When you think of bookmark links, directory submissions, forum posts or comment links, what do you think of? If you’re like the majority of the SEO industry, you’re going to think of spammy link building strategies.
But wait, what if that bookmark link is from a legitimate account on Delicious.com from someone in your related industry and what if that directory submission is locally specific or even within a recommended list of professionals? What if that comment link you just posted is on a related industry site giving an intelligent, formulated opinion on the subject matter? What if you’re an automotive retailer helping people on car forums and dropping a link is what is needed to answer the question?
I’m sure now everyone would agree that those would be great and helpful links to have, but yet as an industry, we insist on tearing them down and deeming them as worthless just because spammers have misused that strategy. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that most people using those strategies are spammers but what I’m really getting at is…
Google penalizes spammy techniques, not link building strategies
Even after Matt Cutts’ “well thought out” response towards guest blogging, I believe they penalize link building techniques (as opposed to strategies) out of the sheer fact that Google obviously doesn’t even know what guest blogging is. I’m frankly a little saddened and surprised that Matt would come out with this attack on guest blogging after an email pitch that doesn’t accurately depict what real guest blogging even is. This pitch is right in line with link selling; something we all know is clearly a manipulative practice. Every morning I check my email and find 5 new people hawking their horrid sites for us to guest post with offering “high PR sites for X amount of dollars”. However, lumping those who legitimately contribute to real websites with spammers isn’t fair and it’s not something Google can even enforce unless you’re engaging in spammy techniques.
The reason why Google cannot and will not penalize quality guest blogging is because at the end of the day, they truly do encourage the creation and distribution of quality content. It’s what makes the internet, the internet. What they are going to continue to go after is spun content, duplicate content, blasting out emails to webmasters with the same article, posting with webmasters with little to no editorial guidelines or control, keyword-rich anchor text and abnormal link profile consistencies (e.g. too many links from one method).
This recent post by Matt doesn’t change much, because those who are following the simple rules and fundamentals of SEO aren’t going to be impacted by some impending “guest blogging update”. While sometimes it’s to the contrary, I believe Google is much smarter than to attempt to penalize those who are guest blogging, but rather continue to penalize those who use manipulative techniques in their guest blogging as previously mentioned.
Let’s get back to the basics
For starters, taking a step back and considering what Google might consider normal and natural would be helpful. In an industry that is so subjective, that is an incredibly difficult question to answer, but from GuestBlogPoster’s extensive experience in this arena, following these basic rules will pay off:
- - Create 100% unique content that actually has a purpose and point, instead of complete fluff.
- - Include an author bio within the post and connect it to your Google Plus account if you have one.
- - Include your links where it makes sense and flows naturally. If the content you’re writing is relevant, this shouldn’t be a struggle. It also helps to include internal links to the webmaster’s site and other external resources.
- - Only work with one webmaster at a time, don’t blast emails to 10 webmasters in hopes that one will pick it up. If the outreach attempt fails, rework the article and tailor it to a new webmaster.
- - Do not rely on guest blogging as your only link building method. It can still be a healthy amount of your monthly work, but it shouldn’t be exclusively so.
- - With some exceptions, avoid general websites that have every possible industry listed in the navigation.
- - Avoid websites where the other posts are completely unrelated from the topic of the article.
- - Avoid using the same anchor text over and over; keyword-rich or not.
- - Becoming a regular contributor is a good thing, but avoid contributing to too many websites owned by the same person or company.
The real and original purpose of guest blogging is not to trick, manipulate or fool the search engines or webmasters; rather, it’s to provide the internet with intelligent content, while satisfying the end user and to get credit for your helpfulness. That credit can be authorship, general recognition, referral traffic, and yes, even a link.
Also, don’t think that only household name websites are ones that are worthwhile to get published with. Just because a website has low DA or PR, doesn’t make it unnatural or ineffective, it just means it’s a smaller website. Some of the best campaigns we’ve ever run were with the intent on keeping it as natural as possible, instead of some DA or PR goal.
The complexities and techniques that go into effective and honest guest blogging are no different than an SEO strategy in general. To put a blanket-statement over guest blogging as “spammy” is as fair as calling the entire SEO industry spammy. Yes, there are some bad apples in both scenarios, but don’t discount an entire method just because there are some who misuse it with spammy techniques.
Guest blogging will be a powerful tool of obtaining exposure, traffic and links as long as the internet exists. Sure, spammers may be there and annoy webmasters (and apparently Matt), but those who are guest blogging with the true purpose of adding opinion and views to the internet community, it will long live as an effective strategy.
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