Guest blogging was once considered a widely recommended white hat technique.
Today our monopoly-led marketplace arbitrarily decided this is no longer so.
Stick a fork in it. Torch it. Etc.
Now that rules have changed ex post facto, we can expect to deal with a near endless stream of “unnatural” link penalties for doing what was seen at the time as being:
- low risk
- best practice
Google turns your past client investments into new cost centers & penalties. This ought to be a great thing for the SEO industry. Or maybe not.
As Google scares & expunges smaller players from participating in the SEO market, larger companies keep chugging along.
Today a friend received the following unsolicited email:
Curious about their background, he looked up their past coverage: “Written then offers a number of different content licenses that help the advertiser reach this audience, either by re-branding the existing page, moving the content to the advertiser’s website and re-directing traffic there, or just re-publishing the post on the brand’s blog.”
So that’s basically guest blogging at scale.
And it’s not only guest blogging at scale, but it is guest blogging at scale based on keyword performance:
“You give us your gold keywords. Written finds high-performing, gold content with a built-in, engaged audience. Our various license options can bring the audience to you or your brand to the audience through great content.”
What’s worse is how they pitch this to the people they license content from:
I’m sorry, but taking your most valuable content & turning it into duplicate content by syndicating it onto a fortune 500 website will not increase your traffic. The fortune 500 site will outrank you (especially if visitors/links are 301 redirected to their site!). And when visitors are not redirected, they will still typically outrank you due to their huge domain authority (and the cross-domain rel=canonical tag), leading your content on your site to get filtered out of the search results as duplicate content & your link equity to pass on to the branded advertiser.
And if Google were to come down on anyone in the above sort of situation it would likely be the smaller independent bloggers who get hit.
This is how SEO works.
Smaller independent players innovate & prove the model.
Google punishes them for being innovative.
As they are punished, a vanilla corporate tweak of the same model rolls out and is white hat.
In SEO it’s not what you do that matters – it’s who your client is.
If you’re not working for a big brand, you’re doing it wrong.