Guest posts is expensive and transparency can be minimal. So, here are some tips to help you root out some of the trickery and subterfuge and help you ensure you’re getting value for your money.
All of the below should be used in conjunction with each other. No single element signifies a good or bad site.
Obviously SEO tools have their issues and can be spammed to produce inflated metrics. However, checking DA, DR and TF/CF ratios and ensuring there are no outliers is a quick and easy start. For example, if a site has a DA60, DR10 and a TF of 1 – chances are it’s been spammed. I recommend the SerpWorx chrome plug-in, which quickly shows an array of metrics and allows you to do this efficiently and quickly. Ensure these metrics correspond to one another as to look logical and realistic.
Check the traffic – be alert for any large fluxes or downward trends. Some can be explained, but use discretion if there seemingly are issues. Big drops can signify algo penalties and other problems.
Traffic value can also be a good gauge. It’s very easy to spam a site to rank for useless keywords such as queries for logins for tools or streaming services for example. This is done to make traffic look more impressive than it truly is. However, traffic of this vein is style over substance and is worth little to nothing in terms of real monetary value. Traffic value can be a quick easy way to gauge if a site that has high traffic is legitimate.
Check the keyword bringing in the most traffic – is the site a one page pony or is there a variety of pages ranking for a variety of keywords? Is it some weird worthless keyword?
Abnormally fast rises in traffic can also be a flag – sometimes it’s fine but often can signify spammy AI content or some weird link scheme or a simply a site built simply to accept guest posts.
Check the sites the site is linking to in AHrefs and take a look at the number of outbound links (OBLs). If this is high, be cautious.
If the OBLs seem fishy, you can also enter terms like “payday loans”, “CBD” in the search bar in this OBL area to see if the site links out to greyer niches – placing a link on a site with a lot of these bad neighbourhood links isn’t ideal.
The geography of the traffic is also worth paying attention to – USA, UK, Australian traffic etc, tends to be harder to attain.
A quick check of the top domains linking to the site by filtering DR can also help you unearth how worthwhile the site is to acquire a link from. If the site has a number of tier 1 media links or industry blogs linking to it then that’s positive.
Conversely, if it’s 100 weird links from Google.com via spam then that’s not so good and a sign the site is spammed.
The Site Itself
Does the site have “write for us” or “sponsored post” etc in the header bar or in a page in the footer – quite self explanatory.
Style matters to a point. Some sites offer great links but look awful from a design standpoint. However, check the site layout to see if it’s a PBN or looks a bit dodgy – air con articles beside articles about casinos. In the vast majority of cases, if it smells fishy, it’s fishy. The inverse can also be the case, but it’s less likely to be.
There are obviously lots of other ways to evaluate this but these are some we use.
What do you look for when evaluating a site?