Supposedly, forcing webmasters to add the “nofollow” link attribute means a loss of “editorial control” for webmasters. So says commentator Tim Capper on this SEJ article:
NOW: having said this, Google needs to be Fair, if they penalise MBG and its users, then they MUST take action against the big boys like Tripadvisor. The link attribute in the widget has to remain “dofollow”, if you change it to “nofollow” then the widget breaks – this is clearly removing the editorial control.
I’m guessing he’s talking about Tripadvisor’s sidebar widget, but here’s the question: If Google MUST take action against a particular website because so-and-so says so, isn’t that taking “editorial control” away from Google? It is by Capper’s logic. In actuality, Google isn’t taking editorial control from anyone. Webmasters can nofollow or dofollow links, but they must understand the risks associated with their decision.
We’ve been playing this game for a long time. Google’s algorithm has always been based on link analysis. It changed the SEO game in 1998. Since then, it’s been a never ending cat and mouse game between the search giant and SEOs who covet high Google rankings.
Every time an SEO figures out how to game Google’s algorithm by linking one way or another, word gets out and everyone is doing it.
You can see a complete history of Google algorithm changes here.
As you can see, no matter how smart SEOs get, when a common practice is adopted by spammers to gain an advantage in search rankings, Google takes action against that practice. It doesn’t matter if all the good guys are doing it. It doesn’t matter if Google’s guidelines say it’s okay. If the spammers are doing it and getting high rankings, Google is going to get them, and if they get you in the process, que sera sera.
Quit thinking of links as currency and start treating currency as currency.
Translation: Quit thinking of links as currency and start treating currency as currency.
In other words, quit paying guest posters on your blog with promises of link juice and a back rub and start paying them with hard money.
Blog owners have sold the idea that guest blogging is of mutual benefit. It isn’t, really. When you think about it, if your website is more trafficked than the blog on which you are guest posting, then your content benefits that website more than yours. If the blog on which you are guest posting is more trafficked than your website but the audience has a low affinity ratio (same target audience) to yours, then your content will benefit that blog owner more than you. The only scenario where you’ll come out a clear winner is if the blog on which you guest post has more traffic than you and has a high affinity ratio.
This is even more true since Google is heavily encouraging blog owners to use the “nofollow” attribute in bio links. Websites serious about their reputations are considering that move as I write this.
What will happen to guest blogging when no one will give bloggers a link back to their website? Serious bloggers won’t care. They’ll keep blogging on niche websites where there is a high affinity ratio. Guest bloggers doing it for SEO will suddenly find another way to game Google’s algorithm.
I suspect that many of these spam bloggers will search for an alternative link scheme. Maybe they’ll point their “nofollow” links on high authority websites to a shill website designed solely to attract lots of traffic and is propped up by various kinds of “natural-looking” links and then link to their real website from that shill. Who knows? But the one thing you can be sure of is they won’t be guest blogging unless they’re willing to accept the loss of control over the dofollow bio link.
There is just one thing for guest bloggers to do: Quit blogging for links and start blogging for traffic or money. You should consider not posting your content on other websites unless you are paid for it directly or do so for the benefit of reaching a lot of traffic with a huge affinity ratio to your own.
Publishers should consider paying their contributors. If you want long blog posts – and this is what a lot of bloggers are asking for these days – you should be willing to pay for it. If you want “high quality” content, you should be willing to pay for it.
How does paying for content with currency benefit the publisher? A lot of ways. Let’s start with these:
Another benefit to paying for content is that you are more likely to publish guest content less often since you will establish a budget and stick to it. You can then monetize that content any way you see fit as publisher and owner of the content.
This is not a new idea. There are websites already paying guest contributors right now. Some of them are big brands, but not all of them. Even solo bloggers are beginning to pay their contributors. Here are a few websites who pay guest contributors.
And there are a ton more!
To find guest blogging gigs in your niche that pay, just Google “your niche” + “paid guest blogging” and see what you find. Substitute “your niche” for the name of your niche.
It’s time for publishers to quit being cheap and quit promising guest posters links in exchange for their “high quality” content. If you want high quality content on your blog, try paying for it. You get to set the price.