Guest posting expose

Andreas Voniatis, 2012-11-15

It’s been fascinating receiving unsolicited requests from link builders that offer guest posts.  The introductory sales patter starts off as follows:

“Over the last year we have been developing a high quality service that is exactly what has been required by search companies globally, High quality, industry specific, In-content links which are from individual site owners and not on a network.”

I love it when someone whom is selling to you decides to introduce their service as high quality.  The fact of the matter is it’s up to the prospective customer to decide what is high quality not the seller.  Okay so basically they’re selling pay per post!  Nothing innovative there.  So what if the site owners are individual  - it just means they have no morals or standards regarding who publishes content on their site and they are happy to have it abused for the a fistful of Euros.

Being on a network makes no difference.  Link building whether we choose to accpt it or not is manipulative to some degree, some more or less than others.  Being on a network makes no difference.  A good private network if it has value over and above SEO is far better any collection of individual promiscuous webmasters.  Public link networks (known as a link farms) simply don’t work like they used to.  Sure they may try to block SEO Moz and other link services but it’s impossible to catch up with the new IP addresses when new robots get released by these new crawling services.

“Whether you use Domain Authority, Moz Rank, AC Rank, Page Rank or even a minimum of linking root domains, just let me know and I can build a service that fits your in-house metrics. “

I very much doubt that as my in house metrics are based around real demographic and psychographic data which are not easily obtained and not always known in the first place.  No metric that’s based on PageRank imitation will ever be good enough. But wait…

“The result of this project has offered my clients a safe way to build links which is not only sustainable but fully Penguin and Panda compliant which is crucial for webmasters globally.”

Oh yes the key buzz words – sustainable! Even better – “fully Penguin and Panda compliant”.  Really?! Fully penguin and Panda compliant link building?????!!!  I cannot believe I read that!  Like red rag to a raging red bull, how could they know what is compliant?  The SEO industry can barely agree on what exactly constitutes Panda and Penguin so to say something is fully compliant with the unknown is amazing and incredible i.e. lacks credibility.  The only way you know something is fully compliant is if the details are explicit and public knowledge of which Panda and Penguin are not and will never be.

- Unique site owners
- Not from a network
- Take 3-6 weeks to acquire
- Limited outbound links per page to maximise link weight
- Unique Class C Ip address
- Different WHOIS details
- English, French, German, Italian & Spanish Available

More like it takes 5 minutes to acquire, you just won’t see the reports until 3 to 6 weeks later.  Unique c blocks are only useful for knowing that the servers are in different data centers, that is it.  I’d be far more sold if the USPs were focused on which people or audiences I’d be reaching, the amount people, the amount of reputable writers already writing, whether the PageRank is rising over time – all of which would indicate the quality of the service and the sites publishing the content.

PR0 -2, PR3-5, PR5+

Oh, I see so you’re selling PageRank!  That doesn’t sound fully compliant does it?

Option: Content Gen & Link placement or Link Placement Only

Just for your info, Content Gen & Link placement is where they write the content and place it for you.  For a fraction of the price cheaper i.e. 10% as that is the value add of their writing team you can write the content and they place it for you which is the Link Placement Only option.  Either way it stinks.  I then expressed my concern about Google addressing the problem of guest posting, here’s what they said:

still the cleanest method of link building. Provided that you are sticking to real sites which are either in the theme of the targeted industry or on a relevant section of the site.

Actually, I don’t think you can claim this is the cleanest method if you’re selling PageRank and using either gullible or greedy webmasters that are easily bought.  Real sites have nothing to do with it – it’s the value of the content of the sites to the users regardless of the theme or the section of that site.  You’ll never see “My Guest Blog” endorsed by Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land which by an SEO I met claimed to be “caning” (UK English slang for totally exploiting without limits) MGB.  Then I was referred to the following video by MC himself:

The most sensible thing written in our conversation.  It was quite contradictory of this company to offer this video considering they are:

Offering bulk discounts – to deliver on discounts based on volume is likely to stretch the quality whether its in the number of words or the way content is rewritten i.e. spun!

Outsourced to non experts – how will the writers they employ have anything original to say with any authority or perspective on the subject matter they are writing on for the client?  The authors are unlikely to be reputable or offer a lot of insight that a site would be happy to have – i.e. no editorial criteria.  Okay so the person may “not be very well known but does write really really well” – this taken to extremes.

Selling by PageRank – I think the offer above does constitute taking things to extreme and not something Google would be happy about – wouldn’t you say?

I asked for client examples so I could gauge the stupidly of brands or organisations that have actually engaged in that. No answer as yet given they are afraid of having the links chatted up on the web.

The above link placement service is hardly guest blogging or blogger outreach done fearlessly.  There is a way of doing link acquisition via blogging which I will cover in another post for another time. One thousand and sixty two words is more than enough.

  • Ash


    Guest Posts are still low hanging fruit that can help with getting better quality backlinks than the normal run of the mill web directories and other crap that are sold to webmasters everyday.

    If we could bring up a list of “quality guidelines” that are curated by experts, we might be able to bring some accountability to the entire guest posting process.

  • alchemyv

    Thanks Ash, I agree they are better than the run of the mill directories and the need for quality guidelines. However, the extent of abuse on guest posting has already caught the attention of Matt Cutts, thus this practice is only likely to be ignored or discounted by Google in future web spam updates. Showing restraint as you suggest means that guest posts or editorial columns done right mean that guest posts can still add value today – just as certain directory listings do also.

  • Andreas Voniatis

    The best one is when an online gaming company contacted a friend of mine whom is a french blogger asking to write about their online gaming client for 60 USD. She was like, what has this got to do with my personal blog. She said she could if they were happy to have the link go through a tracking redirection link – funnily enough the agency didn’t reply.

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