SEO On-Air: What are Guest Post and Link Farms?
By: Shreoshe Ghosh
Updated On: August 30, 2022
Hello guys, today we’re doing another segment in our Guest Post podcast series with Dileep. Our topic for today is guest post farms, popularly known as link farms in SEO. Guest post farms are websites that typically function with the sole aim of selling as many guest posts to those who pay for them. Let’s learn more about this from Vidisha, Dileep, and Bhavani.
Time Stamp: 00:20-04:53
Vidisha: Is my definition of a guest post farm (link farm) correct or is there something that you’d like to add to it?
Dileep: You are almost right when it comes to what you mean about guest post farm. This is something very similar to link farms, which is usually considered as a website built to throw in links. However, it is a practice that is now archaic. Google algorithms are now very active in picking up sites that are junk like a link farm website. In 2020, if you ask me whether guest post farms work or not, then my answer will be an emphatic “no.”
Initially, link farms might look good, but in the long run, it is definitely not reliable. This is the reason why we do not promote guest post farms at Stan Ventures. We aim to help clients grow to the next level, so we only focus on quality blogger outreach.
Time Stamp: 04:54-06:46
Vidisha: Even with these guest posting farms, they have to qualify certain criteria to be called guest posting farms rather than a link farm. So, doesn’t that criteria make them good at the job they do?
Dileep: Nowadays, the PageRank by Google is not considered a metric to evaluate a site anymore. Right now, we use Domain Authority or Domain Ratings to evaluate websites. These are metrics that are provided by third-party tools such as Moz and Ahrefs, respectively.
Website owners shortlist sites based on these metrics, and it’s true that some link farms or guest post farms may have good metrics. However, initially, these sites might rank well, but eventually, when these tools get updated or refreshed, they lose the score drastically.
This had happened recently when Moz updated their DA score. Tons of link farms went below the quality score and got blacklisted by agencies that do guest posting. So this is a reality.
When it comes to distinguishing a link farm from guest post farm, the key differentiator is the content.
Most of the link farms just don’t consider the quality of the content that goes into the site. Some don’t even mind publishing content that is totally irrelevant. In a majority of the cases, these sites publish content that is spun, which makes it very low quality. Additionally, the focus keyword is artificially placed within the content. This is all signals for Google to demote the site for spammy practices.
When it comes to guest post farms, the content quality is a little better and the person who owns the site is particular about the contextuality of the content and the link placed on the website. However, these sites publish content that may not be written by subject matter experts. These website owners try to maintain the site as genuine as possible but they are still breaching the guidelines of Google.
To make it more easy consider link farm as a complete blackhat SEO technique and guest post farms as a grey hat SEO technique. According to me, both of these strategies are scary for website owners.
This is very important. I would recommend the site owners to ensure that their SEO agency doesn’t post links in either link farms or guest post farms. There are cases when site owners get hit by Google Penalty and come to us for recovery, and we find it’s all the result of the previous SEO agency engaging in spammy link building practices.
Time Stamp: 06:46-08:51
Vidisha: What’s your take on this Bhavani?
Bhavani: When you want to get a backlink from a site, you want to check a few things like the niche they work on, authors they are working with, how frequently they update the website, and the organic traffic they are getting, etc. After considering these criteria, only then should you go for a backlink building. If you randomly approach sites, it may seem like you are doing an aggressive user-generated spam activity.
Dileep: I think this is the reason why we at Stan Ventures do drip feed for fulfilling all our bulk guest post requests. We don’t do link building in a single day; rather, we will try to build links consistently over a week or month. Drip feed is scheduling your guest post content to be published on different days with a gap of at least a day or two for the posts to go live. This way, Google will not consider your link building activity as spam.