Link building is not illegal

That’s right, folks. Link building is not wrong or illegal. For those who are unsure how this topic came about, you may want to read our previous topic on link building.

Anyway, this statement about link building being not wrong or illegal came from Matthew “Matt” Cutts, who is currently the head of Google’s Webspam team, who by the way, also look into search engine optimization issues. So this means that guest blogging should be harmless right?

Link building and Google

Is Google penalizing guest bloggers?

I am sure many of you are aware of Google’s new ruling on guest blogging in recent years. For those who have not, well, Google is coming hard on those who are guest blogging for link building purposes. This can mean that sometimes, good quality guest posts can also get you penalized. Scary, isn’t it?

But what is Google’s explanation on this logic? Well, according to Matt Cutts, Google is not all out to get guest bloggers. In fact, they are saying that if a website is great and successful, then writers will want to guest blog on it. And Google is all for it.

However, if the writer is intentionally guest blogging to increase his SEO by having dofollow links to his website, then the search engine may want to penalize him.

Why is Google taking it out on guest blogging?

Actually, I won’t blame Google entirely because Google is not trying to “take it out” on anyone.

Initially, the idea of guest blogging was encouraged because it was a way to gain exposure for the writter and his website. However, as time passes, people start to notice the loophole and began abusing the system.

Some bloggers would write as many guest posts as they possible could on a single topic and passing them off as unique posts and having these articles linked back to their website. In fact, some sites, especially if they are more popular, are even charging these guest bloggers for posting their articles (which include one or two links to the writer’s site). There was even one guy who claimed that he was asked to fork out £3,100 for a single guest blog posting!

Then, there are also those who outsourced these “writing jobs” to SEO companies who help them speed up the ranking system. If you are thinking that it is beginning to sound like paid posts, well, you are quite right. These posts generally have a positive review, have a link or two and have keywords or anchor texts. In short, the posts were biased and not very trustable. Hence, the penalization!

What’s the consequence? The website of the guest blogger that was being linked to may experience a lower ranking. Even though the guest blogger may or may not be consciously trying to manipulate the search engine results, Google is of the view that generating so many average to low quality articles being posted in various websites, does not enhance readers’ experience. Hence, lower SEO ranking.

Surely there are genuine guest bloggers

Definitely!

They are those who are sincerely invited by a blog owner to write an article for their website… with no payment asked or given. Those invited are generally viewed as talented or experienced and were invited because they have special talents or experiences. Both gained benefits from this exchange where the blog owner’s website received quality articles while the guest blogger received recognition and links to his own site. And for the visitors to the website, they too benefited from the informative post.

These are high quality and highly ranked websites with informative guest posts. According to Google, these are alright. It’s the low quality articles that they are after.

How will Google tell the difference?

I won’t claim to be an SEO expert nor am I employed by Google. But from what I see, Google has a few ways to identify those who are genuinely guest blogging and those who are doing it for the links.

One of the easiest tell-tale signs of the latter is the amount of links being generated. If Google’s algorithm picks up hundreds of articles having the same or similar keywords being linked back to your article or website, then it raises red flags!

In short, Google is saying that you won’t be penalized if you were to guest post, but only if the guest post is genuinely an informative guest posting and not a method of harvesting links. If you were to write a guest post on a quality website and have the article linked back to your website, that should be no problem. However, if you were to start guest posting in a larger scale and have all these links directed back to you, then Google will penalize you. Even if all these guest posts are good quality.


With this in view, should you stop guest blogging totally? The answer is no.

You don’t have to stop guest blogging, unless you want to of course! But there are certain rules that you should follow when doing so. For more tips on this, stay tuned for our next article as we will be discussing on how to guest blog the proper way.