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Google Warning: Don’t be a Guest Blogging Spammer!

Guest Blogging SpamAs our Houston SEO blog has shared before, guest blogging is a widely used strategy for brands that want quality backlinks, as well as enhanced exposure among their target audiences. Effectiveness notwithstanding, there were already concerns with this, such as the risk of looking like you bought links. But now, there is a new risk recently brought to light by Google for guest bloggers: looking like a spammer.

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, the growth of guest blogging has led to a variety of abuses that the search engine now has on its radar. Explaining in a recent Q&A video that posts on the Google Webmaster Forums show a growing “skepticism” toward guest blogging, “It’s clear from the way people are talking about it that there’s a lot of low quality guest blogging going on.” While there are currently no official “guest blogging penalties” from Google, Cutts warns that if the abuse continues, “It’s safe to assume that Google will take a closer look at that.”

If you don’t want your site to become one of the unfortunate casualties of a future guest blogging penalty, it may be wise to ensure that all your guest blogging endeavors are on the up and up. For example, Cutts warns that businesses using guest blogging as a marketing strategy should avoid:

  • Making guest blogging the only link building strategy. If you have no other way to get links other than guest blogging, Google will pick up on that eventually. Quality SEO companies don’t advise throwing all your link building efforts into guest blogging; they recommend creating relevant, sharable content on your own site first.
  • Sending out too many offers to guest blog for others. You want to carefully select who you will guest blog for. Don’t email your guest blogging offer to every random site that is barely relevant to your industry; choose influential sites with strong followings only.
  • Using the same blog on two different sites. This is duplicate content, and will likely result in a penalty for your site and the two sites for which you wrote the article.
  • Spinning one article many times over. Even if you change the wording significantly, writing the same article again and again is not going to work to your advantage. You will look like a one-trick pony who only is only an expert in a single subject – and that’s not a good way to establish credibility.

Instead, Cutts says, it’s important to provide editorial value to any site on which you are a guest blogger. If you focus on adding value to a website rather than your link building motivations, your content will convey a much more relatable message to the reader; this is the best way to avoid being labeled a spammer.

Google’s official stance on guest blogging spam

Video, courtesey of Google Webmaster Help

Despite the ominous warnings from Google about guest blogging, there is a right way to do it, that still results in added visibility and SEO benefits. For more guest blogging tips, check out the Blogging category on our Houston SEO blog.

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