I recently read Rhys Wynne’s interpretation of John Mueller’s comment that it’s better to add content on your own site than to add it elsewhere. I disagree strongly that this is the right reading of John’s comment. There are numerous other readings of it:
- A bunch of links to a thin site (e.g. without valuable content) doesn’t make that site a positive user experience. So don’t guest post at the expense/neglect of your own site.
- Google is getting better at detecting quality content (and presumably differentiating it from junk).
- More in depth sites are favoured for now.
You can probably come up with your own. In any event, it’s clear that this is a whitehat tactic, and Google’s John Mueller was just pointing out that new sites need good content.
Bottom line: When a well-intentioned but perhaps sensational SEO bloggers says something, don’t take it for granted – check the source yourself. It turns out that the following [conveniently ignored] quotations were also part of the interview:
“Q 12. What’s your take on articles submission websites? I do a lot of article marketing & distribution for my clients. These are original articles written and distributed through sites like eZineArticles and iSnare. Obviously besides the exposure my clients get as experts, I am also looking at the SEO benefit of earning backlinks from these posts. How do you treat multiple copies of the same article spread over different sites?
“John Mueller: As mentioned in an earlier question, it generally makes much more sense to create great content for your own site, instead of giving it to a large number of other sites to publish.
“Personally, I would recommend not looking at it with regard to the links; think about how users will view the content and the people who created it. Having high-quality content on your own site will make it stand out much more than if that content is posted all over the web. If the content is unique and compelling, it will generally attract links naturally over time.”
Furthermore, there’s this goodie:
“Q 23. I know that inbound links will help my site’s ranking in Google search results but is that true for outbound links as well? I always link to quality websites from my articles where my visitors can read more about that topic but do these outbound links aid search rankings as well?
“Kaspar Szymanski: No, they don’t contribute directly towards your site’s rankings; however they add value for your readership and they contribute to the community, so feel free to continue this good practice. On the other hand, being selective and preferring quality sites to link to might help in how Google perceives your site.”
Linking out is a good practice for users, so long as the links go to quality sites. If their content is good enough for your site, doesn’t that make their site good enough for a link?
I note also that question 11, which Rhys cites to support his view, is in reference to new sites. This supports my reading about not sending visitors to thin sites:
“Q 11. I have launched a new blog and it obviously won’t rank in Google because none of the reputable blogs are currently linking to it. Therefore, I am actively writing guest posts on other blogs as that gives me a chance to get a link from them. Is Google fine with guest blogging and do links ‘earned’ from writing guest blogs matter?
“John Mueller: Making and promoting a new site takes time and effort. In general I would recommend putting that work into your own site, instead of creating content for other people’s sites.
“It’s much better to create great content for your blog and to let other sites refer visitors to your site on their own. Good luck!”
@Rhys: you’re a bright fellow who I’m sure is already having plenty of success and will see more in the future – no need to get a little extra attention at the risk of misleading a LOT of folks.
“Proving to be a huge traffic source actually. Sent me around 100 visitors already today.
Ironcially they don’t do pingbacks, but must’ve got about 50 or 60 scraped links from it O_o ” – [Rhys’ comment on Problogger.com]