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Why Blogs that Allow Guest Posts Will Be Penalized in 2013

This guest post is by Jeff Foster of WebBizIdeas.

Just as low-level article directories (ezinearticles, articlesbase, and others) got hurt by Google’s Panda Update in 2013, I predict that Google will hurt sites abusing guest blogging in 2013.

I don’t feel guest blogging is bad, nor that all bloggers who do it will be penalized by Google. SEOMOZ.org allows guest blogging and their rankings increased during the Panda update. But when SEO companies start to abuse any link building tactic, you need a preventative plan in place because an update from Google will be coming.

How do we know an update is coming?

Quite simply, Google’s spam team has warned us.

What’s the wrong way to publish guest posts?

1. Stop telling people it’s a guest post

Would you find the information credible on the front page of the New York Times if the title said: “Guest post: 10 Ways To Improve Your Home Value”? Stop using the words “guest post,” “guest blog post,” “guest author,” or whatever phrase you’re using.

There is nothing wrong with allowing someone to contribute to your blog, but if you wouldn’t trust an article in the newspaper that says the writer is a “guest author,” do you think Google will trust it?

Notice What SEOMOZ.org does:

seomoz-author-name

Does this person work for SEOMOZ? No. Do you notice what the title is? A regular title that you would use if you wrote the article. Do you notice who it is published by? A real person. When you click on his name where does it go? To an internal author bio page using Google’s recommended rel=author tag.  Learn how Google wants you to link a guest author’s name correctly.

2. Stop letting authors add unnatural links in posts

Google’s Penguin update penalizes sites that link text unnaturally. What is unnatural linking? If I linked the words “Minneapolis SEO Company” to my homepage, that is unnatural. An editor of CNN.com wouldn’t link to a company talked about that way.

Should you add that to your “write for us” guidelines page? No. You should just not accept guest posts from people who submit content to you that way. Just like Google doesn’t tell you their algorithm, don’t tell people your filtering mecognizsim.

People who write content this way are spammers or a terrible SEO Company. You don’t want to be associated with their company or their clients. Why? Google has a new Co-Citation Algo that associates people with one another. Just as Google will devalue your website if you are in thousands or bad link directories, they will devalue your website if you are associated with spammers.

3. Stop letting people add unnatural links to their author bios

Many sites that were not pumping out low value content in exchange for links were still affected by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Why? They weren’t trusted websites. The truth is Google thinks differently than you.

  • What you say: Sure, I would love to accept a well written article from you that relates to my blog.  I am ok if you add only a couple of links in the author bio.
  • What Google hears: If you tell people (i.e. SEO Companies) they can give you something for free (i.e. an article) in exchange for a link, it violates our link scheme guidelines.

Rationalize and argue all you want, but that is what Google will hear if you are not a trusted site. Do you think Google cares if the unnatural link occur in the article or author bio section? Do they they say, “We allow spammy links in author bio sections?”

You have a much higher chance of being penalized for this unnatural linking if you are not a trusted site—especially if Google knows your site is just built to accept guest blog posts in exchange for links. They normally don’t penalize sites they trust, but be safe and don’t give them a reason to get confused.

When in doubt, check out trusted websites that allow links in their author bio sections and emulate them. For example, check out this case, this example, and this one.

4. Stop promoting links as a benefit of submitting a guest post

Please read again Google’s link scheme guidelines. Anything that a person gives you in exchange for a link is spam in Google’s eyes.

Stop giving them reasons to not value your website. Nothing is wrong with having a “write for us” page with editorial guidelines. Nothing is wrong with allowing a natural link(s) in the author bio section. But saying one of the benefits of giving us an article is a link back to your site technically is in violation of Google’s policy.

You may never get penalized for it, but why take the risk? Instead of an overdone “write for us” page that begs people to submit content, why not try this?

Make your little blog look like the CNN.com in your industry, and Google will be happy.

What is the proper way to allow guest blog posts?

1. Allow author bios

Download an author bio plugin or create your own so people can connect with the authors on your site. A basic author bio section (bottom of post) looks like this:

Author-bio-section

What are the main features of this section?

  1. It’s about a real person: it links to an internal author bio page, correctly coded
  2. It includes social links: these allow people to follow the author socially, and are correctly coded.

The most important part of the example is the Google+ link. By default, you should have it link the Google+ anchor text to the profile of the user in the format of: <a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)?rel=”author”>Google+</a>

Why would you want to do that? Because then the person’s picture appears in Google’s search results! Is the picture the only benefit? No. What if Rand Fishkin of SEOMOZ posted on my blog and Google could identify that it was actually Rand Fishkin? Do you think Google would trust me more if I am associated with Rand? Yes. Google’s Co-Citation Algo is already in full swing, so code correctly!

2. Provide author bios for each author

To “feed” the Google Panda Update you needed to create quality unique content. To “feed” the Google Penguin Update you needed to create natural links. To “feed” the next update that attacks guest blogging you will need to create co-citations.

Step 1: Create an author bio page to create co-citations

Here’s an example author bio page.

Author-bio-page

What is an author bio page? It is a short biography of the author with properly coded social links. It also includes links to all the content that the author published on your website.

Step 2: Link the author’s name to the author bio page

Do this using rel=”author” on each blog post when you say “By [author name]” and in the author bio section.

This way, Google will associate the person with your website. If you get President Obama to write a guest blog post on your website and Google knows it really is the President, do you think they will find that article and your website valuable?

On the flip side, if Google doesn’t know who anyone is who’s published content on your site, are they going to value—or worse, devalue—your blog posts or blog? In 2013, that is my prediction. If the blog doesn’t tell Google who wrote the article, or if Google can identify that the people who wrote the article are spammers, the blog will be penalized.

3. Allow natural outbound links in the post

Many website owners are scared of Google. Some media sites don’t allow links because they just don’t know if Google will penalize them for it or not. Worrying that Google will increase or decrease your rankings shouldn’t be a reason why you don’t allow links in your posts.

Imagine reading this article (see screenshot below) and not being able to click on the resources the author is talking about. Even if the author, CEO of SEO.com, links to his own site, it is still cleverly relevant to the post:

Allow-links

Does Google penalize you for allowing relevant DoFollow links in posts? Well, Google ranks this post #1 for ‘link building in 2013′

Link-building in 2013

So it is not wrong to allow contributing authors to add natural links to posts. No, you don’t have to put Nofollow tags on every outbound link; Google does not want that. What do they want? They want you to ensure the content and links are relevant. So do allow contributing writers to add natural links.

4. Allow real people to comment

Are you giving real people reasons to want to contribute to your site? Do people actually read and respond to your comments? Do your comments look like this:

Links-in-comments

How should you code your comments?

  1. Link the person’s name to their author bio on your site using a Dofollow link; not to their website. Learn how to properly code your author bio section.
  2. Automatically make all outbound links NoFollow links.

The benefits of doing this are:

  • More people feel part of your blog.
  • More people comment.
  • Which means more new/targeted content for Google.
  • Authors get links back to their author bio pages.
  • This increases the value of those pages.
  • And this ranks their articles (on your blog) #1 in Google.

When Google comes out with its next big update, if you have followed the steps above and associated each blog post with a real, influential person, you won’t be penalized.

But if you have low-value spammers writing content for you, or you don’t tell Google who wrote your content, expect your blog to be devalued.

is the owner of WebBizIdeas, an SEO, social media marketing and website design firm. WebBizIdeas Visit his seo resource center for more helpful tutorials on how to promote your business online.

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Comments

  1. Daniele says:

    I don’t agree.

    Google doesn’t say that you have not to publish a guest post. You can accept guest post, but it must have value.

    So, I don’t see why I cannot write that this is a guest post. Google have no rights on my web site. Google cannot decide what I have to write in my posts.

    Write a very valuable guest post and Google cannot say anything against you.

    • kalyan says:

      “Google have no rights on my web site. Google cannot decide what I have to write in my posts.”

      Agreed Daniele..

      It seems the writer is too much in fear of Google dictates. We mustn’t forget that we have created our sites for people, customers and not for any search engines.. So, let’s be natural, write quality posts and make them live. Everybody, even search engines will love them. Relax Jeff!!

    • Rob Martin says:

      Daniele, I think the point here is that having “guest post” on the blog post is an easy sign for Google to see it is a guest post. Matt Cutts from Google has openly said that they will target guest posting as a link building strategy. Google want to push Google + and author bios for the SERPS, so this clamp down seems very likely. If you run a blog that you have your own content and accept the odd guest post, you’ll be fine. If you blog is only guest posts then you are going to get hit.

    • Jeff Foster says:

      I Daniele,

      Google has no rights on your website, but they have rights on what appears in Google.com. Since Google is “forcing” people to create authorship markup for every article you write they will eventually know not only who owns the website, but literally the person who wrote each article. Eric Schmidt has already made it public that Google will increase rankings for people who have real people writing for websites (i.e. authorship mark up). That means if yours just says “guest post” they will decrease your rankings.

      So you are right, you have full control of your website and content, but if you want others to find it when they search in the search engines, you need to change.

    • Dhruv says:

      Yeah, even Matt Cutts is always saying that one should start guest blogging to improve the rankings.. Though, he always tell what people knows and tells only to do basic things..

      I also feel that one should guest post daily.. Its all about writing quality content and nothing else..! :)

    • Kevin from GuestBlogPoster.com says:

      Hey Daniele,

      I think that in a general sense, Jeff is spot on with some of these points. I think the title should read more like “Why Blogs that Allow LOW QUALITY Guest Posts Will Be Penalized in 2013″, but there’s no doubt that spammers are trying to ruin this tactic.

      The way I see it, Google goes after the spammer, not the tactic. Any tactic can be legitimate if you go about it the right way, even directory submissions, but GENERALLY, directory submissions can be seen as spam.

      Guest posting is going to continue to grow and those who are doing it legitimately will succeed and be less prone to updates.

      Great list here, Jeff, I think you’re spot on with nearly all points, but it’s worth noting in the article that if you are legitimately guest posting, you will be just fine.

      - Kevin Phelps

  2. Is it wrong to be wildly amused that this is a guest post about the dangers of guest blogging? It’s not my fault. It’s really late!!

  3. Philip Nowak says:

    Jeff, wow, this was an amazing post and one of the most helpful posts I’ve seen on Problogger. I reread it a few times as it’s full of valuable information. We’ll definitely consider many of your suggestions for Firmology. Thanks, Philip

  4. rahul says:

    its really awesome post know and video is very useful for guest blogging and how to increase traffic rank using guest posting because after coming new version of google panda many sites rank is decreased thanks for sharing..

  5. Jody Raines says:

    Great info and advice, but I had to say, I noticed right away that you didn’t follow your own advice with this “guest” post. Hmmm.

  6. Jim says:

    While this is all good information, the best part is the byline.

  7. Thanks for the heads up. I’m going to make note of all of this. Also, I wanted to check out the link you have for the guest blogger bio plugin. It doesn’t seem to be working. Could you redirect me? Thanks!

  8. Very nice article! I see that ProBlogger also has ‘Guest author’ footprint in every guest post (posted by Guest Author).

    Darren what do you think? Would you consider changing it or you’ll keep it still?

    • Georgina Laidlaw says:

      Anup, good question! We’re changing our content strategy this year and the “guest post” intro is one of the things that will go, starting this week.

  9. Devesh says:

    +1 for this post, Jeff. Every week I get 15+ emails from “guest blog spammers” who’re looking to guest post and wants 2 dofollow links in the content area.

    I normally only accept guest posts that are of high quality content and doesn’t contain any harmful link.

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic piece of content, Jeff.

  10. Great post, Jeff. Thanks for the insights about guest blogging.

    Can you recommend some author bio plugins? The link in the blog post doesn’t work.

    Thanks again!

  11. Just a quick question for you Jeff. In this article where you are guest posting on Darren’s site. Do you recommend adding just below the title like on this post stating its a guest post in italics. Or would you say just stick with the author box below the post?

    Valid point though, because if you have allowed them to write on your site why not have them as just a publisher. That’s personally what I do.

  12. Hey Jeff, thanks for clarifying it here. I like all the steps you mentioned to take above. I would like ask that as you said that providing author bios for each author and linking the author’s name to authors bio page is must, so what about blogs like Problogger who published guest posts as “Guest Blogger” and doesn’t has author bio page at all?

    Secondly, how to create an author bio page for each authors?

    • Jeff Foster says:

      Hi Ehsan,

      For sites like problogger I recommend linking to your Google+ account using rel=author and then linking back from Google+ to the article you published (under contributor links).

      I am working on creating another post on how to create a SEO friendly author bio page in wordpress.

      Jeff

  13. kalyan says:

    Nice reading… but most post of your article is contradictory. At one point you say, we should not allow guest posts and at one you say, we can take. I understand you justified some specific reasons but still, it’s impractical to follow what Google says, at times Google is not sure what it’s doing.

    Moreover, the entire post gives the feeling that either we should remain scared or you’re scared. Everywhere.. it’s Google Google Google.. I know Google has 67% market share in search but we forget who the heck we make our websites for? Google only? So, instead of getting bullied, let the content and everything flow naturally. No need to worry too much of any search engines. Google is doing it’s business and so should we.

    And, title of the articles makes me LOL a bit.. which means Problogger.net will be in a spot of bother soon !! :P

  14. Mike Stenger says:

    Great insight Jeff. Did find it a bit amusing that Problogger is violating several of the things you talk about :-)

    • Ryan Glass says:

      Mike, you took the words out of my mouth. While I would assume creating an author page for each contributor is something a solitary blogger might struggle with early on, I would have expected Problogger to either put that step in place or not publish a tip that contradicts their own efforts.

      Digging the love for SEOmoz in this post, Jeff.

      I think one big step that is missing revolves around the content length and quality requirements blog owners should put in place for guest posts to be considered. If you want to avoid being penalized, don’t accept low-quality or low-effort work. Obviously just what those guidelines/requirements turn out to be will vary for each site, but use your own best judgement and only post things that you would be proud of if it were your writing.

      • But that’s the problem sometimes. Sometimes a “real writer” offers you a great quality article (or at least you think that it’s of great quality) and of course every guest blogger/writer wants a backlink as a “compensation”

        Sometimes you just don’t know whether Google sees that article + link as high quality as you or not, which is a bit unfair sometimes

    • I agree with you Mike, that was one of the first things I thought about was how Problogger violates many of these things. Great post.

  15. Greg Shuey says:

    Nice post Jeff… thx for using me as your example :)

    • Jeff Foster says:

      Hey Greg,

      I like when I barely realize the footprint of another SEO’er. Thought the link was placed beautifully.

      Jeff

  16. Jaykrishna says:

    Allowing real people to comment has really helped my blog previously some of the spammers were spamming my site . Really a great post again from this blog .

    An author bio below the post is also allowed and you will not be penalized

  17. Interesting post Jeff.

    I was skeptical when I saw the title, but you raise some important points. There are a lot of blogs right now which seem to only exist as hubs for guest posts and with no real editorial influence. They are basically modern versions of article directories.

    I think the key thing is relevancy. Hopefully most guest posters know by now that posts have to be relevant, as do the links in them.

    On our blog we recently got a guest post submission about SEO which contained a link to a site about windows (the glass ones you have in your house!). The post was actually not bad, but we refused it because the link was about as irrelevant as you can get.

    Anyway, I do hope you’re right that Google will crack down, because there are definitely some bloggers out there who are letting guest posters abuse their blogs.

  18. Thank you so much for this article! This is a conversation I started over on LinkedIn and BlogPaws.

    I recently changed my guest posting guidelines. I now only accept guest post contributions from fellow pet bloggers and dog parents who have active blogs. I was receiving too many crappy posts that were laden with links that had nothing to do with dogs. I grew tired of the back and forth and finally realized that I don’t have time for this. I no longer respond to quest post requests unless the person falls within my guidelines. The rest are spammers.

    Kimberly

    • I think that’s an excellent idea! I’m working on my guest post strategy right now, and I’m going to use your method of only accepting guest posts from people with active blogs that I really like. I think that’ll make things easier and add way more value for everyone, readers and writers.

  19. The headline is misleading (what you describe isn’t a “penalty,” it’s an adjustment) and the SEO advice in the article is mediocre (at best).

    For example: “Stop letting authors add unnatural links in posts” – what’s an “unnatural anchor,” and what documentation do you have to support your statement? Some people argue that anchors which contain keywords are unnatural, but what if your domain name contains a keyword (as they often do)? Refering to a company by name could be “unnatural,” right? Maybe everyone with a keyword rich domain should trade it in for something vague. Quick! Someone right that up as SEO advice!!

    “Stop telling people it’s a guest post” – Why, again? Because the words “guest author” are somehow an indication of low quality? Stop the madness. If a blog is generally high quality, the audience isn’t going to be scared to read a “guest post.” This is just dumb advice…and it’s your lead point.

    …I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll just say this:

    ATTENTION DARREN ROWSE: Your plan to invite people to guest post has officially stumbled. This author is offering obviously unreasonable and poorly rationalized advice, and they’re doing so to the detriment of your readers.

    • Jeff Foster says:

      HI Jason,

      Media Outlet: WSJ
      Source: Eric Schmidt

      Quote: ““Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.””

      So you have Matt Cutts (spam team) warning spamming guest blogging sites, you have Schmidt telling people content linked to real people is going to ranking higher, I am not sure what other data us SEO’ers should be looking at. Putting the word “guest blogger” instead of a “The Person’s Real Name” and associating the post with a “Real Verified Person” is like telling Google…”I am not doing what you want me to do”

  20. Natasha says:

    The Byline plugin seems to do a lot of this (including making an author page but without the bio, it seems…just a link of the articles they’ve written for the site): http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/byline/

    Would like to see which plugin Jeff wanted to point to though.

  21. Excellent article. I hadn’t thought about the Google+ link in my author bio. That’s great.

  22. David Boozer says:

    Thanks Jeff, this was truly a great post. Guest blogging was and is something I have been doing here and there for a few months. While it has work wonders for traffic, I am all of a sudden a little concerned how this new information will effect me, but I guess if I keep it to creating “real” and “relevant” content, I should be okay. Thanks again for the “lesson”.

  23. TJ Philpott says:

    Terrific article!

    Wow it does seem more and more like it’s
    getting to be ‘Man vs. Machine’ insofar as
    how Google continues to impose its dominance!

    Search Engines don’t have artificial intelligence
    do they? :-)

    This information is great and very comprehensive!
    It definitely should prove to be useful!
    Thanks for efforts on this one!

    TJ :-)

  24. Thanks for the great post. I’ve seen many blogs that have 10 different authors on the first 10 posts and it puts me off a little. When I become a reader of a blog, I’m generally looking out for what the blog’s author wants to say, not its guests. I think when I start getting contacted for guest posts I’ll go the whole ‘author bio’ route, and I’ll also have a disclaimer that says the post may not be accepted due to a number of reasons.

  25. Ansh says:

    If we don’t link author’s own website from author box; then which is the best place to link it??

  26. I saw the headline Jeff, and thought “Argghhh! This doesn’t make sense. Why would Google discourage guest blogging?”

    The thing I didn’t realise was how widespread poor-content is. Dodgy SEO companies, and awful bloggers who are outsourcing crumby article writing from an Indian sweatshop. It’s just bad.

    It’s the same old maxim of: create good content and Google will reward you. Common sense really! Thanks Jeff!

  27. Saif @ SEO says:

    Yes,
    This is true. Most of the bloggers are only running blogs using guest posts only and they do not care for the readers or content. They are just an other blog network which is running using guest posts or guest blogs.
    They all will be penalized soon :)
    Thank you
    Saif

  28. This is a fantastic post, really enjoyed reading it and nodding in agreement to everything… and then even enjoyed the face palm moment when I saw the author bio at the end! Hope you follow the advice yourselves ProBlogger :)

    I also hope more blog owners read this, I might even send this on to any decent blogs that are lowering their value by not following these guidelines, to help make the web a better place :)

  29. Mif Sehatbiz says:

    This feels great tips. Feasible in practice especially for the blog owner portal website.
    How was a writer was a guest of honor for the blog owner. This can not be separated from the philosophy of “guest is king”. Good or bad a guest writer, welcome to the fun, these are problems later tendentious to build backlinks, then we as the host act wisely and have the authority to make a deal to make a normal backlink requested guest writers. Ok. Thank you.

  30. I never use the words “guest post,” “guest author,” etc. in a post from another author.

    I wasn’t thinking of SEO but my readers. The fact is they are less read.

    So I usually do a natural introduction (30-50 words) of my own and then introduce the person. Such as:

    “You wake up standing naked in front of the class.

    A ravenous lion is chasing you across the Serengeti.

    Living on the streets with no money, no food, and no clothes.

    Cancer. Falling from a tall building.

    Those are your greatest fears, right?

    Not according to studies which show that the most common fear people have is public speaking.

    Odds are if you are reading this, at some point in your life you will have to deliver quite a few public speeches and Dan Erickson can help you. He is a “communication instructor” at a community college by trade. He is also a writer and blogs at ____.”

    It is not until the 6th paragraph that I even introduce the author. And it’s natural.

    Using this method, of my top 10 posts all-times, in terms of traffic, comments, shares, etc. 4 of them are “guest posts”

  31. I think we are getting a bit paranoid. Just write good original articles and accept good original articles. The cream will rise to the top eventually and that is basically what Matt Cutts says in the video. You can call it guest blogging if it is good guest blogging.

  32. Annie André says:

    Great post and it’s someting i’ve been thinking about lately.

    In the beginning, i accept a few guest posts from SEO people. At the time, i had no idea they were written by an SEO copywriter trying to get backlinks. A year later, i am wiser to it and can spot an seo backlinker and a real blogger who I am more than happy to accept guest posts from.

    Still, it seems like it’s rampant. i get atleast 3 requests a day from these SEO people. They never read my guest posting policy.. SIGH

  33. Hi, Jeff. I don’t like your article but I do like your sense of humor. You tell us not to tell Google that a guest post is a guest post and the first line in this article is ProBlogger telling us that this is a guest post. I like it. :)

  34. hey Jeff,

    good article

    I noticed the author bio plugin link doesn’t work (maybe double check and update that)

    anyway, personally I’m tired about Google latest “jungle” updates… and I focus more on the reader and the quality and relevance of the blogs instead of all kinds of things to avoid… I take what G requires is common sense content marketing, so I play by their rules but don’t fret on any upcoming updates.

    Yet, I keep my eyes glues to the screen when people like you guys publish content worth spreading on SEO and content marketing…

    To be honest, I blog comment and guest post to build new connections, make friends, and share ideas, not to gain links… so I don’t care if G ban my sites, or whatever, I know I play by the rules… what I know though is that the end of the day big G is not the authority of the web, and we can rely on other peoples and their audiences, no matter what.

    Always remind yourself of this… never get scared of G, but play by their rules, if you want to depend on their index and SERPs.

  35. Mike says:

    Google’s never as clear cut as ‘Guest Post = Bad’.

    All evidence suggests that Google predominantly works with metrics for stuff like this. Lets assume there’s a magic number called ‘Spam’. (There’s probably far more to it than this, but follow me here) and its a on a scale of 1-10, just like PageRank.

    Now, lets assume there’s a tolerance for this spam score. So, Googlers have a meeting, sat down, and go ‘Right. We’ll block anyone with a spam score above 7′.

    Now, being overtly a ‘Guest Post’ might be a flag. It might add a couple of points to the ‘spam score’. But, then, if its unique, and if the rest of the domain looks quality, and if the grammar is good, and if the advertising is reasonable, and there’s no flags on the backlink profile, and there’s no keyword stuffing etc etc, it’s not going to accumulative enough points for a negative effect.

    Similarly, it could be posted without anything identifying it as a ‘Guest Post’, but if it looks spun, it’s covered in Adsense and 2/3rds of the backlink profile has spammy footprints all over it, shazam, it’s spam, bye bye.

    I’d like to point out that even article sites and directories aren’t ‘dead’ – just the easy to abuse one’s. There are plenty of legitimate sites out there on these themes that aren’t ‘seodirectory.com’ that Panda/Penguin left untouched. Qype, Touch Local, Yell, all of these ‘directories’ aren’t just alive, they’re an active part of Google Places.

    The lesson here isn’t “GUEST POST GONNA SUMMON GOOGLE NINJA ASSASSIANS AHHH!”, it’s “Don’t accept shit, ’cause Google’s looking to penalise shit”. Don’t try and second guess the algorithm, that way doth madness lie.

    Also, lol at this being a guest post.

  36. Diane says:

    I am only scrapping the head of the proverbial SEO nail….there is so much to learn. I do have a big question that I’m guessing relates to this. As a newer home/lifestyle blogger I have been joining link parties and adding links to the bottom of my posts of these parties. Is this going to mess up how Goggle sees my blog and hurt me. I do it to be social and get traffic. Thanks!

  37. Paul says:

    This is really an awesome ahem…guest post. The information you have provided here should be read by all struggling bloggers. There are some questions that are wriggling inside my ole brain. Why didn’t problogger implement your own advice here? And co-citations or co-occurrence, won’t this type of writing/linking eventually be prone to abuse by spammers?

    At one time anchor text links was being used by everyone and most still do. According to the latest SEO experts it is a dying practice? It seems co-citations/co-occurence will now replace it. Will it only be time before this type of link/content/writing be considered outdated and abused just like anchor text? And if so…what will replace it?

  38. One way to tell spammy guest posts would be to look for terribly-misspelled words like “mecognizsim”. (Sorry Jeff!!! Otherwise, actually this is great content.)

  39. This is a nice post but this is also a guest post. Just tell me the reason that how Google will not penalized This blog ??

  40. Liang Chen says:

    I am not sure whether you did it on propose, but the anchor text – author bio plugin – is missing the hyperlink to the relevant webpage – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/social-autho-bio/. Ignore this if it is what you intended to do, otherwise, it might worth correcting it.

    The title is misleading a bit, but it is otherwise a brilliant post.

  41. Thanks for the great article. But you just can’t denied the value of guest posting all we need is to change the method like seomoz people are doing. You did good to stop the allowing guest post in your website.

  42. Thank you for the explanations of the panda and penguin updates. Lots of great info here.

  43. Bogdan Rancea says:

    I really think that guest posting won’t hurt your site as long as you have quality and engaging content. And I don’t think that you have to avoid using the words guest post on your site… Who sais that a blog has to have only one writer. The reason why NYT or even SEOmoz do not refer to the autors as guest writers is because the audience of those big websites are not fammiliar with the term and it could confuse them. Problogger for example is a more niche site and the readers know what guest posting is. It’s ridiculous to say that you won’t be able to publish other people’s opinions. Just like a real magazine a blog should have great success with as much writers and contributors as posible.

    And as I can see Problloger is doing really well and it has a “Write for us section” and allows Guest posting (even this post is a guest post is an example of Content Marketing in action). Sorry but you are just inducing bloggers in error especially when youre tell them to “Stop telling people it’s a guest post”.

  44. This is a super-valuable, fascinating topic to me — I accept 4 guest posts a month on my blog, and pay $50 a post. Wonder if Google knows or cares that I’m a paying market?

    My guest posters are usually a one-time thing, I never allow obvious link-seekers with random nonrelated theme links, and each post delivers truly useful information for my audience…wondering if I still need an author plug-in and Google Author connections on my taglines? I find those author plug-ins a bit annoying myself…

    But thanks for giving me new strength to continue turning down junk posts!

  45. Andy Nattan says:

    I love the author bio above.

    “About Guest Blogger
    This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post ”

    So you practise what you preach when it comes to scaremongering stuff like this, eh?

  46. And to think that I am planning on guest blogging a lot this year.
    Anyway, I am just wondering, isn’t all this just speculation about
    Google’s next move?

  47. Tanner says:

    There’s actually a lot of good stuff in here. I’ve always thought of guest blogging as a community and brand building tool for everyone involved. If your efforts don’t improve your brand and the brand of the publisher, stop wasting your time.

    It’s a bit ironic, though, that a blog about guest posting being penalized is written by a guest blogger… And on a blog that is doing several things you say not to. :)

  48. Andrew Johnson says:

    I agree with the points that you make, Jeff, but my issue is with your title. The headline has nothing to do with the information in this post, so it makes me think you wrote it just for the “shock value”. You go on to state what is common knowledge when it comes to guest blogging. Sure, there are low quality sites who accept “guest posts”, but they’re nothing more than article directories, which is the reason for Google’s Panda update.

    The reason for algorithm updates is to provide better search results, so if you’re accepting high quality guest posts on your website, you responsibly exercise editorial control over all the content you publish (meaning you don’t publish everything under the sun), you’re building a well-rounded and natural backlink portfolio, and you’re running your website with the user in mind, you’re not likely to be hit with a penalty.

  49. Jess Hill says:

    So would this: http://screencast.com/t/dgUSjk1p1c2 be considered an unnatural link, according to #3 under What’s the wrong way to publish guest posts?

    Joking aside, I disagree with the following statement, “If the blog doesn’t tell Google who wrote the article, or if Google can identify that the people who wrote the article are spammers, the blog will be penalized.”

    Just because the blog doesn’t link over to an author bio (while having one would be the ideal situation) doesn’t mean the blog will be penalized. There are other signals Google uses to determine if a page is valuable or not. Say the article attracted tons of natural links. I seriously doubt it would be penalized just because it didn’t implement rel=author.

    • Jeff Foster says:

      Hi Jess (and others who are trying to understand what a ‘natural’ link vs. a unnatural link is),

      I would like to (1) defend my statements (2) teach the readers of problogger what Google wants. Jess and others, I hope you do not take offense or feel I am arguing, just teaching you what Google is trying to tell you.

      natural: anchor text: ‘SEO Resource Center’ that goes to a page that has a resource center where people can learn SEO

      unnatural: anchor text: ‘Minneapolis SEO Company’ that goes to our home page or page perfectly optimized for ‘Minneapolis SEO Company

      WHY?

      Please look at Matt Cutts definitions & examples:
      http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-notifications-about-inbound-links.html

      Google is looking for these types of unnatural links:

      1. Is this website engaging in “paid links”? according to Google link scheme guidelines* any site that ” includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links” is in violation of their linking policy.

      2. is the anchor text trying to manipulate page rank?

      3. does 60% or more of the ‘link portfolio’ contain spammy anchor text that is probably caused by #1 or #2?

      The WSJ, SearchEngineLand.com and other trusted sites by Google allow contributors and anchor text links in their author bio sections. BUT, they do not allow unnatural links. They link to valuable resources or their company in a non-spammy way. They do not allow people to add anchor text that the author added ONLY because they want to manipulate page rank and rank #1 for that keyword. Yes, sometimes people get away with it and Google doesn’t penalize them because they are (1) WSJ (2) the majority of the content + links on the website pass the three questions above.

      How will Google know the difference? For starters having a page perfectly optimized for spammy SEO’ers to find you that says “Guest Blogging” + a bunch of keywords sure raises red flags. Not having content associated with real people + having spammy anchor text raises some more red flags. Being associated with websites that have a ton of unnatural links raises the flag higher.

      *http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356

  50. There’s actually a much simpler way to implement rel=author in WordPress for those who also use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.

    Google now allow you to push the rel=author through the of the page, removing the need to add a Google+ link to the author bio/post.

    1. Set up each guest author as a WordPress User (Users>Add User). You can set their role as ‘Contributor’ which will allow them to login, create a post and save it as a draft but not publish it. I much prefer this method as it removes copies of posts being created in Word/HTML then sent via multiple Emails.

    2. Once created, head back to All Users (Users > All Users) and click on ‘Edit’ under the new User you just created.

    3. Insert their Google+ Page URL in the ‘Google+’ field under ‘Contact Info’ and click ‘Update User’.

    4. I’m kidding, there’s no 4th step… that’s it :)

    Regarding Guest Posting, my thoughts (as an SEO) are that if you use guest contribution as a branding and traffic exercise (and forget about the SEO) then both parties will reap the rewards.