People who are looking to get their websites on top of Google SERP will take contextual links over any other kind of back link any day, mainly because they are as natural as a link can get, and holds a lot more value than a link coming from a “link directory”, “link partners’ page” or even “footer” of a second rate website.
For all those reasons, guest posting is fast becoming one of the most preferred ways of link building. However, staying true to their tradition, some link brokers are finding it a little hard to do the guest blogging in its true form i.e. writing and offering a supreme quality article to blog owners that they cannot refuse with a link from Bio or from within the article body. Instead they’d look for the easy ways out, which is sending emails to blog owners while offering money in return of a link from a post.
Let’s put these two approaches side by side and see which one is better, easier, or cheaper?
Black hat vs. White hat:
I won’t say that paying money to get your article published with a link is a black hat practice, as long as you’re providing good quality content and the article is not written and published with the sole purpose of acquiring a link with a specific anchor text. However, it is still a questionable practice, because at the end of the day you are paying to the blog owner for publishing that article, which makes it a somewhat “paid” link.
Whereas, you might still be paying a good writer some money to write a good quality post for a third party blog and get it published, but still you are paying for the content, which is supposed to be valuable for web surfers in general, and makes it a win-win situation.
Quality and strength of back links is the most important, and without doubt a deciding factor for people looking to build links. The quality of the back link is judged by the stature of the website and the placement of link. Guest blogging often lands you a link from the Author’s Bio, which is often, placed way down the article (I am not sure why some blog owners decide to slip it under everything from ads to related posts). But then again, it comes down to the fact if you can find the right place to guest post.
In paid ones, you will always get a link from the article, which is a plus. However, paid articles are often published on blogs which are low quality, and quite often a part of some link broker’s network. At times, such links can turn out to be counterproductive.
Paid ones are perhaps the easier option, you can write a simple email and assign someone with basic searching skills to find relevant blogs and send the email. Some of those blogs will agree to the offer and reply back, you can then negotiate about the prices, write an average quality post with the intent of using the anchor text somewhere in the article, and sending it to the blog owner.
Real guest blogging on quality blogs asks for a lot more effort as far as writing is concerned, because you are not paying anything to the blog owners, and the only way to make them publish your article along with the link is to write an article which is too tempting to avoid, in particular, when the blog doesn’t actively accept guest contributions.
You can send the emails to thousands of blogs but only a few will accept to publish a run-of-the-mill article for some money, and most of the times you will be getting a positive response from only mediocre blog. On the other hand, field is wide open for those who are good enough to produce top notch content, because they can pitch it to just about any website and many will readily accept and publish.
To cut a long story short, while sponsored articles appear to be easy picking, guest blogging is not for the “faint hearted”, but it surely is a far more superior option, and the one that will provide long term benefits.
Natasha is an SEO expert, and writes on topics related to Internet Marketing. She’s working for smartpress.com that offers Booklet Printing services.