The Decline of Guest Blogging for SEO Linkbuilding

black-hat-seoThe SEO landscape continues to shift, making it harder and harder for those that are using unearned tactics to appear within the search results listings. In an age when content is king, Google’s Matt Cutts announced in January the decay and fall of using guest blogging for SEO.

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.” – Matt Cutts January 20, 2014

Guest blogging at one time was a great way to gain links, promote content and your brand. As more and more SEO marketers were hungry for places to post content, blog and site owners saw an opportunity to capitalize. They started accepting payments for content placement. This content in most cases had keyword seeded anchor text and links pointing to pages to help increase page authority, which would then increase rank.

Websites like Search Engine Leaks – have been outing services that engage in the tactics of content placement for payment. So how do you promote content now?mattcutts-final

Guest blogging when done correctly is still appropriate to use. If the guest blogger is trusted and known in the eyes of Google then the likelihood of being penalized is greatly decreased. Google’s authorship is one way to gain that trust. The other way is to not have your guest post links pass along page rank. If you “no follow” your links when citing and referencing from your post you are still within Google’s guidelines.

In 2014 let your content speak for itself, if worthy and valuable, others will naturally promote it and share.


Why Your Business Should Be on Pinterest

Pinterest the fastest growing social media site — is quickly becoming a key component of smart businesses’ social media strategies. According to Experian Hitwise, Pinterest is currently the third largest social network in the United States, right on the heels of Facebook and Twitter, and surpassing LinkedIn.

If you aren’t using Pinterest yet for your company, aren’t convinced of its enormous impact, or just want to know how to get started, we’ve got the perfect webinar for you.

Tune into our free, pre-recorded Pinterest Social Media Strategy Webcast, and learn:

  • What Pinterest is, and how businesses like yours are successfully using it
  • How to get started on Pinterest
  • How to easily drive traffic from your Pinterest account to your website or other social sites
  • How Pinterest can increase sales and lead conversions
  • Which B2B and B2C companies dominate the Pinterest space
  • The huge potential ROI of Pinterest

This webcast covers Pinterest business strategy, success stories, and how to get started — all in a recorded webcast you can view at your leisure.

Watch the free webcast now, and find out how companies like General Electric and HubSpot are already successfully building their business and brand using Pinterest. Also, don’t forget to follow our Nowspeed Pinterest account!

How to Build a Winning SEO Strategy: Importance of Establishing SEO Goals

This is Part of our Blog Series: How to Build a Winning SEO Strategy. Previously, we covered: What is SEO? 

The first step of establishing an effective SEO plan is to define your SEO goals. Are you interested in the visibility of certain keywords for their own sake, better branding, or more leads? Define your goals, and then make sure that you focus on those goals and track the results of your activity.

Most of our clients think about SEO as an important tool to help them become more visible on the search engines SO THAT they get more traffic to their website, SO THAT they get more leads or new business. Remember that in order for the last thing to happen, your website needs to be set up to catch and convert the leads which requires a good design, architecture and a strong call to action. All keywords, of course, are not created equal. It will be much easier to rank #1 on your company name than for a keyword like “financial advisors Boston,” or “financial advisors.” Not only do more general keywords have more traffic, they are also much more competitive, which makes it more challenging to rank well on general terms. If you are successful getting on the first page of the search engine results of a keyword with high traffic, it can make a big difference for your business. If you are successful in being visible on a keyword with little or no traffic, you might not even be noticed.

Remember that your end goal is not just search engine visibility, but traffic and ultimately sales or leads, so choose your keywords carefully. If you end up ranking on a keyword that is not relevant to your business, you may increase traffic to your website, but you may also increase the bounce rate from your website, since people clicking from that keyword will leave seconds after they arrive.

Establishing goals is the first step to SEO success. To learn additional techniques to rank better on search engines, please download our white paper, How to Build a Winning SEO Strategy.

Massive Branding at Very Low Cost

I have to admit that I’m a little bit jealous of marketing firms that get “Branding” assignments.  In these engagements, the goal is to drive a lot of impressions within the target audience, but the programs are notoriously  difficult to measure, so it’s very hard to hold the agency that developed the program accountable for the results.  Since we live and die on results every day, that has a certain appeal.   It’s a little like how a sales rep with a quota longs for a “staff job”.

Anyway, one of our B2C clients wanted to do a campaign on MySpace.  We do a lot of Google Adwords lead generation for this client, and they wanted to test MySpace to see if it would be productive for them.  MySpace quoted $25,000 for a entry level campaign.  While this is not a lot for a branding banner ad program, our client didn’t want to risk this large an amount without testing it first. 

Instead of going to MySpace directly, we used  Google site targeting to drive impressions on MySpace using their existing Adwords program.  In one month, we were able to drive 6,908,458 impressions at a cost of $104.  What would they have paid for 7 million impressions in any other media? A lot!  The program also drove about 276 clicks, but no leads so far.  What’s the value?  If you’re solely focused on leads, then the value is $0.  If you value branding, the its massive.  What’s your take?