Guest Blogging? Exercise Caution!

Have you ever done any guest blogging? Here’s a few tips on how to stay safe and avoid breaching search engine guidelines.

Choose Wisely

Google has 25,270,000,000 pages in their index. Imagine a tiny little fraction of their index to represent your guest blogging opportunities. That fraction would still likely represent thousands of different websites. There is no shortage of places to post and if you’re investing time in writing excellent content, make sure its aimed at best and most trusted sites you can imagine. Value your time and avoid dealing with low quality sites and blogs which lack purpose and identity other than earn clicks from ads or sell links.

What to watch out for any combination of these:

  • Very few posts
  • Unrelated posts of commercial nature
  • Links with commercial anchor text
  • Templated look (logo, customisation)
  • Lack of blog identity (who is the author?)
  • Lack of authorship signals
  • Lack of social signals
  • Open invitations for link exchange or sales
  • Lack of editorial policy and quality guidelines

Good Link Today. Bad Link Tomorrow.

Good links you create today could turn into bad links tomorrow. Here’s what happened to us recently. Some time after our post was published the webmaster sells some links to viagra websites:


Bad Links

Luckily we had tools to monitor our links and have quickly spotted and requested link removal from the above blog.

Why does this happen?

  • Domains expire
  • Owners change
  • Webmaster receives a very lucrative link purchase offer
  • Websites and blogs get hacked
  • Some blogs do not apply nofollow to user generated content (e.g. comments)
  • Drop in editorial control and content moderation

What can you do?

  • Keep a database of your links including webmaster details if applicable
  • Monitor mentions of your brand (Google Alerts)
  • Monitor new links and linking pages (Google Webmaster Tools)

What to avoid?

  • Guest blogging automation
  • Strange request from people you cannot trust
  • Paid deals
  • Link schemes (link deals, swaps, triangles, rings, submissions, trades)
  • Excessive use of commercial anchor text in your guest posts

Finally, keep your posts interesting and useful to readers and link out liberally to as many other websites as it makes sense from your posts. If somebody offers to write for your blog and has very strict rules on anchor  text and number of outgoing links then you’re probably looking at somebody who’s only there to earn some links.

Guest posts and a great way to establish yourself as a trusted author and increase the reputation of your own blog. Remember to maintain high quality standards and keep a watchful eye on your guest posts to avoid falling into a bad neighborhood.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

0 Points

7 thoughts on “Guest Blogging? Exercise Caution!”

  1. Steven Lockey says:

    Very good points all of them.

  2. jayson bagio says:

    Don’t support paid guest posting, sponsored guest posting or whatever you want to call it – I know there are tons of blogs offer this one, I’m totally against it. It’s going to kill guest posting soon — they turn guest posting into a paid article submission crap…GrRrRR!

  3. Mech S says:

    Great list of don’ts here Dan. *Thumbs up*

  4. Tim says:

    In theory it should matter that they later sell links unless you believe in negative SEO via bad sites links to you? I thought Google was trying to make easier for non-SEOed sites to rank.

  5. QOT says:

    We also posted our view on why guest blogging sites might be penalised by Google someday

  6. Nick says:

    I think guest blogging is already starting to turn into the next “article marketing”. People are putting just about any half-baked crap out there and not giving enough thought to where it is published. And that’s a shame, since writing guest articles for trusted, like-minded sites really is a great way to reach a larger audience.

  7. Ricky Shah says:

    The other thing is to look for DA of that website. If the site has good DA and has some quality backlinks, then I usually go with them. For sites with PR4 or less, I also check their guest post to own post ratio.
    I have seen many people leveraging guest blogging to add an extra income source. They somehow get PR or buy fake PR sites and accept guest posts and after gaining some traffic their sell off their website on flippa. I did write an article on it in the past.