Guest Blogging or Paid Links? Giving Google the Right Impression

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Our Houston SEO blog has often touted the virtues of guest blogging. Putting guest bloggers on a site can boost its credibility, both with readers and with Google alike. Despite this, sites with a variety of guest bloggers are constantly walking a fine line. They must ensure that their guest bloggers are creating quality content at a reasonable frequency, to protect their sites from being penalized.

Likewise, the guest bloggers themselves must maintain high standards so that Google will not be under the impression they are writing a few low quality paragraphs disguised as guest blogs in a paid linking scheme. That’s right: Low quality guest blogs could be viewed as paid links in the eyes of Google. That is why it is imperative to stay above the fray while guest blogging.

To help guest bloggers avoid a penalty to their own sites, Google’s Matt Cutts offers the following tips:

Stay relevant and on topic. “If you’re paying for links, it’s more likely that it’s an off-topic or an irrelevant blog post that doesn’t really match the subject of the blog itself,” Cutts said. “It’s more likely you will see keyword-rich anchor text and that sort of thing.” Using your own keywords in moderation is okay, but according to Cutts, even this should be done sparingly. “Hopefully, the guest blogger isn’t dropping keywords in their anchors nearly as much as these other sorts of methods of generating links,” he said.

Be a guest, not a resident. Guest bloggers are not frequently found contributors on a website. If you guest blog on one specific site too often, it may look like you and that site are in cahoots as part of a larger linking scheme. “Usually there is a pretty clear distinction between an occasional press blog, versus someone who’s doing a large scale paid link kind of thing,” Cutts said.

Ask for an introduction. Legitimate guest bloggers are given credence by the website owner. He or she should introduce all guest bloggers to tell readers why they should want to read the guest blogger’s content. If the guest blogger is legitimate, Cutts said, “There will usually be a paragraph about who the person is and why you invited them to be on your blog.”

As far as Google is concerned, real guest bloggers are always welcome. But because of the crackdown on linking schemes, guest bloggers must demonstrate their validity so that they are do not unintentionally appear to be link buyers. For more guest blogging tips, we invite you to follow our Houston SEO blog.


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