Google’s mission is clear: Provide web searchers with the highest quality content possible. Achieving that goal continues to prove more difficult as marketers and SEOs try to game the system.
In July 2013, Google quietly amended its Webmaster Tools link schemes document to outline new requirements for inbound link building. This revision took aim at two common practices being abused by web professionals: dishonest guest blogs and link building through press releases.
In this week’s SEO Tip, we’ll focus on guest blogging dos and don’ts, and update you on the latest advice from Google’s Matt Cutts.
Within the July 2013 update, Google made it clear that guest blogs without any sort of quality standard would raise a red flag. While the amended Webmaster Tools link schemes document didn’t outline how the company would respond to any instances of black hat guest blogging initiatives, it’s fair to assume that some sort of manual action could be taken to demote content or de-index it altogether.
In a recent Webmaster Help video, Cutts approached the topic once again, saying, “You can see the skepticism toward guest blogs growing each time we are asked to talk about this topic.”
That’s not to say all guest blogs are bad. Cutts admits that when publishers ask for high-quality content from someone they really trust to add value to their web presence it can have a pretty powerful impact overall. But when you find sites using low-quality guest posts you begin to cross into black hat territory, which is where Google will look to enforce some kind of regulation.
In the recent video, Cutts laid out some clear don’ts with guest blogs:
- Don’t make guest blogging the only way you build inbound links for your website.
- Don’t email blast websites with requests to guest blog on their sites in exchange for links.
- Don’t shop the same article around to various web publishers.
- Don’t spin one original idea and create numerous stories around that idea.
Cutts concludes the video by saying Google will always look at what aspects of search are being abused, and take necessary action to make sure users continue to get the best sort of results.
Spammy guest bloggers take note: You’re on watch by Google, and its track record shows it’s not afraid to take action.