In addition to this website, I run a couple other websites, so I am a target for emails that offer up a variety of services, including SEO, guests posts, search engine registration (!), affiliate marketing, etc. As an SEO, I am often able to quickly identify the spam and scams, so a almost everyone of these emails are deleted immediately without ever being read.
Recently, there have been a couple of these emails with the subject line “Your Readers Love Consistent Content” that caught my eye. Creating unique quality content on a consistent basis for my website is always a struggle so I was intrigued. I knew the email was going to be a pitch of some sort, but I wanted to see how they were packaging their content play, so I clicked… the email(s) read:
I’m Sarah. Your site is absolutely beautiful and I would love to become a regular contributor. While I do enjoy certain topics, I can provide articles on almost any topic that you desire. I would love to share some of my examples with you if you are interested.
Surprisingly, the second email was different (despite the same subject line):
I’m Morgan. I am currently seeking sites that will allow me to build my writing experience and I came across yours. I think its really nice and I am offering my time to write articles for you regularly. I will be able to provide articles on almost any topic you need. Let me know If this is possible and you would like to have a look at my work.
Offering up free content to a site owner isn’t a new SEO approach, we usually call it guest posting. This approach is a little different in that’s hiding the intent under the guise of a writer just looking to contribute “regularly”. I could see how more-trusting webmasters might bite on this — who doesn’t want free, relevant content for their website?
Sounds like a good deal, but the fact is, the content that Sarah and Morgan provide will contain links to their client’s websites — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should know that the offer of free content doesn’t come with strings.
The good news is if you’ve received this email — then someone has determined that you have a website that is worth linking from.
So, why does that matter? Well, links are one of the most important ranking signals that Google looks uses in their search algorithm. Ok, so why is that important? It’s important because if you have links pointing to your site, you can improve your Google ranking on the keywords you care about…. and a higher ranking could mean more traffic to your site as you move up the rankings.
Is it bad to have links pointing to other websites? Usually no, but there’s risks in linking to a website that Google doesn’t trust or has malware on it. If a website does have that, it could negatively impact your site. Also if the site you link to is apart of a “bad neighborhood” your site can be dinged for that too.
It’s unlikely that linking out to a site or two will hurt you, but just be aware that when it sounds too good to be true….