(Ping! Zine Issue 70) – For over a decade now a lot of SEO’s have been using the tactic of guest posting in order to acquire a backlink from a site. For years and years it worked great for search engine rankings. But lately there has been a lot of debate on whether or not you should still guest post in order to improve your search engine rankings. Matt Cutts announced on his blog on January 20, 2014, that guest posting is officially dead. In this article I am going to talk about why it has gotten so toxic over the years and why you might want to reconsider doing it.
For over a decade now a lot of SEO’s have been using the tactic of guest posting in order to acquire a backlink from a site. For years and years it worked great for search engine rankings. But lately there has been a lot of debate on whether or not you should still guest post in order to improve your search engine rankings. Matt Cutts announced on his blog on January 20, 2014, that guest posting is officially dead. In this article I am going to talk about why it has gotten so toxic over the years and why you might want to reconsider doing it. >>>
Hiring A SEO
If you’re looking to hire a seo company you want to ask them one key question which can really save you a lot of headaches later on down the road. Simply ask them what tactics they use to build links. If they tell you they are going to focus on guest posting to build links you might want to reconsider. Chances are I have pretty much pegged their tactics in this article which will show you why you want to avoid them altogether.
Identifying Spammy Guest Posting
So here is an example email you might see in your inbox:
My name is [NAME HERE] and I work as a full time writer for a respectable marketing firm. I live [halfway around the world]. I am looking to write on your blog because I found it so fascinating. I have written lots of 100% unique content over they years and would like to write on [TOPIC HERE].
Obviously, this is spam and you can bet that email was sent out to you and hundreds of thousands of other people. Why? Because chances are they work for a SEO company and are trying to build backlinks to their clients site. Nowhere do they mention your name, site, or anything that acknowledges that they have even visited your website. Bare in mind, some people will make it look like they actively read your content and make it sound a little more believable. But in reality, they just want a backlink from your website.
Next, the email will typically have a request that you include a dofollow link to their website. They will either want a link in the author bio or the body of the article. Sometimes both. This is a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines. A lot of times they will offer you a small price to publish their article, which is essentially a paid link in Google’s eyes. Chances are if you accept them to write for you, they will never follow up on the content they have written on your site. Think of it this way, their client paid them to build links to their site so their job with you is complete, and they must move onto the next client that is paying for their service.
Why Guest Posting Got Dirty
So why has it gotten so bad over the years? When guest posting was introduced years ago, it was done to write highly valuable content for sites and also build a juicy backlink to a site. Boy have times changed! Over the years, people have used it for the sole purpose of obtaining a backlink. What do I mean? I’m not going to name any names, but buffer sites were setup in order to connect writers with blog owners. It’s really gotten to the point where it’s a spam haven for novice SEO’s that just want to make a bunch of low value articles and blast them out to tons and tons of sites.
When guest posting actually carried weight it wasn’t a spam haven. Meaning, people didn’t try to pass off 400 word articles as guest post with little to zero value at all. Why did it get to this point in the first place? To be honest with you, Penguin and Panda has pretty much axed a lot of sites. Novice SEO’s were scrambling for another “link building” tactic that could help build authority links for the Penguin victim sites. They need to build lots of backlinks in order to dilute the dreaded “exact anchor text” penalty.
The perfect solution was guest posting. When they worked with large guest posting buffer sites, or sent out hundreds or thousands of emails to people, they could easily built a lot of backlinks quickly. There were so many niche sites that offered this service and they made a lot of good money doing it for years. Chances are that since the entire industry has gotten so dirty, these niche sites will begin to quickly decline in 2014 and 2015.
Should You stop completely
This is actually kind of a hard question to answer. Why? Because, if you’re guest posting for the sole purpose of just getting a dofollow backlink then you should probably avoid doing it altogether. But, what if you’re the 10% that actually understand your building a brand online and don’t care so much about just getting a dofollow backlink? If that is the case make sure you “nofollow” the backlink pointing to your site and write some killer content for the webmasters.
I would only focus on the super authority sites like Mashable, TechCrunch, Forbs, etc. Nothing on a blog that doesn’t get a substantial amount of traffic. If you fail to focus on authority then you will find yourself learning all about the Google disavow tool in order to get your site out of the doghouse.
Matt Cutts has officially announced that guest posting is dead. To many novice SEOs ran this tactic into the ground, and as a result, Google was forced to take action against people that were abusing it. If you were using guest posting in 2013, you might want to switch up your tactics before it becomes toxic for your website. There are plenty of better whitehat ways to increase your rankings on Google. Focus on content marketing, building relationships, and participating on social media. Your website will slowly, but surely climb up the ranks on Google.