I read a lot of blog posts and if I’ve enjoyed one I’ll want to know who wrote it, what they do and possibly even add them to my social network. This means a link to the author’s profile, website or Twitter handle at the bottom of the post is useful.
So why does it feel like Google tarnishes everyone with the same brush? Although we all know that people use guest blogging to link-build there are lots of people out there who are writing and publishing legitmate, relevant content which people like me value.
Google’s Matt Cutts’ blog post about ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO‘ warns that he would “expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward.”
A pretty broad stroke don’t you think? So how is Google going to protect quality guest blogging?
One of my favourite blogs is from the excellent Econsultancy website. If you’re into digital publishing and marketing in any way it is essential reading. A recent post called ‘Why Econsultancy has implemented nofollow for guest blogging‘ says it all really. They’re quite rightly taking a safety first approach to ensure that they’re in no way penalised by any search engines for crediting the author with a link in the bio.
Here’s an extract:
Google is worried about links in signatures. I guess that can be gamed, on less scrupulous blogs. It’s just that our editorial bar is very high, and all outbound links have to be there on merit, and justified.
From a user experience perspective, links in signatures are entirely justifiable. I frequently check out writers in more detail, and wind up following people on the various social networks.
But should these links pass on any linkjuice? It seems not, if you want to play it safe (and we do).
I confess that when I started a travel blog I accepted some low quality guest posts out of naivity more than anything. I liked that fact people were picking up my blog and getting in touch to write for it. That has all changed and I now understand who and what I should take seriously, which is not a lot. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging – to learn not just technical skills but best practice and style across the board.
I have recently changed the guest blogging policy for my travel blog and and funnily enough I have seen a massive dip in the number of people getting in touch to supply me with guest posts – that probably says it all.
So you have been warned. If you guest blog or accept guest bloggers, do so with an informed view of how Google analyses the content and its links.