Post Google Penguin: Publishers Fear Guest Content

Aug 31, 2012 • 8:39 am | comments (54) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Penguin PencilEGOL, someone I highly respect at Cre8asite Forums posted a thread about his recent fear or anxiety around accepting guests posts, despite the quality of it, due to Google's Penguin update.

He said that he heard that accepting articles with credit links at the bottom would get him in trouble with the Google Penguin update. Honestly, I thought Penguin was mostly about external incoming links, not internal links.

Here is what EGOL wrote:

Since Penguin, I am getting a flood of article offers. Most of this content is crap. Some of it is "average" quality (which I don't publish). Some can be excellent, unique, highly desirable. So now I am deciding if I want to accept some of this content, knowing that I could be publishing links to sites that could have past, present or future manipulation.

I have a potential article that I really like and that would be very popular with my visitors. The author's site ranks #1 in a difficult niche and they don't have enough content on their site to hold that position from editorial links (IMO).

I have not seen any articles or discussion about the cautions that a publisher should be following in these days of post-penguin linking.

Do you think EGOL and other publishers need to worry?

There are tons and tons of quality sites that accept guest posts and give credit to the author through a link to their web site.

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.

Image credit to ShutterStock for Penguin

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Comments:

Andy

08/31/2012 01:09 pm

If you are worried: Nofollow links in content and check copyscape. Fixed.

Voice of Reason

08/31/2012 02:03 pm

"Honestly, I thought Penguin was mostly about external incoming links, not internal links." Get it through your thick and biased skull Barry: Penguin and Panda are about penalizing non-payers, or sites that get "free" traffic but do not advertise. Stop BS-ing us with press junk from Google and that shill, Matt Cutts. Do you think it's a coincidence that Google earnings skyrocket after each update? Clicks on ads are 100% or more up since Panda and Penguin, our traffic is going to ads so stop trying to fool us. Google Search needs to be separated from Adwords, now Google is using Search to drive business to Adwords--illegally. Everything else is noise.

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2012 02:07 pm

Your anger clouds your judgement.

Voice of Reason

08/31/2012 02:11 pm

Your nose up Google's ass as you stuff your pockets, more than clouds yours. Numbers don't lie, you and other Google shills do. Tell us about Google's earnings and clicks on ads stats?

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2012 02:12 pm

Why don't you read elsewhere. If you spend anytime reading here over the past 8 years, it is clear I am not a Google fan.

Captain Cheeseburger

08/31/2012 02:42 pm

Man you are pretty mad.

cjvannette

08/31/2012 03:18 pm

I haven't seen anything suggesting that outbound links are a problem.

Carisa Carlton

08/31/2012 03:44 pm

Agreed. Just focus on quality content. Provide relevant information.

Adam

08/31/2012 04:03 pm

Google Share Holders: "How can we reduce the amount of total search terms?" Matt Cutts: "Lets get rid of long tails by forcing down the variety of searches and we'll call it 'Google Instant' we'll act like its in the users best interest that we tell them what they wanted to search for." Google Share Holders: "Okay great, by reducing the amount of eligible search terms we can force more people to compete for the same terms. That way PPC accounts will see huge traffic loses on well run broad match +negative campaigns. By default they will all be placed in the same auction for fewer potential keywords. PPC costs rise, everyone wins" GOOGLE ANNOUNCEMENT: "REVENUES ARE UP 1 GAZILLION %" Google Share Holders: "Okay now that more advertisers are competing for the same terms, how can we get more advertisers?" Matt Cutts: "Well, you know those review sites like Nextag, Priceline, Lending Tree? We can come up with our own version of those and claim its a better service, in fact we can make sure our result is always #1 or #2. We can even let people in for free....(at first) to get the used to it." Google Share Holders: "Okay but how do we make more money?" Matt Cutts: "Simple, once everyone gets used to it being free, we'll charge for it. So we'll take up 'organic' placement with paid inclusion and say that its in the best interest of the user." Google Share Holders: "Who is this 'user' we always refer to?" Matt Cutts: "Its a nonsensical phrase we use to make people think we actually care about users. I wouldn't worry about it though, its not like we are going to become so large and evil people will leave us for bing." SIZABLE LAUGHS FROM CROWD OF SHARE HOLDERS Google Share Holders: "Okay we are 6 months out from our earnings reports, what else do you have?" Matt Cutts: "Well you know how the internet is just getting too crowded with entrepreneurial pioneers doing their best to create an income for themselves in a tough economy?" Google Share Holders: "Oh yea, we hate those guys." Matt Cutts: "Well we have this plan in the works called Panda, or Penguin or Polar bear, or Panther or Praying Mantis, we haven't decided on a name yet. But ideally we come up with defensible way to destroy small sites that serve the user better in favor of large brands who aren't making enough money yet. So we penalize small to medium size business organically and force them to use PPC. The big brands who are already paying us PPC will keep doing it, and now the little guys will too. Its win-win." Google Share Holders: "Matt Cutts you are one nerdy looking, slightly rotund but getting slimmer, smart guy. I'm so glad you suggested that we pay you based solely on PPC spend increases." Matt Cutts: "Me too." Google Share Holders: "Great meeting everyone. Now, to close, everyone place their hand on the original google logo and repeat after me. "Don't be evil, Don't be evil, Don't be evil!"

Colin

08/31/2012 04:08 pm

Getting sick of people taking out their anti-Google anger and frustration on Barry. Google is a blackbox - no one knows the truth either way - so why go mental on someone for giving their opinion? Barry, the vast majority of people love you and your blog. F*ck the haters.

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2012 04:10 pm

Thank you.

Voice of Reason

08/31/2012 04:23 pm

"Google is a blackbox - no one knows the truth either way" No it's not a blackbox, they have to publish earnings and clicks on ads numbers and per click cost. Each. Quarter. They cannot lie there. Connect the dots loser while you try to analyze every word Matt Cutts throws to people. He's there to keep you talking and wondering while they are making a killing after each update. Keep lying to yourself that Google is unbiased.

Webstats Art

08/31/2012 04:27 pm

Yeh. I think Barry is cool. He is not a google pussy.

Voice of Reason

08/31/2012 04:28 pm

Matt Cutts has almost zero decision making power at Google. Senior VPs and Adword stats do, Matt's not even a respected engineer, just a PR tool used to fool people and to punish or reward writers like Barry, Danny Sullivan and others.

Colin

08/31/2012 04:33 pm

I was talking about the Google algorithm, which is about as close to the definition of a blackbox as is possible. And who mentioned Matt Cutts, I certainly didn't? Dude, whoever you are, you need to learn to control your anger. Learn how to meditate, or read a bit of poetry :)

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2012 04:34 pm

Calling yourself the Voice of Reason doesn't convince people that you have any reason.

Joshua

08/31/2012 04:35 pm

I think we need stay away from google. This is not search engine and it not for peoples anymore.

Murray Sanders

08/31/2012 05:22 pm

I skipped past the article so I could read this comment. Nice!

Terry Simmonds

08/31/2012 05:56 pm

I've been worried about this long before Panda or Penguin came along. I have a couple of sites that I have allowed guest articles on for 4 or 5 years solely because I only allow good content and it compliments the sites it is on. As soon as Google start talking about paid links it got me thinking do they really distinguish between a link in a good article and a paid link? I could of course nofollow the links but then I wouldn't get so many good articles.

Voice of Reason

08/31/2012 06:17 pm

If traffic goes down for the ass-kissers, Matt Cutts rushes to help. I've seen it many times, so the ass-kissers keep pushing Google's propaganda. I can name names but you are connected to the Search Engine Land writers...

Barry Schwartz

08/31/2012 06:21 pm

My Google traffic sucks, I have a penalty.

ScottyMack

08/31/2012 07:12 pm

Sorry; I just had to laugh. I read this blog a lot and don't comment all too often. If anything, Barry is far more anti-Google than anyone else that I read. I don't agree with his anti-Google stances quite frequently only because I believe in a free world where companies can do whatever they want. It's their website; use it or don't; advertise or don't; conform or don't. They really don't give a rats ..... what you think they should do. The day they are forced to conform to what the masses or (eeek) a government agency says they have to do, is the day you, too, will lose the freedom to post whatever content you want on your own website. Do I like everything they do? Heck no! What am I going to do about it? They're no worse than my wife in that regard. You can change your direction or you can continue to battle, to rant, to cry and it's still just dust in the wind. You're an atom on a flea on a dog on a planet within a universe and Google is the universe. It is what it is. How your rants address the substance of this post, I'll never know, but I'm sure you have it all figured out. Now go do whatever it is you need to do to calm yourself down "Voice of Reason" (that's probably the most ironic moniker I've ever seen, incidentally). Pouting, or worse, having a tantrum never really accomplished anything. There's good energy in there somewhere that I'm sure you could use for something more productive.

ScottyMack

08/31/2012 07:16 pm

Yeah, that's what I want to do. Waste my time creating a relevant, engaging piece for free and then have you no_follow my single link in the signature. Do that once or twice, and you'll be writing all of your own content!

Craig Hamilton-Parker

08/31/2012 09:50 pm

I have a 100,000 subscribing to my Ezine and I intend to include an ad at the bottom urging people to use Bing. Their search is fair and having 10 or more results on page one is more natural. Let's all start a sustained viral campaign to get people to switch to Bing. Even a few hundred dedicated campaigners could swing public opinion. Already I have my MP taking an interest in the problems small businesses have with Google and I have even had a letter from Vince Cable (the UK business secretary) about the issue. In the USA with an election in gear this could also be an issue that could catch the politicians interest. A viral campaign saying that Bing Is Best and vocal complaints from small businesses worldwide could help to eventualy break up Google so that search is split from the advertising wings of Google.

Jonah Stein

08/31/2012 10:50 pm

Someone at Google is a stakeholder for those discussions but it isn't Matt Cutts. He says, and I believe him, that business issues are never a discussion at search quality meetings. Blame someone else there.

eLegacy.in

09/01/2012 12:29 am

+1 for that!

Joshua

09/01/2012 02:51 am

Of course you moron, they don't let every engineer know that. The algo is driven by a no-class, no morals person, named Amit Singhal. He was made SVP for his efforts on driving people to Adwords via Search.

Gabriel Machuret

09/01/2012 02:51 am

Hey Genius... if you hate Barry and his Blog so freaking much... why do you even bother to read it or visit the site? I love how all the "brave comments" are from clowns without the b*lls to even put their real names.

Anti-SEO

09/01/2012 04:10 am

You're "TV psychic medium" (what the hell is this ? ) ... What do you know about the IT ?? The real problem starts, when every housewife knows how to run Google.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

09/01/2012 08:33 am

For 15 years I was the MD of a top Advertising Agency and did the marketing for British Airways, Midland Bank and Esso.

Anti-SEO

09/01/2012 12:21 pm

In this case you have to understand, that Google search + advertising is the same like BBC air time + advertising or Daily Mail + advertising. Google Search is the source of information. Do you want to be included in this very popular media source ? Provide really really popular product or buy ad space. Same way TV works and publishing market and everything. You worked 15 years with media and had no problem. But now, when the same principles apply to Google, you want to break it up. Why ? What happened ? For me it's clear. You had an ad space for free on Google when it was young. You could sell your questionable service. You could earn, because you were ad expenses free. Without the free ad space you can't sell anything. Is it because of Google or because your product is very questionable and need permanent ad support ? BTW, are you one of the talking heads from TV screen, who during the night time are fooling poor people with tarot cards and magic balls ? Are you getting this air time for free from TV channel ? Obviously not. Why do you expect Google will provide its air time, ups sorry, its virtual space to you for free ?? Make your show extremely popular and Google will pay YOU to have the ability to list you in their search. Otherwise you're paying Google. I can't imagine I have to explain you such an obvious things. You seems to be an educated person.

Ron McCoy

09/01/2012 02:14 pm

Afraid to link in. Afraid to link out. How absurd. Apparently the only safe thing to do is stay off the internet altogether.

Sheldon Campbell

09/01/2012 03:49 pm

I really don't understand Egol's problem here, Barry. Adding a nofollow tag is sufficient to protect him from any ill-effects that a contributor's site might otherwise bring. Yes, some writers will be less motivated to offer guest posts for a nofollow link, but that's easily remedied. I offer links to their Google+ account, without the nofollow tag. In reality, that often will accomplish more for the writer than a link directly to their site, anyway, for a number of reasons.

Mac Cohen

09/01/2012 07:52 pm

To the blazes with google. Long view says that publishing a guest post and giving them credit is like a guest speaker adding value to a university course. In real life its accepted and desireable. Google will come around eventually, their goal is to mirror real world

Alan

09/02/2012 12:51 am

Oh well if Google really thinks they want to stop paid links, then guests posts are the next target. Everyone knows that money is generally exchanged for guest posts, if no money is exchanged then some other guarantee/recompense is given. Google really has no way of telling what is a paid guest spot and what is not. Just like they have no idea if any link is paid for! They pretend they know but they don't. Personally I can't wait until EVERY link on the web is no follow. Then what will Google use? They will have to use those very nofollow links they used to poo poo. I bet they then come out with another brilliant idea like rel="REALLY NOFOLLOW" or some other stupid thing like that!

Alan

09/02/2012 01:19 am

Adam's post could almost be turned into pseudo code for Google's Algorithm. It probably exactly like that. If not Matt Cutts then some other drongo at Google is implementing this. Basically there is no decision at Google that isn't driven by the bottom line any more. Yet they hide behind the pretence that they are doing these things to help the user experience. I actually would be happy if Google just came out and said ok guys we don't really care about user experience we only care about money. I would actually have a lot more respect for them.

Alan

09/03/2012 02:31 am

LOL. sorry but this comment cracked me up!

Alan

09/03/2012 02:31 am

LOL. sorry but this comment cracked me up!

Alan

09/03/2012 02:32 am

LOL this comment cracked me up!

Michiel Van Kets

09/03/2012 09:28 am

well, obviously you have to be careful, but in any situation; never take any decision based on fear; don't panic! Just make sure that the guest poster is reliable and you'll be fine. If you think verifying that is too much work, then your attitude is the problem, not penguin, not the poster. you want people to give you a well written article; put some effort in it as well long story short; from now on its all about quality and lots of manual work, that's basically what panda and penguin was all about; lazy and sleazy just don't work anymore honest, genuine, manual quality work has always worked and still worked I'm being very serious now; what did I change after penguin; nothing! why; we never did crap anyway! I have worked for thousands of sites, I keep track of hundreds of them; the most important factor is your own attitude! I see it every day; honest hard people go up, sleazy assholes go down; I love google, as google loves me :)

Eli Davidson

09/03/2012 02:04 pm

I've noticed lot's of posters pretty angry with google and I can't say I blame them. I can offer a few points to have in mind, although I think I am stating the obvious. Google is a business and there is absolutely no reason that dollars and cents should no have an affect on their decision making. Please tell me which business does not work that way. I don't believe that there are any posters here either that are so altruistic. There isn't (or aren't many) businesses or people that don't use their size or power to give them an edge. This is a problem that all people have. That is why we say politicians are so corrupt aka "power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely". This is not only true about politicians it is true about almost everyone. Politicians just happen to have the power hence it is more apparent. There is no reason it should be any different with a business. . Remember google owes you nothing. This fact may not help you, but it may make it a little easier to deal with. Why should they offer you any free traffic at all? Another point I would like to make this time a bit in favor of google, although that is not popular here. It is in the searcher's best interest that SEO should be dead. How is it beneficial to a searcher that you are a better link builder or have better anchor text in your links? Google needs to make sure that the searcher gets what he was looking for not the company that does the best job at SEO. Wikipedia and the like really are usually in the best interest of the searcher as they offer something that they want. Proof for this point is they keep coming back to google. I'm not saying that google has not ulterior motive, but you have to admit that what is in the searchers best interest also happens to be google's. This way if the searcher always gets satisfactory results they will come back, which is what gives google such dominant power. Therefor it is in both the searcher and google's best interest that there should be absolutely no steps to take to game the system. After all google.com is just a computer and is not intuitive. Google adwords doesn't play nice for their customers either. There you don't deal with page rank instead you deal with quality score. Quality boils down to the same thing, user experience. Will the searcher be satisfied? If he keeps coming back to google, then they are probably doing a good job at offering the best user experience. This is true both for PPC and Organic. The point is, google's business model is user experience. If you can accomplish that, then you will have a consistent flow of traffic.(This is true about almost any website.) Personaly I don't see how SEO really fits into that model. SEO is a way of having a computer organize the data. In other words SEO is the means not the ends. The end of the day its the user who counts. Google knows this and they are using it to their advantage. If it doesn't hurt google when they drop your page rank. (meaning user experience on google does not decrease. Hence google keeps the user) I can't make a good argument to say that they were wrong for dropping your page rank. The only way to win is, to make sure that its in google's (which really means the searchers) best interest to put you on top. It may not be the good for your business, but I think this is the hard truth. Those who want to boycot google, I happen not to think that its a bad idea, but I don't think you can ask small businesses to shoot themselves in the foot just to punch the bear. Bottom line we all must suck up to google simply because that is where the users are. Hopefully in the future there will be a shift in the balance. Who knows maybe facebook will be able to do this. I don't think a small guy will be able to do it, at least not in the near future. Personally I think its terrible for our economy that one company should have so much influence in the market.

Yuh

09/03/2012 03:14 pm

stupid phack, it's illegal to rig search results for profit. I repeat, it's illegal, even if Google wasn't a monopoly. You cannot say results are unbiased and then rig them. Everything you said means jack.

Anti-SEO

09/03/2012 05:20 pm

Great post.

Eli Davidson

09/04/2012 02:36 am

Please show me the law that states that. Why does google owe you anything? If google's results were biased why would they put wikipedia up top for a lot of searches. Tell me why its in the users interest that people should be able to game the system.

flyingpanda

09/04/2012 03:22 am

Penguin attack camera..funny http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMvft7EeY6c

James Hobson

09/04/2012 05:59 am

My analogy remains that Google is the girlfriend from hell. You won't tell me exactly what you want, yet expect me to make you happy. I try to guess your needs, and just when the results make me think you like what I've been doing, you tell me "no, don't do that" . . . I ask "then, what do you want?" and you say "I'm not going to say ". And you get mad at me for the things I've tried . . . I want to make you happy and have a good relationship but you're into playing games. Google, I think we're growing apart . . .

not-that-stupid

09/04/2012 07:21 am

Barry, I find it amusing that the answer they seek is in your sidebar. They keep denying social signals. I used to also, and in the heat of panda, I stopped building links and started a total focus on social, and guess what happened? All of my sites skyrocketed back up top. Don't worry about the naysayers because as Ron White said, "You can't fix stupid"! You keep doing what you do! They will never get it because they can not look at reality.

Codex Meridian

09/04/2012 08:53 am

"Why should they offer you any free traffic at all?" Most B.S thing I've ever read on this thread. So I would also ask you and to your google god: "Why are you scraping my content for free and returning it on the search results?" See? It's respect that they should be offering free traffic in return to the content owners because they are not owning the content they scrape and for letting them crawl copyrighted websites. See the business analogy of how Google operates: No content to craw/scrape/index -- No search results to return -- No results to return -- NO money for Google! The bread and butter for Google is the Internet itself, the websites that they don't own. Without them, Google employees and even Larry Page as well as Matt Cutts might be washing cars all day long or handling janitorial jobs to get their bills paid. Yes Google is a business. But to scrape,crawl and index content for free and refusing to send quality and substantial amount of organic traffic is bad business. It is evil. And it is not good for the Internet. The webmasters can block Googlebot anytime if we want to. It just a little matter of time.

Anti-SEO

09/04/2012 12:39 pm

So do it if you can, disallow googlebot. What stops you ?

Eli Davidson

09/04/2012 12:46 pm

Aha! so you think google is a thief. Why don't you try to charge google for displaying your website in they're results? Maybe you can take them to court and claim copyright infringement. See how that works for you. If you make a claim you must back it up, your argument is nonsense. You argue that they should send traffic for free as they scrape for free. That is ridiculous. They have billions of websites in their index, that would be impossible. If you believe that they are only sending traffic to payed sites, why does wikipedia come up on top all the time? Calling google my god for having a different opinion than you is a little closed minded of you. If you believe google owes you anything go right ahead block the googlebot. I wonder who will be hurt more, you or them. Google doesn't need you, I can be certain of that. You should just know its technically almost impossable to block googlebot if they didn't want to honor the robots.txt.

Codex Meridian

09/04/2012 04:41 pm

Everything is possible. I own my site. Google doesn't. If I would like Googlebot to stay off my property, I can. If you think Google can't be sued because they are too big to fail, you are mistaken. I am just one, there can be billion of owners out there who are slowly becoming sick of this. One day things can be united and out of hand, and that time will come. Also, take note Google is sponsoring Wikipedia through their donations. They even sponsored them with lots of bandwidth and servers. Google wants to see where their money goes. I am not even impressed with Wikipedia , they don't have the originality at all, editors simply based their content on textbooks and put citations, that's all. A perfect match with Google.

makio

09/13/2012 06:24 pm

whats the stats on how much google make from adsense in sites compared to what they make from google ads? then i might start believing the conspiracies

Eyepaq

09/19/2012 11:56 am

Let's imagine this scenario for a change: Someone owns a yellow page magazine. You sell your yellow page and people are buying your magazine because they can find what they want and there is no junk or close to none. Before your next editions goes out someone sneaks in the print shop and edits the magazine and inserts some non related spammy listings. They get away with it and they make a lot of money. And this happens for weeks and weeks with any publication. At some point you are able to catch this guy and the next editions are free of his stupid entries. Dose this guy has the right to be upset with you because his not making money anymore by rubbing you ? His protecting his business, his product - he dosen't have any obligation to publish the stupid listings as the magazine at some point won't be sold anymore. Now, you are that guy and all the others that are upset with Google for protecting the product and cutting the stupid spammy entries. There are not able to clean everything up and there is some collateral damage but we are talking about a huge amount of entries and niches and verticals. Big brands have an advantage? Hell YES. big brands have usually good stuff, they do good stuff, they sell quality. Be happy that you got away with this for some time and you made some money - move on - do something good, worth spreading, worth ranking and you will get there - don't just try to jack the system and reverse engineering and talk about no follow and do follow - get real - do some real stuff. By the way seroundtable.com lives under penalty for selling links - so not a very good reward for this blog as you've mention at the end. Are you upset that Matt Cutts didn't validate your comment on his blog ? Get serious. You are upset that he talks with Danny ? They know echoter of course they talk - for sure his not selling Google algo secrets or anything... This is starting to be funny :) seeing all the people that are really upset for getting cut.

Eyepaq

09/19/2012 11:56 am

Let's imagine this scenario for a change: Someone owns a yellow page magazine. You sell your yellow page and people are buying your magazine because they can find what they want and there is no junk or close to none. Before your next editions goes out someone sneaks in the print shop and edits the magazine and inserts some non related spammy listings. They get away with it and they make a lot of money. And this happens for weeks and weeks with any publication. At some point you are able to catch this guy and the next editions are free of his stupid entries. Dose this guy has the right to be upset with you because his not making money anymore by rubbing you ? His protecting his business, his product - he dosen't have any obligation to publish the stupid listings as the magazine at some point won't be sold anymore. Now, you are that guy and all the others that are upset with Google for protecting the product and cutting the stupid spammy entries. There are not able to clean everything up and there is some collateral damage but we are talking about a huge amount of entries and niches and verticals. Big brands have an advantage? Hell YES. big brands have usually good stuff, they do good stuff, they sell quality. Be happy that you got away with this for some time and you made some money - move on - do something good, worth spreading, worth ranking and you will get there - don't just try to jack the system and reverse engineering and talk about no follow and do follow - get real - do some real stuff. By the way seroundtable.com lives under penalty for selling links - so not a very good reward for this blog as you've mention at the end. Are you upset that Matt Cutts didn't validate your comment on his blog ? Get serious. You are upset that he talks with Danny ? They know echoter of course they talk - for sure his not selling Google algo secrets or anything... This is starting to be funny :) seeing all the people that are really upset for getting cut...

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