I must confess, I love the idea of both guest posts and sponsored posts. Guest posts may be an awesome way to get free quality content and build relationships with other bloggers and site owners. Sponsored posts are a fantastic way to generate good revenue without placing any ads on your site. Both are great to tap into new audience and are very natural and logical thing to do.
Some of you may have assumed I am going to say that both methods are often done in a way that clashes with Google’s understanding of quality, breaking their infamous webmaster guidelines. No, that’s not exactly what I mean. I don’t believe Google has a way of knowing that guest post is guest post unless you specifically say so. Similarly, I doubt their ability to tell sponsored post from regular post with outgoing link unless, again, you specifically state that.
While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with these activities, I do have another concern – tiered link building. For those who don’t know, tiered link building is when you build links to your site following a very specific scheme:
- Tier 1: High quality links that points directly to your site.
- Tier 2: Garbage links from comments, Web 2.0 properties, article directories and social bookmarks that point to your Tier 1 pages with links to your site. They never point to your money site.
- Tier 3: Even worse links that point to your Tier 2 pages with links to Tier 1. They don’t point to money site or Tier 1 sites.
Oftentimes Tier 2 and Tier 3 will use spun content, unreadable content, comment spam etc. In some cases it may even use links placed on hacked sites – something you definitely don’t want to be associated with. These garbage Tier 2 and Tier 3 links are often built automatically using software and are always in thousands. So if you accept a guest post or a sponsored post (or any form of paid or free link) from someone who practices tiered link building model, your site will be Tier 1. Tier 1 are basically good sites that are used as buffers to filter all the garbage that comes from Tier 2 and Tier 3.
Obviously not everyone does that, but you want to think twice before accepting another tempting offer. The very reason why they do this is because they know that pointing bad links to their own sites will get them penalized but if they place a buffer or filter, also known as your site, they will gain all the benefits of higher PR and better rankings without any risks whatsoever.