Matt Cutts, Google engineer and spokesman, has officially warned website owners against taking guest posts for link building. He says only take them from people you know personally and trust, and even then no-follow all of the links.
They are just too spammy.
We’ve all gotten emails from total strangers asking to guest post on our “excellent” site with “100% original” posts. We’ve mocked their randomness and irrelevance (a self storage company offering to write up a great post on organic strawberries? Say what?)
Why Strangers Want to Guest Post on Your Site
They are trying to build links, which will help them rank higher for keywords. An old, outdated SEO practice is to build links by getting sites with good “link juice” and a higher PageRank. SEOs would hire people to write “guest posts” including a link to their client’s site. Then they’d get them posted on legitimate websites and blogs, giving their client a legitimate looking link.
This practice has been discouraged by Google for a while. Spammers have abused the guest post as a tool for link building to the point where spam overshadows any real, legit linkback in a guest post. Google’s thrown in the towel with trying to separate the spam from the good links and it just going to look down on guest posting for links altogether.
What should bloggers do about guest posts?
1. Immediately delete any emails offering you an “original post” or “relevant content” for your site. Don’t let some guy in the UK use your site to build spammy links! If you’ve done this in the past, go back and remove the links or even consider deleting the posts altogether.
2. Be even choosier when allowing someone to guest post. You’re sharing your audience and your Google reputation with them. Make sure they’re worth it.
3. If your site relies extensively on guest posts you might need to rethink your strategy. Pay close attention to outbound links and use the no-follow tag. Post quality content, publishing only the best articles that are original and interesting to your readers. This is a blogging best practice, make it a habit.
4. No-follow any links in past posts that you are unsure about or that aren’t to high quality sites. You can use a plugin, or manually insert a no-follow tag in the html.
How to Manually NoFollow a Link
The HTML for a no-follow link should look like this:
<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.URL.com/”>Anchor Text</a>.
Just put rel=”nofollow” between the <a and the href= part of your link. Using WordPress? You’ll find your HTML for link under the Text tab at the top.
What’s next with guest blogging?
You don’t need to stop accepting guest posts. Guest posting is a great way to build community and find new readers. Go ahead and take a guest post from a fellow blogger, if they have something to say that your audience will like. The key is to know who is blogging for you. Swap guest posts with bloggers you trust, people you’ve met in real life at a blog conference or that you know well online.
Guest posting is a great way to share new things with your readers, and become an authority and resource they can trust. Blogging is social and guest posting isn’t going anywhere. Just make sure you guest post the smart, Google approved way!