SEO WARNING: Do you get unsolicited requests from people you have never met asking if they can write guest posts for you?
Be careful because they may have an ulterior motive which could get your website banished from the Google Index and search results.
Black-Hat link marketing agencies are more prevalent than you think and are adept at disguising who they are and what their real intentions are!
Some guest bloggers do more harm than good, either by design or by accident.
Don’t panic just yet! Most guest bloggers are known to you, are trusted by you and their content adds great value to your website or blog. However I want you to consider three scenarios where guest bloggers actually do more harm than good, some by design and some by accident.
Lets call them the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Ugly Guest Blogger
The Black-Hat guest Blogger is the Ugly (metaphorically speaking) blogger who has an ulterior motive right from the start. They often introduce themselves to unsuspecting website owners and bloggers by saying something like: “I really like your blog, I’d love to write a guest post for you”
These “Guest Bloggers” are doing one of two things.
Example 1:. Trying to secure a “followed” back-link which passes PageRank from your website to theirs, in order to improve their own PageRank and social authority.
In this example the copy will be quite good and seem relevant to your website context. They will only ever write one post for you and they may even offer to pay you for for posting the copy on your website.
Example 2:. They are actively working on behalf of clients to whom they sell back-link services. They charge their clients for back-links and then they write a post on your website into which they will strategically place a text link to their clients website.
In this example the copy will generally be very good and relevant to the context of your website. Again these people may offer to pay you for placing content on your website or blog. Every article they place will have at least one paragraph which text-links to their clients website for A: Direct web-advertising, hoping that people will click through and buy the products or services, and B. to pass PageRank from your website to their clients website.
In both cases above you have contravened Google’s policy on selling back-links and passing PageRank for money which is designed to manipulate PageRank and SERPS positions. If Google catches you doing this you could be removed from their index…
Even if no money has changed hands – Google may assume that it has, and the outcome could be the same, so you need to personally check every link placed on your website or blog to ensure that the link is meaningful and helpful to your readers and does not lead to a dodgy site or obvious advert, sales pitch or spammy landing page. If it does – remove it!
The Bad Guest Blogger
The bad guest blogger is not really a bad person, but they are UN WITTINGLY posing a threat to your website by identifying you as possibly participating in a link-scheme, which again is outlawed by Google.
The “Bad” Guest Blogger writes good, honest content for you over the months and years all of which is relevant to the context of your website, but every time they write a post they put a text link to the home page of their website or eCommerce platform thinking that they’ll get increased PageRank because they are gathering lots of back-links.
Whilst this may have been true in the past; today Google only need a single back-link from one website to another to recognise the link and accept the passing of PageRank. If Google see’s a large quantity of “folow” links from one website to another, they may (sometimes wrongly) assume that you are involved in a link-scheme selling links for reward.
This activity would be particularly dangerous if you and your friend “guest-blogged” for each other passing multiple links between your websites.
Lets say your guest blogger has 20 pages in his or her website, and he or she writes 21 blog posts for you. the first post has a link to their home page and then the other 20 posts link once each to the 20 internal pages of their website. – At this point the guest blogger should put rel=”nofollow” in the links, on all their posts thereafter. This way Google will not recognise the links as a link scheme and both you and the guest blogger will benefit.
The Good Guest Blogger
The good guest blogger is aware of all the above and he or she will use the rel=”nofollow” rule where appropriate. The Good guest blooger writes for you because there is a mutual benefit. The good guest blogger is loved by everyone and is also loved by Google because they add genuinely meaningful content to the web.
Be an SEO purist from here on in…
Here are my top tips for avoiding the Ugly Guest Blogger:
- If the request to guest blog looks spammy and the grammar is poor – Ignore it – do not reply.
- If you do reply, ask why they want to be a guest blogger and vet their reply
- Follow up with a Skype or telephone conversation as part of your vetting procedure
- Inform the guest blogger that you will need to approve each post
- When the copy is ready – follow and vet the links
- Ensure that no two links go to the same page, post or product
If you found this post useful please share it and if you have any questions, please post them below…
Be safe – Happy Blogging – Mick
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