Guest Posting and Link Building: My Warning

Warnings of who is asking to guest post

On Thursday 25th May 2017 Matt G Southern a well-known and respected writer at the Search Engine Journal published the article “Google Issues a Warning About Guest Posting to Build Links“.

I began to read the article hoping that an issue that happened to me recently would be mentioned, but it wasn’t.  This article is also a warning, but of a different kind when accepting guests posts onto your website for the purpose of forming genuine, respectful links.

However, as already stated in the published post by Matt Southern, the posts can be misleading and the links are in fact spammy.  This was what was quoted yesterday directly from Google.

Google has issued a warning to remind site owners about the dangers of publishing content on other sites for the purpose of building inbound links.

The company doesn’t frown on guest posts or syndicated posts in general, but lately there has been an increase in spammy links stuffed into these types of posts. That’s the reason behind this sudden warning from Google.

Distributing content on a large scale when the main intention is to build links back to your own site is strictly prohibited under Google’s guidelines on link schemes.

But what if there is another reason that people are approaching small businesses to guest post?  I, from experience, can tell you there is.

Is Guest Posting What it Seems?

I have been approached by email on several occasions over the years I have had my website asking if I accept guest posts.  Surprised at this as Virtuadmin.uk to be perfectly honest doesn’t have a tremendous amount of traffic, so together with other SEO (search engine optimisation) publishing guests posts is an ideal way to gain genuine backlinks to improve my SERPs results myself.

The person that contacted me introduced themselves to me as a “Content Writer & Editor” full of praise for my website and to quote in their opening statement “I am a business content writer and I chanced upon virtuadmin.uk“.

I am no website designer, personally, I feel that my website is somewhat amateurish but enjoy the challenges of attempting to improve it to what I consider a professional standard (not there yet but trying!); I am not a website designer but an experienced touch typist and transcriptionist!

Emails were sent back and forth, not very frequently, once every two weeks or so.  They would send an email to say they were working on my article and would email once it was ready for review and any edits I would like.

When the final article came back, I read through it very impressed, suggested some edits to the post, which were duly done.

In the meantime of waiting for the finished article to come back and then be published on this website, I decided to do a bit of research into the person that had contacted me.  I usually do this when I get requests to accept guest posts or infographics.

My Shock

I was horrified to discover the person that had initially contacted, maintained communications with me so professionally, written such a brilliant post I couldn’t wait to publish it, was my biggest competitor. 

Just to be sure of my facts, I looked for information on the person on the professional alternative to Facebook, LinkedIn and Tweeted the company directly to ask if they had a content writer of that name, to which they replied they had and gave me their email address!

This company did not just provide the service in the niche area that I am working solo as a transcriptionist and typist, but many other types of administration duties that can be outsourced and carried out online.  They are very established, very large.  In my mind, if someone chanced upon the article upon my website, I always reference guest post at the beginning, therefore technically I would have been sending business to them.

Personally, I just can’t help wondering for a company so large why are they trying to take out small-time work-from-home Mums like myself?  It’s not just that, why the underhanded way in which they approached me, not even volunteering the information of who they worked for as a Content Writer and Editor!

My Warning and Advice

My warning to anyone that is trying to genuine improve their website rankings without the budget of hiring SEO experts or other tactical ways of achieving page one on Google SERPs, if you are approached out of the blue, just like I was, be polite, the might be genuine but check them out.

How?  Firstly, Google or Bing is a great start.  If it is a common name like the person I was researching, narrow the results down with the details you have.  Location, their job, email address, alternatively LinkedIn.

Even with minimal information, I only had a name, email address and job title, for example, but believe me, you can research the person concerned, you can find out who they are that has contacted you to make this request it.

Hopefully, unlike my unfortunate experience, they are equally a small-time business or stay-at-home Mum or Entrepreneur looking to make genuine backlinks because you share a common niche area.