SEO is ever changing. And a lot of it is (very educated) guesswork and experimentation. It is also about trying to make sense of the little information that Google does share, because much of this can be both confusing and conflicting.
When I make this kind of statement though, usually people who don’t work in SEO have a hard time believing me. It can’t be that complicated and changeable. But it is. And today I wanted to share a good example with you that illustrates this. For those in SEO, I hope it is interesting. For those who are not, I hope it illustrates just how tough SEO REALLY is.
The Asking for Links Conundrum
Links are a very important part of any SEO strategy for all websites. However, it can be a pretty grey area for site owners to request links, especially when those links are in exchange for something else, such as content or money. And mostly, those are clearly a violation of Google’s Webmaster guidelines.
Several months ago, Google’s Search Liaison Danny Sullivan, who used to be an SEO himself, was asked about link building through content published on other sites, which most SEOs have long considered a very grey area. According to Sullivan, there’s still plenty of room to request links without having any negative implications from Google. In the past John Mueller and Gary Illyes from Google have often said, if you’re when you’re asking for a link, that probably isn’t a natural link and could be a webmaster guidelines violation. But, according to Sullivan, asking for a link is fine. Confused yet?
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links;; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
In a nutshell, the exchange raises more questions than it answers for many SEOs. And suddenly, guest blogging, especially if you call it syndication, seems be back on the menu. Or maybe not. Like many SEOs, when an issue is as murky as this one, I tend to experiment with my own sites rather than risk a client’s, so our research into this issue is still ongoing.