Google Warning on Guest Posting For Links
In 2017, Google warned webmasters about the negative consequences for the site in the case of publishing content on other sites to increase link mass in its official blog. Company representatives, including senior analyst John Mueller, have always been very outspoken about the use of guest posts. However, many SEO professionals continue to abuse this practice, which leads to negative ranking results.
In 2020, John Mueller stated on Twitter that Google is not only extremely negative about posting links posts but also completely devalues them. That is, even if you put in a lot of effort and bypass the algorithms of the search engine (which is unlikely), then the results may be zero.
So what is guest posting, is it working in 2020, and is the search engine penalizing for using this practice?
What Is Guest Posting and How It Affects Promotion in 2020
Guest post is content posted on another resource in order to get backlinks to the site. In 2014, former head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, said this method of promotion leads to an increase in the amount of spam on the network.
Even 6 years later, this method affects SEO. As a recent study by Backlinko has shown, writing guest posts, regardless of domain authority, does little to improve your search rankings.
Based on the data obtained, hundreds of referring domains are needed to take the leading positions in the SERPs. Even to reach the 10th position about 50 donors are needed.
Not all links are helpful. It makes no sense to publish links and guest posts on sites or blogs that are not popular. This is a waste of time. Even when posting on an authoritative domain, you are unlikely to be able to gain additional link power for your site. Not all sites provide referral URLs in guest posts, some allow posting but add the “nofollow” tag. That is, the visitor follows the hyperlink, but Google will not consider the site in its search algorithm.
When you publish guest content, you lose the ability to make a headline that grabs the attention. This element has a positive effect on the click-through rate according to the research results. Even if you’ve put together a good headline using your keyword phrase, site moderators don’t have to use it. Subsequently, it cannot be changed if you come up with a better option.
When posting backlinks and guest posts, you won’t get a quick result. You will have to spend time writing content and searching for sites to ensure a sufficient amount of link mass. Of these, the vast majority will be nofollowed. Even if for some queries the site enters the TOP-10, you will not be 100% sure whether your strategy worked or other factors influenced the result.
How Does Google Treat Guest Posts?
Google’s attitude towards guest posts has been unequivocally negative since 2014. It was during this period that the search engine began to actively penalize many guest blogs. The resource MyBlogGuest falls under the distribution of warnings and subsequent sanctions.
SEO service SEMrush came under fire from Google in June. The management had to delete their guest blog. Previously, they provided webmasters with the ability to publish backlinks to their site for link building.
Here is a screenshot of the homepage warning users to terminate the service:
John Mueller commented on why the service violates Google guidelines, citing a 2017 article from the official search blog, A reminder about links in large-scale article campaigns. Here’s a quote from him on Twitter:
Does Google Penalize Guest Posts and the Use of the Guest Posts Service?
The search engine did not mention a possible penalty for this method of obtaining backlinks on its blog nor social networks. The site can fall under the Penguin filter, which is fighting low-quality incoming link mass. Read the related article – Algorithms That Affect SEO.
If you are guest posting on your site, please log into the Google Search Console and check the section: Manual steps. Although the search engine usually notifies the publisher of the sanctions imposed, it is better to play it safe again.
From the SEMrush situation, we can conclude that the search engine does not always punish for the abuse of guest posts. Mueller wrote on social media that he hadn’t heard of the increase in manual website checks lately:
There is always a minimal risk of seeing filters applied to your site in the Search Console, especially if you don’t use nofollow attributes as Google recommends. Here’s what Mueller said on Twitter, in the context of his discussion of the SEMrush situation:
Not all webmasters agree with Google’s guest posting policy. For example, Rand Fishkin of SparkToro stated on Twitter: “Why should all links that the author leaves on the blog be nofollowed? Most of the major resources ignore this rule because they are confident in the quality of links and fully approve of their publication.”
Discussion with John Mueller:
As you can see, Mueller reacted quite categorically to Fishkin’s tweet. So far, Google’s policy on guest posts will clearly not change.
How Does Google Identify Guest Posts?
Google is actively fighting spam. In 2014, when Matt Cutts strongly commented on guest posting on a blog, the search engine began to work on a search engine link posting algorithms and track spam URLs. Upgrades are carried out annually and the system becomes more sensitive. It is unlikely that you can bypass the search engine algorithms. It will waste time and resources.
There is officially no separate algorithm for detecting guest posts. Therefore, for many SEO specialists, this method of promotion still seems attractive. Even if you allow webmasters to post links on your resource, according to the rules, they must be marked as nofollow. And such a link mass is simply ignored by the search engine, therefore it is ineffective for promotion.
Instead of a conclusion, we want to note that not everything is so simple. Many experts claim that guest posting continues to work. There is a possibility that search engine algorithms still find them useful, improving the site’s ranking. It is impossible to verify this in practice.
A joke poll by Dan Petrovich confirmed that SEOs use this technique for link building.
We recommend that you stick to Google’s recommendations so as not to harm SEO. Focus on creating quality content that is relevant to your audience. Avoid publishing the same post on multiple resources. Don’t overload your text with keywords. Your job is to build strong relationships with your audience, not fool search engine algorithms. After the next upgrade, your efforts may be in vain and you will have to look for a new way to restore your rank positions.
If you are the owner of the site, check the materials published on the resource. Once you’re sure your users will like the content, you can post it. If the quality of the post and the relevance of the topic are high, it will help improve the behavioral factors on the site. This can lead to better ranking results.