SEMrush Marketplace selling links that are against Google guidelines
SEMRush launched SEMRush Marketplace about a one year ago and at some point in that market started selling guest posts that generate “natural links to your site”. Now we all love SEMRush, but Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter it is “an artificial link – the type the anti-spam team could intervene on.”
the guest blog post The sales page says, “The SEMrush Marketplace guest posting service gives you a waterfall of high quality natural links to your site, improving your rankings and helping you get more organic traffic. Without doing any research or routine work yourself, you can order unique content with a built-in backlink to your site, which is then placed on a relevant site within your niche. “
Now I don’t know when that verbiage was added, if it was a mistake or an oversight, but it’s there as I wrote this.
John Mueller said that if you want to do this so as not to go against Google guidelines, then “making sure the links use rel = nofollow / rel = sponsored would still allow sites to gain visibility without have to worry about manual actions “.
Here is a screenshot (click to enlarge):
Here is the tweet from John when asked about it:
It’s an artificial link – the kind the anti-spam team could act on. https://t.co/kfQQithCnK & https://t.co/q5GmAxx2YM have more. Making sure the links use rel = nofollow / rel = sponsored would still allow sites to get visibility without having to worry about manual actions.
– 🍌 Jean 🍌 (@JohnMu) June 3, 2020
John was actually responding to SEMRush on Twitter, but SEMRush deleted the tweet. George majic capture there, here is his screenshot.
SEMRush has responded to others about it, without deleting these posts minimizing the link side:
Hi Ryan, the service is all about content development, composition and editorial coordination. We don’t pay blogs to post articles and not sell links. We value feedback from our community – Nico
– SEMrush (@semrush) June 3, 2020
Funny thing is that Tom Rayner mentionned on Twitter “I bought a few SEMRush links. Then put the site I bought them for in the SEMRush backlink audit tool. SEMRush’s backlink audit tool flagged the links that they sold me as poisonous. ” I believe him.
It has to be some sort of SEMRush oversight. I doubt Google has penalized this again, but SEMRush will need to find something about those who have already bought links on this guest blogging network without adding any nofollow or rel = sponsored attributes to the links.
I contacted SEMRush for a comment, but have yet to receive a response.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Update: The next morning, SEMRush released the page selling these guest posts. It no longer charges and 404s. I have it in the screenshot above.
Here’s what some users get when they try to use the service:
– Bill Hartzer (@bhartzer) June 4, 2020
Update 2: Oleg Shchegolev, CEO of SEMrush, sent us this statement:
Yesterday we faced a controversy surrounding our editorial / outreach service for guest blog posts, offered on the Content Marketplace. I want to personally apologize for any stress or confusion.
Some people on Twitter and in other media have accused us of selling links. It’s wrong. The service focused on content development, outreach and editorial coordination. We did not pay the publishers for the articles placed and did not sell links. That said, we understand that our product launch communication could have been better.
After launching the Content Marketplace, we asked our customers what other services they most wanted to see on the Marketplace. By far the most popular responses were guest blogging and outreach support. Viewing guests can be a complicated subject. We recently reported ourselves to potential pitfalls with the research. If done incorrectly, guest messages can result in manual penalties. However, this in and of itself does not mean that any type of guest blogging violates search engine terms of service.
Our team made the decision to follow customer feedback and we are proud of these efforts. We have found partners to provide high quality, honest writing and outreach to ensure our clients get what they asked for in a transparent and “white hat” manner.
Earlier this week, we audited the first batch of guest posts and came to the conclusion that the service will take more time to implement given the volume of orders received and our commitment to excellence.
As we explored potential solutions, we also started to see negative comments on social media. We also received more and more new orders which would be difficult to fulfill properly. We have made the decision to suspend guest blog editorial / outreach offers and refund all orders.
I am proud that we can respond so quickly to customer wishes and am grateful to every customer who has tested the service. SEMrush will continue to ask our customers about their wishes and challenges and will continue to develop tools they love. We are also committed to collecting feedback and proactively listening to the marketing community.