Yesterday 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