SEO

5 Reasons Why Link Building through Guest Posts is Bad Strategy

Guest posts are a popular way many SEOs build ‘valuable’ links to their website. But this strategy may not be as valuable as you think.

Since Google is such a logical monster, those links you’re building might not be as valuable as you think for the following reasons:

  1. Expertise vs. True Relevance – those links prove that you have thought leadership in your realm of expertise, but they do not prove that your website is relevant for certain search terms and deserves to rank higher in the SERPs because the links aren’t always from a strict editorial about you or a highly relevant mention
  2. Website Semantic Irrelevance – the guest posts are not always on domains that are relevant to what your website is all about (i.e. im posting on an SEO website, when my company makes custom men’s dress shirts)
  3. Page Semantic Irrelevance – the keywords within the guest post are not always optimized for keywords you want to rank on, so that random backlink with optimized anchor text isn’t as powerful as it can be
  4. It’s a Cheap Tactic – with good copy, and decent knowledge of a certain space, it’s not hard to guest post anywhere. Google may see this as a cheap tactic because of how easy it is for an SEO to guest post on a high-PR blog without that post being an unbiased editorial or mention of your company
  5. Duplicate Content Complications – the byline with your self-serving links might be seen as ‘duplicate content’ (if you copy and paste your signatures for guest posts) that was plugged into all these other websites, therefore devaluing the links’ power. But this can be easily resolved by creating a unique byline each time which takes little to no effort.

Now, I’m not saying that backlinks through guest posting are worthless. In fact, I love using guest posting as an SEO tactic. I’m even doing it for this post. But I just wanted generate a conversation about SEO weight for guest post backlinks. Not all links are equal, and guest post backlinks aren’t always going to hold a lot of weight.

Any thoughts on this? I’m up for a good dialogue.

P.S. I admit that the backlinks to my websites are semantically irrelevant, but I still use this as part of my link building strategy because Google will definitely let me have some link-juice.

This post was written by Danny Wong the Lead Evangelist for Blank Label, a provider of custom dress shirts consumers design with Blank Label’s virtual dress shirt design app.

 

 

 

19b0756 5 Reasons Why Link Building through Guest Posts is Bad Strategy

Danny Wong

Marketing Manager at Shareaholic
Danny Wong is the co-founder of @BlankLabel, does marketing @Shareaholic, and writes whenever he feels like it.
19b0756 5 Reasons Why Link Building through Guest Posts is Bad Strategy

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21 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why Link Building through Guest Posts is Bad Strategy

  1. Danny,

    I see what you mean about the disadvantages using comments/link backs as an SEO strategy, I’d like to add that you’d probably have to comment on more than a dozen (relevant/keyword rich/highly ranked) posts everyday for it to begin to work anyway.

    That being said, I like to think of it more as a small interaction between idea sharers (or idea disagree-ers depending). Something that as Colbert stated in a recent episode “I’m here, I exist, I matter.”

    Maddie
    @maddieweber

  2. This post should be rewritten as “Five Possible Mistakes You Can Make Writing Guest Posts.” Take point one: if you wrote the post, it’s your job to make it relevant. Point two: if you sell men’s shirts, don’t guest blog on SEO sites; guest-blog on fashion sites. Point three is point one. Point four doesn’t seem to be true; I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, Google weights link value on a given blog by checking the author name, but that is a hard problem to solve right now. Point Five seems to be a warning that if you duplicate content, it will be duplicate content. So don’t.

  3. Hi Maddie,
    That’s a great point that there is weight in the fact that you have higher visibility in cyberspace which certainly proves you’re worthy because you’re taking all this time to make a contribution to the web community.

    Byrne,
    Great reply. You’re right that the title should have been worded differently, and I appreciate your retorts to each of my points. I didn’t know that the author’s name had weight for the link power. That’s very interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Cheers,
    Danny

  4. I’m with Byrne on this one. Your post is really just an outline of some bad decisions you can make in the realm of guest posting and has little to do with the value of the practice itself.

    If you’re approaching it with anything approximating a good plan, I can’t imagine running into any of those problems. It’s sort of like writing “Five Reasons Why Driving a Car is a Bad Strategy” and then writing (1) You could wreck if you aren’t paying attention, (2) You could run out of gas in the middle of nowhere if you forgot to put gas in the tank, etc.

  5. OMG byrne, thank you! I saw this title, started reading and thought wtf. This is certainly more along the lines of “mistakes” as opposed to the misleading title of “Guest Posting is a bad strategy”. Ultimately, its a common sense thing.

  6. Poorly written article with silly advice. If you are guest blogging about clothing in an SEO blog then you and the blog owner are none-to-bright.

  7. @Carson and @lisa – Thanks for the comments, and perhaps Ann or I might post a response post with those things in mind.

    @sleepy – I would have appreciated more constructive criticism, but my fairest reply is that these certainly are ‘problems’ in link building strategy. But I am not guest blogging about clothing in an SEO blog. I manage a clothing company, but this post is still focused on SEO strategy. The fact that my links are clothing company related is purely for Spiders, but my links mean that I am showing a more horizontal (irrelevant, yes) presence in cyberspace which should add to my business’ overall authority.

  8. What’s funny is at Search Engine Journal I’m getting guest blogging emails all the time from people who have absolutely nothing to do with SEO. Hit the nail on the head Tony, love the sarcastic title :)

  9. I think there are some benefits in links from seemingly irrelevant sites, provided the topic of the guest post somehow “links” the two. For instance, if I ran a food blog and wanted to guest blog about the similarities between baking a cake and building a website, I think it’s quite likely I could generate a post that interested a web design blogger with good links back to my site.

    Too often, SEO’s over-evaluate links – they’re not *just* a math equation, they’re marketing tools too. I’ll gladly take a link from a seemingly irrelevant website as long as a) it’s a quality site and b) I can write the post in such a way as to demonstrate relevance to the blog’s audience.

    Also, in regards to the topic of the post, I agree with others that the title is a little misleading. However, if you want to talk about “guest blog post strategy mistakes,” I think it’s important to recognize most blog posts are devalued over time, so guest blogging can only be a part of a larger long-term strategy.

  10. While I agree that guest posting shouldn’t be used only for link building purposes I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with most of your points here. I’ll just explain on a couple.

    # Website Semantic Irrelevance – the guest posts are not always on domains that are relevant to what your website is all about (i.e. im posting on an SEO website, when my company makes custom men’s dress shirts)

    Why the hell would you be posting on an SEO website if your company makes men’s dress shirts? Does anyone really do this?

    That would be an example of irrelevance but I don’t think many intelligent bloggers would do this.

    # It’s a Cheap Tactic – with good copy, and decent knowledge of a certain space, it’s not hard to guest post anywhere. Google may see this as a cheap tactic because of how easy it is for an SEO to guest post on a high-PR blog without that post being an unbiased editorial or mention of your company

    I have to disagree 100% here. If a bloggers takes the time to write a quality piece of original content that is useful and relevant, that is hardly considered a cheap tactic and I doubt Google view this as a cheap tactic either.

    # Duplicate Content Complications – the byline with your self-serving links might be seen as ‘duplicate content’ (if you copy and paste your signatures for guest posts) that was plugged into all these other websites, therefore devaluing the links’ power. But this can be easily resolved by creating a unique byline each time which takes little to no effor

    This is a far shot. There is such a thing as duplicate content filter but there is no evidence I have ever seen that the same or similar byline takes away from the effectiveness of the link juice.

    1. Gerald,

      Links from high-PR websites, regardless of relevance add SEO power to your website.

      Consider the logic this way…. the President recommends you purchase Steaks from the Butcher on Lexington St. You, and whoever else received the message would take that as a positive referral. Obama isn’t a Steak expert (well, maybe he is, but let’s say he wasn’t), but because he’s an ‘authority’ figure you’d be more trusting of the Butcher on Lexington.

      Same case here. SEJ is an authority in cyberspace, specifically in SEO, but because SEJ is an authority, the link I receive from SEJ is like a positive referral to Blank Label (in the eyes of Google), even though we’re in separate areas in cyberspace.

      I mean, wouldn’t you love to have a backlink from a PR9 website, even if it’s content was about diapers? I’m fairly confident that you’d be more than ecstatic to have a website of that caliber linking to you, and that Google would see that as a positive ‘vote.’

      I meant to write this post to stir up more critical thinking on the logic behind Google’s Search algo. While my points might not have the strongest arguments, they are a starter for deeper conversation.

      Cheers,
      Danny

      1. You are now contradicting yourself. Your point in the post was that guest blogging is not an effective link building strategy if the host site is an SEO blog written by a blogger that sells T shirts. Now you are saying it’s an effective strategy.

        Not trying to bust your balls or anything but you should have thought that one through a bit more.

        Let me just say you would never catch me guest posting on a blog about men’s fashion. Being as I’m an SEO. ;-) It just doesn’t make sense.

  11. Oh I get it now!

    #2 you were talking about yourself. LOL

    the guest posts are not always on domains that are relevant to what your website is all about (i.e. im posting on an SEO website, when my company makes custom men’s dress shirts)

    This post was written by Danny Wong the Lead Evangelist for Blank Label, a provider of custom dress shirts consumers design with Blank Label’s virtual dress shirt design app.

  12. I enjoyed the article – catchy title, and then I kept reading to the end and had to laugh at the humor.
    And Danny did succeed in creating some dialogue in the comments.
    It’s all in what you take away from the experience.
    I feel like I want to buy a new shirt. :)

  13. I chuckled when I read your post. It’s interesting when the comments are as compelling as the post. I think your critics are being just a little too hard on you. You’ve made some good points here, and deserve praise, not braze. So there snarky commenters.

  14. In my view the 5 listed points are algo chasing nonsense. I disagree that the those points would hurt a guest post on a decently ranked blog page, even a so-called semantically irrelevant post.

    If a page rank 6 technology blog has a post about mens’ dress shirts (and a clean link out to the shirt guy) are you telling me the engines are going to penalize the link? I don’t buy it. That would contradict the whole premise of page rank, which is Google’s determination of the value (and implicit trust) of the host blog page.

    A straight link out of a highly rank page gets juice. A link from a lowly page doesn’t matter. The rest is just arrhythmic long tail.

  15. u have no freaking clue what you're talking about. Do some SEO before writing about SEO.

  16. u have no freaking clue what you're talking about. Do some SEO before writing about SEO.