In this post, I want to respond in a little more detail to a comment left by Philip to my Gravity Forms Alternative post.
Thanks for your comment Philip, and my post here is is no way attacking you, it is just putting my own thoughts on paper so others can decide for themselves.
OK, so the question is, should we be using Guest posts primarily for backlinks. I say No!
I believe that if backlinks is your main goal from guest posting, you are setting yourself up to get slapped by Google. Why would I say that? Well, firstly because it makes sense that it should be that way, simply because of what is stated in the Webmaster Guidelines that Google give us. Pay particular attention to the section on link schemes. The clues are there. Here are a couple of screenshots from that page which should start to get the guest posting alarm bells ringing:
This is considered a link scheme (punishable by a slap):
OK, but you only want to post a few, so it’s not large-scale, so it won’t affect you, right? Wrong. Check out the first paragraph on the link schemes page:
So ANY link you build to your site can be considered part of a link scheme if it is there solely for SEO purposes.
To drive the point home further, Google say:
So, basically that is any link you create to your own pages. You create and control a link to your site, it’s unnatural and could cause you problems down the track.
Now, at this point, I am going to get the following comments:
If I cannot build links, how can I get my page to rank?
How cares what Google say, I’ll do what I want with my own site.
Google are fine ones to talk about XYZ, they are lying, cheating ***********
.. and so on..
They are all common emails and comments I receive any time I tell people not to build lots of links. However, if you want to stay within the rules Google have laid down, you should NOT be building links to your site for SEO purposes. Links should be something that are naturally acquired, when your content is deemed so good that others will link to it naturally. Yeh, right…. As if that will happen. Well, actually it will if your content is really good and people want to share it, but that’s for another post.
Let’s turn out attention back to guest posting, and see why this is not all doom and gloom.
Let’s see what Matt Cutts (of Google) tells us about guest posting in particular.
Here are some quotes from his post on guest blogging.
Here is a great point, and one I want to explore further:
Linking to other sites has always been about vouching for another site. That means, if you link to a site, you are telling to your visitor, that they should go to that site for some reason. If that site is really bad, what does that say about you, and your site? Well, it tells Google that you are happy to associate yourself with poor sites, and that isn’t something that will help your rankings.
Now, what if you were writing an article on software piracy, and you wanted to link out to sites that showed some examples of piracy in action? Those sites will usually be low quality sites. Aren’t you risking problems with Google? Well, that is partly why Google introduced the nofollow tag. If you want to link to a site, without telling Google you vouch for it, then use the nofollow tag. This will allow you to link to a site, but at the same time, tell Google, “I’m not saying I want to be associated with this site”.
Let’s have a think about sites that accept guest posts for a minute. What would they typically be like?
Well, any site that accepts guest posts and offers dofollow links will probably be low quality.
Well simply because they are vouching for hundreds or thousands of sites they have no control over. A guest poster might include a link in their article, then switch it out once it has been approved so that the link redirects to a porn site. It happens, and happens a lot. Eventually, Google will say “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done;” (that’s another quote from Matt Cutts). The guest blogging site will be penalized for being low quality and essentially for offering links for Page Rank (as in you give you me your content for free, I’ll give you a dofollow link to add to your PageRank).
If you read the quotes from Matt Cutts above, you’ll remember this:
“Moreover, we’ve been seeing more and more reports of “guest blogging” that are really “paying for PageRank”
That is essentially what you are doing when you exchange your content for dofollow links on MOST blogs.
Any quality site that wants to accept guest posts, must nofollow the links in the guest posts. Related to this, you must also NOT accept guest posts that include keyword rich anchor text links in the body of the article. All links in an article must look natural, and keyword rich links like this:
.. are pure spam.
If you have a guest blogging site, and accept spam like that, you deserve a Google slap. If you haven’t already got it, you will.
This is the reason why so many quality sites that accept user-submitted content do not give links back to websites, disallow keyword rich anchor-text in the body of the article, and links they do allow (e.g. in author resource box) are nofollowed. It’s to protect themselves from a Google slap.
If you are guest posting and you put your content onto sites that allow this type of spammy linking (dofollow and/or keyword rich anchor text), they you are going to get YOUR SITE into trouble, eventually.
Think about it.
Those guest blogs are slapped by Google and marked as spam. Your links on that site have just become toxic, and now start contributing to your own perilous position at the top of spam mountain, just waiting for one more link to tip the balance, sending you down into the icy cold crevasse below.
So, it’s all doom and gloom with guest posting then?
Well, actually no. As Matt Cutts puts it:
Why I guest post
It’s simple. If I can get my content onto top quality websites, with a simple link back to my site (yes, even a nofollow link), then I can build my authority in that niche. I can leverage the traffic from that site, sending people to my site, assuming they like my content and want to find out more about me.
In addition, if I can connect my guest posts to my Google Plus account, I can claim authorship of that content so that MY picture shows up in the Google search results next to the listing. Google will get feedback on the content they know I own (with social activity on my guest posts), and if that content get’s a lot of attention, my “author rank” will improve. As it improves, any content I write is trusted more by Google, and will rank higher out of the gate. That means all content on all of my sites begin to have an advantage in the SERPs.
Now, none of this happens over night, and it shouldn’t. Authority is built up over time, and you do need patience. Of course, you can turn your back on what Google wants, and do your own thing. Just be prepared to constantly create new sites to replaced the ones that were slapped.
With all backlinking in 2014, do what you would do if Google did not exist. Post great content on other sites, but do it to increase your authority & exposure, bring traffic to your site from those other sites, and help people.
If you have any comments, or want to give your opinions, please leave a comment below. Thank you.