How NOT to Do Blog Outreach to Avoid Unnatural Link Profile Penalties

How to Increase the Domain Authority of your site

Click image to see full infographic with tips to increase your DA

Many bloggers make a living writing, publishing or placing content. What they don’t know can end up hurting them, their clients, and their collaborators who own sites.

Learn how to SAFELY place content and increase your Domain Authority.

Far too many “SEOs” focus on cheap instead of on quality. Many businesses rely on those they hire who may or may not actually know what they’re doing. That is why so many are wasting hundreds of hours removing even quality links.

Most bloggers are not SEOs. An SEO analyzes link profiles,
provides strategies, and may acquire or advise on acquiring links.

Often those of us who understand quality content are believed by others to be SEOs (as is obvious by all the SEO endorsements my LinkedIn profile garners. That doesn’t make me an SEO.

I don’t spend my time analyzing link profiles for clients – or even for myself. I create strategies for clients and write content that contains recommendations others can apply.

If you need an SEO hire someone like Bill Hartzer, or Aaron Wall, or Rand Fishkin. (If you have hired a link builder in the past, or have been penalized by Google, you probably need to hire someone who can figure out why your link profile is unnatural.)

How NOT to Do Blog Outreach

What bloggers and content marketers need to know is what NOT to do. And the first rule is do not build unnatural link profiles. This image is the best way to understand why what many are doing is going to burn all involved:

Natural graph vs unnatural link profile

An obviously unnatural link profile caused by only publishing on DA30+ sites.

That image is from Qualifying Guest Posting Opportunities to Avoid Google’s Wrath and also appeared in James Finlayson’s post How Guest Bloggers are Sleepwalking Their Way into Penalties.

What this tells us is that even though we might think we only want high authority links that would be a very bad idea. When you place content, focus on reaching the audience that business or site wants to reach, i.e., potential buyers.

When choosing a site, put relevancy above authority.

Do not avoid the perfect site because they are new and their domain authority (DA) is lower than you prefer. If they have the buyers you want, publish there anyway.

Never put content on a high DA site that is not related
to what you are linking to or writing about.

If a site has a huge audience and high DA, but they nofollow all links that does NOT mean they should be avoided.You need a mix of both dofollow and nofollow links and both newer, less authoritative (but relevant) and higher authority sites.

Sites that refuse to link to anything are not as clear cut. Because readers are lazy and often will click but not copy/paste or search you will have to leave it to your client to decide whether publishing on a site that has banned all links is worthwhile or not.

Keyword Not Provided

Everyone loses with Google’s secure search – except Google. That post explains how this change affects users, websites and Google. Inbound Mastery published my Roundup of the Best Keyword Not Provided Solutions.

Basic SEO for Writers

Bloggers do need the basics on how to do keyword research and how to write content that is useful and as safe as possible for those publishing it. Here are some posts worth saving:

Bloggers should start learning at least the basics of SEO. That starts with installing tools like the SEOBook Toolbar, the SEOMoz Toolbar for Firefox (I use both) or Chrome browser extensions. This post lists the top Google Chrome browser extensions for SEO link building.

Stop Using PageRank

Because PR hasn’t been updated since February 2013, if you look at mR (MozRank) and DA (domain authority) you will see many sites whose PR is much lower than their mR or DA.

The problem you then have is wondering whether they’ve just improved their authority or they are under some penalty from Google. If it is a fairly new site and is PR0 or n/a that may just mean it never got visible PR. But if it is an older site it may be penalized.

So then the question is if that site is influential and speaks to your target audience is it safe to publish on it? That is a question we would have to ask an SEO like Michael Gray. His site is PR0 DA68.

What to Use Instead of PR

Most are using DA because it is widely available and free. Serious SEOs and those most worried are probably using domain trust metrics – either mozTrust or MajesticSEO’s Flow Metrics including Trust Flow.

Use Open Site Explorer to see some of these metrics. To see the trust metrics requires a subscription or paid versions of these tools. If you need advise on the best way to create custom content, read Custom Content Creation.

So what do YOU do when a site has low or no PR and high DA?
Safe or not? What does your SEO advise?

Tell us in the comments.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.