Guest Posting and Backlinks–Prepare for a Google Slap

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In this post, I want to respond in a little more detail to a comment left by Philip to my Gravity Forms Alternative post. 

Philip commented:


Thanks for your comment Philip, and my post here is is no way attacking you, it is just putting my own thoughts on paper so others can decide for themselves.

OK, so the question is, should we be using Guest posts primarily for backlinks.  I say No!

I believe that if backlinks is your main goal from guest posting, you are setting yourself up to get slapped by Google.  Why would I say that?  Well, firstly because it makes sense that it should be that way, simply because of what is stated in the Webmaster Guidelines that Google give us.  Pay particular attention to the section on link schemes.  The clues are there.  Here are a couple of screenshots from that page which should start to get the guest posting alarm bells ringing:

This is considered a link scheme (punishable by a slap):


OK, but you only want to post a few, so it’s not large-scale, so it won’t affect you, right?  Wrong.  Check out the first paragraph on the link schemes page:


So ANY link you build to your site can be considered part of a link scheme if it is there solely for SEO purposes.

To drive the point home further, Google say:


So, basically that is any link you create to your own pages.  You create and control a link to your site, it’s unnatural and could cause you problems down the track.

Now, at this point, I am going to get the following comments:

If I cannot build links, how can I get my page to rank?

How cares what Google say, I’ll do what I want with my own site.

Google are fine ones to talk about XYZ, they are lying, cheating ***********

.. and so on..

They are all common emails and comments I receive any time I tell people not to build lots of links.  However, if you want to stay within the rules Google have laid down, you should NOT be building links to your site for SEO purposes.  Links should be something that are naturally acquired, when your content is deemed so good that others will link to it naturally.  Yeh, right…. As if that will happen.  Well, actually it will if your content is really good and people want to share it, but that’s for another post.

Let’s turn out attention back to guest posting, and see why this is not all doom and gloom.

Let’s see what Matt Cutts (of Google) tells us about guest posting in particular.

Here are some quotes from his post on guest blogging.




Here is a great point, and one I want to explore further:


Linking to other sites has always been about vouching for another site.  That means, if you link to a site, you are telling to your visitor, that they should go to that site for some reason.  If that site is really bad, what does that say about you, and your site?  Well, it tells Google that you are happy to associate yourself with poor sites, and that isn’t something that will help your rankings. 

Now, what if you were writing an article on software piracy, and you wanted to link out to sites that showed some examples of piracy in action?  Those sites will usually be low quality sites.  Aren’t you risking problems with Google? Well, that is partly why Google introduced the nofollow tag.  If you want to link to a site, without telling Google you vouch for it, then use the nofollow tag.  This will allow you to link to a site, but at the same time, tell Google, “I’m not saying I want to be associated with this site”.

Let’s have a think about sites that accept guest posts for a minute.  What would they typically be like?

Well, any site that accepts guest posts and offers dofollow links will probably be low quality. 


Well simply because they are vouching for hundreds or thousands of sites they have no control over.  A guest poster might include a link in their article, then switch it out once it has been approved so that the link redirects to a porn site.  It happens, and happens a lot.  Eventually, Google will say “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done;” (that’s another quote from Matt Cutts).  The guest blogging site will be penalized for being low quality and essentially for offering links for Page Rank (as in you give you me your content for free, I’ll give you a dofollow link to add to your PageRank). 

If you read the quotes from Matt Cutts above, you’ll remember this:

“Moreover, we’ve been seeing more and more reports of “guest blogging” that are really “paying for PageRank”

That is essentially what you are doing when you exchange your content for dofollow links on MOST blogs.

Any quality site that wants to accept guest posts, must nofollow the links in the guest posts.  Related to this, you must also NOT accept guest posts that include keyword rich anchor text links in the body of the article.  All links in an article must look natural, and keyword rich links like this:


.. are pure spam. 

If you have a guest blogging site, and accept spam like that, you deserve a Google slap.  If you haven’t already got it, you will. 

This is the reason why so many quality sites that accept user-submitted content do not give links back to websites, disallow keyword rich anchor-text in the body of the article,  and links they do allow (e.g. in author resource box) are nofollowed.  It’s to protect themselves from a Google slap.

If you are guest posting and you put your content onto sites that allow this type of spammy linking (dofollow and/or keyword rich anchor text), they you are going to get YOUR SITE into trouble, eventually. 

Think about it. 

Those guest blogs are slapped by Google and marked as spam.  Your links on that site have just become toxic, and now start contributing to your own perilous position at the top of spam mountain, just waiting for one more link to tip the balance, sending you down into the icy cold crevasse below.

So, it’s all doom and gloom with guest posting then?

Well, actually no.  As Matt Cutts puts it:


Why I guest post

It’s simple.  If I can get my content onto top quality websites, with a simple link back to my site (yes, even a nofollow link), then I can build my authority in that niche.  I can leverage the traffic from that site, sending people to my site, assuming they like my content and want to find out more about me.

In addition, if I can connect my guest posts to my Google Plus account, I can claim authorship of that content so that MY picture shows up in the Google search results next to the listing.  Google will get feedback on the content they know I own (with social activity on my guest posts), and if that content get’s a lot of attention, my “author rank” will improve.  As it improves, any content I write is trusted more by Google, and will rank higher out of the gate.  That means all content on all of my sites begin to have an advantage in the SERPs.

Now, none of this happens over night, and it shouldn’t.  Authority is built up over time, and you do need patience.  Of course, you can turn your back on what Google wants, and do your own thing.  Just be prepared to constantly create new sites to replaced the ones that were slapped.

With all backlinking in 2014, do what you would do if Google did not exist.  Post great content on other sites, but do it to increase your authority & exposure, bring traffic to your site from those other sites, and help people.

If you have any comments, or want to give your opinions, please leave a comment below.  Thank you.

Further Reading:

Google: Guest Blogging For Links? You Better Nofollow Those Links

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8 thoughts on “Guest Posting and Backlinks–Prepare for a Google Slap”

  1. Andy

    I have been a fan of Genesis since you could buy lifetime full membership for only $147. I have been using it for virtually everything since then, Site I build and sites I am just taking over will all be genesis based.

    However I am finding myself having to make the same adjustment on all the recent ones they are releasing. Font colour seems to going to a light grey which is not good for people with poor vision. I am for example struggling to read this comment as I type.

    Can I ask that you consider us older people and others with eye problems and adjust your font colour to a few shades darker. This fairly light grey on a white background is not easy to read but is still very fashionable among younger web designer who do not like black and white.

    If you are not sure how to do you created a great course a couple of years (which I still have) on changing from html to wordpress. There is information in there on looking at CSS. (Sorry just being a little cheeky but it was a great course).


    1. Hi Ron
      I agree about the font colours. I had already changed the main body text to black, as that was the dark grey you are talking about. I need to go in and make the same change to the comment typing box, and I’ll do a search for “that grey” and see where else it is being used in the fonts. Thanks for your feedback.

  2. I have tried my hand at running three guest-posting blogs, in the dieting, money, and relationships niches, respectively. The dieting site was the one that gained the most traction. It got up up 600-700 visitors/day, and still gets around 500. But if I understand you correctly, that could go to zero shortly. It was an early expirement, that has been around for quite a while now.

    While the whole thing was admittedly for SEO, I have personally moderated every article, and I have rejected crap that looked like the output of a spinner, or had really thin content. I was trying to build higher-quality sites than I was seeing in places like Squidoo or EzineArticles, each with a narrower focus.

    I suppose none of that will matter to the Almighty Google.

    Although those sites have been successful, they have been less so than other sites for which I don’t do much at all with regard to SEO or Google, and get the bulk of my traffic from other sources. Actually, those sites get *less* traffic, but make *more* money, because the traffic I get from other sources seems to be much higher quality than what I get from Google. I conclude that if you want to make money on the internet, depending on Google is not the way to do it.

    I can see that one of my traffic sources seems to be going the way of Google, so I anticipate that it will also become ineffective, and will need to be replaced.

  3. I don’t know how anyone can link to anyone else these days with Google giving out penalties to everyone who links to anyone else. I don’t even know how they can use links as part of their search algorithm anymore, because Google has actually created a situation in which linking patterns have become unnatural. I used to often link to sites of a similar topic that I thought were good, but no longer do it. It is now pointless because people get mad if you link to them now. They send you emails asking you to remove their link and if you don’t remove their link in a timely manner you get another email asking you to remove it that usually threatens you with a disavow link. Google has destroyed the whole spirit of the web. It would have been much better for Google to just discount links they thought were spammy instead of giving out all sorts of penalties.

  4. Hi Andy
    Your article comes just in time as I was considering enabling guest blogging on one of my websites with the following guidelines:
    – max 1 outbound hypertext link
    – max 1 outbound image link
    – max 1 video embed
    – mandatory G+ profile with authorship
    – copyscape passed content
    – high relevance to site theme

    I had not thought about the nofollow link but now you’ve got me thinking.

    I would appreciate your views on this
    Many thanks & regards

    1. It’s good to have a plan like this, and overall I like it, but I would only allow the following links on a Guest post.
      1. Dofollow to Google Plus profile page. This would be dofollow so that authorship could be established. I don’t know if anything has changed, but when I tried several months ago, authorship would not work if the profile link was nofollow.
      2. Twitter and Facebook links – I’d make nofollow.
      3. ONE link to the homepage of the site, using bare URL as anchor text. This would be nofollow.
      No other links, and certainly no keyword rich anchor text links in the content and no image link (these are spammy).
      A video embedded is fine.

      1. Thank you Andy,

        I really appreciate the info. From what I tested recently the Google profile has to be dofollow. And the rest of the guideline you suggest is excellent. I will also write an introduction for guest posters so that they understand the value they will be getting will be to build up their Google Plus authorship authority.
        I am guessing that 98% of the prospect guest posters will go away but hopefully those who accept will create a win-win relationship.
        All the best

  5. Hello Dr. Andy,

    Angela says in part, ” Google has destroyed the whole spirit of the web. It would have been much better for Google to just discount links they thought were spammy instead of giving out all sorts of penalties”

    I have said many times what Google gaveth it tooketh. On a good day ranking a site used to be a lot of (pleasurable) work. with some guesswork. Today it’s mostly guesswork. Not so much fun.

    Boy, that’s a doomy sounding open to a comment, isn’t it? Ha.

    On a positive note, from time to time when I have been on a Google keyword results hunt, I found that some of my EZSEONEWS comments have outranked my own stuff,,,and I wasn’t even working for a link back.

    Interesting thing. Most every site I have that I still have up and running is PR2 or PR3. I have one awesome WWII memorial site running at PR4. It doesn’t take an expert to see the Google reasoning for their estimate of the PR values. The memorial site does have the most value of all of them because it’s non-commercial, broad, full of info, and useful.

    Having said that, Dr. Andy, your site here is seen by Google as being at least as valuable as my memorial site. Now in today’s Googleverse that’s saying something! You’ll see a lot of similar sites to yours with PR0 worth.

    That why when Dr. Andy makes an imperious comment, you can pretty much put it in the bank. He had to thread a lot of needles to earn that PR4. He knows how!

    Norm .

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