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The Risks of Guest Blogging for SEO

In recent years we’ve seen Google really clamp down on attempts to improve SEO through dodgy schemes and cheap tactics such as overuse of keywords and the use of spammy link networks. Now Google is warning about the use of guest blogging simply for the purposes of SEO and link building. This applies both to blog writers and the website owners who publish their work.

It makes sense to have good content

When it boils down to it, don’t business websites exist for the purposes of marketing and attracting traffic, rather than merely trying to get a better ranking? This means they need to be user-centric and to provide content that is useful, engaging and relevant for their users. Posting quality articles by professional article writers can be a useful tool in drawing in traffic, building reputation and spreading brand awareness.

Unfortunately in some cases guest blogging has been falling to the same level as we’ve seen with other SEO methods – where some people seek out short cuts to improve rankings. This has meant that a lot of guest blogs have ended up on the spammy side of things – i.e. poor quality content that offers little value being published in exchange for links. In some cases bloggers are paying websites to publish their work – in effect paying for links, a practice which is frowned upon by search engines.

So is Google saying guest blogging is dead?

Google is not cracking down on guest blogging per se, but they are targeting poor quality guest content that is inappropriate for the site it is published on, and which appears to have been created for link-building purposes only. In other words, it looks pretty dodgy. And while there is no specific Google algorithm for this – such as we’ve seen with Panda and Penguin – it doesn’t mean that such sites will never be targeted manually by Google.

Tips for website owners:

  • Don’t accept posts from guest bloggers unless you know who they are and you can vouch for the quality of their work.
  • Do not publish posts that are badly written, overuse keywords and / or offer little value to your site and audience.
  • Make sure that the links included are relevant for the post and your site, and also provide value for your audience.
  • Guest blogging should really be done in moderation only – as advised in this video from Matt Cutts of Google.
  • Remember it’s your space – you get to decide what gets published on it, so make sure it reflects the quality you want to promote throughout all your activities.

Tips for blog writers:

  • Avoid approaching sites that openly invite guest blog writers but which appear to contain poor quality posts on a wide variety of unrelated topics, and that contain irrelevant or inappropriate links or an overuse or inappropriate use of keywords.
  • If you do offer to write for a website owner, remember it’s their space, so write something worthwhile, valuable and appropriate for the site and its audience.
  • Build your blogging credibility in one or more topic areas.
  • Links that are included in your posts should be relevant to the host site and the written content and appear as naturally as possible in the post.
  • Make sure all your posts are original, well-written and exclusive to the site they are published on.

One of the best ways to avoid guest blogging spam is for website owners and guest bloggers to develop a professional relationship that is mutually beneficial. In this way site owners can get to know and trust their guest blog writers, while writers get to know the website owner’s standards and topic interests.

“Succinct, engaging
and accurate”

I’ve worked with the team at Article Writers Australia for over 2 years now. They’ve been instrumental in ensuring our articles and case studies are succinct, engaging, and accurate.

They do feel like they are part of my team – they know us so well I think I could write a brief on a Post-It note.

Fi Arnold, Digital Marketing Manager, Kennards Hire

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