Finding content, regularly, for a blog can be time-consuming – and even worse if you have more than one. In addition to this blog, I have some others in the complementary therapy marketplace and it's quite a struggle to keep finding new content for them – so I'm usually very happy to publish guest articles, especially if they are unique.

The trade off is that I get an article for my site, and the author gets a back-link to their site from my blog. A win-win situation.

A couple of days ago I had an even better request. Someone wanted to PAY me to make a post on my blog!

This isn't totally unheard of, I've taken payments like this before. Even though it was only $30, it's $30 for doing very little work, and work that I would have done in any, case to post the guest article.

However, on checking out the site my potential guest author wanted to link to (about exams), it had NOTHING to do with my own site (about migraine).

All the courses and trainings I have done have told me to make sure that any sites I link to are relevant to my topic. One coach even told me to delete comments if the URL wasn't in my niche. (Personally I think that's a bit much, so if someone makes a sensible and relevant comment I will leave their URL, just so long as it's not what would be classed as a “bad neighbourhood” – I'm sure you can use your imagination.)

There are two reasons for keeping linked sites relevant:

  1. I'm told “that's what Google likes” (but which of us mere mortal bloggers actually knows what Google likes?) 
  2. It's really a courtesy to my readers and subscribers. They have subscribed to my site to read about migraine or headaches. If I publish articles completely off-topic I wouldn't blame them for taking their loyalty elsewhere.

Nevertheless, $30 is $30, and extra content is always welcome, so to try and keep the dialogue going I wrote back saying that I'd be pleased to publish an article, but it had to relate to the content of my site. I even suggested a topic that would link our two sites. So imagine my disappointment to receive an “article” that was, in effect, a pure advert for a Microsoft course, and had no relevance to my site whatsoever.

I'll admit I was tempted to just take the $30 and publish the post come what may – it would soon slip down the list of posts and be lost in the mists of time.

However, I went all high-minded and hurt, sending back a reply to the effect that I couldn't possibly publish a totally irrelevant article on my site.

So – what do you think? After all, this individual had offered to pay for their “advert”…. Were they entitled to request whatever content they wanted?

Quite apart from what you may “think”, if you happen to have specialist knowledge on how / if Google penalises sites for irrelevant links, I'd be pleased for you to comment below – and I'll leave your URL intact:-)