OK, guest blogging isn’t totally gone, but it’s gotten to the point where people are simply too scared or confused to do anymore guest posts, or for that matter, build links at all.
I don’t blame anyone for feeling a bit angry about the whole situation. Despite the fact that Matt Cutts has said that it is OK to do guest posts as long as you do it with quality in mind, sites have still been getting penalized.
In my opinion, there is clear favoritism going on. If a big site publishes a guest post, it is OK. But, if a small site publishes a guest post, it’s not? How is this fair? For example, if you look at some of the top SEO publications online, you’ll notice that many of the articles on there are written by guest bloggers. Do you see any of them getting penalized? Nope. But when a smaller site does it, their entire website gets penalized. Doc Sheldon’s site comes to mind: https://searchengineland.com/guest-post-google-penalty-187707
So, what are we to do now? Nofollow every link? Stop building links altogether? These are some of the questions that linger in many people’s minds.
I don’t have all the answers, but here are some suggestions for re-allocating some of your guest blogging time into other areas:
Going forward, you might want to allocate more of your budget to creating content for your site. With Google on the offensive against guest blogging, there are less options for link building. Over the years, Google has become more aggressive against “unnatural” link building techniques, such as link exchanges, web directories, forums, and now guest blogging. Furthermore, webmasters are frantically removing and nofollowing links from their sites despite the fact that some of them are natural. So this means that all those links you have now are at jeopardy if the site owner feels uneasy about keeping those links. If you thought you didn’t have control over 3rd party links before, think of how little control you have now.
So, what’s my point? My point is simple: Create great content and publish it on your own site. At least this way, you own the content and you don’t have to worry about someone removing your post or link.
Can’t Beat Them? Join Them.
Look, I’m just as frustrated by this whole Google thing as you are. I have been working in the SEO industry for over 12 years. Back then, we had a ton of link building arsenal and didn’t have to worry about getting penalized because Google had less spammers to worry about. Like many others, I have a love-hate relationship with Google. I want to say screw them sometimes, but like many others, I come back to Google. The reality is – Google is still the king of search, both in terms of traffic volume and relevancy.
So, what’s my point? The point is: If you can’t beat them, join them. Try an Adwords campaign. If you don’t want to give Google your money, then try out Bing Ads. I’ve used both advertising services for years, and they’re both fairly effective. You might be saying you don’t want to spend money on a PPC campaign… my answer to that would be why not? Would you rather spend $1,000 per month on a yellow page listing that no one uses anymore? Are you going to choose to continue the old traditional marketing techniques that don’t work anymore? There have been many studies that show online marketing is much more effective than traditional offline methods.
If your mind is set on SEO because it provides long-term benefits that PPC doesn’t, my answer to that would be: SEO is unpredictable. Things change quickly in today’s SEO landscape. Google may decide to change the algorithm tomorrow and all that hard work you did would be flushed down the drain. Also, what if the sites linking to you decide to nofollow your links or remove them altogether? All of these things are out of your control. At least with PPC advertising, you have a lot of control.
You might say I am falling into Google’s trap by spending money on Adwords. My response to that would be: Who cares as long as I am making a profit? Better Adwords than some useless ad network. Also, I try to put my eggs in multiple baskets, so I’m not relying on one source for all my traffic.
More Social Media
I shouldn’t be saying this as an SEO professional, but I don’t like social media, and I’m sure a lot of small businesses don’t either. But I’m also a realist, so it would be wrong of me to not at least give credit where credit is due. The reality is social media can help drive targeted traffic to your site. And, unlike SEO, social media is free to use and requires only a few minutes of your day to connect with people.
So, the point is: Allocate more time on social media if you plan on minimizing your SEO link building efforts.
Try Display Advertising
If you haven’t yet, try display banner advertising. The good thing about display banner advertising is that you can pick and choose the site where your ad appears. Also, you have full control over your budget and terms. With banner ads, your goal is to bring in targeted traffic at reasonable prices, so you can make a profit at the end of the day. And, you don’t have to worry about Google penalizing you over a banner ad because the traffic can be easily redirected or nofollowed by the publisher. There are hundreds of ad networks to choose from, but you can also go direct to publisher.
Other Link Building Methods
Link building is not easy anymore. More of your time will have to be spent on research and coming up with creative ways to build links. SEO won’t go away, but you will have to spend quality time on your campaigns to make it work. My friend, Brian Dean, offers some good ideas for link building here: https://backlinko.com/17-untapped-backlink-sources
I guess I have somewhat of a pessimistic view on SEO these days. But quite frankly, I’m getting kind of burned out with all these Google changes and the cat and mouse game. If Google is trying to create confusion for SEOs and site owners, they’ve done a good job of it. It’s hard to say with 100% certainty which links are hurting us, which links are ignored, and which links are helping us.
Got any other thoughts to share on Google’s fight against guest blogging?