Are Guest Bloggers Incurring Penalties?

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It seems that after the penguin update in Google took place, people looked for different ways to obtain links.  The link building tactic that many people have utilizing since penguin has been guest bloggers posting.  Guest blogging can be a dangerous tactic to do.

Of course, not all guest posting is a bad thing.  Not all guest bloggers will be penalized.  What is going to be pointed out is how dangerous it will be to guest posting as Google becomes more and more intelligent, and what can be done to avoid a potential mess.

Link Quality

Since the penguin update hit Google, sites that relied on low-quality links have really taken a hit.  A minimum domain authority threshold has been set by many people when prospecting.  They will remove sites with a DA over a certain level, just to keep the process efficient, because these aren’t very likely to accept content.

If you can offer something of value on your site, then the links that follow will come naturally from a huge variety of high, medium, and low quality sites.  High quality links are incredibly valuable, as they are naturally pretty rare to come by.

Link Type

It’s said that, in general, directories are bad, and blogs are good.  Better yet, academic links are better than that, they are amazing.  It’s not surprising at all to find sites that hoard a massive amount of links from directories.  These sites have been looked down upon as having engaged in low-quality link building.

But on the other end, when looking at blogs entries, they simply out-weight directory links by a long shot.  The problem is, that won’t put you ahead of your competitors.  A link profile that is made up of a single type of links doesn’t look natural.  It won’t matter where your links are coming from.

Link Location

To the dismay of many site owners post-penguin, they found that Google had devalued both footer links and sidebar links.  Both were too easy to use, and were being over-used.  Could it be that author boxes are next on the chopping block?  If your site relies too heavily on links in guest-post author boxes, then that may mean Google could be painting a bulls eye on your site.  Because of the proximity of the author box to the author markup, it would be all too easy for Google to algorithmically target the standard layout and positioning on the page, the same way that sidebars and footers where targeted.

IF you write content for your site, and you place a link somewhere in the middle of the article or blog, it’s a pretty safe assumption that the link is relevant to the content.  When a guest blogger writes content for your site, it’s pretty safe to say that they will want to place a link back to their own site or email as payment for writing for you.  Where are these links usually located?  Near the bottom of the content, which is exactly where Google will find and target them as low quality links.

You also have to think about this.  The link in a box is usually skipped over by readers.  This translates into little to no traffic.


In the eyes of Google, authorships is a very important thing.  Many guest bloggers will use their own name, or repeatedly the same name, in most, if not all of the posts that they’ve written.  This is to help them build their authority.  In turn, this leads to a great new form of link-building competition.

This can be a problem.  Your competition can easily Google you and find out what you’ve been doing to link-build.  This is pretty easy as there will be no need for SEO tools.  Regardless of the domain you’re building links to has a large share of links coming from a single author.

Diversity is key here.  If your links are coming from a single author, it’s the same thing as putting them all on the same domain.  It’s important that many people are talking about your site or company, instead of the content of just one person, especially if it’s a person nobody has heard of.  Doesn’t stand to reason that Google should follow the same principal with linking authors?

In short, there are lessons to be taken from all of this.

  1. You shouldn’t rely on any one type of site for a majority of your links.  Make sure you build up links of all kinds when planning your link-building campaign.
  2. Make sure of the link quality that you’re building up.  Just be sure that you keep the overall portfolio of links looking natural.  Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.
  3. When using authors for all your content, mix it up.  Don’t use one single author, but a variety of different, real, people.  If you’re using external writers, use their authorship to further the mix.
  4. Splitting up a client’s campaign between different team members is a good thing.  Everyone on your team will probably have a slightly different approach to dealing with client links.
  5. Having an oversimplified link building process is quick, but is risky as well.

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