I didn’t realize how generally hungry websites and blogs are for high quality content. Writing unique, and hopefully informative and interesting, content, in a few weeks I was able to place blog entries on a couple of dozen different website blogs, each of which provided solid, dofollow backlinks from well ranked and well regarded sites.
I freelance for a couple of guys who partnered up and built themselves a growing and successful full service SEO company. They recently brought in a third partner, an MBA with a marketing background, to help them build and promote their own brand. Flush with clients, they had nonetheless neglected their own ‘brand.’ While their clients’ keywords garnered top rankings on Google, their own website was – for all intents and purposes – largely ‘invisible’ to Google for their relevant keywords.
As part of their online marketing campaign to raise their brand awareness and boost their website’s visibility and page ranking, they asked me if I was interested in guest blogging and suggested I check out the opportunities available online, suggesting I start with MyBlogGuest.com. This part of their online marketing effort was, of course, sparked by the increasing weight Google is giving to ‘organic’ backlinks from arm’s length blogs and social media users in their natural search results.
As industry insiders have repeatedly noted, link building campaigns that generate backlinks from so-called “link farms” and dubious directories no longer produce much juice for search engines, and may, in fact, diminish a site’s rankings. My guys are strictly “white hat” ethical SEO pros. They don’t employ such grey area strategies for their clients, and they weren’t prepared to do so for themselves. They know that, even in the best case, such a ‘non-organic’ link building campaign will only provide short-term results. In the worst case, the result can be disastrous: banishment to the Internet wilderness by Google for breaching their terms and conditions of use.
As Barry Schwartz, of Search Engine Roundtable recently noted: “Google has gone on record time and time again that link schemes with the intent of manipulating Google's search results is against their terms of service and will thus take action against web sites both algorithmically and manually.”
Google may not make your site, figuratively, the online equivalent of a TV test pattern, but an algorithmic penalty for questionable linking may propel your site to the ‘never-viewed netherlands’ of Google’s search rankings. Recovery from such ‘cyber-exile’ will be both challenging and resource intensive in terms of the time and effort that will need to be devoted to fixing such a linking disaster.
Worse still, you may not realize you are on a one-way street to digital irrelevance until the damage has already been done. Schwartz cites a thread by Googler Wysz on Google’s Webmaster Help forum, that highlights how subtly pernicious the search engine giant’s response can be for utilizing even a ‘Grey Hat’ linking scheme.
Googler Wysz warns those who might be tempted to take link building liberties and shortcuts that, “even if we have taken such action on a site to address bad linking, it doesn't always mean that you'll see the results of it in such an obvious way like a site being completely obliterated from the index and not showing up for site queries. That being said, we can take pretty strong steps to preserve the quality of our results, and link schemes are one of the toughest violations for a webmaster to recover from.”
At first, I was skeptical as to how effective a guest blogging/social media strategy might be. I didn’t realize how generally hungry websites and blogs are for high quality content. Writing unique, and hopefully informative and interesting, content, in a few weeks I was able to place blog entries on a couple of dozen different website blogs, each of which provided solid, dofollow backlinks from well ranked and well regarded sites.
I think I’ve been fortunate, in that my bosses have given me free rein in terms of what I choose to write about, the length of my blog entries and the time I spend writing and following up on my guest posts. They realize, I think, the effectiveness of producing quality in-house content, even if it is eventually destined for another website, even a competitive website.
Of course, it is possible to purchase much less expensive content off-shore, but a lot of such content is either poorly disguised replicate copy or so badly written that it makes the reader cringe. Ultimately, all good copy is written for a human audience and not a search engine‘ bot. And, in terms of generating juice from a web that is rapidly becoming dominated by the networks generated by social media sites, if your content is going to generate buzz it will be buzz generated by social media users who have been alerted by others to the material you write.
I don’t do search engine analytics – that, thankfully, is my bosses’ purview – but even I can see a correlation between the articles that we’ve been able to post in the blogosphere and my bosses’ long neglected site. Moreover, they assure me that the results of guest blogging will have a long tail, and will continue generating search engine interest for a long while yet.