link building

The Decay and Fall Of Guest Blogging… Because Matt Said So.

Case Study: In a blog post on his ‘personal’ website, Google’s head of the webspam team, Matt Cutts, announced that guest blogging was over. Dead in the water. The post from January (2014) was in response to several spam blog posts and thousands of low-quality guest blogging websites. Matt, himself, referenced an email he had recently received—unsolicited, from someone wanting to guest post on his blog in exchange for one link in the article. This type of activity isn’t new and has always been a violation of Google’s Quality Guidelines, because it isn’t quality (duh). Guest posting isn’t dead and it is still acceptable when done with clear connections. What does that mean? In search positioning, namely the 200+ factors used by Google’s ranking algorithm, social and authenticity are incorporated. When a guest post is published on a blog or website, there should be clear connections between the guest, the article, the website, and the hosting site’s owner or team. When these signals do not exist, users and search engines can assume that the post was generated for rank manipulation or the post was paid for; both of which violate guidelines of the major search engines. What sparked this latest guest blogging conversation? This did: Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging: — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 19, 2014 In that announcement, Matt links to his January post. Over the course of the day, several guest blog websites and networks evaluated their index status. The sad winner here is believed to be, a guest blog network utilized by many in the SEO community to share updates, techniques and news. I say believed because no response has been given by Google as to the target. The principle of MyBlogGuest, Ann Smarty, offered this tweet and response while at PubCon New Orleans (c/o Search Engine Journal): [Official] Even though #myblogguest has been against paying for links (unlike other platforms), @mattcutts team decided to penalize us… — Ann Smarty (@seosmarty) March 19, 2014 Yes, we realize and recognize the problem of many people abusing our community. We have invested lots of effort in educating our community members on how to do guest blogging right. We have been fighting paid links, duplicate content issues, link farms, etc for years. We have had some awesome success stories from our members and we have always believed in adding value to the web. Have we deserved the “hit” (now I know what that means lol!)? I’ll let the community decide. So far we’ve had some amazing support from the community which I could not be more thankful for! The reality is, Matt Cutts is using us for the PR game: To get more people scared. We are the hugest guest blogging brand out there: He could not have got more publicity by hitting anyone else. The future? I’ll be honest. I am not sure yet. I am a human being and as much as I believe in doing the “right thing”, I am getting tired of all that publicity. We’ll re-brand out of “guest blogging” niche in the near future (we’ve been working on more functionality for a few months now and we have lots of features allowing to connect to influencers already in place now). We’ll keep supporting and helping our community members and advocates as much as we can. We have some great technology and we’ve build the most awesome team in the world. I’ll fight for them and you’ll hear more from us in the near future! The...

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Link Building in a New (More Social) Year

Link building has it’s ups and downs in terms of the attitude towards it. Customers often believe it is equal to content in it’s importance and should therefore be the focus of all SEO work because SEOs don’t know content (yea, right). While some SEOs see it as a necessary evil and an even bigger pain in the rear than keyword research. Last year saw a lot of changes with the updates Search Plus Your World (SPYW, nice acronym Google…), Penguin, and EMD. As a result, the link landscape changed dramatically. Throughout the year many sites were made aware of issues with “unnatural” links being detected by Google, accusations and penalties for buying links, and even the annihilation of entire business models because of algorithm changes. 2012 in review: Above The Fold update was released to reduce the value of sites with too many ads or non topic links above the fold as determined by the display area of the page in a browser window. During the year, Google updates the change known as Panda, frequently. The updates are meant to ‘clean up’ the SERPs. The focus of the updates are to reduce the number of spammy, useless listings showing organically. It is also believed that the algo change “leveled the playing field” per a comment made by Matt Cutts during a SMX conference. From research it is believed that Panda leveled the field by devaluing site’s that were considered to be ‘over optimized.’ In April, Google releases Penguin which devalued all sites using clear ‘black hat’ tactics. Black hat tactics as defined by Google’s Quality & Webmaster Guidelines. JC Penney is ‘outed’ by the New York Times in the article, The Dirty Little Secrets of Search, for buying links which violates Google’s Quality Guidelines. Subsequently, JC Penney falls of the SERPs for a few keywords. During a season of outing and focus on paid links, the interactive marketing agency iAquire was allegedly banned by Google for buying links for its clients. According to an article in Search Engine Journal, this was one of the first times that an agency’s website was penalized for it’s work on other websites. (BMR) is devastated when Google devalues blog networks and link wheels in March. They close their doors with a very sad, “It’s been a good run” blog post. (Note* The service and name has been changed/linked to a new service call HP Backlinks) With all of the turmoil of 2012, it can be kind of scary facing the world of 2013 with a feeling of hope and expectancy when it comes to links. The biggest thing to remember is that links should come naturally and the term link building doesn’t necessarily mean physically building links. What?! But Chris, then what is link building!? I can hear you say. What Is Link Building (in 2013 Terms)? The consensus of what the term ‘link building‘ means is: a method for garnering the attention of users with web assets, Internet locations and properties that results in the placement of an embedded link from said property to the desired property. It is probably best to define what it is not (at least, what it shouldn’t be) in 2013. Link building is not spam. And this means email spam, forum spam, spam-spam, and social spam. Link building is not some dark secret niche of SEO that takes years to master. It is a means to an end; in which users ultimately find what they’re looking for, clients obtain valuable recognition for quality content, and the search engines obtain more data that can help them...

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Link Outreach Revisited – c/o Portent

In a post by Nick Bernard with Portent, he offers some great instructions on how he does outreach. The post also offers this great walk through of an email template along with key tips.

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