Don’t sweat it, websites who use guest bloggers and contributors. Google is not planning on punishing you under its new “guest blogging equals spam” cautionary notice that they released yesterday. They are just trying to clarify that guest blogging is only corrupt if the intention a post is written is to gain links in hopes to influence Google rankings.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, stated that “guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy” yesterday. Due to this, some publications worried that having guest posts meant they could face a future penalty dished out by Google.
There are still many good reasons to guest blogging every now and then (exposure, branding, community). Those reasons were in existence long before Google and they will continue to be in years to come. There are some phenomenal guest bloggers currently out there – those do not include those bloggers who simply only search for high rankings.
The focus is on the low-quality bloggers or the spam websites that latch onto this phenomenon as their strategy to build their rankings. Because of these types of people, we must be cautious when someone suggests you read a guest blog article.
What Cutts stated was a prolongation of what Google has continued to say time and again. Google wants to compensate websites that have earned their links traditionally. They don’t want to reward those who have gained links without any actual effort. Publications who will publish just about any guest post are an example of those who are in the wrong.
How do Google’s problem solvers figure which posts are guest posts or not? Are they doing style analysis on prose now? Or are they counting outbound links that are posted or are they searching for unusual keywords? Or is it just a matter of looking for spam filled advertisements? The answer is that it does not and that it cannot – at least not very easily.
Cutts is cautioning those who accept guest blog posts or those who do a lot of guest blogging that they may find themselves with a spam penalty. The penalty can easily be enforced manually if the spam police of Google did a review. It can be compared to when Google warned against advertorials in the past year, which was followed by a penalty they applied to Interflora and many UK newspapers.
There are a few cases in which Google has algorithms that are made specifically to detect behavior that is considered “spam”. This may include “thin content” that the Panda filter looks at or spamming that the Penguin filter attacks. It is possible that Google can try and develop a strategy that can easily detect if a guest post is done for SEO reasons or not – but that would be challenging and it is impossible at the moment.
Cutts is explaining that if you have been accepting guest blogging or taking part in guest blogging for Google position purposes, you are warned. If you site happens to be flagged by Google, the spam team is simply reviewing it. If it is indeed confirmed to be a scheme by the team, Google may decide to penalize you.