ZzzZZzz… while dreaming of the rank, my pineal gland pranked:
Hey, you wake up! Google has a surprise for you.
You know it’s not a fun morning if you get up from your bed with a call from your industry fellow, panicked about the latest article on Search Engine Journal about Google’s penalties on Guest Post articles.
Instead of bed-tea, I got the news of a bad penalty.
So basically, it’s an outbound link penalty. If you are a website that allows others to write a guest post on your website, you might be aware that Google is hunting you!
In my personal opinion, Guest Posts are not bad; in fact, allowing others to write on your website is not bad either.
I mean, I have seen websites like Sitepoint, Business.com, Moz, Hubspot, and few others (credible names) still allowing guest posts here and there on the website, and that let their content to be more diversified and more likable to the broader audience.
As a site owner, mistakes that most bloggers make is not having a proper criterion in place. If you are allowing every Tom, Dick, and Harry to write on your website, then this is bound to happen. Google will find you, and it will kill you!
My advice: Have a content calendar, update your content game, and only allow quality content to be published on your website. Also, when it comes to linking out to others’ websites, make sure they are as natural as possible, and actually helping the audience else before Google, you are pissing your audience off. Think about it!
Should I do Guest Post to acquire links?
Yes and No!
If you are relying too much on Guest Post as a way to build links pointing back to the site, trust me, you should avoid that as relying too much on one technique is not a good idea.
It’s best to diversify!
When we take on SEO clients, we make sure that we diversify their link profile as much as possible.
If someone is only using our link building services, we still explain them why it’s important not to rely on our service only and do try to get quality links regularly using different tactics that include links from suppliers and manufacturers, business citation websites, niche-specific credible directories, natural links to different areas of the website and more.
Ideally, I always suggest thinking like a human before you get a link from the website. Is it natural if you have a regular service page on your website and 300 different websites link to you with exact and partial page anchor text?
My answer: No! It’s not natural for 300 different URLs to link back to me on my service page. This might be possible if I have a very creative blog post or a post on a hot topic, but on a service page, it makes less sense.
Think before you place a link; if the answer is, “it doesn’t look natural,” Don’t!”
When we take on SEO clients, here is how we take care of the link building section:
This is the number one thing. We recently onboarded a client, and when we looked into their link profile, we found out that 65% to 70% of their links are coming from Guest Post. The good part is that they all were coming from different authors (some of them were credible), and anchor text cloud looks intensely brand focused (relief).
Because 95% of their anchor cloud was branded so we thought it would be ideal to do some exact and partial match anchor text and we did that using techniques like honest product reviews from customers, got some testimonial links, create some new long-form content and get some links to those content as well.
- I will not drag it and will come straight to the point, here is I think the right percentage of that is safe and that works!
- 65% to 70% = Branded Anchors
- 15% to 20% = Naked Link Anchors
- 5% = Generic Anchors
- Less than 5% = Partial Match Anchors
- Between1% to 2% = Exact Match Anchors
Again, I would suggest not to strictly follow the rule but try to go in the field and if you think that generic or particle match anchor text is making more sense, go for it. If you are using location-based anchor text, make sure that they are going to help the audience.
Remember, the goal is to please your customers and then search engine, so always think about that before you decide which anchor to go with.
Megan Marrs wrote a great article on a do-follow vs. NO-follow link, and I certainly agree with that.
There should be a healthy balance between no-follow and do-follow links in your link profile. If you are getting a no-follow link, this might not be a link that helps SEO, but if it is the link that can derive valuable traffic, by all means, go for that. If it’s a do-follow link from a website within your niche, go for it too!
You just cannot ignore a link just because it will, or it will not derive SEO benefits. Instead, think about from the audience perspective and see if the link will provide value, go for it regardless or no-follow, or a do-follow link pointing back to the site.
I would still look into consideration that there shouldn’t be too many do-follow or no-follow links in your link profile. As discussed earlier, a healthy balance is great; anything excessive is toxic.
It’s not just Guest Post, but excessive use of anyone technique to acquire links will hurt. I would say go with the mix of business citation links (yelp, yellow pages, super pages and more), niche related credible links (BBB, Chamber of Commerce, BOTW and more), broken link building, List articles, Interview links, testimonial links, EDU links, Case Studies links, Ever Green content, links from eBook, whitepapers and more.
As discussed above, try to diversify links and work towards making your link profile look as natural as possible.
Up your Internal link game! Instead of linking all your internal links to contact us and home page, try to go deeper and link to what makes sense. Link to other blog posts within your blog, different service pages, ebooks, whitepapers, and more.
I have seen websites that are using no-follow links to different pages within their website. Avoid that! DO NOT no-follow any internal link.
Lastly, try to link as naturally as possible. Think from the reader’s perspective and link accordingly. If the link is providing any additional benefits, go ahead and add a link.
Don’t try to look natural. Act Natural!
Link Building is here to stay, and links are still the top 3 ranking factors. You cannot live without them, but Google is trying to find ways to understand websites and content better, so continue to do link building from the user’s perspective, and you will be safe in 202 and beyond.