Translation and Language Industry Observations

SEO

What is link bait and why translation companies should avoid it

As a translation company that does most of its business online, GTS Translation maintains a high level online profile. We have first page positions in hundreds of keywords, both short- and long-tail. We have been allocating considerable budgets for organic SEO for years. Link building and digital content marketing are the cornerstones of our strategy. Our website is laden with high quality content, as well as some nifty features that are used by hundreds of users a day. Some of these features include an online translation quote system, a web page translator, a word count engine and more.

And last but not least-the GTS blog which you are reading now. Starting a blog is an essential part of any content marketing strategy. A company website will typically be updated infrequently. But a blog is where you can let your customers know about new service/product offerings, new workflows, technical innovations, industry news, analysis and much more. A good blog should be active, with new content on a daily or at least weekly basis. Which is always a challenge. That’s why guest blog posts are a good way to get steady, new content.

GTS Blog History

A little history about the GTS Blog. It was started many years ago, probably around 2008. It had hundreds of posts and enjoyed a very strong following. Sadly, the blog suffered a untimely death in 2017 when our dedicated server tanked due to the incompetence of a web hosting company we were using. We fired the web hosting company and moved to AWS, which in itself was a great move. We resurrected the GTS Blog in the summer of 2019. And it has again gained prominence with a strong and growing following.

Content is King!

Which leads to the purpose of this post. The key to a good blog is having high quality content. We actively look for guest bloggers who are at the forefront of the translation and localization industry. We are known to pay for quality blog posts. We also have a number of employees who can write killer blog posts. As a result, the GTS Blog has a considerable traffic and good authority towards the search engines. Because of this, we get a lot of inquiries and requests to write guest posts on the GTS Blog. Unfortunately though, many of these requests come from SEO staffers who want to give you poor quality content in return for a link. This is what is referred to as link bait.

Example of a Link Bait Pitch

Here is an example which came in today:

I am a content manager at XXXXX (a translation software) and we are seeking relevant guest posting opportunities and your resourceful blog seems like the perfect fit. Are you accepting guest posts?

This was our response:

Dear Ilonka, we would welcome a guest post from you about XXXXXX. Please send us the draft, which should be 100% original content and at least 700 words.

Then this followup response:

Well, I and my team could contribute to a lot of versatile topics related to translation and while brainstorming ideas we’ve landed on How to start a career in translation with a link to this page XXXXX.com/…/translation-software.

Now it is confirmed. This person just wants a link on our high ranking blog, in order to increase their search engine ranking. They do not care if the content is good, as long as they get a link. Translation companies that fall for this will not get any benefit from such a post, and will probably get the opposite. Once the search engines realize that your blog is a link farm with garbage content, they will likely put your site at the bottom of the garbage pile.

Ilonka suggested a topic which has been rehashed to death. If you do an exact search on Google for “How to start a career in translation,” you get 11 results from other translation blogs. As a content manager, why would you want to be the 12th post on this topic?

How to detect link bait

Link bait posts are usually short, with around 500 words. This is the minimum amount of text that passes muster with the search engines. If you get a guest post which is about 500 words in length, chances are that it is link bait. A high quality post will be close to 1,000 words or more. Posts that get a lot of views usually have some very interesting and unique content, crafted after hours of research or through in-depth industry knowledge. Some such posts have 2,000 words or even more.

Like in the example stated previously, search the Internet for similar posts. If you see dozens of posts with the same or nearly the same title: link bait. When you get the draft, run it through a plagiarism checker. Or, copy sentences and do an exact match search. Make sure that the content is unique before publishing it. Watch out for banal titles which are very easy to write about and which have been covered extensively in other publications. If someone offers you money to publish a post, it is usually an indication that they want to unload some link bait on your blog.

Summing up

In summary, guests blog posts are a great idea. But use common sense and some minimum due diligence to weed out the garbage. Your blog will reap the benefits.

The GTS Blog is accepting guest posts. Read that page for guidelines and other information.

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