webmasters have to filter out bad submissions, write guidelines for placements, coordinate with good senders, and edit the senders’ submissions when necessary.

Everything that takes time and effort in the office takes dollars. This is why many webmasters ask for payment for placements. They simply want to get paid for all the time and effort it takes to get a guest post published. You may also be indirectly paying for their high authority and reputation, which they work hard to build as well.

2. It’s a site-by-site basis

Whether you should pay or not for placements in your blog outreach should be taken in a case-by-case basis. Make sure the site is actually relevant and valuable and not just a link scheme.

Search engines don’t like link schemes

Essentially, the entire industry of search engine optimization has been built by people trying to game search engine algorithms in their favor. This isn’t always bad, especially if the SEO specialist provides real value to searchers and queries. But a problem arises when the specialist prioritizes gaming the system over providing value.

Since links play a major part in search engine algorithms, it’s not surprising that many unethical practices have risen using them to get better rankings. Link schemes like link farms and suspicious paid link placements are a no. If you happen to reach out to such schemers and have gotten links from them, the links may actually cause more harm to you than good.

Search engine engineers are not stupid. They are aware of how some people try to unethically game the system and they will punish them for it.

Find relevant sites in your industry or niche

This is a very basic principle in blog outreach. You look for prospects in your industry or niche, or at least in an area where the audience is somewhat interested in your industry or niche. Here are some interesting questions to ask when trying to determine if a site is a good prospect or not:

  • Is the site related to your industry or niche?
  • Is the content of their blog focused on your industry or niche?
  • Is the audience of the blog interested on your industry or niche?
  • Are the blog posts getting engagement?
  • Is the webmaster active in social media where they can promote your potential guest post?

Finding good prospects is basically half of your outreach campaign. Once you find them, you are halfway there to a guest post and a quality link.

Some sites are more valuable than others

There are many types of sites that accept guest posts and link placements. There are sites with free submissions, sites with Write for Us pages as they actively look for contributors, and sites with top-notch content from distinguished individuals. Unfortunately, not all sites are created equal. Highly authoritative and reputable sites will provide better links for you. These links may even end up putting your name out there effectively and leading to even more guest post opportunities and link placements.

Sure, you can focus your outreach campaign on these high-value sites. But remember to diversify your link portfolio. And as long as you are not participating in link schemes or other unethical practices, you are good to go.

3. Some sites aren’t even worth reaching out to

Yes, you should reach out to sites that are relevant to your industry or niche. But your filtering doesn’t end there. Some sites, even if they are relevant, are simply not worth reaching out to, not to mention paying them for placements.

Some sites are not valuable enough to get links from

Even if you choose not to pay for placements when doing blog outreach, there are still costs, especially in creating content, looking for potential prospects, and coordinating with prospects who have shown interest.

You want value for the dollars you are spending. This is why you should be selective on the sites you are reaching out to – to get as much value as you can from your spending. Make sure you are reaching out only to relevant and valuable sites. Here’s how to identify them:

  • Maximize Google search operators to find relevant sites. Google search operators are specialized characters and commands that further improve the capabilities of Google. They are particularly useful for very specific searches, like when you are looking for sites with guest post opportunities in your industry or niche.
  • Use online tools to find authoritative sites. Ahrefs, Moz, and many other online tools have capabilities that will help you find authoritative sites. You may even find your competitors and the sites they are getting links from. You can target these same sites for guest post opportunities.
  • Examine the sites manually to see their authoritativeness and relevance. You don’t need to solely rely on search engines and online tools. Your eyes and even your common sense can complement these machines to determine authority and relevance. Look at the feel of the sites and the quality of their blog posts yourself.

You have a budget for your blog outreach campaign. Make the most value out of that budget by filtering out sites that won’t give you results.

Some webmasters are hard to work with

There are so many filters and roadblocks before you can even get a reply from your potential prospects. There is the money filter for placements. And then there is the suspicion to your unsolicited emails.

But even if you do get a reply, your struggle is not over. Some webmasters are simply hard to deal with, making guest posting and link placing more stressful than they already are. Again, webmasters don’t really need your guest post, so you are often at the bottom of their priorities. This often means that, even if they are technically interested in your guest post, they may not entertain you simply because they have other things to do.

This can be a problem if they are holding your guest post hostage when you could have sent it to someone else who may be willing to post it faster. Waiting can be worth it if the site is authoritative enough, but many times, it’s better to move on to other prospects.

Some webmasters will outright scam you

You should be straightforward and transparent with your outreach email. You have to tell your prospects immediately that you are doing it for a link. Unfortunately, some webmasters can take advantage of you.

Some will simply lead you on, saying they will finally post your submission in the next few days. This can go on and on for weeks with still no post in sight. Sometimes this is an honest mistake, especially if the webmaster is busy. But sometimes, we are sure that it’s intentional. It has happened too many times for Marketer’s Center.

Some webmasters are also just outright dishonest. They will publish your post and remove your link. You also won’t get credit for the post because they will post it as their own.

This is why it’s important to reach out only to authoritative and reputable sites. The odds are already against you in blog outreach. Don’t make it worse by reaching out to suspicious sites that can take advantage of your hunger for links.

It depends on you

Whether you should pay for placement when doing blog outreach or not depends on you. Whatever approach you choose, make sure to treat payments in a case-by-case basis. Some sites may be worth it according to your strategies and goals, but some are simply not because they are not valuable enough and they are hard to deal with.

Also take note that, even if you don’t pay for placements, there will be costs in your blog outreach campaign, especially when it comes to creating content and looking for prospects.


Andrew David Scherer

My name is Andrew David Scherer and I've been involved in digital marketing since 2006.. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about marketing your local clients online, I'm always happy to help and share what I know. I've built local businesses from 0 to 6 figures in sales. Leased, sold, and rented a handful of them. And I've had hundreds of them as clients. Marketer's Center gives digital marketing consultants the ability to easily scale their local marketing agencies in a way that isn't labor-intensive and still very profitable. If you want to get my "6 Month SEO Plan" please request a free reseller dashboard account here. You'll also be able to download a price list for all of the services we offer. You can connect with me via Facebook in our Local Marketing Freethinkers group, or via Twitter and Linkedin.

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