Why Google Might Penalize Guest Blogging Sites

Google might penalize guest blogging sites someday, because guest blogging does not have the same goodwill with which it started a few years ago. It has become one of the most popular ways to get back links with targeted keyword rich anchor texts on top blogs… for free!

It has been propagated as one of the best methods for free SEO. However note that Google lays a lot of trust on editorial links from articles, and these links are gaming that trust.

Guest blogging WAS great

Guest blogging started with a bang a few years back and QOT was one of the first few blogs to support guest blogging.  I remember that when we started accepting guest posts few years back,  hundreds of bloggers started posting great content to share their thoughts, interact with our community, post their best writing and get free traffic, a new audience, a new readership, and hundreds of more RSS readers as hundreds of visitors visited their site. It was the best way for small blogs to get exposure to a new audience undoubtedly. QOT emerged as one of the most popular guest blogging blogs on the web!

It was a win-win situation for popular sites which accepted guest posts, because it gives them free content which they could format as per their editorial guidelines. Most good blogs kept strict linking guidelines, such that they were from good sites, with related topics and of limited number. These guest blogging blogs continue to increase dramatically, as free content brought more free search engine traffic and more advertising revenue.

In fact many guest blogging sites started posting more guest posts than their own original content. What started as a new way to gain exposure via blogging and sharing your thoughts on popular blogs and top websites has now become a race to get back links from high PR sites.

Changing Profile of Guest Blogging

Google penalty cardThe whole scenario of guest blogging has changed. The guest bloggers are no longer small-time bloggers who wish to get exposure to their sites for additional traffic.

As the popularity of guest blogging increased across the Internet, more and more people are realising that guest blogging is a free and easy way to get back links to websites. It was better than paying for advertising on top blogs –  a 30 day banner might cost you $500, while an excellent guest post will get you a free back link for life!

A whole new industry has developed around guest blogging. Guest blogging has provided a new business model for freelance writers, copywriters, SEO agencies, Internet marketing firms, and in general people looking for free back links from top websites. Several popular guest blogging communities have evolved which bring together article writers and guest blogging blogs.

The new guest bloggers are professional writers, professional search engine optimising specialists, companies looking for free back links from high PR sites, and are not keen on exposure to writing but only to get high PR back links for free from clean, reputed, authority websites.

Anyone who wants free links from any website which accepts guest posts – simply needs to hire a freelance writer (from sites like Elance, Fiverr), get a few good keyword rich articles with popular titles written for a few dollars, and get them posted on guest blogging websites, which eagerly accept this free content.

Over the years, we found that guest bloggers profile changed completely. Guest bloggers blogged on behalf of their clients (who paid them to get links) and were more keen to get back links of their choice, and do follow links is what they always wanted. Popular blogs continued to implement strict linking policies, but declining / rejecting guest posts was not taken politely as before.

Fighting Google panda penalties, You might recall we had earlier allowed only nofollow links on guest posts (which not many were interested in), and have now not been accepting guest posts for the past few months. I have noticed that several other popular blogs have also stopped accepting guest posts.

Google is Watching

Google pays lot of respect and trust for links in articles. You would remember that Google cracked down on paid text links and paid link paragraphs several years back and penalised several websites who were buying and selling text links. That changed the entire direction of the text link buying and selling industry, and made publishers opt for Google friendly paid text links, by adding nofollow links and JavaScript-based advertising code like Buysellads.

Guest blogging is going the same way. Guest blogging is providing a free way for link buyers to get trusted editorial links on popular websites. Websites accepting guest posts need to be careful about the kind of links they are accepting in the garb of free content. Accepting only nofollow links would probably help deny these links the Google trust vote, but then that is not what most guest bloggers are looking for.

I am sure Google is watching and figuring out ways about how to tackle these guest blogging links and differentiate them from true editorial links. What are your thoughts?

Update: See Matt Cutts video about Google’s view on guestblogging links. In another video he confirms Google will penalize spammy guest blogging activities.

Must Read: Challenges of Guest Blogging in 2013

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141 comments on “Why Google Might Penalize Guest Blogging Sites

  1. Mahesh Mohan says:

    I would love to see another update from Google punishing those sites which are accepting almost all guest posts.. They’re just fooling their visitors and are trying to inflate traffic by accepting guest posts from almost anyone as its free content… I hate that and I have already unsubscribed the RSS of all those blogs (all were Indian blogs) which accepts those garbage guest posts….

    • Patrick Curl says:

      For my blog I’d rather find ten guest posters with good social media influence and give them mostly free reign ad long as the deliver quality content, or something like seomoz or socialmeda today who have systems where anyone can write blog posts but only the best make it to the front page, the rest would have no internal links so no passing of link juice, and would not be in sitemap either.

      • QOT says:

        Those are some good options too. Thanks Patrick.

      • Rohan Shankar says:

        Best is to write your own articles, what you like. Blogging has turned into a business. Lets stop that!

      • Amir says:

        Well its good to know all these points because in my previous posts i have doing same mistakes and after reading this article i am much open then before. Thank :)

    • Gavin says:

      I only accept quality articles which are according to my website niche, though sometimes I accept and sell text links if they offer good amount of money.

      • Qualified Leads says:

        I agree with you Gavin, me too I am just accepting unique and quality articles on my blog and for the sell text links I am also ensuring that they are related to my niche.

  2. Mahesh Mohan says:

    We subscribe to a blog to read posts written by it’s owner and not those guest bloggers or their paid writers (unless its a mashable or techcruch) which is more like an online magazine.

    • QOT says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think blogs become popular because it reflects their blogger’s view, and that is what readers want to read.

      • Mahesh Mohan says:

        That’s right. A perfect example is labnol by Amit where 90% of the content is written by him and is unique expressing his own views. Nowadays everybody considers blogging as a business only… Even I tried to hire a writer many times but haven’t found the right person so I dropped the plan… as I want original content… which is something that can be delivered by a real-blogger and not one of those article writers.

  3. WikiLazy says:

    This means that I will say to my blog in the future, bye :(

    • Rohan Shankar says:

      No not that soon. You have to write the content yourself. Don’t rely on guest post.

  4. Brad Dalton says:

    Some of the biggest blogs have already been hit according to Alexa. I find the content from these guest bloggers is generally based on existing content and the idea’s are generally copied. The owners use their guest authors to do this.

    • Mahesh Mohan says:

      @wpsitesdotnet:disqus Exactly! Those blogs were just posting the same topic again and again by different guest bloggers and paid writers.

      • QOT says:

        Its really surprising when you find the same article republished across different blogs over months. Its really confusing what to do then.

    • QOT says:

      Guest articles are being generated for as low as $1 by freelancers. You would not believe we get 10 requests every day!

  5. Budding Geek says:

    While it’s true that Google is literally on a move to kill SEO forever, but i don’t believe that guest blogging will be their next target penalty. However, guest blogging on questionable and irrelevant websites just for the sake of PR juice might become a penalty of future. Guest blogging done on authoritative and relevant websites for getting exposure, brand awareness and traffic will remain an ethical practice. That’s my perception!

  6. Mahesh Verma says:

    really awesome post thanks for sharing this :)

  7. IELTS says:

    Blogs are always good for sharing some information with all which is useful for some one else. On other hand Google has change his policies for blogs for just maintaining quality.

  8. Harsh Agrawal says:

    I so much agree with this…People have been taking advantages of Guest blogging and many admins don’t keep a check of what kind of backlink they are giving.. It’s becoming more like an article directory which may lead to penalty..
    The best thing one can do is accept niche related article and author should be from the same niche…This will make it meaningful…and most important avoid obvious SEO optimized link (Ex: Link building service, search engine optimization)…

  9. Techalam says:

    Well, guest blogging is a probably the best way to gain exposure and back links. But it will be better if blog owner/admin list out some guidelines/instructions to maintain good guest blogging environment and to be safe from Google penalties. Thanks for this useful info :)

    • QOT says:

      Detailed guestblogging guidelines are essential with a clear link policy to avoid confusion. Thanks Nizam.

  10. Fedobe says:

    I think guest posting is the best way of creating back links. Google
    always give more priority to content base link. Guest post can be also able
    to attract more visitors!

  11. LiewCF says:

    I only accept guest posts with related content to my blog topics and check linked website for quality. No keyword link in article allowed. Only add link in author’s bio.

    • QOT says:

      All guest blogging blogs should be careful. Thanks for your comment.

    • Randy Pickard says:

      I suspect that links in the author’s bio section do not pass much link authority. Thus, in future guest post, I’ll probably work a link into the content when appropriate. Thus, a bit of conflict between our philosophies. I just published a blog post on guest blogging link authority.

      • QOT says:

        Google will not be able to distinguish between author bio and other links. Nofollow seems to be the only way.

  12. Mohammad Shadab says:

    You should keep in your mind that the guest posts must be lesser than the own articles. Always try to publish any guest articles to your blog when you published at least 2 articles.

    • QOT says:

      I see many blogs overwhelmed by guest posts only. The original author is lost. Thanks for your views.

  13. ticketgoose says:

    I think guest posting is good

  14. Harsha says:

    Other than this Google penalty thing, guest posts can also bring down the quality of a blog if they are not good and posted just for the sake of getting backlinks. So it’s better to think twice before allowing guest posts on one’s blog.

  15. liat weis says:

    But guest blogging produces more than just a link. It produces also some great content. Right ???
    I recently joined blogsynergy.com and I have already been approached by several blogs inviting me to guest post.
    What should I do now

  16. Elegant themes says:

    I mean Guest post is more effective than the free blog post. It is create a huge back link and welcome a huge amount of visitors.thanks for this helpful post.

  17. jayant shekhar says:

    We have to find a middle path. We can’t stick to just one extreme.Pay a visit to my blog by clicking here if you feel like. :)

  18. MySEOfootprint says:

    Guest blogging is a great way to reach out to your online community to share ideas, network, and educate each other. Hopefully Google doesn’t come crushing down on guest logging..

  19. PrIyAnGsHu says:

    We should accept guest posts on our blogs but that must be kept limited up to an extent and further, we should only give away backlinks to the sites which have the same niche as of your blog.

  20. Leonid says:

    Forget about backlinks, guest posting is one of the best way to discuss about a content. I don’t read zero comment blogs because i like sharing thoughts and ideas and gain exposure. More comments give more information. Why not guest posting? Let’s see what google say.

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