We all know how much work it takes to turn out high quality articles of real value on a regular and sustained basis. So when you get someone offering you a free article that is in context with your blog topic in return for a simple text link, there is a real temptation to accept it and get another article posted quickly and easily.
But beware, this is another target in Google’s quest for genuine links to a website that are only used to reference high quality information that improves a visitors Internet experience.
The strategy is pretty clear really:
- Google ranks a website based on the number of genuine links to it that are there to lead people to additional high quality information on their topic of interest from a third party website covering some of the same topic
- SEO experts understand that in order to get a website ranked that they need as many of these links to a site as they can get. So they do their utmost to put links in place using all manner of techniques, guest blogging being one of them.
- Google recognise that some “SEO experts” will try and ‘bend the rules’ a little to fool them into thinking a link is high quality and there for the right reasons.
So Google is following a strategy of identifying all links to a website that have been put in place for less than genuine reasons. Guest blogging is the latest casualty in their war against fabricated links that have been put in place simply for the purpose of gaming the system and fooling their algorithms.
There is a little bit of ambiguity involved in the case of guest blogging however and Google differentiate between articles that have been produced by quality writers who are experts in their field and write articulately on their subject (provide valuable information that can enhance a blog’s content) and articles that barely meet the 300/400 words requirement, have little value in terms of content and are offered to thousands of bloggers on the premise that they are unique and haven’t been published elsewhere (often a complete lie).
Clearly the former of the two scenarios is the one that Google recognises as a potential benefit to visitors and the latter as a deception that has been put in place purely to try and advance a websites position in the search engine results.
So in a nutshell, if you accept guest articles that could be considered to be inferior quality, then the site that is the link target and your own site (or blog) could well end up being downgraded. Once again only Google will know exactly what their criteria is for establishing which category the article fits into but Matt Cutts gives a few clues in the video below.
It is quite possible that there will be those who decide that guest blogging in any form may no longer be worth the effort, just in case. You may actually come to the conclusion: who can blame them.