The Future of EMD Sites, Link Building and Guest Posting

With all of the recent changes and talk from Google on how they are now slapping web site for different link building methods and even taking down sites that are “too niche” with exact match domains (EMD), I thought it would make for a good post to sit down with my friend Jeet from GetLinksPro and see what’s working best for his company along with the hundreds of other sites he’s been focusing their promotion and link building efforts on.

1.) What concerns should bloggers and web site owners have with all of the recent changes being made and enforced by Google and search rankings?

To start with, I would like to thank you for giving me a platform to share my views on topics that concern many webmasters, bloggers and business owners looking to improve their online presence.

A lot of bloggers, website owners and SEO companies talk to us regularly that their competitors rank higher even when they are obviously buying links. I went through a large American Shelters company’s backlink profile yesterday and all I could see was resource and links pages that openly invited more link exchanges. They rank #1/2 for many of the industry keywords and it’s obvious that others think that reciprocal or three way link exchanges are still given importance.

With the recent updates, Google has made its intentions quite clear that it will go after web spammers and sooner or later their algorithms will catch up with such shady methods.

It’s relatively easy for bloggers to promote themselves because they fall into a community that produces maximum number of links and buzz for any online property (Makes me wonder where would we be if people didn’t start writing online diaries and weblogs). For now work is cut out for commercial companies and small businesses, because they have to make extra efforts in order to offer some real value for others to talk about them.

Recent updates have actually been rather beneficial for GetLinksPro since bloggers and business owners have understood that they can’t rely on low quality or automated link building any more.

2.) What are your top recommended services or practices for growing a site with quality traffic and ranking in the search engines?

My first recommendation to any business and blogger is to get a good looking and functional website. It starts from there. If your site looks like it was made 2 decades ago and has never been updated, you shouldn’t really expect your phones to ring because of website visitors.

I come across a lot of websites that are missing basic navigational elements have URLs that don’t tell users what they might expect on the page. Ensuring that humans and search engine bots can access all pages of your website is very important.

After you have ensured the basics are correct, you should get the word out about your business and website in relevant circles. Use content driven methods like guest posts to get traffic from relevant blogs, this also makes search engines rate and rank your website higher. Businesses should definitely strive to make and maintain a blog on their site. As I said earlier that online marketing is easier for bloggers because they are considered part of the blogging community by other bloggers; businesses
should strive to get to same position and then they will definitely see a lot more bloggers talking about them.

Quality content is the Swiss army knife that can get you direct traffic (think guest posts and helpful forum discussions), blog mentions (links from your own guest posts and also from bloggers linking to great resources on your website), authority/expert status and a flood of paying customers.

To summarize: you should give something back to the internet and it would love you back and embrace you with open arms.

3.) Are exact match domains (EMD) dead and what’s the future of tight niche web sites?

I think that’s a big misconception, I still see plenty of my clients with EMDs ranking very high. Sure, low quality EMD based sites that didn’t provide any real value to users and were full of barely readable content are definitely in trouble. I feel like days of passive income may be over and people have to start thinking about not-so-passive income. If you outsource wisely, you could still be in the passive income game but making a website once and reaping rewards forever is something that may not work for long.

I like tight niche sites that are done right. It’s possible that the algorithm changes manage to destroy some good ones (Penguin surely gave us some absurd search results initially), but internet marketers shouldn’t start ignoring tight niches completely. It’s often better to be a monster in a small pond than a small fish in the big ocean.

EMD’s importance for SEO has largely diminished, but tight niche sites and EMD’s are here to stay if they add value for visitors.

4.) Does a web site owner need to have a large budget to effectively get traffic to their site and actually rank within the first few pages of Google for a specific search term?

I love that question. Some web site owners would definitely need a huge (more than large) budget to rank but most web site owners should understand that their race is not against Google, it’s against other businesses in their industry. To draw an analogy- hypothetically, if a lion is chasing you and some other people- You don’t need to outrun the lion, you only need to outrun the other people. In real life; If you look at IMDB’s top 100 movies, not all of them were big budget movies like Avatar, you don’t always need a big budget to create a massive hit.

Website owners have to outsmart their peers, generate better content than their rivals and network with more bloggers; blogosphere can make or break a business.

Be smart about your spending; outsource some parts for expertise, others to get things done on a small budget. It’s true that a five dollar gig on a popular task site can’t skyrocket your rankings but most of the times you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to achieve your goals.

5.) What type of results are you seeing in the guest blogging space? Is it still as effective as it used to be, and how are you dealing with more and more services out there trying to sell links through guest blog placement?

I have been doing guest blogging since the year 2009. The results were always awesome. Earlier I felt that ROI was lower than other methods like directory submissions or article submissions but the times they are a-changin’. If anything, effectiveness of guest blogging has only increased.

You bring up a pain point with that question. Shady SEO companies that were once selling links on their private blog networks are now converting the same networks to guest blogging networks. I get automated emails from bloggers everyday asking me whether they can write a guest post, they fail to notice that the site in question doesn’t even have a blog. I also get a lot of guest post exchange requests from SEO companies. And there are bloggers who would like to charge you for writing a guest posts on their blog.

No day passes without one of the prospective customers telling me that I should give them a fixed timeline for delivering guest posts because their current vendor gives them a turnaround time of a week (or two). They fail to understand that contacting a real blogger, sending them ideas, post content and getting it published can hardly take less than a week.

Just like three way reciprocal links and paid links were being sold as one way links from high PR pages, Shady SEO companies are now selling links from private blog networks and guest post exchanges as guest blogging service.

I really can’t go out and educate all the bloggers and business owners about these methods, top internet marketers and super bloggers like you could make a difference here. I do try to put forward my case in front of potential clients and hope that they would understand the difference between real guest posts and paid / exchanged posts disguising as guest posts.

If you would like to learn more about SEO, link building and guest blog posting, I recommend you visit which is Jeet’s personal business site.

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  1. Zac, That is a good interview full of useful tips and advice to avoid the wrath of Google. Essentially bloggers need to concentrate on providing good content and solid links and they will be fine.
    My recent post Design Your Own Website

    1. @Chris: I agree. Bloggers (as well as businesses with online presence) have to provide value to their readers and customers and then only they can expect to get some links and better ranks.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. I have heard that google wants results to be the most relevant to what you are searching for and they are starting to do that based on social circles providing the basis of that with google plus…it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

    My recent post How To Get Anything You Want…Automatic.

    1. @Jeremy: Google is already showing some results from your social circles. I don't think the integration of social media signals in their algorithm has reached a level of maturity where they can incorporate them in their main algorithm.

  3. Good post Zac quality unique blog posts with excellent content will always do well in the search engines. As far as the exact match domain name sites goes I have a few that are doing pretty well actually and a few more that are not doing as well as I would like lol… So it's a toss up with these, I just concentrate on putting more work into the ones that are ranking well.

    My recent post Facebook Fan Page Status Updates – Does Promoting Work?

    1. @Jay: Thanks for sharing your personal experience. That's exactly what I saw after the latest EMD update. Most sites that could be called great didn't suffer (some of them did), and the ones that only had placeholder content were doomed.

    1. @Andi: "Network, network and then network some more" could be how internet marketing and SEO would really start working in future. A great CRM system to keep the customers happy and a great outreach system to maintain blogger relations would soon become a key to success on the internet.

      The only risk we run here is Google changing rules of the game suddenly. If you play a fair game, the rule changes shouldn't affect you much.

  4. A great interview, I had never heard of getlinkspro so I shall be popping over to take a look. As for the interview, great info, exact matched domains are safe as long as they continue to grow like an authority site. The thin google Sniper style sites will probably suffer which is not a bad thing.

    Sites with great content will be rewarded and rightly so. I love the analogy about not needing to out run the Lion, I think I might tweet that as a quote, as well as this post 🙂

    My recent post Google AdSense or Private Advertising: Which is Best?

    1. @SI: Thanks for the kind words. I would be happy to hear from you (no you don't need to buy anything 😉 ).

      I find myself spending more and more time with my content team (of course recruitment still takes lion's share). I am glad you like the analogy. Lol.

  5. I pretty much delete every email I get from people looking to guest post these days. So many people pushing 500 word garbage articles it isn't worth the time anymore. Easier to just write something good yourself.

    The sad thing about this whole thing is Google keeps trying and yet their results aren't getting any better. They get rid of some emd/mfa's but they don't replace the results with anything better, just the irrelevant stuff that used to be on page two.

    1. @Tyler: It's a pity that in order to make a fast buck people are taking shortcuts even with guest posts. I remember writing this for Zac's other blog way back in April. It highlights the point you are trying to make –

      True, I think the latest updates were rather hopeless but I am assuming that they were steps in the right direction for Google.

    1. @Travis: I don't have enough data to say if small sites (even if they were useful) were punished. But I am inclined to think that an 'algorithm' might treat them as 'thin sites' and may push them down in rankings.

      I guess making more comprehensive sites that provide regular updates etc. is what Google is looking for. No more 'passive income' for a lot us 🙂

  6. Really nice post on SEO. I have to agree about guest posting, it still has to be the best way to both connect with other bloggers and get a link on a high PR blog

    1. @John: Guest posting done the right way should benefit the blogger as well as the author writing the post. A lot of 'guest authors' forget about blogger's benefits and try to pass on mediocre content for guest posts.

  7. I think the main thing that needs to be considered is quality. I have a EMD that didn't get touched and I have some that did. The link building methods were what seemed to be targeted, especially the mass blasting for backlinks. I am now striving to provide quality content for users and build brands.
    My recent post 5 News Article Considerations From Siege Commissions

    1. @Steve: Thanks for confirming my findings. Building 'a big brand' is something that may not possible for small businesses, but bloggers definitely have a good shot at it and must try to establish themselves as an expert in the field.

  8. Guest post is probably the best way to get a high-quality one-way backlink to your website. And yes, this way you connect with other people interested in your own niche while getting a very valuable link to your website for free.
    My recent post What Can I Do to Earn Money

    1. @Edward: Once you are connected to one blogger via guest posts, you can potentially connect to all their readers and social connections if you continue to 'talk' to the blogger.

      Next time you have a link-bait going up on the site or you are announcing the contest, a quick email to these bloggers would be enough to get them to tweet / post about your link-bait / contest.

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