Guest Bloggers awaiting the Next Google Thunderbolt?

The latest and the most ‘unkindest cut of all’ from Matt Cutts of Google has just been delivered to the blogging and SEO community in the form of a soft warning. So if you as a blogger is someone who has either accepted guest posters on your blog or posted articles elsewhere to claim backlinks then you have a reason to worry. Why? Because most of the premonitions from Cutts usually get implemented in the form of a pagerank algorithm update to follow.

I, for one, have never written an article elsewhere nor have I accepted any guest post on this blog (or my other blogs) all through my blogging career. Perhaps, I am a bit anti-social that way but then I believed that my best work should appear on my own blogs than elsewhere. Yes, sometimes, that kind of inflexibility comes with a lot visibility issues as well but then I wasn’t craving that aspect either.

Though I am not an affected party, I still have my reservations on Google’s latest announcement on guest blogging and let me pour out my views on this aspect in this particular post.

Guest posts, Paid reviews, Sponsored links – Are they all same?

Three years ago, I had written a post on how guest blogging and multi-author blogging could be differentiated in order to bring value for the readers. I had stressed the point then that most guest blogging activity was happening to keep stagnant, non-value adding blogs alive or purely to help with the SEO and traffic aspects. Now, from Google’s point of view taking on such bad practices was essential and that’s exactly what they are doing now.

If I look around, most guest blogging activities are still happening for the sake of link building purpose, visibility and increased traffic or monetization reasons than enriching the content itself. That is why it’s important for good blogs to have only a restricted set of writers (e.g. Multi-blogger model as mentioned above) or have a guest blogger with authority once in a while.

My take on Guest Posting

If you followed Matt Cutt’s blog post, he is not totally ruling out guest blogging per say but want them to be done with care. All that he asks bloggers to do is to use ‘nofollow’ links when linking back to such random author’s sites. This would essentially tell Google bots that you don’t endorse the site that is linked out in the article which is what they want at the end to calculate page rank and authority.

Further to accepting the link-out policy mentioned above, my views on this guest posting are the following:

  • Accept guest posts that match your blog’s content in terms of topic discussed. Even paid reviews should be something that match with the rest of your content. In other words, nobody wants to see a ‘Dental whitening product review’ on a technology and gadget blog. Even will bots hate you for that!
  • Do not accept short and quick articles – even guest posts should have well researched, unique content that is deep and long (1000 words plus)
  • Do not hesitate to ‘dofollow’ link out if it’s an authority blogger who’s guest-blogging for you
  • Have a good equation between your own content and guest posts – Something like 4:1 won’t be all that bad. In other words, nobody would trust your blog if 8 out of your last 10 posts are guest blog posts
  • If you are looking for guest post opportunity on other blogs, go for only high authority blogs in your niche
  • Never backlink to your blog using keywords – instead, use your name or generic anchor words (e.g. website, this, here)
  • Finally, don’t be a guest poster on other blogs for SEO benefits! Instead, focus on your visibility, networking and subscriber building goals

In short, guest blogging in moderation is not a bad idea but you as a blogger shouldn’t revert to it as the only resort to keep your stale blog alive.

That’s pretty much for now. Let me know your personal views on guest blogging policy by Google.

Happy Blogging!

Comments

  1. I told you so!

    When I started accepting guest posts on my blogs I noticed a lot of poor quality posts with links to dodgy sites and I immediately put these three rules in place to protect my blogs:

    - Nofollow Links – I found that not making the links dofollow immediately pushed the low quality posters and spammy link-builders away.

    - Read ALL Guest Posts Myself – You might be surprised by the amount of blogs who publish guest posts WITHOUT reading them, or they pass the job to someone else who doesn’t really pay too much attention.

    - Only Relevant Links – I only accept guest posts that have links to sites or products that are related to the topics I cover on my blogs. I have had to decline quite a few well written blog posts over the years because the links are completely off-niche.

    • And you’re bang on Dean. I know a lot of people who started a blog and when they were finding it difficult to maintain, they invited guest posts to keep it alive. I think, Google has every right to punish such blogs. And you are absolutely right about screening/proof reading (or the lack of it) part :)

  2. You know me Ajith. I’ve only written guest posts when someone has asked me for a contribution, and I make sure the post is fantastic! I could do those posts for my own blog also, but I write way more often on my own blog & people for the most part know me there.

    As for accepting guest posts, other than my finance blog I only allowed guest posts when I asked people… at least later on, as I allowed a couple early on. And I ended guest posting on my finance blog in the middle of December; way too many people causing me grief in time and suddenly link removal requests, and I just didn’t need that anymore. Course, at the time I knew why those folks wanted those posts on my blog, but I also knew that it could possibly help my blog grow, which it did, since all topics were financial. At least I’m done with that part now.

    • I am with you Mitch on your guest blogging practices in other blogs. They fall in the category of adding value to the audience that you probably are already well-connected with. I doubt if such post will have any issue at all. It holds the same for the value-adding posts hosted on your blog.

      The problem will be really for those link seekers whose posts are not even read (read Dean’s comment above) by some of these bloggers who accept guest posts.

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