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Post-Penguin Linking From Publisher's Perspective


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#1 EGOL

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 01:54 PM

I have an information site with lots of articles. Most of the articles were produced in-house but over the years we have received a lot of great content from volunteer authors. These folks were not offering articles to obtain links, they were simply sharing information about a subject that they enjoy with the visitors of a high traffic website. They are the same kind of folks who write great Wikipedia articles.

These articles have a short author bio at the bottom of the article. A link to the author's website is usually included. Links to author sites never appear within the articles.

Since Penguin, I am getting a flood of article offers. Most of this content is crap. Some of it is "average" quality (which I don't publish). Some can be excellent, unique, highly desirable. So now I am deciding if I want to accept some of this content, knowing that I could be publishing links to sites that could have past, present or future manipulation.

I have a potential article that I really like and that would be very popular with my visitors. The author's site ranks #1 in a difficult niche and they don't have enough content on their site to hold that position from editorial links (IMO).

I have not seen any articles or discussion about the cautions that a publisher should be following in these days of post-penguin linking.

I think that a guest author should have a link so readers can go to his/her site and read more. I don't want to start using nofollow on links. I think that that is BS.

Do you have any thoughts on this or know of any articles/discussions?

Thanks!

Edited by EGOL, 30 August 2012 - 01:57 PM.


#2 bwelford

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 03:57 PM

I invite guest bloggers to write articles on my various blogs. I also participate in the guest blogging site that Ann Smarty has created, MyBlogGuest.

I have stringent rules on the quality I accept and I do reject any that do not meet these criteria. In some cases the first message a potential guest blogger sends me is sufficient to send them an immediate refusal based on typos and grammar.

I allow a single link in the author bio but it must be directly to the author's website or profile. I do not allow keyword link text to that site although I am a little lenient if there is no apparent ranking influence.

Like you, Egol, I think the whole Google-created mess and its attempt to use nofollow as a corrective is ludicrous. So all links are left unadorned. That also goes for the URLs of people who comment on my blogs.

#3 jonbey

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 04:44 PM

I think it is still safe enough to have links in author boxes, but just request that they are brand links, e.g. "Jon is the founder of Essex Portal blah blah blah" is fine (IMO) but not "Jon's blog about the best turnips in Essex" is possibly risking it a bit.

There is a discussion on the MyBlogGuest.com forums about this.

Also, ideally the article is relevant to the website, e.g. they are not just writing about cars because your site is about cars, but then linking to their turnip shop.

I guess another way of rated the content, is rate the author - are they really an authority on that topic? Or are they just knocking up 500 words from an SEO perspective?

#4 EGOL

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:24 PM

I have stringent rules on the quality I accept and I do reject any that do not meet these criteria. In some cases the first message a potential guest blogger sends me is sufficient to send them an immediate refusal based on typos and grammar.

Thank you, Barry. I enjoyed this answer. Do you reply to these people to tell them that their message had too many typos? :)

"Jon's blog about the best turnips in Essex" is possibly risking it a bit.... but then linking to their turnip shop.

Jon... people in the UK must eat lots of turnips?

#5 jonbey

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:31 PM

I never liked "widgets". We should start an SEO revolution and talk about turnips instead of widgets.

Turnip SEO is the future!

#6 EGOL

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:33 PM

Turnip SEO is the future!

You better register the domain fast!

#7 bwelford

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:17 PM

Do you reply to these people to tell them that their message had too many typos? :)

I have standard template replies to potential guest bloggers and for those I turn down. The rejection one does indicate that one of the reasons for turning someone down is that we do not have time to do edits for typos and grammar mistakes. I don't pin down the exact reason in their case.

#8 bwelford

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:27 PM

Re jonbey's suggestion, I am not sure that I buy into turnip SEO. It is too short and snappy like those names for Google algorithm changes. I much prefer that other root vegetable, mangelwurzel. I am sure that would have a wider appeal.

For those who have not run across any mangelwurzels, Wikipedia has the following entry:

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Mangelwurzel

The mangelwurzel has a history in England of being used for sport (mangold hurling[4]), for celebration, for animal fodder and for the brewing of a potent alcoholic beverage.

A mangelwurzel hurling championship was revived in the north Wiltshire village of Sherston on October 7, 2006. Teams of three hurled mangelwurzels in turn, aiming to be the closest to a large leafless mangelwurzel known as 'the Norman'.



#9 jonbey

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 02:24 AM

It was such a popular sport back in the day that after one particulate exciting season we realised that all the mangelwurzels had been hurled too far, never to be seen again. Same thing happened in 2006 I think. Maybe in a few hundred years someone will find one again.

#10 glyn

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:31 AM

Hey Egol,
"I have not seen any articles or discussion about the cautions that a publisher should be following in these days of post-penguin linking."

Here's what I would do:

1. Whatever article it is make sure that it is unique first by doing a few exact text searches. Get them to fax over a something signed to say the content as well as the supplied author biography is unique and has not been published anywhere. This is case you get a DCMA req for the content, and mitigates risk assosicated with a same text content block appearing on other websites (which the provider might also be servicing).
2. If you post it, ping it immediately so that your website is the authority source for the content.
3. Tell the writer that if variations of the blog post are found elsewhere that all links are automatically no-followed (cite some internal systems you have).
4. I would allow keywords in the anchor text because it will make little difference. All this anchor link diversity is really for black-hatters and automated robots.

Hope that helps.

#11 EGOL

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:04 PM

Glyn,

That is a great list of ideas. Thanks!

The idea about getting a statement that they are the original source of the content. I can easily see how publishing other people's content could result in a DCMA problem. Great idea.

Thanks again.

#12 tam

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:50 PM

Mangelwurzels creep me out, Worzle Gummidge gave me nightmares as a kid :lol:

#13 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:29 AM

Egol- what I have started doing is to offer a link to the author's Google+ account, without a nofollow tag. This is safe for me, and in reality, often offers them more benefit than a link directly to their site.
Another (much less preferable for them) alternative would be a link to their Gravatar or Disqus profile,

#14 bwelford

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:36 AM

... a link to the author's Google+ account, without a nofollow tag. This is safe for me, and in reality, often offers them more benefit than a link directly to their site.

Hi Doc,
I'm not sure I see the benefit to them. It's very unlikely that any reader would go there and it clearly does nothing for their website in PageRank terms.

#15 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 12:17 PM

Hi Doc,
I'm not sure I see the benefit to them. It's very unlikely that any reader would go there and it clearly does nothing for their website in PageRank terms.


Hi, Barry-

The benefits are primarily in exposure and branding, IMO. If they make wise use of their G+ profile, they will have a number of their social media profiles, sites upon which they have been published, their own site(s) and various means with which a person can communicate with them, if so desired.

I disagree that readers are unlikely to click through to a G+ account. I think a reader is just as likely, if not more so, to go there if they want to learn more about them, as they are to visit their site. Many G+ users have more information there, than they do on their own site.

Additionally, by implementation of the rel=author attribute, they'll get attribution for the post, and will be more prominently displayed in the SERPs.

As for link juice, I don't know that there's really any signicant benefit there. G+ OBLs aren't nofollow, but there may not be any flow there.

Edited by Doc Sheldon, 01 September 2012 - 12:17 PM.


#16 bwelford

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:00 PM

Additionally, by implementation of the rel=author attribute, they'll get attribution for the post,

I can see some of the benefits you are mentioning, Doc. However I thought it was the owner of the web page who would be targeted by the rel=author tag. Perhaps I am missing something. How do you ensure the web page is seen as one belonging to the article author.

#17 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:09 PM

I can see some of the benefits you are mentioning, Doc. However I thought it was the owner of the web page who would be targeted by the rel=author tag. Perhaps I am missing something. How do you ensure the web page is seen as one belonging to the article author.


For a single author site, you use rel=author and rel=me to make the cross-reference between the site and G+. For multi-author sites, you instead use rel=author, rel=me and rel=publisher. That way, the posts for each individual author are connected to their own G+ accounts and the site is identified as the publisher.

#18 EGOL

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:13 PM

Egol- what I have started doing is to offer a link to the author's Google+ account, without a nofollow tag. This is safe for me, and in reality, often offers them more benefit than a link directly to their site.Another (much less preferable for them) alternative would be a link to their Gravatar or Disqus profile,

Thanks for the idea Doc. I am glad those are working for you. Of the people who have contributed an article for my site in the past, maybe one out of ten has anything on Google+.... but most of them have really good websites.

#19 bwelford

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:14 PM

Thanks, Doc. I haven't been treating my blogs as multi-author although I do insert posts from guest bloggers. I guess there's no easy way for me to use this publisher/author approach. :(

#20 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:23 PM

Thanks, Doc. I haven't been treating my blogs as multi-author although I do insert posts from guest bloggers. I guess there's no easy way for me to use this publisher/author approach. :(


It really isn't that complicated at all, Barry. I initially struggled with getting even the simpler single-author attribution to work, but then I stumbled across a guide from AJ Kohn that explained it very well and cleared up the mist. :( Let me find a link to that and I'll post it here

#21 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:38 PM

Barry, here are a couple of posts from Adrien on the implementation:

http://www.blindfive...ment-rel-author
http://www.blindfive...google-plus-seo

That second one is quite long, but deals more with the multi-author setup than the first one. Just search on the page for the section entitled Rel=”Publisher”

Try it out... I think you'll be pleased. Just be aware that you won't see it show in the SERPs until your site has been re-crawled.

Good luck!

#22 clandestino

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:24 PM

I never liked "widgets". We should start an SEO revolution and talk about turnips instead of widgets.

Turnip SEO is the future!

Beets too! I had a computer science professor that always used to write program examples based on beets :D .

#23 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for the idea Doc. I am glad those are working for you. Of the people who have contributed an article for my site in the past, maybe one out of ten has anything on Google+.... but most of them have really good websites.


As a social platform, I have to admit, Google hasn't impressed me. But as a portal (more like the hub) to the social graph, I think it's dynamite. I've found it a very effective method of branding, but to be fair, I haven't really given it a fair chance in terms of engagement.

Too many platforms, too little time! :lol:

#24 clandestino

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:50 PM

Hi Doc,

Good info.

Perhaps this is the link you mentioned? -- How To Implement Rel=Author // AJ Kohn // July 01st 2011 // SEO --> http://www.blindfive...ment-rel-author

#25 glyn

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:55 PM

Can't even read this blog on my htc, how crap is that. Colukn is shifted left

#26 clandestino

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:02 PM

Hi everyone,

Let me ask a dumb question here (I've got a million of 'em :dazed: ) --

I read somewhere that quality of comments on a blog are a Panda or Penguin or Turnips factor (according to best guesses to date). Is this a similar issue?

Should we no-follow all comments?

Should we not allow comments at all?

Should we hold all comments in moderation until google's latest FUD attack is over? :kill_spam:

I have 129,000 comments on my blog in the last 3 months. Many of the comments are obvious spam. Of the remainder, do I have to research their company before I allow the comments?

Isn't this an awful lot of work for no clear benefit to me? :saywhat:

Maybe this is too much working for Google for free ..... ? :wooly-jumper:

Ooooops...that was more than one question. I warned you that I have a million of 'em.

Edited by chuckfinley, 01 September 2012 - 04:40 PM.


#27 clandestino

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:22 PM

Hi Doc,
I'm not sure I see the benefit to them. It's very unlikely that any reader would go there and it clearly does nothing for their website in PageRank terms.

Maybe this is another google attempt to manipulate behavior. Perhaps g would like us to move away from blogs that have created infinite spam problems for g and would like to push us to g+ .

I think the point about the blogs may very well be true. I think a shift to g+ because of it are coincidental, but coincidence may become google policy. Note: There are many strong marketing reasons to do what Doc suggests too, it's not all google pushing a new product.

At any rate, google shouldn't take away the ability to reward sites, with a followed link, for creating excellent content -- if quality content is what they are after. Much more of this is going to seriously degrade the quality of content google is able to serve up and users will ultimately go elsewhere because of it.

A metric that rewards publishers would go a long way to ensuring quality content for google to serve up. Seems google is working against itself right now --> http://www.cre8asite...l=&fromsearch=1

Edited by chuckfinley, 01 September 2012 - 04:34 PM.


#28 EGOL

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 07:10 PM

Perhaps g would like us to move away from blogs that have created infinite spam problems for g and would like to push us to g+ .

lol.... If they are worried about that then the should just close blogger/blogspot.... they are giving free hosting to half of the spam on the web and monetizing the spammers with adsense.....

*added*.... oh... I forgot about all of the spam on sites.google.com ... tons of retail and affiliate spam gunning for longtail keywords.

I think that the panda should be biting their own donkey..... a$$ and the PR should be cut to 2.

Edited by EGOL, 01 September 2012 - 07:13 PM.


#29 tam

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 07:51 PM

I wouldn't hesitate to link to an authors website, providing it was a good unique article that they had written (which it should be or I wouldn't put it up) and the website was one that someone reading the article would be interested in reading, or contained info about the author. Surely, that's half of what the web is about - interlinking stuff. It will end up at the point everyone's scared to link out to anyone else.

#30 EGOL

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 07:54 PM

Thanks tam, that makes sense. :)

#31 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:56 PM

Hi, Tam-
Actually, with all the attention that Penguin has garnered, I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more conscientious site owners going to nofollow on comments and signatures. CommentLuv, for instance, a WP plugin that facilitates followed topical links for comments, has apparently been experiencing some soft sales numbers. People are gradually becoming more nervous about the nature of the site on the other end of their link.

For instance, suppose someone submits a guest post to you, and you check out their site, and find it interesting and safe, so decide to allow them a link in their author profile. Provided you were willing and able to afford the time to do that, it used to be safe.

But what if that person has a subdomain where they sell offshore pharmaceuticals or porn? A subdomain used to be seen as a separate entity, in that regard, as well as for PageRank and ranking purposes. No more... that barrier has been removed. Suddenly, the link you allowed to a cute little handicraft blog has become a link to a porn site.

I get quite a few guest blog requests and I turn the vast majority of them down. If the quality is good enough, I'll offer them a nofollow link. Only if it's someone I "know" do they get a pass on that. As for comments, I'm in the process of reworking all my sites to nofollow by default.

Edited by Doc Sheldon, 01 September 2012 - 11:57 PM.


#32 glyn

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:09 AM

Doc you make sense but I think you are being too paranoid and the of a guest post is a lunk. You could periodically audit lunked domains using a boolean search in google.

#33 bwelford

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 08:22 AM

Thanks for your insightful comments here, Doc, and for the links. You may well be right about this issue but I am with Glyn on this one.

By the way, Glyn, what exactly is lunk in this context. The only definition I could find is an awkward, heavy, or stupid person.

#34 tam

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 10:16 AM

But what if that person has a subdomain where they sell offshore pharmaceuticals or porn? A subdomain used to be seen as a separate entity, in that regard, as well as for PageRank and ranking purposes. No more... that barrier has been removed. Suddenly, the link you allowed to a cute little handicraft blog has become a link to a porn site.


So, they've written an insightful guest post on flower arranging, have a blog going back a couple of years all about their handcrafting work, and run a porn site on a subdomain? I suppose it's possible, there is also the risk they are planning to subvert my visitors with hidden subconscious messages in their post on flower arranging. On whole, I don't think it's too common so I'd risk it - maybe I get one link loosely associated with somewhere bad but I very much doubt amongst all the good ones it makes any difference.

I expect most sites are only a couple of steps removed from somewhere bad - if you can link the entire population with six degrees of separation, I bet you can get to a porn site in half that. If google actually works like that everyone would be equally screwed, and therefore it would have no impact at all.

Blog comments are a different kettle of fish, I'd be more inclined to nofollow them as default as they are more subject to spam and time consuming to check. I don't nofollow sig links on my big forum though, it's pretty easy to spot spammy people and remove them and I have a team of mods to help out.

#35 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 10:29 AM

I agree, Tam... the chances are probably slight. I'm just pointing out the possibility. The only point I'd disagree with is that one link to a bad neighborhood presents little risk. Google is pretty tough in that regard.

I just had a client a couple of months ago that had her WP site hacked. The hackers set up a subdomain (880 pages of graphic porn) that she never knew about until I spotted it in my audit. Such clandestine hijacks have become a favorite method of hackers, apparently.

I think your strategy is probably a good one. Comments are the area of highest risk.

#36 tam

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 01:22 PM

I'd agree if it was a link or multiple links directly to a 'bad' site, but it's one link to a good site, which might link on or have a tenuous association to a bad site. I'm not an expert/done studies though - these are just my feelings/what I'd do with my own sites. I've never (touch wood) had any trouble with the google updates.

Did those linking to your client' site experience ranking drops after the sub domain was created?

#37 clandestino

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 04:48 PM

lol.... If they are worried about that then the should just close blogger/blogspot.... they are giving free hosting to half of the spam on the web and monetizing the spammers with adsense.....

*added*.... oh... I forgot about all of the spam on sites.google.com ... tons of retail and affiliate spam gunning for longtail keywords.

I think that the panda should be biting their own donkey..... a$$ and the PR should be cut to 2.

So true. But being hypocritical has never stopped google from burning sites before. I believe they operate on the policy of "Do As I Say, Not As I Do."

Hmmmm....you bring up a good point, google likely wouldn't shoot themselves in the foot to remove spam blogs from the index.

#38 clandestino

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 05:06 PM

This link checking tool for bad neighborhoods works pretty well --> http://www.bad-neigh...t-link-tool.htm

I can usually still find links from bad neighborhoods using advanced search operators, though. These will flush out most of it --

Linkfromdomain:seomoz.org porn xxx sex casino

Linkfromdomain: seomoz.org pharma

Linkfromdomain: seomoz.org viagra cialis

Linkfromdomain: seomoz.org viagra

Linkfromdomain: seomoz.org gambling adult

Check some of those searches, you'll find it interesting.

Do we think it's O.K. to link from our blog to our own sub-pages using appropriate anchor text?

Edited by chuckfinley, 02 September 2012 - 05:08 PM.


#39 EGOL

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 06:08 PM

Thanks for sharing the bad neighborhood tool. I didn't know about that site.

#40 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:02 PM

My best buddy made that tool. :)



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