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100DegreesC

Why so much chatter about links from The Huffington Post?

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Mike asked me to share part of a private discussion we have been having back and forth the past few days. Thought it might benefit someone else.

On a lot of other places where a lot of misninformation about SEO flys about like Warrior and Digital Point I constantly see people talking about getting links from “authority sites” like The Huffington Post. For some reason these posts and comments almost always reference Huffington Post.

I didn’t notice it at first, but a few days ago it really hit me. Why are they not talking about The Los Angeles Times or The Chicago Tribune also?

I have been doing some digging, and maybe this is well known to most of you but it wasn’t to me, The Huffington Post provides its own blogging platform for users. I did not realize that this is how much of the content on their site is generated. Certainly, not all of it, and they have tons of real, legit reporters doing stories too. I do not want to delve into a discussion about fake news. For sports fans out there, they are kind of similar to The Bleacher Report.

I know that many marketers and SEOs have this misguided interpretation that if you get a link from a strong domain, no matter where your link is, that is a good thing. Obviously, that is not true.

From what I have found, the posts are basically auto-approve. However, they start out as noindex, nofollow, which means not only are the links worthless, but the page is likely never even going to show up in Google. Some do get reviewed and the noindex tag is removed, so there is a chance.

Of course, then I would have to ask, if your purpose is link building, why create a really great piece of content and submit it to a place where it might never be allowed in Google’s index?

There are some authors with a trusted posting history whose articles do not get set to noindex, nofollow. You can try finding one of them to post your article, but it just seems like a lot of work for a link that really is not going to be that strong.

If you can get your article approved as one of their featured articles, that’s different. You should see some significant direct traffic from that.

From an SEO perspective, it seems pretty worthless.

This little bit of research did open my eyes and now I see why there are so many mentions of The Huffington Post on SEO forums though. In reality, it is basically no more difficult to get a post on Huffington than it is on Wordpress.com or Tumblr, but many internet marketers believe it is an “authority” link.

 

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Part of why Huffington confuses people is that it used to be an authority alternative media site.  While there is the general awareness that something has changed there a bit - what went on in the background is that it was sold, unbeknownst to its followers, to AOL, who has completely changed the format (and the quality) of the site. 

I believe the move to bloggers was in response to them losing many of their fairly loyal viewers when the site switched its platform after being sold and was not able to retain it's "authority" among its audience. 

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Guilty, i did buy a link last year when all links were do follow and the rank boost was very apparent (#7 to #3)...it stayed like that moving up-down until they introduced the nofollow policy. That's when i just disappeared off first page. It wasn't even exact match, the anchor text totally unrelated to the page stayed #1! (making me regret not using an exact match keyword).

So they are useless now, as useful as a link from wikipedia. I think there's still buzz around it because the sellers still don't mention it as nofollow and the people are clueless. Like the whole deal with PR thing, concepts in this business die off really hard and its full of scammers.

I wouldn't want a link from there for 10 bucks now(it does NOTHING) unless it is dofollow which is almost impossible now. 

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I did not put my effort to Huffington Post a bit. Whether or not these kind of sites they maybe providing do-follow links now but eventually they are going to be no-follow.

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