Last week I did a call with a student who mentioned the difficulty in knowing when a site is actually worth getting a link from or not.
This came up as a result of me referencing guest post link farms in my Using Competitive Analysis To Make Smarter SEO Decisions course.
The thing is that I’ve been doing this for so damn long that I sometimes forget that not everyone knows that I’m talking about.
Even though I kinda wrote about this before –> How To Evaluate Potential Link Opportunities (+ Get Your Money’s Worth With Paid Links)
But maybe it’s time for a refresher?
So, I want to give you a quick run down of how to analyze a site to see if you should try to get a backlink from it, or if you should run for the hills.
How People Accidentally End Up On Guest Post Farms
Link building is one of those things that I really hate, especially paying for backlinks, because there are so many ways that it can go wrong and you just end up wasting your money.
If you’re buying links from pretty much any guest post service, what do they promise you?
Links on real sites!
Links that move the needle!
Links on sites with at least X amount of traffic!
At the end of the day, it’s all bullshit to get you to part with your hard earned money.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t get good links from guest post services, or even links that “move the needle.”
But it’s become such a fucking challenge that I actually have not bought any guest post links in the last year or so.
However, I’ve been building almost exclusively on aged domains and I haven’t needed to do any link building.
Anyways, back to how people end up with links from guest post farms.
The #1 most fucking stupid thing that people do when getting links is focus on DR or DA.
If you want to make a fuckload of money, then start a link building service with your own guest post farm where you’ve done some redirects from Google properties to make your sites have a seemingly high DR/DA.
There are so many fools out there waiting to give you money.
But seriously, don’t do that.
These are the sort of redirects that manipulate a site’s DR or DA and make it seem more powerful than it is.
But you don’t even need a douche bag link seller offering you DR manipulated links from his own little guest post farm to get caught up in this.
Probably my favorite example of people buying links from a site that is a total fucking guest post farm is the infamous Kellys Thoughts on Things website.
If you’ve bought a backlink from a guest post service that hides the URL, then you’ve likely ended up on this fucking site.
Yeah, it’s a DR63. And yeah, it’s got a decent amount of traffic.
But it is still a total fucking garbage place to get a backlink.
However, if you were shopping for DR60+ backlinks, then you would have a very high chance of ending up here.
And did I mention that this site is hot garbage?
Yet, oddly enough Matthew Woodward’s backlink blacklist tool has this site listed as okay.
So, still do your own due diligence if using that tool.
What To Look For To Avoid Ending Up On Guest Post Farms
I think it goes without saying that the best way to avoid getting backlinks from guest post farms is to avoid getting links from places that sell backlinks.
I know, but I had to say it.
Here’s the most important thing – never buy a link from a site without knowing what the URL is in advance.
You’ve got to be able to do your due diligence on the site to see if it is even worth it.
Here’s what to look for in your due diligence:
- Is this site linking out to an abnormally high number of domains?
- Is this site linking out to a wide variety of niches that just doesn’t make sense here?
- Does the anchor text for the outgoing links look natural or keyword rich?
- Does this site cover a zillion topics yet not have a domain that looks like this would be the case?
- Does this site have a “submit a guest post” or “write for us” page?
If the domain passes all of those tests above, NOW is when you start looking at the traffic the domain is getting and the DR/DA.
The kinds of things you should be thinking now are:
- Is this site getting traffic?
- Does the traffic appear to be declining or increasing?
- How strong is the backlink profile of this site?
- Would a link from this site be niche relevant for me?
- Or, is the site so powerful (i.e. NYTimes) that the relevancy doesn’t matter?
So, Why Should You Avoid Guest Post Farms?
If you’re doing some analysis of your competition, then you may notice that some of them seem to have the same backlinks that appear to be from guest post farms.
Seeing this, you may start to think – Hey, these guys are doing well with those links, so what am I waiting for?
The truth is that none of us really know the effect of those guest post farm backlinks.
They could actually be delivering some power, or they could be doing absolutely nothing.
Personally, I think Google has to be well aware of sites like Kelly’s Thoughts On Things who exist almost exclusively as a guest post link farm and that those links are devalued.
And, I think if one of these sites has not been penalized or had it’s backlink power devalued YET, then it is just a matter of time.
That means you could be seeing successful sites that have some of these guest post farm backlinks in their profile and coming to conclusions that are not accurate.
And remember, there is also the risk of YOUR site getting penalized for these types of links, just like Google has done to people using PBN links in the past.
At the end of the day, the best links are the ones that are the hardest for your competition to replicate.
That’s what makes HARO such a great source of backlinks.
Building real relationships with site owners and getting links that way is another awesome source of links that your competition can’t easily replicate.
The tl;dr? Be careful out there.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.