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Guest Posting and The Panda Update: Is Guest Posting the Problem?

This guest post is by Philip Rudy of www.inetzeal.com.

The recent Panda update has affected many websites, and not only the “content mills” of the Internet. Many bloggers are scrambling and wondering what they can do get their rankings back to where they were.

Side note: If you feel you have been wrongly effected by the recent update, let Google know about it here.

Many bloggers have even gone as far as to delete each and every one of their guest posts until their rankings bounce back, thinking that the guest posts they have allowed on their sites are what is affecting their rank.

However, guest posting is not a problem if it’s done right. If accepting guest posts is what’s keeping your web site at the bottom of the SERPs, then it’s time to start taking a better look at the guest posts your web site is accepting.

Let’s take a close look at the similarities between your sub-par guest post and the type of pages that were affected by the Panda Update:

Original content makes up a low % of content, either at the page level or throughout a whole site

Unfortunately, many guest post topics are rehashed over and over on the Internet. Is it always the guest poster’s fault? No, but when people are trying to build links rather than provide value through their writing, then topics become rehashed over and over again. If you have many guest posts like this then your web site starts to look like a duplicate content monster—and sometimes you wouldn’t even know it.

Solution: Research proposed guest posting topics and see what’s already out there. Let guest bloggers know that if they want to write on topic, then it has to be something completely different from what comes up in the SERPs.

Ads that don’t coincide with the content

Many times when you accept guest posts they may be a little off topic from what you are usually writing about. When you accept many off-topic guest posts, your site begins to look like a content mill—more like an article directory than a blog.

If you have advertisement on your site that’s the same on each page, you begin to have totally irrelevant ads on many of your pages. This is a sign of a poor-quality website—and one that is now measurable in Google’s algorithm.

Solution: Make sure when you are accepting guest posts that the topic is at least somewhat related to the ads that you run on your website. If you run a blog that covers a few or many different topics then make sure you place the appropriate ads to place on the pages that are guest posts.

High bounce rate and low time spent on the page

Low-quality guest posts ensure that the visitor will leave the site as soon as they land on it. Since many guest posts do not have the in-depth analysis on the topics that the visitor is searching for, and are usually just cover a broad generalization of the topic, a visitor will automatically assume that the rest of your website will be just as low quality.

Solution: At first glance the solution to this problem might be to require lengthier articles—but that of course is not a solution. It may in fact just add to the problem. There is no magic word count that will keep your visitors on your site longer—only good content can do that. A good solution to the problem is to require some type of study case or detailed analysis with each article—something to capture the readers’ eyes and keep them there.

Guest posting is not the problem

Guest posting should not be a link-building exercise first and foremost. It is a valuable tool, but one that can definitely be taken advantage of, and doing so will definitely leave your site susceptible to algorithm updates like Panda and others that will be similar in the future.

If you think submitted guest posts will increase the value of your blog, accept them. If they’re just filler, then you are probably better off without the unneeded content.

This article was written by Philip Rudy. Philip helps to run www.inetzeal.com, which is an Internet marketing company that provides a white label link building service.

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Comments

  1. Glen Allsopp says:

    So the answer to the headline then is ‘No’.

    Which…is exactly what I came here to say. ;)

    In early 2009 when I wrote a long-ass article about guest posting, I predicated that its effectiveness would wear-off over time. It’s still working (it’s why I rank on the first page of Google for “viral marketing”) but some blogs have become so overloaded with guest posts that I can’t think it’s the community loss they should be worrying about, and not the rankings.

    As always; just my $0.02.

    • John Paul says:

      Man I couldnt agree more. Bloggers look at guest posts on their blogs as they do commenting on other blogs, one or two is good, but 1000 is better lol

      Not the way to work it.

      • Yes, if it is a more personal blog with a good “character” / big personality of a blogger or a narrowly opinionated one. But how about a “magazine” blog or blog for a magazine that is more general? More voices, whether they be hired or guest, can be bad for some blogs and good for others. Some topics also “beg” for more articles and thus more guest posts can’t hurt (in most cases like with most celebrity blogs, not Perez though, for one – no one wants guest bloggers there, I assume).

        (Not that I have any guest posts for my brand new mag yet, actually, I’m just stating my opinion.)

    • Graham Lutz says:

      Just What I came here to say too! Guest posting, if done right, can be just the thing to keep you out of harm’s way when it comes to the panda.

    • Glen, Viperchill
      I have to agree with your statement “its the community loss not the rankings” site owners need to be worried about.

      I am seeing more and more guest postings on popular sites and I am reading comments that people are starting to move away from these sites as a valuable source of info.

      To me there needs to be a high ratio of host posts over guest posts or the site is no longer the site it was. Perhaps, 9 to 1 as a ratio. What do you think?

      Sometimes I even read that people are using guest posts so they can move away from writing their own posts. Hello to brand damage.

      I don’t think I would get hired to present or sell any of my materials if most of the content on my site was from guests. I could perhaps sell their books….

      Thats my five cents!

      Thanks for listening – the best to all,

      David

      • Key for any site is that the guest posts don’t contradict its values and also that the owner feels totally free and justified to reject anything – can’t feel guilted into accepting. The webmaster can just say it’s due to the post being too “different” and not about quality = no one gets hurt! (Of course the blog editor should reject or edit things of lower quality than its norm.)

  2. Morgan says:

    Whew! I was worried for a second. Love to guest post, so that would have been a real downer for me if people suddenly stopped accepting guest posts. Thanks for laying it down for us! :)

  3. John Paul says:

    Not sure why this is even an issue. You should research a guest post just as you would your own. The quality of the GP should be the same as if you wrote it.

    Again it is your blog, so you should accept GP’s that fit your blog readers the same way you would your own posts.

    Accepting a GP is to help you with work load, it is not a excuse to drop off the quality of your blog.. your readers are not taking time off, so your content shouldn’t either.

    • Very well said John Paul!

      One GP that I accepted for one of my blogs needed a bit of work. And the nice thing is that the author and I worked together to make it a quality piece of content.

      If your guest submitter is willing to work with you, move on. Don’t compromise your reputation. :)

  4. Rohan says:

    That is right! Guest posting is not a problem because it is not a scheme or technique which the website owner is indulging in. Guest posts are like any other posts on our site, outbound links included. So there is no way a guest post should be treated differently by a search engine or for that matter even a human.

    I have been lucky to get a good and consistent influx of guest posts regularly and luckily ‘most’ of them are top quality. The ones which are not are obvious spam which can be identified by just throwing a glance on the post…

    Hope your post clears up the misconception that is running around amok in the blogosphere !

  5. Vago Damitio says:

    I look at guest posts as a treat for my readers. An example would be that I haven’t been able to travel to South America yet, but I’ve got some great guest posts on Puenting in Peru (bridge jumping) or great reainforest adventures in Costa Rica…as long as the content is good for my readers, I count it as a win. It’s too bad all the hocus pocus of SEO wouldn’t just disappear.

  6. Marie Noelle says:

    That’s great news! I guess the problem is not guest posting but the use of the same post (with a few different words) everywhere by the guest bloggers… I recently decided to accept guest bloggers on my blog but I’ll make sure they send me original post and not just a copy of something they wrote on their own blog or somewhere else!

  7. As long as the editorial selectivity remains high, guest posts can be an invaluable addition to a blog. When they are well-written and on-topic, they can provide a valuable counterpoint to the blog’s normal voice. It’s the responsibility of the blog owner to ensure that all posted content is up to snuff. Problogger has done that well; there have been some great guest posts recently.

  8. rakesh kumar says:

    So ultimately Guest post is not a problem. Thank god , I also accept guest post on my blog and i have around 19000 Guest post to revive, otherwise i was going to delete all of them. Thanks a lots :)

  9. As frustrating as the Panda update has been to some people, I think the overall effect will be helpful. Search results were really starting to suffer. If we can adjust to allow for better content, I’m all for it!

  10. Tom says:

    Thx for dispelling some of the myths on guest blogging.

  11. Tom Ewer says:

    Think this is all a bit of a storm in a teacup. Google isn’t out to punish sites with guest posts, they’re out to punish poor quality content.

    Yes, they may take some good sites down with them (and that sucks), but as long as we concentrate on producing quality content, we should be fine in the long run.

    I think the 700 word article could’ve been reduced to the following: if you are going to use guest posts on your site, make sure that they are original, and of a good quality!

  12. Daniel says:

    If there are Guidelines for Guest posts to follow regarding quality and relevant content, and the Webmaster(Blog Author) ensures this is adhered to, there should not be a problem.

    As with articles that seem to have been duplicated en – mass, there would also be a number of guest posts unfortunately falling into that category.

    Daniel

  13. Very interesting.

    I don’t have any guest posts on my site, because I always felt that I’d probably spend as much time worrying about, and working on, the quality of the guest post as I would writing one myself. So I preferred to write my own.

    It certainly should make guest posters more aware of their responsibility to produce good, original articles.

    Cheers,

    Martin.

  14. I’ve been accepting guest posts on my site for the last month or so. I ensure I stipulate the areas the posts needs to fall under so they keep inside the realm of my ‘niche’.

    Since it’s my site, I also like to ensure formatting conforms to my style as well as enrich the post with an appropriate image and/or video – makes for a better viewers experience, if you ask me. I also suggest ways for the guest poster to engage their posts with other forms of outlet to spread their work.

    With this in mind, I’d suggest guest posts can be of great benefit and allow Panda to view your site as value.

  15. krissy knox says:

    I believe guest posts must be of superb quality — and provide well written and new content. The information in guest posts should not be like information floating around in other posts online. That is why I only have a few “guest posters” that I trust to write for me when I know I am not going to be able to write. I think it is all about who you trust, and whether or not you feel the poster’s content will be creative, good and new — and will not repeat other’s content online. It’s all about who you trust and use.

  16. Ultimately, accepting GPs will take much responsibility for all webmasters out there. If done properly, it’ll serve a great help. So thanks for this important info that you shared. Learned a lot!

    But if you weigh things, which will you really then prefer? I guess we’d still stick to our own original writing piece. Unless of course if you like someone else’s. :)

  17. Dan says:

    I think that any guest post you submit or receive should be of the HIGHEST quality, even better than your typical writing. When you submit a guest post not only are you advertising yourself, but you’re also putting the individual receiving the post on the line.

    Guest posting is a refreshing aspect of so many blogs as you get to see other individuals thoughts on topics covered by the blog. Hearing just what one person thinks all the time gets boring.

    It seems like the point of this guest post was just for a link. – No new thoughts and no interesting images.

  18. Monja Wessel says:

    I think guest posts provide a value to each blog as it gives bloggers the possibility to speak out their minds and discover new visitors. Visitors on the other hand get another opinion – and I wonder if ever two opinions are alike. So no, I don´t think guest posts are a problem if they are written yourself and not just combined from different posts found on the internet. Originality is the key to not worry about Google or updates

  19. Traci Bell says:

    This is some great advice. I am fairly new to SEO and in a way with the new 2011 updates, this works to my advantage. It seems everyone now has to re-learn and build new strategies.

  20. Lynn Bruines says:

    Am so glad to read this article! Guest blogging is a great way for your website. In fact, my entire blog is based on guest blogging! As I will launch it in a a few weeks time; I’m happy to read that I am not the only one that things guest blogging is NOT the issue.

    I think it is all about the strategy that you have. My website accepts many guest posts, but keeps in mind the quality of content. It is a difficult matter and like most good blogs; things like guest blogging should be well-considered and fit into your blog.

    Thank you Philip Rudy for this article!

  21. Thanks for all the info’s,so far I had no time to guest post.I am so busy with my own blog.

  22. Many Newbie Bloggers are Just Guest Posting in Some Professional Blogs For Just creating a backlinks and drive traffic to their site and i have seen that most of them are spinning an article upto 100% and posting. by this way they are grabbing the traffic from professional blogs. Guest Posting is an Art If we write original and quality posts which brings value to the post as well as you and your blog and from this we will gain some popularity and also we can build a good relationship with the owner of the blog.

  23. I read about the power of guest posts here many times but I cannot find bloggers at the same level of my blog posts who would agree on publishing their content at my blog. Most of them are too busy, they don’t want to guest post, etc…

    My field is mental health; it’s not internet marketing. Thus, I have never used this alternative. I didn’t have time to look for blogs where I could post my articles too. I found a few interesting ones, but they don’t accept guest posts. In the end I had to abandon the idea of guest blogging or post guest blogs at my blog. I don’t want to post whatever in my very serious blog…

    Now that I read what you wrote in your article I felt better for not publishing guest posts at my blog without knowing if this content would really be adequate for the public, if it was really original, etc.

    I think that it is quite dangerous to publish bad content at your blog once you have a good reputation. It can completely ruin your image, and make you lose your regular readers.

    Of course, it would be nice to be able to post very good content from other authors, if the good ones wanted to share their writings…

    If your blog is not famous enough, you’ll face many problems trying to find good guest posts.

  24. Iza says:

    Very interesting post. I am sure it would be even better to understand if the abbreviation SERP (or SERPs) was explained anywhere in the text. Most bloggers tend to even explain what SEO is, although this term is far more popular and established….. But here the author assumed it is obvious. Very unprofessional.

  25. Steve says:

    I experienced an increase with a good number of blogs with the recent page rank update and I accept guest posts on most of my sites. Seems that if the links are at the bottom, there’s a decent number of words, its original content and the writers help to promote it with links and social bookmarks, you should be alright.

  26. guest posting can never be the problem i used to accept guest blogging on my blog and i’ve got +1 page rank added to my blog, i used to do guest blogging using guest blogging communities such as http://www.guest-blogging.org