After many years of encouraging website owners to use guest blogging as a legitimate method for building links, Google may now have guest bloggers in their sites for a new range of penalties. A guest blogger is someone who published articles on other sites in order to send traffic to their own site. It has also traditionally been used as a method to build a link back to the author’s website.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam Team, issued the warning in both an article named The decay and fall of guest blogging and a video posted on YouTube.
Apparently, Google thinks guest blogging is getting too spammy with low quality content and posting of the same article on multiple sites. Guess what? They are right. There are a lot of spammy, low quality blog articles posted just to get a link back to the author’s (or spammer’s) web site. Google already went after many of the sites posting low quality content during their Panda Updates, and they’ve also aggressively gone after blog networks loaded with poor quality content. It looks like they intend to dig deeper in to blogs using guest authors.
If you allow guest bloggers to post articles on your website, make sure that the topics they write about are directly related to the main topic theme for your site. General topic blogs rarely rank well these days. A blog must be focused on a specific topic or a range of related topics. Also, the content must be absolutely unique. The content cannot appear anywhere else on the web.
Another issue raised by Matt Cutts is the quality of the sites the guest blogger links to. This is not new, but whenever a link is pointed to a low quality site or one that is heavily penalized, the linking site inherits part of the penalty. That means a site owner needs to be careful about where outbound links are pointed. The potential negative effect of linking to a low quality site can be neutralized by using the nofollow attribute on any questionable outbound links. The nofollow attribute tells spiders to ignore the link, which means it will not pass link juice or offer any search engine benefits as a link.