Over the last few weeks, due to Google's updated algorithms, I have had an increase in emails from agencies offering guest posts and text link proposals. These types of emails are now not just becoming annoying but the way they are initially worded appears to be legitimate interest in my websites and indeed offering money for advertising.
This of course is not new to me nor to anybody else with a website with regular traffic. But due to the way these emails are being worded and many coming from the UK appearing to be legitimate companies, I feel obliged to reply.
After then wasting my time emailing back with advertising opportunities, it then becomes very clear that bad practices in SEO and link building strategies are still as high as ever. Do these companies ever read Google's guidelines or watch Matt Cutt's videos on the webmaster youtube channel?
Stopping bad practice in it's tracks
I believe that these types of bad practices really must be stopped! If you own a website and receive such emails by all means do contact them back if you see fit, however my advice would be to not take money for links that flow pagerank no matter how tempting this may be. What I mean by that is if you are selling a link in any form and receive money for it, you must ensure you use the rel=nofollow attribute in the link. To find out more about this you can watch a video and read the official documentation from Google here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en
Using the nofollow attribute ensures that the link holds no weight in Google and you are not vouching for the website being linked to. Let's face it, if someone were to pay you for a link, do you hold the linked to website in high regard? It would be hard to make such a decision, it's not your company!
These practices (often known as black hat SEO) are a short term revenue source. If you wish for your site to be successful for the longer term in search engines, then placing links in this way will surely have a limited life span, at least in Google anyway, and its Google who you should be aiming to please as they are the number 1 search engine by a huge margin.
Introducing a standard reply template
Due to these emails increasing literally by the day, I now have a standard template that I email back. It is at the bottom of this post. It goes along the lines of saying that if they still wish to advertise with us, then they must understand our business ethics – that is that here we are working within Google's guidelines and our site does not get penalised by Google for using poor practices.
You are welcome to use it and adapt it to suit your own needs.
“With regards to guest posts, unfortunately we do not offer the option for one off's due to the unfortunate black hat ways of link building and manipulating search engine results. Our policy is to try to build a good working relationship with our clients where everybody benefits from good quality and helpful content. Due to the article / blog being paid for we could not offer a follow link.”
“You are very welcome to take advantage of our website's market and audience for brand awareness and piggy back the traffic but unfortunately I could not offer a solution for bad link building practices. Due to this ethos we enjoy very high organic traffic volume in which we strive to achieve and increase. So although payment is always good we do not wish to jeopardise this for any monetary value.”