Natural is Better
Women in particular have been hearing the phrase, ‘natural is better’ for decades, and men are quick to back up this theory. However, when it really comes down to it, as many women can attest, the day they show up at the office sans eye make-up in the first ten minutes at least half the office has asked, “Are you feeling sick,” or “what happened to you?” It’s disheartening enough to make most women set their alarm a few minutes early to guarantee enough time to apply at the very least a little mascara and blush.
My point here isn’t that all women should wear make-up, or even that co-workers can be insensitive jerks at times, my point is that natural is (can) be better, but within reason. The reverse, similarly, is also true—too much make-up is garish and unflattering (and inappropriate for the office) as well.
Now let’s shift our focus to guest blogging from an SEO perspective. How natural is too natural—and how much blatancy is overboard as far as guest posts and a backlink portfolio are concerned?
An un-natural portfolio sticks out like a sore thumb
The Penguin update did some damage to sites with backlink portfolios filled with low-quality links and as a result many of these same sites reacted by essentially becoming gun shy and have since set the bar high regarding the links they will and will not allow in their portfolio. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a backlink portfolio comparable to a teenage girl who has just begun experimenting with make-up and insists on wearing everything in her make-up arsenal.
A portfolio full of links from high DA sites can be great for your site in the short run, but in the long run, when Google checks out your page, like a teenage boy, it will snicker as it takes in your blue eye shadow, bright lipstick and too much eye-liner.
It’s overboard and simply too unnatural.
A natural looking backlink portfolio doesn’t just include high DA sites, it encompasses a range from high to low and it will become readily apparent to Google that your links have been garnered through unnatural means.
Is guest posting really contributing to a natural looking portfolio?
Guest authorship is arguably thought to be a natural way to build links as long as the articles being written are high quality and posted on relevant niche sites.
However, by simply Googling a person’s authorship reasonable you can discover whether or not all of that persons guest posts are pointing back to a single domain or multiple pages (i.e. natural linking vs. unnatural linking). And if the adage; ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know,’ is true to any degree, then wouldn’t that result in the company you’re linking to really only having one author associated with them and lowering their ethos and resulting in unnatural linking in Google’s eyes?
Currently, no one can really say what the future will look like for guest posting as a tool in the SEO toolbox, and Google has obviously been mum on updates and future plans.
A solid argument can be made that Google couldn’t possibly devalue authorship in blog posts—after all, if your article is accepted to a relevant and credible site, isn’t that a signal to Google that the article is informative and valuable?
But on the flip side, if you like to entertain conspiracy theories like I do, you’ll want to contemplate the idea that perhaps Google introduced authorship for the purpose of tracking where authors are linking in order to ferret out unnatural linking practices. And to take the theory one step further, in the future, what if Google devalued authors (similar to how they have done in the past with sites) if they are linking to the same page over and over again?
Use a little make-up remover to look past the theories
Realistically I can’t predicted what the future will hold any more than other people in the SEO industry—and honestly am probably doing a far worse job compared to industry experts.
Ultimately, I would argue authorship has real value, and so does a link back to the company you are associated with or working for. From my point of view it lends credibility to an author and proves they know what they’re talking about and haven’t just culled content from a wiki page, reorganizing in their own words—after all aren’t you supposed to write about what you know? Additionally, for an internet junkie like myself, authorship via a Google+ account allows me to find other articles written by authors who have attracted my attention.