Guest Blogging is a great tool for increasing a site’s reach and engaging with new & relevant audiences. Using it just for the link building aspect doesn’t add any particular value to the readers or to the site the content is posted on.
Genuine Guest Posting works by engaging with audiences that are interested in your content.
Guest posting is still widely used as a “link building tool”, for generating contextually relevant links. When it is mostly used as a “link building tool”, it will eventually blow up in your face with a Google Penalty.
Penalties for mass scale and shady guest blogging will surely come in the near future. As Matt Cutts says in the following video:
There’s definitely a lot of abuse and growing spam that we see in the guest blogging space.
Regardless of the spam technique people are using from month to month we’re always looking at what sort of things are started to be more and more abused. We’re always willing to respond to that and take the appropriate action to make sure the users get the best set of search results.
The first thing that would trigger a guest blogging penalty will surely be a high amount of guest blog do-follow links pointing to your site.
In order to be prepared for any future penalties related to Guest Blogging we added to cognitiveSEO, a new detection pattern that we named:
Good Author Signature Example.
Spammy Author Signature Example
Now, when we crawl your entire link profile we will also search for footprints that are found in the signature that is usually found on Guest Posts.
Here is a research that I have done on some random sites that I picked up.
This site has a mixed link acquisition strategy. It is mostly related to blog commenting, widgets and guest posts. As you can see 14% of the links are coming from guest posts. This includes both do-follow and no-follow links.
Here is low quality guest post that has commercial anchor text also. It is clear the intent of this post and it is from any point of view an unnatural link.
Another guest post from this site is this one.
The intent of this guest post was not only to get a link but it is contextually relevant post about using video in the pharma markets.
I would rate this as a great post, except the fact that the link is a do-follow link, which puts it in the list of links that might raise a red-flag to Google.
But maybe this site has the majority of the guest post links coming from No-Follow links. Let’s see:
It’s not the case. They have 19% of the all the do-follow links coming from Guest-Posts. So it is clear that this is a used with high priority as a “link building tool”.
This is another site that uses the “guest posting” as a “link building strategy” only.
To understand this we need to look at the following charts:
All Live Links
We see a big chunk of backlinks are coming from author signatures. We filter by Do-Follow and we get this:
Live + Do-Follow Links Only
To quickly get an idea about the quality of these posts I just browse around and here are some examples:
We can easily see the link building intent on these guest posts with commercial anchor text. The quality of both the sites that these are posted on and of the actual content is quite low.
These kind of strategies will surely be penalized, if they are not already.
In order to best manage your Guest Blogging Risk, that of being penalized in the future for the shady guest blogging stuff that you did in the past, you should be aware of the following:
- How much of my link profile is made out of Guest Blog links?
- How many are No-follow/Do-follow?
- How many use Commercial anchor text?
Once you know this you can protect your site by taking action prior to a future penalty:
- Start diluting your link profile with high quality natural links, in order to minimize the impact of the shady Guest Blog links in your link profile.
- Change some of the Commercial Guest Post links in your link profile. Switch the links to No-Follow or change the Commercial Anchor Text used. These are potential major triggers to a future guest blogging penalty. Dilute them!
If you want to stay on the safe side, I would recommend following these principles:
- Do not use Guest Blogging as a mass scale “link building tool”.
- If you often link to your site form Guest Posts use no-follow links as much as you can. (you need to remember that the purpose of your guest post is to build awareness & engagement … not juicy ranking links)
- Rarely use Commercial Anchor Text in you Guest Post links that are pointing to your site.
- Do not guest blog the same article on different sites.
- Do not piss people off with “blind guest blog” request.
And don’t forget this one:
Guest Post on relevant sites mostly.
So now that you know all this stuff, you should analyze your site and understand your “Guest Blogging” link profile risk.
By the way, you can check your competitors also and be informed if they are in a safe or risky situation.
You could do this manually, but it would take ages.
We specially created this feature for you, so that you could easily understand the risk you or your competitors are facing when the Guest Post Google Update will come.
14 day Free Trial!
To be able to test the system we give free 14 day trials, so you might want to take advantage of that first and see if the tool is up to your expectations. You will also get the full functionality of the tool, including full backlink analysis, daily rank tracking, social visibility and a plethora of cool & useful stuff.