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After Penguin hit a lot of sites hard last year, it seems many SEOs have turned to guest blogging for alternative methods of link-building. 

I see this in the volume of requests I get for guest posts on this blog, and Google presumably sees this in the volume of new links it is seeing from guest blogging. 

It seems that Google is now taking a serious interest in guest blogging, so what are the risks for the bloggers and the sites hosting guest articles? 

I've been asking some SEO experts for their views on the potential risks and how to avoid them...

There has been plenty of talk about the dangers of guest blogging. Indeed, one of our own guest bloggers was contacted by Google, who pointed at a 'suspicious link' from this site. The link in question was in the author bio under a guest post. 

It has since become apparent that the reason for this suspicion was nothing to do with this blog or any links from it, but it was alarming to see our links being highlighted.  

We add bios like the one below to all guest authored posts, and they follow the same format. Links are added to authors' profiles in our member directory, their own website or blog, as well as social profiles. 

It makes sense that Google should look into this as it becomes more of a link building tactic, but it would be good to have some guidance from the Big G on what it considers 'guest post spam'. 

We don't do reciprocal link deals, and try to ensure the quality of guest posts and, while we do link to bloggers' sites in their author bio, this is so the reader can learn more about them if they wish to. 

The danger, it seems, is to the blogger who attempts mass guest posting. This seems fair in some ways, as mass posting does not suggest quality content. 

This article from SEOmoz is well worth a read, and explains that mass guest posting can create an unnatural link profile. 

To get some more clarification on the risks and how Google may target 'mass guest posting', I've asked a few search experts...  

How likely is it that Google will start to look into guest blogging or is it already? 

Rishi Lakhani, Online marketing consultant:

Google is already looking at it. Chris highlights a very important point in this post

Among the examples shown to them were their ‘signatures’ on the Econsultancy blog. 

Is that a sign? If that isn't, then I can't help you. A huge, editorially controlled, high value site such as Econsultancy was flagged up in Google, when identifying signature links.

The writing isn't just on the wall. It's there in black and white. 

Kevin Gibbons, MD at digital agency BlueGlass:

This is very likely in my opinion. Google is obviously fully aware of SEO tactics that are being used, and if it sees them being both over-used and effective, then it's normally time to dial them down a bit!

Google has done similar things with directories, article sites, press releases, advertorials etc in the past, but that doesn't mean all links from these type of sites are bad. 

There's one rule in SEO that has never changed and is still the same today, mix it up! Most types of link building, including guest blogging, can be good to throw into the mix - but just don't rely on a single tactic too heavily, it's nowhere near as defensible.

Marc Levy, Co-Founder at 3 Door Digital

It makes sense that this will be something Google looks into and with news that Penguin 2.0 is going to roll out in a few weeks then it's definitely something to look out for.

Personally I think, when implemented correctly, guest blogging is far more than a link building tactic and if you're working with your business in mind then there isn't too much to be worried about.

How will Google distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' guest blogging? What actions might they take? 

Rishi Lakhani:

Good vs Bad? I dont know. If Econsultancy isn't a safe resource, I dont know what is. But like I said in this post

If it (the link) isn’t in the main body, I don’t want it.

If they don't link to other useful, relevant resources, I don't want it. In addition, if a site is full of purely guest blogs, I don't want those links.

Kevin Gibbons:

I really think measuring human engagement is the next step for Google, and something that it has started to look at already.

Personally I think that applies to any piece of content, not just guest posts. SEO activity can often leave a pretty clear link building footprint to Google, type of links and anchor text being the obvious signs - which is why I previously wrote about why good SEOs should look like they don't exist.

But if you mix it up and focus on quality, audience and topical relevancy you normally won't go too far wrong. And as with any type of link building, it's often niche specific - what works in one sector, might not work as well in another (or vice versa) - so it's important to remember you need to be better than your competitors, not the whole of the web! 

Marc Levy: 

I believe the 'how' will be very much intertwined with factors that already exist today, like the authority of the posting site, over use of anchor text etc.

Also perhaps some new factors like the authority of the guest blogger (this maybe where AuthorRank of some sort comes into play) and the ratio of guest posts to other content types.



Actions being taken may vary from penalties to just de-valuing of links on posts which are clearly provided by guest authors. 

What are the risks (if any) for sites accepting guest blog posts? 

Rishi Lakhani:

Guest blogging in a post-Penguin world

Risks for accepting sites, one of the obvious ones, is being classified as guest post blog spam.

Accept too many low quality, too many that manipulate anchor text, too many that are none-too relevant, too many that have no external signals such as social media, then you are asking for your site to be classified as spammy.

Tighten up the acceptance procedures, including the volume of external posts. 

In addition, I am advising people to take the guest post category completely off their sites. It's a signal. One that isn't safe any more. Take off author bio "guest post". And specifically, take off any reference to "submit guest post". Future proof your sites.  

Kevin Gibbons: 

Firstly, there's nothing wrong with accepting guest bloggers. For example, I'm not an employee of Econsultancy, but I've written around 100 posts for them since September 2008.

That would be classed as guest blogging, but that really isn't the type of activity that Google will be looking to clamp down upon in my opinion. If I was just doing this for SEO value, I would probably have stopped writing here very quickly and spread those articles across 100 unique different sites and domains instead!

But as a writer, I want to publish content to a targeted, relevant and topical audience - and that's what should be rewarded. Guest blogging doesn't have to be a bad thing at all and can definitely work in your favour, especially to help support and extend your team's writing capabilities.

But what you really want is a longer-term commitment that guest bloggers aren't just in it for the link, get them writing once a month, so that they stick around to contribute and add value on a more frequent basis.

Marc Levy: 

I think there could be risks and sites accepting guest posts really need to be careful. This makes sense not just from an SEO perspective but a business one.

Make sure you have a well thought out criteria or selection process for guest posting. Is the author known and/or publishes elsewhere online? Does your site need more content than you currently produce and is the topic something which will interest and add value to your audience?



I really do think sites that produce poor, thin content by overly using guest posts could be affected in future Penguin updates / the Panda algo.
 

Are there risks for guest bloggers? 

Rishi Lakhani:

Yes there are. You are risking polluting the water with too many, too quick approaches. scale down and advise your clients to scale down the volume. 

Should they be looking to avoid some sites or to blog for fewer sites

Avoid sites that: 

  1. Have too many (majority of their content) guest blogs.
  2. Avoid sites that signal "I accept guest posts. Open to all".
  3. Start avoiding sites that make too many markers to indicate guest posting. 

Other rules: 

  1. Avoid signature links unless they are brand, and or link to authors profile page.
  2. Avoid anchor text abuse.
  3. Avoid low relevancy.
  4. Use Guest posting to strengthen the over all domain authority, relevancy, rather than targeting keyword rankings.
  5. Avoid sites that have no traffic. There are high authority sites that, if you look at metrics, get nearly nil visitors. 

Kevin Gibbons:

As an SEO strategy in 2013, the focus really needs to be on quality over quantity. One outstanding piece of content that gets shared thousands of times, is likely to be worth much more than 25+ guest posts which no-one really reads.

Good content just isn't good enough anymore, there's just too much competition out there to stand out. My recommendation would be to focus and consolidate your effort to create outstanding content campaigns and reaching out to high quality publications, rather than looking at a numbers game of link volume and guest post placements.

What do you think? Should Google clamp down on guest blogging as a link building tactic? Should sites and guest bloggers be more cautious? Let us know below? 

 

Graham Charlton

Published 13 May, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss, Digital Marketing Director at Tamar

I'd be really disappointed in Google if they took a "one size fits all" approach to punishing guest-posting. As a blogger who has both contributed to many sites (including this one) AND accepts (quality) guest posts on my own blog, I can't imagine how Google could possibly take any sort of mass-devaluing approach to this sort of content.

I completely agree that sites which advertise themselves as "Guest Posts Welcome - All accepted" would be a signifier that they're maybe not going to be a the highest quality, and that maybe Google should *manually* investigate - but even then, I read several blogs that host a WEALTH of guest content, but still retain a really high quality output.

It's a minefield basically...

over 3 years ago

Niklas Vaittinen

Niklas Vaittinen, Marketing Executive at The GRB

Any matured SEO tactic which is done solely (or primarily) for links and short term SEO gain is risky.

I would personally continue guest blogging regardless of its decreased SEO value (even punishment, as if you target poor quality websites you deserve it), due to the fact that with successful guest posts one can achieve much greater value than the mere link that accompanies the post.

However, due to the tackling down of poor quality guest posts, I'd expect a shift back towards concentrating on producing quality content on your own website (e.g. linkbaits, although I've never been fan of the term, people should link to you because they want to, not because the content works as a "bait") as well as companies looking for further engagement and inbound traffic from social media.

over 3 years ago

Tim Aldiss

Tim Aldiss, Consultant/Director at ThinkSearch

I have one response to this as I do to all SEO tactics - ALL THINGS IN MODERATION!

If your blog is more than {insert perceived percentage} ads you'll get penalised; if your blog is more than {insert perceived percentage} guest posts you'll get penalised; etc, etc, ad infinitum.

Do SEO to accelerate your online marketing not jeopardise it. If you're rinsing your client's budget just for the sake of it you'll be in trouble anyway (karmic'ly if nothing else).

Many agencies have fallen foul of this. This is why strategy is so important - SEO activity needs to embrace so much more than just one tactic.

over 3 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

I've heard of blog posts being cited in 'suspicious links' feedback from Google.

It feels a bit cheeky, especially as Google have so many enormous content destinations themselves now. But they are a pragmatic company.

I suppose the other oddity is the 'algorithm' vs 'human' bit. Someone has a suspicious link profile, cleans it up, and they drop Google a reconsideration request. Google probably does not give the operative perfect info on which is/are the exact suspicious links. Maybe the Google operative shares the econsultancy link as an example because econsultancy appears as a big site among the mix of links they're looking at, and 'guest blog posts' is one of the things on their list of 'may be suspicious' items.

Pure speculation!

dan

over 3 years ago

Tim Aldiss

Tim Aldiss, Consultant/Director at ThinkSearch

Another point to mention is that this is nothing new. What's new is Google's communication, so it's no wonder that there's speculative panic.

Personally I think they'd be daft to crack down on contextual linking... I mean what other type of legitimate linking is there?!

There's been a lot of speculation about authorship and bio links. As Yoast points out Google now allow bio links in the source code only, so maybe this is what will change. If this is the case Google could then potentially down-weight links at the end of your post or in a bio. There's no doubt that there is already less weight on links further down the page so maybe they'll just tighten this up.

over 3 years ago

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Ingo Bousa

Penguin 2.0 will sort this out. Or Penguin 3.0. Sooner or later. The link in a guest blog author box is not given by merit, but by design. Big difference. And if you stuff that author box with exact match anchors and splash it all over the usual, well documented 'SEO guest post opportunities', you do nothing but shout "GOOGLE SPAM ALGO, LOOK AT ME!!!"

I sometimes get the feeling that a lot of people in my profession can't think straight. If I can easily get a link from a page that everybody else can get a link from as well then that link will count either not much or jack sh*t. What's so hard to understand? First it was web directories, then article directories, then advertorials, then infographics, then guest blogging. It's always the stuff that every idiot can do that gets dragged around the house so many times till there is no meat left on it.

But there is of course 'guest posting [doing it right]' and 'guest posting [doing it wrong]'.

I sometimes think that most SEOs should stop building links because they always tend to take the easy route. I know what I am talking about because I did exactly the same 5 years ago ; )

Link building is HARD. It has to be HARD. Otherwise it's not a substantial quality metric, huh?

Also, how much converting traffic comes usually from these guest blogger networks? I always ask myself "would you still be happy with a no-follow tag on that link?" If not, it's maybe not worth my time.

As Henry Elliss pointed out, it is indeed a bit of a mine field, like all engineered organic link building. But because it is a mine field it will be quite hard for Google to properly sort the trash from the nuggets. It's like the last updates, they know exactly what they want to get rid of for ages but they really take their time to tweak the algo so the collateral damage is just oversee-able and manageable.

Well.. that's just my 5 cents. Please continue : )

over 3 years ago

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James Norquay

High quality guest posts will always have a place for generating referral traffic and leads. Yet low quality guest posts on scale I think the days are limited on that strategy.

Moving forward you need to work at generating a natural link profile using a diverse number of link building strategies and not just guest posting as a sole strategy.

over 3 years ago

Emma North

Emma North, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

I definitely think guest blogging isn't the safe link building tactic it once was and rightly so if used in excess. I agree with Tim: in moderation these sorts of techniques are generally acceptable but if you're building links by the dozen with spammy guest blog posts then you should expect to be penalised. I think if Penguin 4 doesn't deal with this I'm quite sure it will be dealt with soon after.

over 3 years ago

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Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital Marketing at Lost My Name

Google's goal: Reduce Webspam

Guest blogging has been on the radar for some time - Google's testing and learning what works and it will improve.

The harder Google works, the harder the spammers work. Guest Blogging's success from a puristic SEO viewpoint has led spammers to basically spam it to death.

You need to evolve with Google on this and test and learn back. You'll clearly know, as an SEO, what is spam and what isn't. Google's machines are evolving their understanding of this and so whilst Guest Blogging for social, traffic and brand purposes are all great, its a simple case of crossing it off your 'quality link building tools' list. And if you think it's spam, it probably is.

Bottom line: think and work harder for your links as link equity itself is not going away anytime soon...

over 3 years ago

Alistair Sutton

Alistair Sutton, None at None

Everything should be done in moderation for the benefit of the reader and not done for links.

I often hears complaints of Google moving the goalposts, but if your going to abuse something then you kind of have it coming.

In general guest posting can be brilliant as it's a forum to share expertise and ideas which give the end product of a greater user experience and therefore greater engagment on your site.

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks all, some very interesting comments.

What annoys me is that we have tried to use guest posting as a way of adding quality content to this blog to supplement that produced by our editorial team.

This, presumably, is what Google ultimately wants, so to find a link from our author bio flagged as somehow dodgy by the big G (even if suspicion was raised by that blogger's wider link building strategy) is very annoying indeed.

It makes me wonder whether, when and if Google does clamp down on guest posting, how accurate it will be at separating sites doing this for the right reasons (us, SEOmoz, SEL etc) and the lower end of the quality scale.

over 3 years ago

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Gareth

I suppose that there are guest blogging divisions... in the Premiership, you've got the contextually-relevant, hard-earned, high-engagement articles that have gone through an editorial process, where any link is in-text, relevant and adds value to the article.

In division 4, you've got the "submit your article" sites where anyone can post, and you have a grand total of 0 tweets, 0 shares, 0 +1s. Nice if you view guest blogging as a 'tactic' and not a strategy...

So it should, logically, be easy enough to differentiate. But it's not... because Google's giving warnings for guest posts that are hard-earned and high-engagement, and some "submit your article" sites have high engagement (tweakyourbiz, famousbloggers, etc.)...

It's murky and muddled, but I would say that so long as you remain contextually relevant, and avoid the guest blog sites, you shouldn't be penalised. We can differentiate... question is - how will Google differentiate?

over 3 years ago

Betony Lloyd

Betony Lloyd, Freelance

Found it particularly interesting that this should be in the news right now, as I recently received my first unsolicited request from someone to write a 'guest post' on one of my blogs.The emailer claimed to be an 'avid reader' of my blog (for some reason this phrase always rings spam bells for me, especially as she didn't name any posts in particular) and wanted to write a guest post on a 'topic of my choice'.

She mentioned the company she worked for (finance sector, my Digilance blog is on tech) and I assume she wanted to write a quick piece and add some backlinks. It's not the sort of thing I'd want on my blog really as most of my content is my personal take on tech developments, or good examples and case studies I've seen etc. so I don't think I'll be taking her up on the offer.

I think it's probably useful to compare the blogosphere to the print world on this topic - national, trade or even local press would not consider the offer of a 'guest column' from an unknown in the field as the quality of their writing won't be known and it's probably just a shameless attempt to get their name in print. The same goes for digital - of course guest blogging is very effective, useful and informative when done well, but an unsolicited post by a complete stranger probably deserves to be treated with suspicion!

over 3 years ago

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Jane

Sure guest blogging has lost its class. Especially after Panda and Penguin, webmasters and big companies that were hit took guest blogging as the newest approach to building links - just like they were doing with article marketing.

The volume of guest post requests I get at my blog has increased enormously recently and I can clearly see the point. And no wonder I reject over 90% of them.

I've recently removed the "Submit guest post" page on my blog, not fearing if Google would punish me, but I could not cope with the spam submission requests :)

But if Google is going to take action on guest blogging it will be really hard for it to weed out the bad from the good. And if any good authors got hit, it won't be a surprise.

over 3 years ago

Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss, Digital Marketing Director at Tamar

Graham, I don't think you need to worry in the slightest - Google would have to be utterly mad to penalise you for anything like this, especially given the prominence of this blog (and site as a whole) in the marketing world. I strongly suspect this is all a big fuss over nothing.

over 3 years ago

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Chuck Clark

If you run your website as if Google didn't exist, you'll probably be safe from any penalties. Anything you do specifically to rank better is likely to come back to haunt you.

over 3 years ago

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David

Thanks for this post, Graham. You're right: you take in guess bloggers to provide relevant and engaging content for your costumers and readers, in the hopes of getting them involved in some way shape or form. Even Google has recognized that SEO isn't your 1999-2005 SEO anymore: content has to be shareable AND engaging to your users, in addition to including all of the technical aspects of SEO.

I agree with a lot of the comments here. If done appropriately, moderately, and strategically, guest posting/blogging will prevail. Quality will always trump quantity, regardless of black hat or blue hat techniques.

Thinking aloud here, I am interested in seeing how Google weighs the comparison between you (econsultancy) to, say, SEOMoz, where they have the YOUMoz blogger community. Just a loud thought.

over 3 years ago

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Seth Goldstein

I totally agree that guest blogging needs to be done in moderation.

I also think that when you are accepting guest bloggers do your research. Don't accept everyone. Be selective.

This is also true for the guest poster. Be picky where you post your content. Make sure it's a high quality site.

Ultimately, I don't think Google will take a one-size-fits-all approach to this. There is inherent value to Google to allowing guest bloggers. Google wants to see how people and data is connected.

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Seth Yes, we try to keep quality bar high but we'll be trying harder in the light of this. In fact, I'll be Googling guest bloggers to make sure they haven't been posting on lots of different sites.

http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/62698-15-tips-for-getting-the-best-out-of-your-guest-bloggers

over 3 years ago

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Martin Woods

I think we need to segment the wheat from the chaff here.

I allow guest blogging on all the client sites I work on bar one and have done for years. However I've always had VERY strict rules like many webmasters out there. (e.g. no exact match anchor, limited to one link to the author website etc..) and I'm careful to list them as guest posts.

The internet is built upon groups communities and different authors can add real value via a guest blog (and I'm not just talking about links). I find that if someone in one of my verticals has something of interest to my clients readers, I'm more than happen to publish it. Why not!?

What Google are talking about IMHO are guest posts for the sake of it to point link juice back to the 'money' site. If your using Google Analytics on the money site there have been several studies which show that the 'click-ability' of links have an impact on the value of a link for search engines.

Build links for humans and market your website and you can't go wrong. Good link profiles are the ones you can't tell that an SEO have ever done anything offsite. As is always with Google they will always devalue the 'flavour of the month' when it comes to SEO.

I'll be interested to see if any of my clients sites have any movement in the SERPs during the next round of Penguin.

If your a good search marketer (are we using this term now?) these updates shouldn't be something to worry about, but more something to embrace! #bringiton

over 3 years ago

James Perrin

James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at Feefo

As with any SEO tactic, if it gets abused and not used properly then it will be targeted, and this is exactly what has happened to Guest Blogging. However, just like Kevin and many others on here, I think you just need to focus on quality, diversification and moderation. There's nothing wrong with Guest Blogging if the site's getting visitors, social shares, comments etc. If it's just a content dump, with no views etc, then you may have problems.

I'm really interested in this idea that the author bio will make it easy for Google to target Guest Blogging, after all that's what got you started on this post in the first place Graham. It's also something that James picked up on in his SEOMoz post. I find it difficult to believe that all links from author bios will suddenly get hit, even though it's an obvious indicator. There must be a lot more for Google to look at before suddenly penalising links from bios, e.g. social shares, traffic, clicks, domain authority and all the rest. It'll be something that I'll be keeping a very close on nonetheless.

Great Post Graham.

over 3 years ago

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Gregor McKevie

Great debate.

I think Chuck Clarks' comment is spot on "If you run your website as if Google didn't exist, you'll probably be safe from any penalties".

Ultimately, Google doesn't punish authentic, high quality and consistent blogs.

So I reckon Econsultancy will be safe - and certainly because of the amount of community interaction there is on the site.

over 3 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

Very little has been said about the growing impact social signals look set to have. Social signals are becoming increasingly important in ranking algorithms and it's not unfeasible that the impacts of social signals could one day surpass links as the most valuable ranking factor.

It begs the question, how important is content itself compared with how widely distributed it is via social networks or how well received it is (e.g. by the number of comments it attracts). To echo what others have said above, aim to produce something truly unique and valuable and the rest should take care of itself.

over 3 years ago

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JR

How long before it is infographics targeted.... Often have the same kind of footprints...

over 3 years ago

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TG

How come GOOGLE gets to decide on freedom of writing? I don't get it, maybe because I'm not -a guestblogger, or -someone working for google ... Let the reader decide, the not so good sites will disappear anyway. I think they try everything to get 'power' until some little kid says: the king is naked. Basically it's much ado about nothing ...

over 3 years ago

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CodeAngry

THE FUD HAS BEGUN.

Google's whistle-blowers are out for gullible SEOs who will start disavowing they guest posts or out guest blogging sites.

There is no f'in way for Google to algorithmically tell which posts are guest posts and which are not. As long as the content is original. Outbound links can be present in any post (guest or not guest). So there's no way to tell.

If noob SEOs will start outing guest blogging sites, we'll see another episode or "burning out own link networks" in vain. And it'll be entertaining. And painful to many.

So keep calm and don't shoot yourself.

The only way to be detected for guest blogging is for keyword/keyphrase over-optimization. And that can be done in guest blogging easily. But applies to all shapes and sizes of link building. So if you didn't use some common sense, LSI, plain old synonyms and "click here" or even "plain urls" in anchor text... you may be hurt at anytime as this is easily detectable by algo.

PS: Ignore 99% of the comments here. Most of these people are clueless in any technical matter. It's easy to figure that out from what they say. Like... good link building is only editorial... gfys! Go live in the real world. You have to build link to get some exposure. Only then will you start to get some editorial traction... given you have a quality site and in a topic that's linkable.

over 3 years ago

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Andrew Healey

Hi Graham, isn't SEO a fickle thing? My strategy as a writer is to just focus on my target audience and what will be will be.

over 3 years ago

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Chris

I posted a guest post talking about the effects of guest posting post-penguin 2.0. If you want to check it out - here's a link to it: http://www.bloggertrix.com/2013/05/guest-blogging-post-penguin-20.html

With that said, you can take an all-or-nothing approach to guest blogging. Either you're going to have to work hard to make sure that you fit Google's criteria and you see the worth in doing guest blogging well or you're going to have to let it go all together.

Something I say a lot is that if you're a link builder who has settled for guest posting due to being shut down, if you keep the same approach with guest posting as you did link building, you'll just be shut down again. The easy way to build guest posts is finished.

You have got to follow regulations to avoid being caught on Google's radar. Guest posting is not done, nor will it be. Content is King. Not media, not the blogs themselves, but what gets put into it. 2nd in command (at least down the road) is social media. Plan on having a Social Rank or SR down the road.

over 3 years ago

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Harry

HI Graham,

"Is guest blogging becoming risky?" No, I believe the only people that worry about this is the people that are doing it incorrectly. Even head of search Matt Cutts states guest posting is fine when done correctly here on youtube search "What is Google's view on guest blogging for links?"
Thanks again Graham :)

Harry from http://www.guestbloglist.com A plateform where over 1000+ blogs are listed that accepts guest post.

over 3 years ago

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Marcus Campbell

That article from SEOMoz about Guest Posting driving a heavy signal to Google puts everything in perspective. Its a wonder that there even is a debate about Guest Blogging. Guest Blogging is an SEO tactic that is here to stay. Its the same as Directories, SEO-Press Releases or even Comment Marketing for that matter.

Like every other "hot" SEO tactic it will be devalued by Google, particularly if its being abused (which clearly it is). I believe the front end of Guest Blogging was a bid to jump on the Google Authorship and AuthorRank metrics, and in that regard, those that have been cleverly building their authorship through controlled and categorically-relative guest posting will probably see their rankings and articles increase, only due to the decrease in rankings from other Guest Bloggers who were nothing more than link spammers.

We use Guest Bloggers on our site, about 60% are guest articles ( roughly 6 different authors). However we have hired three bloggers in a bid to combat that and diversify. We also are going to target Guest Blogging in a way that we get more in-contextual self-serving links rather than Author Bio ( save that for Social Profiles - Google won't hit someone who consistently puts Google Plus in their Author Bio instead of a web url ( or will they? ) ). To that extent we definitely agree with Mr. James Perrin.

There are ways to combat the inevitable changes that will arise due to guest blogging, but as an SEO, its important to just stay on the curve and find ways to innovate these tactics. Be ready for Panda 2.

over 3 years ago

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Marcus Campbell

Also CodeAngry, I would disagree with you a bit. Its just as easy to track guest blogging as it is your web traffic in Analytics.

Looking at my Webmaster Tools alone, I can see where I get my links. That means Google can as well. Just as the algorithm is capable of detecting keyword placement down to the tags surrounding it, it can detect a pattern in positioning ( consider the devaluation in sidebar and footer links across different CMS sites ).

A guest blogger, or a moderately smart one, will use a variable sequence of keywords, maybe just one or two within their author bio. However, an effective Guest Blogger is probably working for an agency or some company and thus will not target 1000 different keywords but possibly just 5 at the most, all variations of a route keyword. How many different keywords in any vertical have a high traffic / low competitive threshold and for those that have several, consider the amount of content it takes to be relative for a wide variety of keywords.

SEOs aren't stupid and 99% of the comments here make sense. Just based on our experience as SEOs and the idea that Google itself has employees that employ and monitor SEO trends, why would you not believe that Guest Blogging with be devalued.

Of course, SEO noobs will be panicked, but that in a way is how the industry innovates. SEO is about common sense, but even that will not save your links from the coming storm.

Diversity is the key, it is and always will be.

over 3 years ago

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Millie Perkins, SEO Specialist at Empyreal Energy

Good thing I was able to make my own precautionary measure for guest blogging even before when Google didn't take much attention on it! From the very start I really don't allow Author's bio in the guest post being submitted to me by guest authors, mainly because I don't like any other names shown in my blog. I also disallow guest posts that obviously over-market their company.

I would to echo on the comment above, that SEO is about common sense - it's about knowing what rules to follow and what not. :)

over 3 years ago

Rob Yandell

Rob Yandell, Publisher at Personal

Avoid links in guest bloggers' bios - give me a break. If this is the new world, and Google is calling the shots it's bad news. Relevance and quality is key surely. I only accept good content that will appeal to my audience. It's not rocket science.

over 3 years ago

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Christian

Interesting blog....imgaine if Google told you what to do right, rather than keeping people second guessing....

over 3 years ago

David Cable

David Cable, SEO Manager at iThinkMedia

I enjoy reading these types of articles, especially when they have such in-depth comments from all types of professionals. The points raised by all the experts are certainly useful, but as Kevin Gibbons points out "There's one rule in SEO that has never changed and is still the same today, mix it up!" Agreed.

But also, Marc Levy's point about "...if you're working with your business in mind then there isn't too much to be worried about." is very true, something we try to get across to our clients all the time - however, just needed to add, the last comment from Pavan Patidar is genius - his name being a link to, from what I can tell is not a great site at all, is the perfect ironic comment on this post!

over 3 years ago

CV Biotirta Kreasindo

CV Biotirta Kreasindo, Owner at CV Biotirta Kreasindo

CV Biotirta Kreasindo adalah agen dan distributor untuk berbagai macam peralatan dan pengolahan untuk air dan kami juga merupakan kontraktor rancang bangun untuk pembuatan fasilitas unit pengolahan air bersih (Water Treatment) dan pengolahan air limbah (Waste Water Treatment) – http://www.biotirta-kreasindo.com

9 months ago

CV Biotirta Kreasindo

CV Biotirta Kreasindo, Owner at CV Biotirta Kreasindo

CV Biotirta Kreasindo adalah agen dan distributor untuk berbagai macam peralatan dan pengolahan untuk air dan kami juga merupakan kontraktor rancang bangun untuk pembuatan fasilitas unit pengolahan air bersih (Water Treatment) dan pengolahan air limbah (Waste Water Treatment) – http://www.biotirta-kreasindo.com

9 months ago

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