Despite not being a fan of clickbait, I’ll happily admit my hypocrisy given that this post has the clickbaitiest title in history – so before you break out your pitchforks, I’ll do you a deal: here’s a quick TL;DR summary so you can determine if you wanna read on or be on your merry way…
TL;DR: If you’re doing a content audit on a site that’s had guest content published on it, and you decide to remove some of that content, let the original author know if they want to re-publish it on their own site (along with a link to the ‘original’ source).
A few years ago, I wrote a guest post for Point Blank SEO, a site/blog run by veteran link builder Jon Cooper (@joncooperseo). The post was titled “Communitybait – Taking Egobait One Step Further” in which I coined the term communitybait and shared examples of what that was. The post is no longer live (I’ll get to that), but thanks to the Wayback Machine, it can still be read here: https://web.archive.org/web/20161005194750/http://pointblankseo.com/communitybait
Sometime between then and now, Jon must’ve sold the site/domain to Brian Dean (@backlinko), who’s also a veteran link builder. So I was surprised to see Brian miss a link building-oriented trick…
You see, if you go to the original link (http://pointblankseo.com/communitybait), you get taken to https://backlinko.com/blog, suggesting that Brian now owns the domain and has redirected most of its URLs to his blog’s main landing page (proven by the fact that if I type anything after the PBSEO domain – e.g. http://pointblankseo.com/steviephilrockslol – it redirects to https://backlinko.com/blog). I say “most” because Jon’s hugely popular Link Building Strategies post redirects differently (http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies goes to https://backlinko.com/link-building-strategies), and the homepage of PBSEO goes to the homepage of Backlinko, so it’s not a blanket redirect rule and some URLs have been customised on an individual level.
Despite the redirect’s behaviour, I wondered if maybe my post lived on and perhaps wasn’t redirected properly – but if I do a site: search for "site:backlinko.com communitybait OR "steve morgan"" there’s 0 results, suggesting that the content didn’t get passed on when the site’s content was audited. 😢💔
And you know what? That’s fine. He owns the domain now, he can do whatever he wants with it. But it sucks to have found out the hard way that my content got cut. If Brian had let me know, I would’ve happily re-published it on my own blog and linked to PBSEO/Backlinko as a way of accrediting the original source (given that it was a guest post) and as a way of saying thanks.
That got me thinking… How many other guest authors wrote for Point Blank SEO before it was sold? How many other guest authors’ posts might’ve been cut in the same way? If there were 10 guest posts, that could be up to 10 instances of authors who might’ve re-published their posts – and therefore in link building terms, up to 10 inbound links from 10 linking root domains.
Now let’s face it: Brian’s a super smart guy, and rather than to pour effort into a technique that may result in a few links, he can probably use that same amount of time on a technique that’ll result in a few dozen links. But not every site owner is Brian Dean, and not every site is Backlinko. What I mean to say is that if you’re going through a content audit – either for yourself or your clients – in the near future and it’s for a site that hosts guest content, and some of that content may be getting the chop, it might be worth liaising with the original authors about what’s going on. Who knows, it might result in a link or two. And for the author who took the time to write a piece of content to give it to you for free, it’s just a nice thing to do.
Important note: This post isn’t intended as an attack on Brian, so huge apologies if it comes across that way – even if in the slightest. I used it as an example because it’s something I experienced first-hand, and it just goes to show the endlessness of possibilities when it comes to link building – pretty much anything can be a tactic, even this. And besides… I’ve linked to Backlinko like 4 times in this post, so – we’re even, yeah? 😂 Here’s one more for good measure: love you babe 😘.