To answer that question simply put, yes it is, guest posting and PBN'S are still a safe avenue for link building in order to gain that domain value that Google looks for, but there is a catch. Let me elaborate.
As an SEO Consultant, I have been involved with on page SEO and off page SEO for nearly 20 years now and we have seen much come and go when it comes to SEO and getting more traffic from Google purely based on sourcing the right links from reputable sources for the purposes of ranking increases. Guest posts have a lot to do with link building, even in 2020
Website SEO involves a lot of effort in terms of on page SEO and off page SEO and guest posting services that are out there are just one part of that equation.
Many clients hear the word " Natural white hat SEO " and primarily look for services that understand how to implement or initiate white hat SEO but simply fail to understand that any organic SEO that is implemented for the purposes of ranking websites or manipulating rankings, is not really white hat SEO.
Lets get this straight off the bat right now. if you are a would be client and are looking for white hat SEO Specialists, let me explain something right now......THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WHITE HAT SEO IF YOU ARE LINK BUILDING FOR THE PURPOSES OF MANIPULATING RANKINGS, even from guest posts......Does not matter how natural it looks or what reputable source it comes from.
NO..Paid links are not white hat SEO. If you are paying an SEO service to place links or are paying for an SEO expert to rank your website, you are in fact paying for black hat SEO.
Please understand though, there is nothing wrong with this when the quality of SEO provides the necessary information search engine users are looking for when it comes to user engagement, EVEN THOUGH, it goes against terms and conditions of search engines.
It is very difficult for search engines to prove quality articles posted on related high domain authority sites with a single domain link are actually paid for links when the site only hosts high quality related posts.
This is what you need to find if you are going to stay out of the radar. HIGH QUALITY posts matter.
This is as white hat as you can get it and in most cases is what Google is really looking for and is even difficult for search engines to prove that it is artificially meant for link building, especially if it is only one single link and that link happens to be a brand link. If you are providing a positive user experience and providing the necessary information that a user is looking for, then there should not be a problem. If it's a live traffic site, has quality engaging content, and delivers on the user's requirement, should it matter that the blog owner gets paid to place your link there if you are providing quality content ? No. They are only trying to make a living. Google just doesn't like it. If your link, however, was placed there free of charge, it would not matter in Google's eyes.
Cheap SEO Packages DO NOT work for the benefit of long term standing rankings and secure page 1 rankings. You may rank quickly initially, but eventually, you will pay the price.
If your SEO provider is implementing SEO that is just spun rubbish or gibberish coming from related or unrelated sources, then you are not going to escape a penalty, even if it is placed on a guest post.
Even I still locate guest posts with spun rubbish, when contrary to the rule, most believe guest posts are not accepted if the content is not quality. I have seen otherwise.
What Is The Difference Between White Hat And Black Hat SEO ?
The only difference is one is done purely by the web owner over a long period of time but rankings take forever to happen and black hat or grey hat, or what some clients consider as white hat SEO is done by SEO experts.
Where the differences lie is that there are SEO consultants that can provide the most natural looking SEO which costs some serious money to do this, but looks white hat, and will stand the test of time because it looks natural.
On the other hand, there are your dodgy SEO companies that provide cheap SEO packages for about 300-500 PM that provide very poor SEO which is just a red flag in all aspects that just spells black hat SEO. If you are after cheap SEO packages, the latter will apply to you.
White hat SEO is in most cases achieved by the publisher doing the work themselves. So how do you really achieve white SEO ? Over a ten-year period maybe if you have time to rank . SEO services very rarely apply white hat methods even though they can make the work appear as white hat as you possibly can. These sorts of services take a lot of effort to make SEO look natural but stand the test of time and cost significant amounts of money per month. Very rarely does an SEO company employ these measures because funding from budgets doesn't usually cover this magnitude of work.
The only white hat SEO is to do it all yourself. Get 100% natural links from communicating with related sources over time like forums, other related websites, article posts, networking with like minded people in your niche, social media buzz where your pages will be found and linked to, your own posts that others over time will link to such as this post for instance and of course other online avenues.
All this of course takes time, and does not usually rank websites in a matter of months, which is what all clients usually require if websites are going to rank relatively quickly.
Yes it does. Guest posting still works and is seen as a high powered link strategy for ranking websites. As long as it does not appear to be manipulated rankings, you should stay out of Google's radar. It is still black hat SEO which ever way you look at it.
I've always said, it was only a matter of time before guest posting would eventually start to go in the way of PBN'S and would come under fire by Google, and that time is now. Below is a typical warning that publishers are now starting to receive from Google and it is now all too common already
“We have detected that some of your articles are guest posts… We have disabled your authority for your outbound links. Please set your outbound links to nofollow and submit a review request.”
Now this is a typical notification you do not want to see from Google. It clearly stipulates that some articles are guest posts and that they disabled any authority coming from that article. As stated, if they trace that the article is targeted purely for rankings, you will be in doodoo.
Manipulated rankings, Google does not like it. As long as your SEO efforts do not look artificial, your site will rank for a very long time, even if it through guest posts. Google has though suggested, that if paid links are being used, that you should implement the nofollow attribute.
Who reading this post though, wants a whole lot of 200 plus dollar a link guest posts that are all nofollow attributes ? Not many, I guess. Guest posts are about passing authority, and link juice. If you can't get this, there is no point paying 200 plus dollars for a link. A few maybe. All of them, no way.
The best way I usually obtain guest post links is to ask for samples of existing guest posts on a site. If the articles look natural with highly engaging content, such as subheaders, bullet points, images and so forth, then chances are you will have a great quality guest post that will look natural and keep you off the radar.
If on the other hand, your guest post is a block of text with one link, the grammar is subpar, no image, the content is not engaging, then most likely you will be caught and maybe even penalised.
There is no difference from a guest post to a poor quality PBN when they both look like a block of text and nothing more. Links like this only lead to penalties. Keep away from guest posts that look like normal blocks of text with a link and come from sites that are not wholly related to your own business.
Always ask to see samples before you go dishing out a fistful of dollars for a link that may just land you in hot water. Guest posts should look natural at all times and should be engaging to the reader providing as much information as possible to the end user.
As far as SEO goes these days, the best recommendation for now that I could possibly give is that when it comes to guest posting is that I prefer to use these guest posts as tier 2 links rather than tier 1.
This keeps everything safe, continues to ranks sites and you can use even more targeted keywords without fear rather than just branding all the time. You can also go dofollow rather than nofollow which passes all DA and TF down the pike.
Google does not go further past tier 1 links in search of web spam or artificial links, not for now at least, anyway. Rankings will stay safe for quite a while using this method, but it is preferred that your tier 1 links do have some domain and PA authority if it is to work successfully and your guest posts as normal, would also provide DA an TF
The common rule today is that you don't use PBN'S as tier 1 links because they are practically a giveaway that links are artificial, and in most cases, I would also agree.
Again, the best recommendation that I can give for 2020 and onward is that when it comes to PBN'S or guest posting, attempt to always use these as tier 2 links rather than tier 1 where possible and you should stay safe for a prolonged period of time. Link juice is still passed and keeps out Google's radar.
We practice and rank sites like this all day long. and never see any notifications from any client that site rankings have dropped but rather increased. Also bare in mind that if you intend on using Guest posts and PBN'S as tier 1 links, you best remove any Google tracking analytics or search console from your website back end.
As much I hate to say it, Google Analytics is there for Google, not the publisher. It is there for Google to monitor incoming links and if they do a random search on your site and find you have analytics or search console installed, happy penalties to the publisher if they locate any artificial links, and in most cases, they will.
In this case, if you are going to follow this route of guest posting even though Google now frowns upon it, it is best advised that if you want to receive tier 1 links whether from PBN'S or guest posts and you still want that link juice, DA and TF going directly to your site, then remove any Google analytics software and only use third party software to track the progression of rankings. This way, you keep out of Google's radar. and any penalties coming in your direction. If you have any questions get in touch with our Sydney SEO Services for more info or call us on 0418118998