Thursday March 20, 2014

Guest Blogging Simplified: Avoiding Google Penalization

This week, Google started taking action against guest blogging websites found to be in violation of their SEO guidelines, following through on the warnings issued starting in January. This situation has left SEOs questioning whether or not this spells the end of guest blogging.

Search Rankings Gone Bad: The MyBlogGuest.com Effect

Google’s Matt Cutts announced on Monday morning the search engine’s penalization of a “large guest blog network” via Twitter. It was later confirmed that MyBlogGuest.com, the penalized site, took a big hit in search rankings. Even when searched by name, the domain is no longer visible in search – with the exception of paid advertising. 

Not only has MyBlogGuest taken a hit, so have the publishers of their content. Search Engine Land alone received 215 comments regarding publishers who have seen drops in ranking and manual action notifications. Google Webmaster Tools has been sending the following notice to those affected:

“Google has detected a pattern of artificial or unnatural links to your site. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank are violation of Google’s Webmaster guidelines. As a result, Google has applied a manual spam account to [domain name]. There may be other action on your site or parts of your site.” 

With Google starting to penalize sites like MyBlogGuest, does this mean that guest blogging has officially gone the way of keyword stuffing and invisible text? 

Stop Guest Blogging for Links

It's worth taking a moment to remember that anyone contributing to a blog owned by someone else is technically "guest blogging" and that much of it has nothing to do with links. No one is expecting Google to banish all involved parties to internet oblivion.

That said, guest blogging just for the sake of link building is not going to add any value to your content marketing strategy or your search rankings – and Google has made it clear that this can get you penalized.  So, what does your business hope to gain by guest blogging? Exposure? Branding? Partnerships? Once you figure out if and how guest blogging aligns with your business objectives, you can craft a smart strategy that will allow you to benefit from this tactic without having to worry about repercussions of Google. 

Be Selective

Guest Blogging Tips

You don’t want just anyone guest posting on your company blog – they need to be providing useful, relevant content for your readers. Protect the reputation you’ve built by doing your research. If you receive a guest post solicitation, do a quick search to see if they are legitimate experts. If you see that they have written on the proposed topic multiple times and are simply spinning content, reject it immediately. They are just looking to build links and you don’t want to be part of that.

Buzzsumo is a great way to get a sense of the social authority of potential guest bloggers – especially if your business is looking to gain exposure. It’s also a great tool if you are looking for websites to pitch a guest post topic to. You want to post to and receive posts from influencer sites who will share content that will then be shared again by their followers.

If you are looking to be a guest blogger, look for a website that shares a similar specialty to yours and pay attention to the content they post. You don’t want to pitch to a site that over-links and is heavy on anchor text. If any part of the site makes you question its reputability, move on to the next opportunity.  Chances are it will be a better fit for your brand.

Remember that quality, legitimate link generation doesn’t happen overnight. By creating and publishing valuable content and by patiently staying the course with a sound strategy, you should eventually be able to develop links that will withstand the test of time.  

Planning a website redesign? Here are 10 common SEO mistakes to avoid.

Written by Charlie Nadler | Tags: marketing strategy

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