There are a huge number of professional bloggers earning money through their blogs and with more people starting to monetise every day one of the questions asked a lot by bloggers is: how much should I charge? This post is a guide to how much you should charge for a sponsored post, guest post or link insert. It doesn’t cover brand work (which you should be paid more for), but rather work where you are being paid to place a link. 

A Guide To How Much To Charge for Guest Posts and What To Consider

Making money through blogging how much should you charge

Why Should You Charge To Host Guest Content?

Whether it’s your sole income or just a bonus it’s nice to be paid for what you do. With new blogs appearing every day the competition for paid work is increasing and rates are being pushed down. There will always be someone prepared to work for less or even for free, but recognise that you have a valuable asset so charge your worth and be prepared to walk away.

Over time as people are prepared to accept less and less it pushes fees down across the market and in a couple of years time being paid for links might no longer be a feasible source of income because the rates are so low. I know that for some people £15 might mean the difference between putting food on the table or not eating, but it’s not sustainable. It's better to get one post for £80 than 8 for £10.

Some times you will be offered a link exchange or “exposure” if they share your post with your audience. I would recommend against this because you have no control over whether they will remove the link from their website and you are unlikely to receive any benefit from exposure.

I will occasionally publish guest posts for free when they are from bloggers I know. I will only accept a link to their blog in the post and no business websites. Some SEO companies pretend to be bloggers to get free guest posts which is why I would only recommend placing free content from people you know.

Is it legal to sell links?

Yes. It is your blog and you can sell links from it if you want. Understandably Google do not like it because it is trying to trick search engines into placing the content higher. Google would prefer companies paid them directly to promote their sites. 

The risk of selling links from your site is that Google can remove your website from search results, or suppress the site so you appear further down the rankings. If you get a lot of traffic from Google you need to decide if that is an acceptable risk and it's another reason to ensure you are paid a reasonable rate. Good search traffic can help you earn affiliate income, get paid more for ADs and to work with more brands which might be a more reliable source of income long term than SEO link selling.

You will be informed by Google (and it will say in Search Console) if you have a Google penalty against you however it is also thought that if they suspect you of link selling or swaps then they wont show your results as high in the search results. Of course it is hard to prove if a post starts performing worse due to this or some other change in the algorithm. If you have a penalty you can remove the link/s that are an issue and it should improve your performance again.

There is a legal requirement to disclose ADs so that you don't mislead your readers. If you are being paid to include any content it is theoretically an AD and requires some form of disclosure. 

What are SEO Agencies Paying For?

Whether you are writing a sponsored post with a do-follow link, you are publishing a guest post or you are inserting a link into an existing post it all amounts to the same thing: you are being paid for a link from your website to another one. It is normally a SEO agency who will approach you for this work as they are being paid by website owners to improve their performance in search results. 

For this sort of work the quality of the website and number of visitors normally isn't relevant, instead the focus will be on a performance metric, eg your DA (you can find out more about DA here). The website linked to will benefit even if the post is never viewed as long as it is indexed by Google. This is very different to working with brands where they are interested in your audience and quality of work to promote their products or services.

People generally charge more for a sponsored post (written by the blogger with a provided url and anchor text), than a guest post and even less for a link insert. This makes sense when you consider the relative time involved, but the majority of the fee should be based on the value of the link. You are not being paid for your time to add the link or post, but the time and effort it has taken to build your website’s authority.

How Much Do Other Bloggers Get Paid?

There are a growing number of people who have blogs or websites just to sell links, they don’t care about the quality of their site and they will accept low prices. I regularly get people asking me to add links or guest posts for $10 and today I was offered $3! Companies offer these rates because some people accept them. The less they can pay you for a link the more profit they make. These rates are not the normal for UK bloggers to be paid though so negotiate.

I surveyed a large number of UK based professional bloggers in 2021 and looked at the average they regularly received for do-follow link based work.

Blogs with a DA of 30 to 39 were regularly receiving: £200 for a sponsored post, £150 for a guest post and £80 for a link insert.

Blogs with a DA of 20 to 29 were regularly receiving: £120 for a sponsored post, £90 for a guest post and £60 for a link insert.

Payment for blogs with a DA of less than 20 are lower because of the higher number of blogs at that level, but you should still expect at least £30 for a link insert and more for posts, but aim higher. 

Blogs with a DA of 40 or more can earn significantly more because there are far fewer blogs at that level.

These rates are the amount bloggers regularly received, but they would pitch higher and negotiate. The lowest amount bloggers were prepared to accept varied hugely and depended on circumstance.

It is very rare that if I pitch too high that it scares a contact away. Companies will normally come back with a counter offer, but sometimes they accept my rates as stated so don’t feel you will lose out on work by aiming too high. The main factor which massively increased the amount I earned last year was by asking for more money.

What Impacts How Much Bloggers Are Paid For Links?

Obviously the biggest variable is the budget of the person buying the link, but aside from that how much you receive will vary depending on:

Rating metrics 
Whether it’s DA, spam score, trust flow or something else the link buyer will use a metric to assess blogs and how much they are prepared to pay.

A link from a particular niche blog will be worth more than a website that posts about everything.

Type of link
Nearly every time a company asks you to add a link they will want a do-follow link whether they state this up front or not. Some will accept no-follow links, but this is rare.

Nearly every insultingly low paid offer I have received has been from companies not based in the UK. In countries where the cost of living is significantly lower it isn’t surprising that bloggers accept less.

If they are providing a guest blog to accompany the link then they will need to pay someone to write it (or take the time to write it themselves) so the cost of that comes out of their profit and will drive the price down they offer.

Some agencies specifically ask for the post to be shared to the blog's home page to try and make it look more authentic (ie that the post wasn't just for the backlink). Most don't care about this though and many bloggers who publish guest posts use a plug in to “stealth publish”. This means it doesn’t go out in subscription emails and isn’t easily visible on the blog. It should still be indexed by Google though or it has no value to the seller.

Increasingly SEO agencies are asking for non-disclosure and will pay more for it. The idea is that if you don’t state it is an AD, paid post, guest post etc then Google wont realise. Personally I think Google is super intelligent and can see patterns of links between websites and it is far more likely to pick up on unusual behaviour from that rather than certain trigger words, but still asking for non-disclosure is becoming common.
Some argue that if the post and link isn’t promotional in nature it’s not an AD so you don’t need to disclose, especially if it is stealth published and not likely to be seen. I always disclose anything I have been paid for or where I have received it for free. You need to make your own judgement. 

If you are prepared to commit to keeping the link live on your blog for the lifetime of your blog then you may receive more than someone committing to only 12 months. 

Type of Site Linked To
There are certain websites that you can receive more money for linking to. These include anything related to gambling, dating (often a euphemism for more hard core content) and CBD. There are also sites that you might feel uncomfortable linking to and so can negotiate more for eg I do not link to any websites related to violence, high interest loans or essay writing as I do not want my brand to be associated with these. Whether you are happy to link to (and effectively promote) any of these is your choice. Some brands and companies do not want to work with websites that have linked to certain sites including gambling, but you might earn enough to make it worth it for you. 

As an aside if you do want to link to these and are paid via PayPal be careful what it says in the invoice, I know someone whose PayPal account was cancelled because of a CBD reference and PayPal confirmed subsequently that they don’t want anything to do with CBD.

Methods Of Payment For Guest Posts and Link Inserts

Currently the most popular way to receive payment for SEO work is via PayPal. This allows companies to make payment only revealing an email address and no other identifiable information. They will very rarely pay the fees so you will have the fee amount deducted from how much you receive. The fees count as an expense and can reduce how much tax you pay, but that’s only of value if you earn enough to pay tax in the first place. You can also be paid by bank transfer or some less popular means like Payoneer.

I recommend sending an invoice when you have completed the work so you have a record. You can easily use a template in Word or similar for this or if you know you are going to be paid via Paypal you can send an Invoice from within Paypal. 

*Note this post relates to UK based bloggers and contains my opinion, you are welcome to different views but please be respectful*
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