Link Building

Do Guest Post Links Offer the Same SEO Benefit as Natural Links?

One of the most difficult parts of performing SEO: Trying to get other websites to link back to your website. In a nutshell, this is the foundation of SEO. This can be difficult because Google wants everything on the Internet to be of value for a reader (and rightfully so), so they really aren’t a fan of blatant link exchanges between websites. Therefore, there are two primary ways to get links for your website:

  1. First, you could have great content and statistics on your website, so someone writing an article for their own website may link back to your website to either give credit or offer more information.
  2. Second (and the most popular form of link exchange), many companies hire writers to guest post on different websites across the Internet and then link back to your website in an author box.

Although the second option is the most commonly used, the first option is the most desirable because it holds more weight according to Google. For this reason, some websites allow you to put a link back to your company in the copy of your article as opposed to just the author box. This makes it a bit easier than simply hoping someone sees your article and links back to it on their website. After all, SEO sometimes seems like a catch 22. You want websites to link back to the great information your site has to offer, but it’s tough for a website to do that if they don’t know your website exists. The best way to gain visibility and show these sites you exist: links back to your site on other websites. See the catch?

Consider some of the reasons why Google likes #1 better than #2, and how you can begin including more in-text links when contributing guest articles to other websites:

Why Links in the Copy > Links in an Author Box

  • Author Box Pros and Cons

The author box is where most websites will allow you to get a link back to your website.  At the bottom of this post is an example of an author box that allows me to use complete with links back to my company’s website.

As you will notice, the text ends and then you have a new section with my picture and bio. This is an author box which will remain static with each article that you contribute.

While this is still great for SEO, it does hold less weight with Google than an in-text link because many people offer guest articles only to get links back to their site. For example, I could potentially write an awesome article about how to play basketball in order to get a link back from an authoritative basketball website, but I may want to link back to a Business.com “401k limits” webpage. In Google’s eyes, this link has absolutely no value to the type of reader reading the basketball article (and they would be correct). This is where the author box comes into play. It allows writers to still offer great content with a smaller SEO benefit, so everyone wins.

  • In-text Link Pros and Cons

On the flip side, Google sees links in the text as “better” links because editors have control over links that go in the copy. Chances are the links will be relevant and add value for a reader because an editor should want this for their readers. The editor of the basketball magazine should not let a writer stuff in the keyword “401k limits” because it wouldn’t make sense and it wouldn’t flow with the theme of the article.

This makes it much harder to incorporate links back to a company website. The links can seem forced, and although this might make it past the Google bots, you won’t be fooling any editors. Although some editors will let you put an irrelevant link in the copy, it’s best to try your hardest to incorporate the link in a natural way and ask before throwing a random link in your article.

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