Is Guest Blogging Getting Out Of Control?

Jul 10, 2013 • 8:45 am | comments (99) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

guestYesterday I wrote a story at Search Engine Land named Google: Guest Blogging For Links? You Better Nofollow Those Links. As you can imagine, it caught people's attention - as it should. The title is not as extreme as Marie's Yes, high quality guest posts CAN get you penalized! but it is extreme enough.

In short, if you are intentionally guest blogging for the sole purpose of that post having a dofollow link to your site - Google would prefer that you nofollow the link. If you do not, you leave yourself open to a possible manual penalty.

That is the short of it. You can argue otherwise but if Google sees a guest blog post with a dofollow link and that person at Google feels the guest blog post is only done with the intent of a link, then they may serve your site a penalty. Or they may not - it depends on who is reviewing it.

That being said, Google is not to blame. While guest blogging and writing is and can be a great way to get exposure for your name and your company name, it has gotten to the point of being heavily abused.

A Cre8asite Forum thread has one SEO claiming that one site wanted to charge him £3,100 ($4,620 US dollars) for a guest blog post! Another site he contacted wanted £450 ($670 US dollars) for a guest post.

The number of email requests I get each day from people to pay me to post guest blog posts here is huge and the number keeps rising.

Truth is, guest blogging and writing although started for a good purpose, has been abused like many other real marketing tactics. Now, Google does have to take a closer look and also take action when they believe the intent is to manipulate their search results.

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forum.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for guest checkin

Previous story: Google: You Weren't Hit By Penguin, Those Are Normal Fluctuations


Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 12:56 pm

Anything done for the sole purpose of getting a link can be penalized. I am surprised that anyone is surprised by that :)

Liam Fisher

07/10/2013 01:03 pm


Steven Vachon

07/10/2013 01:09 pm

Google used to be the place where big and small companies could compete on almost equal ground, but that appears to be radically changing. Small companies are running out of tools.


07/10/2013 01:46 pm

I am not surprised but i know this will happen because guest blogging is really out of control.

Big Dan

07/10/2013 01:56 pm

Thought you had received an unnatural link warning Ann?

Big Dan

07/10/2013 02:15 pm

If Google stated that all Guest Blog Posts should be unfollowed and that you are at risk of a penalty if you do not - how many people would still do Guest Blogging? Very few one thinks therefore it is all about the value of the link.

Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 02:28 pm

I am not saying I am innocent :) Who is?


07/10/2013 02:36 pm

Guest blogging can still be a great way to get your site in front of a new and relevant audience. The goal should be gaining traffic through the www . examplesite . com link at the end of the article with the author info. The only thing Google accomplishes by taking an aggressive stance against guest blogging with dofollow links is to get rid of the crap. The good stuff will always have a home and when the demand for guest posting (for rank) platforms decreases, then the prices to get your site in front of new eyeballs will fall...which is good for a small business. I would be pleased to see this happen.

Michael Martinez

07/10/2013 02:38 pm

Stop thinking in terms of "how do I get links to influence Google's search results" and start thinking in terms of "SEO is NOT all about how to set up a site for the next wave of Google penalties and downgrades".

Steven Vachon

07/10/2013 02:40 pm

I rarely ever click author links, so I don't see much value in guest blogging if the link is unfollowed.

Marie Haynes

07/10/2013 02:48 pm

Thanks for the mention Barry. I wanted to clarify a point that a lot of people are asking me about. In my article I am not saying that guest posting WILL get you penalized but that if you do it on a large enough scale it CAN, especially if your site gets a manual review from Google. The same could be applied for any other way where links are self made.


07/10/2013 03:02 pm

The difference between guest blogging and article marketing, theme footer links, and widget links, is that the blog you are posting to often has to approve all of the content of the guest post (including the links) and the people who run these sites are more savvy than those whom Matt Cutts said couldn't figure out how to remove links in widget codes or Wordpress themes. The idea that if I write a guest blog again for say, Moz, and I can't link to something else I've written or to my company or anything else related to me in a journalistic way is incomprehensible. Now if Google see's a blog that is nothing but guest authors posting with 1 or 2 links, to me those should be nofollowed or penalized in some way just like article sites were.

Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 03:19 pm

They are not yet that aggressive: That's just a mere recommendation. For now there's no official statement: "If you guest post, you MUST..." (like they do with paid reviews for example)... The big problem with nofollow is that it has "I don't trust that link" correlation. It would be much smarter to start supporting another attribute for self links (rel="me") to give Google a clear signal that the link is self-serving (and let them treat it as they like). I'd me more than happy to use it everywhere I contribute as that's just the honest way to do that...

Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 03:23 pm

The point to make here is simple and OLD: Guest blogging (or ANY self-linking method) should not be your main source of backlinks: Build the product/content people want to link to; THEN use guest blogging and social media to bring it in front of your future promoters and have links flow on their own! That's how guest blogging should work and I would love to see a smarter way to markup my own links in guest posts because rel="nofollow" just doesn't accomplish that (those links are not paid and most importantly, they are EDITORIAL). Why not introduce a more suitable approach, like encourage people to markup their own links with rel="me" or something similar. It just makes more sense to me... unless I am missing anything


07/10/2013 03:33 pm

Let's face it, people pretty much only guest blog to gain links or in the case of posting on industry sites, to gain kudos. If you're a commercial site you're guest posting to get relevant links and that's exactly what guest posts offer, in content links on relevant sites read by a relevant audience. WTF is wrong with that? Google are slowly but surely killing off any form of link building that works. It's a joke, they built the algorithm to be primarily influenced by links, and release probably 300-400 changes a year designed to stop that dependence on links from being exploited! If Google could actually assess quality of content they wouldn't need to spend so much effort on trying to devalue links or in this case, telling SEOs to devalue a link for them.

Michael Martinez

07/10/2013 03:52 pm

Guest blogging tumbled out of control because people stopped thinking about the positive benefits of being featured on someone else's Website and confined their "marketing strategies" to just getting links that were "not spam" as defined by current Google guidelines. But the guidelines evolve in accordance with aggressive marketing practices.


07/10/2013 03:59 pm

"If you're a commercial site you're guest posting to get relevant links and that's exactly what guest posts offer, in content links on relevant sites read by a relevant audience. WTF is wrong with that? " Exactly. The links in a guest post should only exist to point the readers to your site, it should have nothing to do with obtaining dofollow what's your issue? "Google are slowly but surely killing off any form of link building that works." Oh, you were angry that you can't link build with the intention of manipulating search results. I find it funny that nobody cared about SERP quality when they could just acquire a new client and then spam them to the top of the rankings, but now that they are forced to play by the rules (rules that were stated but not properly enforced previously, and that is Googles fault), the nonstop whining is set to go. 'Oh, but now it's all about money and who can spend the most money and blah blah blah'...and that is different from what the old SEO model how? Oh, it is different because you aren't getting the money to be the middleman anymore. Google killing off manipulative linking/ranking processes is one of the best things that has happened to the quality of the SERPs in a long time (please don't respond about the poor quality of scam/spam queries, I don't care...the people still playing in those pools are either the spammers themselves or those who are too dense to realize the pool is poison). Are there legitimate niches where there is a scrapping/spamming problem? There certainly are and those need some more attention and work -which they are probably getting from the web spam team. The overall health and relevancy of the SERPs are getting better for the average user and that is, after all, the whole point of search (although I do have an issue with how much room and attention things like youtube snippets and other Google products have been getting...but we adapt to the best of our ability and learn to use these new realities to our advantage). I am so sick of the mentality your statement illuminates and it is rampant on this and other discussion mediums in the 'industry'. I would like to think that the headless chicken crowd is just louder and gets more attention because they are loud; that there is actually a whole industry of well-meaning, adaptive SEOs out there that don't make the rest of us look like a bunch of reactionaries holding our hands to our eyes and ears when the manipulation spigot is finally turned off. m0ss, I hope you manage only your own sites and that you aren't out marketing your services to others who don't know any better.


07/10/2013 04:10 pm

Totally understood. Maybe I should have said, 'I would be pleased to see an aggressive stance on guest posts for the sake of rank manipulation" I hear your point about the 'I don't trust this link' issue with the nofollow, but I don't think anyone but the spider and webmasters would care to even check if the link is do or no follow. Is the 'do not trust this link' connection to the nofollow still relevant though? I would think that the rampant manipulation of the dofollow has necessitated a change in how search engineers look at the nofollow. The rel=me idea is interesting, could you expound upon that idea a bit?


07/10/2013 04:16 pm

You can always reverse-guest-blog. If a blogger has a strong authorship presence, have them post on YOUR site and 'schema-up' their post. Ask them to share the collaboration through their social channels (often powerful). Get the valuable content placed on your own website.

Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 04:27 pm

Well, my point is simple: This is my link and I want Google to know that and deal with that however they want. I don't see anything wrong with clearly disclosing my links but that link is still editorial (the owner of the blog liked my article and my link and doesn't mind linking to me, so why the heck should these links be placed in the same row with sponsored links?)

Deven Jadav

07/10/2013 06:02 pm

Was sure expected soon. A pure blogger with zero intentions of link back is gonna win the rank race even with handful of natural back links.

Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 06:04 pm

I very honestly don't believe this is what is really happening. It's a good theory but it's more vice versa now: Huge brands are winning; everyone else is lost and confused


07/10/2013 07:21 pm

yes, it's out of control with SEOs. I won't say which conference, but the last linkbuilding panel I attended had 4 speakers and every one of them only talked about guest blogging and how to find blogs to write for. THERE ARE OTHER TACTICS PEOPLE. As SEOs we get too focused on the what and forget about the why. As Danny ranted years ago: We heard directory links were important but we didn't get the reason they were is because people actually used them and they had editors who only listed useful links - so instead we made a ton of directories with no editors that nobody used and got links there because, hey it's a directory. The same is happening with guest blogging. It was a good tactic because high quality blogs only allow high quality content. There's that editorial oversight there to ensure the content is relevant and useful to users. We didn't listen to that though, we heard guest blogging and suddenly started writing off-topic crap for any site that would take it. We did the same shit with infographics. We'd do an infographic about politics or sports and use it to build links to our "refinance your home while playing poker online as you wait for your viagra to kick in" websites. We're too focused on the tactic - like we just want to follow a checklist - and we completely forget about why things work or why they're important. Throw away the checklist people. there's a forest behind that tree.

Graham Ginsberg

07/10/2013 09:31 pm

Soon just having friends will get u banned by Google. Have you real friends or suspiciously unreal friends? Hmmmm

Graham Ginsberg

07/10/2013 09:35 pm

Ann Smarty wrote: "Build the product/content people want to link to" Ann. can you offer some industry examples? Real Estate buyers and sellers don't care too much for giving everyone a heads up of their interests. So scratch that. The porn industry is clandestine, or so I am told. Who goes online to brag about that awesome porn site? So scratch that. I'm stumped. Maybe a dentistry site? Great crowns and fillings? Painless process?

Graham Ginsberg

07/10/2013 09:37 pm

I can better that: Stop thinking natural results and focus on PAY PER CLICK Honesty wins the day

Graham Ginsberg

07/10/2013 09:41 pm

Martinez wrote "But the guidelines evolve in accordance with aggressive marketing practices." No Michael. The ENFORCEMENT OF guidelines evolve in accordance with aggressive marketing practices.

Graham Ginsberg

07/10/2013 09:42 pm

m0SS WROTE :"people pretty much only guest blog to gain links" People goto work to make money and have relationships with co-workers. Live is evil I agree I should be clearer. GOOGLE IS EVIL

James Davis

07/10/2013 09:46 pm

Ok I am really confused!! I run a health and fitness bloggers community and we allow our members to post guest blogs and add product reviews. We allow natural natural links in the content and also offer an Author Bio that includes links to their own websites, social media channels and we encourage them to use Google+ Authorship. We have a dedicated "Human" editorial team that checks the quality of the content and any unnatural links or duplicate content etc. I feel we have followed Google Guidelines with how we run our website however I am now very concerned that we may face penalties in the future?? Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated!! Kind Regards James A very confused Fitness Blogger

Ann Smarty

07/10/2013 09:59 pm

Real estate? So publish a real estate stats whitepaper and go to media with it... You can target that stats as you want: "How many of my clients use Twitter to get feedback on ... neighborhood / community" (real estate pros should know better than me) may be easily picked by Mashable.. Dating? Look at OkCupid research and check their backlinks: (sorry, can't speak for adult but dating should do :)) Dentistry? Create an iPhone app that will clear up your smile on the photo :) The problem is, we are too fast to go for easy solutions but there ARE other ways as well.

Michael Martinez

07/10/2013 10:05 pm

Graham, the guidelines have changed over the years, so, YES -- they change/evolve in accordance with aggressive marketing practices. Enforcement evolves over time, too, but that's not an either/or situation.

Michael Martinez

07/10/2013 10:05 pm

I grow my organic traffic. I don't pay for it.

Jason Lancaster

07/10/2013 10:10 pm

While I appreciate and value the opinion of the great Barry Schwartz - and I say that without an ounce of sarcasm - I think he's officially fallen into the deep end of the pool. This whole business of nofollowing links is based on a false premise: Google doesn't always "listen" when a link is nofollowed. Links from Wikipedia, for example, are nofollowed...but that doesn't mean Google just ignores them. Nofollow is a suggestion, not a law.


07/10/2013 10:15 pm

Long before the internet existed, I was actually getting paid to write content for print media. Imagine that. That's what the normal world looked like before the concept of posting nonsensical content for links came along. If you are offering great content to someone for free, they should be glad to offer a link. It's not the guest blogging itself that is the problem; it's that people will happily post crap on their websites for the right price.

Nick Ker

07/10/2013 11:06 pm

I have a real estate client who occasionally posts local or regional market reports with commentary, local interest things like where the best places are to see Christmas lights, and that dirt if thing. It works very well. He also networks well. I don't mean exchanging links. I mean he discusses all sorts of RE, marketing and Internet stuff related to RE and freely shares what he learns. It all works very well. It's "just" marketing. If you treat it as that rather than focusing only on what you think Google wants or doesn't want, it does work very nicely.


07/11/2013 12:18 am

If you're stumped, you're not going to do well in SEO. Stumped usually leads to shortcuts, when it really should lead to outside-the-box thinking. That's why there's so much spam - all the lazy marketers are stumped.

Graham Ginsberg

07/11/2013 12:19 am

Nick Ker says - It's "just" marketing. NO NICK, ITS DRAWING ATTENTION TO YOURSELF. The internet is an instant gratification machine 24/7. I'm not an instant gratification producer, I sell real estate. Same with the dentistry office. We don't have those adrenaline filled lives, its quite beige. Now, if you urge me, you want me to really market crazy, I could with little effort show what a real estate agent will do after surviving the REAL ESTATE BUBBLE . LOL you want crazy? Now that will be a utube vid that will go viral. And I give a rat what Google thinks. Marketing Tip: No News is Bad news

Graham Ginsberg

07/11/2013 12:19 am

Color me pink. What industry are you in that you have so many real friends wanting to share your words of wisdom?

Graham Ginsberg

07/11/2013 12:28 am

Ann, funny you mentioned stats. Did one, put a link on it and sent it to various news blogs. My rankings plummeted. I guess someone else should have put their link on it to get the credit - lol Google is so full of it

Ann Smarty

07/11/2013 12:54 am

Well, I am not defending G, just to be clear. I am as frustrated with them as most of website owners are. I just meant to say there is no way in building links unless you hope that you have content that is ready for those links...

Guest Post Sharks

07/11/2013 05:20 am

Real friends are so much better though. Why would you have friends with people who you couldn't possibly connect with ;) Keep it real bro.

Sanket Patel

07/11/2013 06:01 am

Well that day is not far when we got a mail from G for making your link no follow in the webmasters tools. Everyone else are confused about same thing. Hope to get some conclusion over here.

Joe McGuiness

07/11/2013 07:07 am

Google and their retarded ever growing regulation of what one can do to increase their business (other than buying their adwords product to increase Google's revenues) is appauling and causing people to do exactly this - guest posts. Now, google will sooner or later go after guests posts too - their goal is that everyone buys adsense to increase google profits and please their shareholders. It is that simple.


07/11/2013 07:14 am

Very soon Google will start seeing all the natural links as spam and will ask to no follow which the webmasters doesn't even know they exist. If all the links will be no followed then wonder how Google will start differentiating web sites.


07/11/2013 07:51 am

you can be penalized because of automatic algorithm fluctuations of google. It not matter you follow their guidelines or not. This answer was given at google forums.


07/11/2013 09:02 am

I have been arguing for a long time that guest blogging is a vote for yourself and we all know what Matt thinks about voting for yourself. The sooner Google pounces on this the better. It basically makes the whole web one big blog network of crap content.


07/11/2013 09:06 am

Anyway Barry if this is the case how does Danny and Mr Mcgee explain articles like this

Aqueous SEO

07/11/2013 09:20 am

Interesting and wholly accurate piece imho. We wrote about this on April 3rd under the heading "Three good reasons we will not be guest blogging" and said pretty much the same. It's self defeating and the next area for abuse that Google will have to clamp down on.


07/11/2013 10:33 am

I am extremely happy, whenever i heard about all the doors(Linkbuilding) are closed. I think very soon the linkbuilders should choose some other job :D . Everything we do in seo for links that simple piece of fucking reference anchor text. first of all tell google to concentrate of demote black hater techniques. In google, there are lot of Hole's in their algorithm. Google employees are now active only on posting #throughclass in G+. The guy who worked as head of Google's Webspam team. he is always busy about video tutorial.


07/11/2013 10:33 am

So why shouldn't guest posting be a way of getting dofollow links? It's nonsense to think that those going after guest posts are driven by anything other than a. improving ranking or b. improving there own profile. I very much doubt anyone is generating significant traffic from clicks via in content links, the sites I work on certainly don't and we have hundreds of guest posts out there on highly trafficked domains. Why should the links be nofollowed? Google created a commodity from links. And every commodity is bought, sold and traded. So guest posts are just another way of trading that commodity. Links = ranking, hence everyone uses whatever methods are available to gain links. That's the nature of the beast so explain why guest posts should have nofollowed links? Just because Google says so is definitely not a valid argument. Bottom line is Google are going to find it very difficult to devalue/penalise links from guest posts so I expect this is just another example of their famous scaremongering tactics Google are so great at communicating. "Oh, you were angry that you can't link build with the intention of manipulating search results." You buddy, are living in a fantasy world drinking far too much koolaid. Links are built primarily with the intention of manipulating search results! There isn't an SEO out there who's building links for any other reason than increasing rankings and that is the nature of the playing field Google have created.


07/11/2013 10:36 am

It'll be fine as long as those friends are on Google+!

Soni Sharma

07/11/2013 11:24 am

Good work Google Spam Team :). Small Websites will always be in danger.

Aaron Charlie

07/11/2013 12:43 pm

Love this Ann. Shame so many people are stuck on easy.


07/11/2013 12:44 pm is nothing but drawing attention to yourself/product.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 01:14 pm

It still is, and the tools are all still there. Don't get caught up in the "Google wants to destroy small businesses" hype, which seems to be the favorite claim of people who were trying to game the system.

Steven Vachon

07/11/2013 01:17 pm

I'm not and "the rich only get richer" is getting truer and truer on SERPs with recommendations/requirements like this from Google.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 01:37 pm

There are several possibilities that it seems like you haven't looked at: Kind of sounds like this stats article was done in that old "article marketing" way. Maybe the blogs you sent it to were not good places to send it. If it was really good, why send it elsewhere? Put it on your site and let people know about it who may want to link to it. Maybe you had nothing but keyword stuffed anchor text links making it seem spammy. Maybe your content was simply pulled from another source and was seen as a copy. If it was sent to lots of blogs and they all published it "as is", many of those would be seen as duplicates and would not be counted. Maybe your website is full of technical issues and duplicate content, has hundreds of spammy links with all the same keywords, it is on a keyword stuffed exact match domain, etc - so no amount of links (good or bad) will help. Maybe there are dozens of competitors who have better sites, better content, better relationships with their customers who spread the word in social media... There are many ways you could be missing the mark. When most other people are succeeding with something, and you try it and fail, is it more likely that the whole world is screwed up or that there is something not quite right about what you did? It is much easier to blame something external like Google when things don't go as well as you'd hoped. But taking a good, objective look at what you are doing should always be the first step in figuring out why your marketing is not working, online or off.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 01:46 pm

Yep. But the thing is, not all attention is good marketing. For example: consistently making a fool of oneself in public can get attention, but unless you are a comedian, that isn't going to be a big lead generator.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 01:51 pm

I missed where Google said "Unless you are on our approved Big Powerful Company list..." Can you show me where that is?


07/11/2013 01:51 pm

Cough cough, Graham, cough.

Steven Vachon

07/11/2013 01:56 pm

I never said implied an "approved list". Huge companies have automatic attention; people write about them freely and that results in free authoritative links. Small companies have to branch out manually and now that Google is clamping down on their ability to build links, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 01:58 pm

Guest blogging has become the new "article marketing". When the content was good and the article sites may have actually served some purpose other than just easy links, article marketing actually worked. Eventually it turned into a link spam haven. Guest blogging is quickly following the same path. Even many major sites that accept guest or member posts are filling up with articles that may not be as bad as the old article marketing junk, but there is an awful lot of self-promotional crap turning up that makes me wonder if some of those bigger sites have just given up on making editorial choices.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 02:13 pm

Big companies being better known than small ones is not a new phenomenon, not unique to the internet, and really has nothing to do with how Google operates its search engine. What is stopping small companies from becoming big companies? The tools to do it are all still there, and the rules apply to both big and small. The ability to build your own links that manipulate ranking is not what it used to be, but that applies to all sites. The playing field is still level. Today's big companies were not always big. They did something to get where they are. Should Google's algorithm detect the age of a company and rank newer ones higher even if they don't deserve it? It isn't Google's responsibility to make sure every kid gets a trophy.

Arun Singh

07/11/2013 02:17 pm

This is somehow ironic. Google wants links to pick up the quality websites inside the web jungle and rank them high. Then, we create another layer inside the jungle with parallel content to support the main sites and Google says "no no too much". We can buy content, we can buy followers, we can buy tweets & share, we can buy links, ... Everything is valuable but the truth is buried behind a marketing facade. Each algorithm creates a new wave...

Steven Vachon

07/11/2013 02:29 pm

As I said, Google used to be the place where everyone was on relatively equal footing, minus those trying to game the system. Guest blogging was a way for a company to grow and now it would appear that that tool is being taken away. I'm repeating myself here.

Nick Ker

07/11/2013 02:50 pm

Is there something stopping you from guest blogging? If you choose to stop guest blogging because you think you won't get a ranking boost as a result, you were probably doing it for the wrong reasons, or on the wrong sites to begin with. Guest blogging, even with "nofollow" links, is still a great way to promote a site to people who would actually be interested in it - assuming your guest posts are good and on good, appropriate sites. Before there were search engine algorithms that used links as a way to measure popularity, people linked to another website because the other site provided some type of value to their users. People discovered new sites by following those links. That still works, believe it or not. All of this has nothing to do with the size of a company, but has everything to do with the same reason other forms of promotion like directories and article sites are no longer as valuable for link building - people abused it, and it was putting sites on top that didn't always deserve to be there. That said, I don't expect Google to devalue all guest blog links across the board any time soon. But it is pretty likely that they are working on a way to algorithmically see a pattern and devalue blogs that are full of crappy link filled content, those that are powered by one of the guest posting exchange platforms, or other types of guest posts that provide no value other than the links. Or sites that only have any kind of ranking because of hundreds of guest posts. This is another time where people are interpreting things as absolutes with no middle ground. "Some directories were devalued" is interpreted as "Google penalizes all directories", or even Penguin: "Penguin goes after sites with too many spammy keyword links" = "Remove ALL links, especially those using keywords". Neither of those hasty conclusions are true, but are what many people have taken Google's actions to mean.

Steven Vachon

07/11/2013 03:22 pm

As I said earlier, I don't click author links in articles and I'd imagine that the amount that do are not enough to warrant the work required to write great articles. I'd only guest blog for the link, nothing else. I have my own blog to reach individual searches/keywords. Regarding absolute interpretations, I know what you mean and I agree, but algorithms are never completely accurate and sometimes view quality stuff as junk.

James Perrin

07/11/2013 03:24 pm

I totally agree that Guest Blogging on 'content dumps' and poor sites is certainly a good enough reason to get penalised. I just think it should be different if the site you're working on has built up its reputation as an authority (or is doing so) and is being asked for comments and posts on quality guest sites. In this respect I can't see how Guest blogging or PR comments can be penalised. The only way, like you say, is for Google to manually look at a site and take retrospective opposed to their algorithm.


07/11/2013 04:07 pm

These days and thanks to Google, EVERYTHING is forbidden in Internet in order to promote your website. At least the government let you distribute some flyers on the streets. Thank you Google for turning Internet in a freaking boring space everyday where everything is forbidden because of you, meh!


07/11/2013 07:08 pm

Oh didn't you realise Google+ is all about connecting. atm Google don't care it's with bots or real people, as long as you have plenty of "friends" in circles and they continue to get more users than facebook!

Durant Imboden

07/11/2013 08:10 pm

Guest posts are the new paid links. Or, to put it another way, they're wrappers for paid links. If anything, they're probably more obvious to Google than traditional paid links are, because the surrounding text is usually low-quality boilerplate fluff that's being duplicated on a large number of sites.

Ann Smarty

07/11/2013 09:03 pm

That just means too many people are doing it wrong, so Google should be able to figure that out without confusing website owners and publishers... Or, like I said, alternatively they should give us a better way to show which of the links is self-serving

Ann Smarty

07/11/2013 09:06 pm

I am for one guest blogging not for links and I've said that many times. But I refuse to nofollow links my editors are comfortable with...

Durant Imboden

07/12/2013 02:19 am

To judge from the e-mails that I get every day from bottom-feeding SEO firms that are trying to place "guest posts" on topics that have nothing to do with our site, the majority of such guest posts are boilerplate junk that will turn up on dozens if not hundreds of other sites. Such garbage should be easy to distinguish from legitimate guest posts, freelance articles, or op-ed contributions. Google doesn't need to look at, say, a Robert Reich op-ed on and try to deduce whether the author wrote it for a link, for the chance to share his opinions, or both. Ninety per cent of the time, guest posts will generate the same "this is garbage" patterns as most other kinds of search-engine spam.

Graham Ginsberg

07/12/2013 02:43 am

Nick Ker takes himself and his opinions far too seriously

Graham Ginsberg

07/12/2013 02:44 am

Maybe Nick Ker, you're just too smart for your own good

Graham Ginsberg

07/12/2013 02:47 am

Good that Nick Ker knows Google's responsibilities. Nick Ker wrote - "It isn't Google's responsibility" Give your swollen head a rest Nick - About as clueless as a Jackass Penguin in an aquarium

the coon

07/12/2013 03:16 am

So Ranfish for months tells us to guest post, deliver great content, now we can get a penalty for doing this,,, white hat seo now is black hat seo. What a crock of sh#4 - just go get 1k sape links- google appears to really know what there manual review of guest post,,, another scare campaign.

Justin Clark

07/12/2013 06:08 am

Every website to be small in starting stage.

Justin Clark

07/12/2013 06:13 am

It is just because guest posting or blogging are very popular nowadays and Google planning is that people pay for google not for guest blogging.

Soni Sharma

07/12/2013 06:44 am

Time has changed a lot Justin... Now you need VC funding to make site BIG. SEO is helpful but only that is not going to make site big beyond 2013.

Justin Clark

07/12/2013 07:00 am

Did you ever thought, how much online business apply for VC funding?. And who apply for VC funding Are they really need of Google?. I don't think they need Google. They need word of mouth only. If Google comes is a plus factor for them. And yes SEO can not fulfill all requirements but it is the first step to pull your online business without any big investment.


07/12/2013 08:48 am

Yakezie Douchebag biggest culprit

Mukesh Kumar

07/12/2013 09:35 am

Please have a look now google will rank those websites which have dummy content , please have a look on this :-,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48705608,d.bmk&fp=25e5e2dd21e98617&biw=1366&bih=635 Look at the website on #1 position , please have a look on the content , google dont have any quality , There is no parameters of ranking a website. So dont worry and carry on with your existing work.

Soni Sharma

07/12/2013 10:10 am

:) agreed.


07/12/2013 10:43 am

I still strongly believe that there is a good air that comes with sharing your authority of a subject with relevant users, so guest blogging is not a dead duck just yet but interestingly enough while reading the article written by Marie the "high quality" that she refers to is clearly overall site based rather than the content that is produced. If you are guest blogging and flooding the same pages with the same anchor text in content that is written off point of the site that it will feature on, surely you can see why Google have an issue with this? The fact that these are called high quality seems to have my head scratching as just because you have a placement of content on a site that is considered to be an authority does not mean that you have a high quality piece of the jigsaw for your backlink profile. Google treat links on a link by link basis, so there is no instant okay added to link placements in content regardless of where it features and as for the comment surrounding if you did not make contact with the site, would your content still be mentioned in order to determine whether the post is natural, that's complete bull.

Shazida Khatun

07/12/2013 01:00 pm

Google spam team head Matt cutts never says as guest posting is a cause of penalty but all the announcements are indirectly indicated gust posting penalty. However, link building is welcomed but what type link building is better , there is no clear instruction . [ Source : ]

Ann Smarty

07/12/2013 01:02 pm

You don't say "bogging is spam" just because you get thousands of spam comments daily, do you? Same with guest blogging!


07/12/2013 01:29 pm

Unfortunately the exploitive types would just mark all of them as not self-serving and try and hide them. Its a tricky one


07/12/2013 04:00 pm

Interesting article but leaves me a little frustrated. What about websites that rely on good quality guest post to keep their content up to date a informative? On another note does google really have the resources to manually audit individual blog post and their respective links. #confused

Ann Smarty

07/12/2013 04:23 pm

Well, yes, but that would allow normal contributors to be clear on what they are doing and why you are linking. Good authors should not suffer just because there are a bunch of spammers...

gregory smith

07/15/2013 09:01 pm

Is there any proof of anyone who has been PENALIZED? or are you just blowing smoke up peoples ass? I suppose seomoz will be the first to be penalized...

Sophorn Chhay

07/16/2013 04:41 pm

As long as you add value to each article, then you'll be fine.

Dustin Christensen

07/17/2013 08:17 pm

Better late than never, I suppose - what you just said sums up exactly what I'm saying. If you or I were in an industry where real friends wanted to share our content, then SEO would be a piece of cake. The challenge comes when you work in an industry that doesn't have that natural level of sharing/community online, so you have to go out and make those connections and create shareable assets to make up for not having natural friends in the industry.

Yogita Aggarwal

07/23/2013 05:00 am

Google and Google Updates for online marketing are unpredictable. :(

Saifi Rizvi

07/23/2013 05:08 am

Guest blogging should be done naturally . It doesn't matters whether link in no follow or do follow.

Saifi Rizvi

07/23/2013 05:10 am

Guest blogging should be done theme based. It should not be counted if you are taking backlinks from wordpress theme based site for joomla backlinks.

David Fairhurst

08/01/2013 01:10 pm

Hear hear Jason... I've been saying this for years! A good rake through server logs and Analytics will show you that Google bot rarely takes any notice of nofollow... As far as guest blogging for link acquisition goes (as with many other things in the SEO community) it seems many listen to the grapevine and then run round like headless chickens panicking. Build top quality site content, promote with appropriate quality links and all should be well. The only way you're going to get penalised through using guest blog 'followed' links is by doing *lots* of them, from low quality blogs, all with the same 'exact match' anchor text, which isn't the case for most websites. Stop panicking people... I'm sure @matcutts or Google doesn't want to put you all out of business, that would be massively counter productive!


08/22/2013 11:23 am

Natural/relevant link building is useful to increase your web site ranking. :)

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