Google updated its link schemes page. So, naturally, the internet started running around like its head was cut-off yelling, “The sky is falling!” Let me tell you, fellow SEOers, as confirmed by more powerful and insightful minds than mine, the sky is not falling. Guest posting is not dead; it lives on through link builders.
The main contention in the link schemes update for guest posting is, “Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.” And another concern: over-optimized anchor text, more on that later.
Uh-oh, that certainly does sound bad for guest posters. I think the main phrase to focus on is “Large-scale.” How large is “large-scale”? Is 10 articles a large campaign? Or is 1,000? By qualifying their statement with “Large-scale,” Google has left room for guest posting to exist, as long as it is done the right way.
As a writer for a link building firm, guest posting is my bread and butter. Certainly, the best practices for guest posting have changed to ensure the user friendliness with the update to the link schemes, but it has really only verified what we already know and practice: keep the user in mind and produce quality content.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, has stated that guest posting is an okay activity: “if you get a really high quality blogger.” A low-quality blogger, he says, will acquire links through guest posts that are on sites that accept any guest post without editorial control, link to poor quality or spammy sites (i.e. bad link neighborhoods), or pitch unoriginal or spun articles.
We all know that there are huge SEO companies here and overseas that send out thousands of spun, or poorly written articles that get accepted on low-quality sites. This is the kind of large-scale guest posting campaign Google is warning against. So, all of you link builders out there that are worried about your job security, wipe that nervous sweat off your brow.
Being a link builder is what keeps you safe. You are the high-quality blogger that Matt Cutts is referring to. Link building refers to handmade links. When acquiring links through guest posting, every single aspect of the campaign should be done by hand. That means handwritten emails, original content written by you, and helpful links on relevant sites to relevant sites.
For instance, I would not try to post this article, even though (I think) it’s well written, on a crafting or travel blog; it would not be relevant or helpful to the reader. This article is on a tech site with an SEO section. Perfect. There’s a link to Page One Power, the link building firm I work for. This article is about link building, so the link to Page One Power is relevant and helpful to the reader.
Google also mentions in the link schemes update that “links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other” are unnatural links and would qualify as a link scheme. Google gives this as an example of over-optimization: “There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.”
That sentence is obviously over-optimized and not helpful to the reader. One link to a site for wedding supplies when talking about wedding supplies is helpful. That sentence, though, is not attempting to help the reader; it’s attempting to get five link votes for the search results.
Guest posting campaigns that contain high-quality articles posted to relevant sites with relevant links will not be penalized by Google. So, in short, guest posting is not dead. Google is just separating the chaff from the wheat to ensure its users are getting the best experience possible when searching the web.
Gabriel Stephens works for Page One Power in Boise, Idaho. He is currently reading The Shining in anticipation of King's new novel, Doctor Sleep. In consequence, he has lost a lot of sleep.