Guest Posting? Yes! But Just for Links, NO!
Based on what happened in the massive Interflora Google de-indexing this week, and the discovery that the probable cause was tons of paid “advertorials” on British newspaper sites, Gordon Campbell sounds an alarm that he believes Google may come gunning for spammy-looking guest posting next.
I appreciate that he isn’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater like some SEO bloggers who are proclaiming the death of guest posting. That’s absurd. High quality guest posts that are relevant to the site they are on can be useful and valuable search results, and Google knows that.
What Gordon cautions against is the kind of guest posting where it is painfully obvious the post was only written for a link back. So if Gordon is right that Google will be gunning for spammy guest posting next, how can you protect your site but still host valuable guest content? Follow these guest posting tips:
- Keep your ratio of guest posters low. Produce way more of your own content than you get from guest posting.
- Vet your guest posters carefully. Take the time to make sure that their writing elsewhere is high quality and relevant to the sites it is on. Is it getting lots of diverse comments and social signals?
- Don’t identify guest posts as guest posts. It’s ok to identify the poster as from some other company or site, but don’t use the words “guest post by” or their equivalent.
- If there is to be a link back to the author’s site, make sure it is an editorial link. That means a link that fits in the context of the content, and adds some value (as in “…I’ve published a how-to tutorial on thise here.”)
- If there is a link to the guest author’s site or blog in the bio, mark it no-follow. This means no PageRank juice is passed on throught that link, and identifies to Google that you understand it has no editorial value.
In summary, utilize a guest poster when her or his expertise or perspective is uniquely called for and genuinely adds value to the overall theme of your site.
Agree with all points except for 5. If you have chosen the person as a guest blogger, presumably they have editorial relevance. Although you are definitely helping a guest blogger by giving him publicity on your site, you are also receiving a favor from him in the form of the guest blog. I can’t see what harm it does to allow a link back to the author’s blog. If I like the blogger and think they have valuable things to say, why not give them some PageRank love?
Thanks for your comment Rebecca! Did you see point #4? I’m not looking to deny the guest poster a followed link back to their blog. I’m just suggesting that it will look better to search engines if that link is an “editorial” link in the body of the post. If the poster is writing about a topic on which she’s an authority, than doubtless she has posts back on her own blog that would be useful in adding to a point being made in the guest post. Those are the kind of links Google likes: they have a reason for being in the post other than just passing PageRank. I suggested no-following the blog home page link in the author’s bio because I see it as likely that Google might see such links as a clue that this might be a “post to get a link” guest post and therefore devalue the article. The home page bio link still has value as a traffic driver for anyone who enjoys the post and wants to see more from the author.
Spot on Mark! You said it far more elegantly than I could have:)
One or maybe two guest post per month, I think is good.
Thanks for your post.
this post is very good
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