Guest Blogging: The Right and Wrong Way to Guest Blog

Guest Blogging: The Right and Wrong Way to Guest Blog

Guest blogging is the practice of inviting writers to publish posts on your blog. It does not cover comments which are not regarded as posts, but genuine blog posts made by a guest. Google expects guest blogging to meet certain protocols. However, just as all other Google rules, they are not explicit and you have to put your own interpretation on them.

Guest Blogging

Most times that interpretation is opinion, but in the case of guest blogging Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, has offered some advice. The video below is what Matt says about guest blogging.

Watch the video, then read our interpretation, based both on the video and on the experience of what Google generally means by such statements. The Panda and Penguin algorithm updates and the Disavow tool were preceded by similar videos, so we can extend the way they were rolled out to what might be another update based on guest blogging.

Fundamentally, Matt is saying that guest blogging should be honest – failure may impact negatively on both the guest blogger and on the blog itself, but mainly on the latter. Here is our analysis on guest blogging.

The Reason for Google’s Concern

With the introduction of PageRank, Google placed its flag firmly in the corner of inbound links as a major factor, if not the major factor, considered in ranking positions. Just like their introduction of keywords did, this resulted in a scramble to create as many backlinks as possible. The same content was being published all over the web, each publication providing a valuable backlink.

As a result, backlinks became devalued so Google started with the duplicate content algorithm, and then extended that significantly with Panda to include publication on content farms. It then tackled repetition of anchor text and landing pages plus other similar issues with Penguin.

SEE ALSO: How to Recover From the Google Panda and Penguin Update.

It is not surprising, then, that Google might be turning its attention towards backlinks from blogs – particularly guest blogs and maybe even comments. We should all be prepared for what might become another update in the Panda and Penguin mold, although Google has not yet indicated this to be imminent. Nevertheless, Matt’s comments are very similar to those offered prior to previous algorithm updates.


The way we see it, the wrong way to provide guest blogging is to allow anyone to guest blog on your site without first being invited. When guests do blog for you, the wrong way is to permit them to provide links within the blog to their own website. Google sees that as free links in return for the content.

That is against Google’s linking guidelines that states:

“The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
Excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)”

In some cases using the rel=”nofollow” attribute will overcome this problem and allow the link, since it will not count towards the Google PageRank of the linked site.

Never Promote “Free Links” in Exchange for Anything

If you offer free backlinks in return for anything – money, content or blog posts, then your site will suffer. Not just the one page on your site that makes such offers, but your entire domain. If you offer free links in return for a guest post to anybody, no matter how respected they are in the internet world, then you will suffer, and the person belonging to that link will also suffer.

Spammer Association

Another problem is that if you allow spammers to post or even comment to your blog without you acting as moderator and refusing them then Google will associate you with them and punish your blog. Google has a list of known people and URLs that are associated with spamming, and if you allow such sites to publish their links on your blog, expect to disappear from Google rankings overnight. Not immediately, but unless you remove them, one day you will wake up and find your site disappeared from Google’s listings.


Invite the Guest Blogger

The correct way to allow people to guest blog is first for you to invite them. If you like a blog and it seems to have a good following and perhaps even a high Google ranking (though that’s not important), then contact them and ask if they want to guest blog for you.

You should never say ‘if you blog for me for a link, then I will blog for you for a link.’ Google will pick up on the reciprocal linking and you might be in trouble. Make them ‘nofollow’ links, and you might get away with it because you are not then trying to manipulate Google’s PageRank algorithm.

That does not mean that links cannot be used, and if they lead to a genuinely useful web page then Google is likely to allow it as a genuine backlink. However, you must check every link yourself to make sure they don’t land up on a betting site or worse! You may be surprised at the destination of some seemingly innocuous looking links! Or perhaps not!

It is a good policy to make all links ‘nofollow’ and once you are happy with any specific link, add the ‘dofollow’ relation to it. By doing that you are unlikely to suffer from any bad links on guest blog posts or comments that get below your radar.

Offer Author Authority

Perhaps now we see the importance of Google+ and the authorship authority that G+ provides. It would not be surprising if backlinks eventually faded to play a minor part in Google’s ranking algorithm and G+ votes and Google authority took its place. Don’t misunderstand this – linking will always be important, but Google+ authority will take over to a large extent.

To do this, the guest author should simply provide his name, linked to an internal bio page. Ideally, this should be the only link on the post. The blogger gets his or her name associated with the post, and by using the rel=author tag, it is linked to his or her bio.

State at the beginning or end of each post using the terms – “By: Author’s Name” or “Author: Author’s Name” and use rel=’Author’ on every post containing the author’s name. ‘Author’s Name’ should be the author’s Google+ name. Visit your Google+ page or ‘Webmasters Tools’ for more information on setting this up.

SEE ALSO: How to Implement Google Authorship Markup in WordPress.

An About the Author section below the post can provide the author’s photograph, a short biography and a Google+ and a Twitter and/or Facebook ‘follow’ link. Google will find this far more acceptable than a clickable link to the author’s website.

Setting up the Google+ Link

If you are a guest author, you must first have a Google+ page. The link to your profile should be formatted thus:

<a href="https// (number)? rel="author">Google+</a>

There are author bio plugins that enable you to do this, such as ‘Social Author Bio‘ and ‘Author Bio Shortcode‘ which you can find when you search for ‘author bio plugins’ using the WordPress Plugin search box. These also enable links to your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts which you can ignore or choose to include. Also if you know coding then check this article: Display Author’s Social Media Links on the Profile Page in Mystique 3.0 theme, same procedure will apply to other themes.

The bio can be hyperlinked to the name of the author of the guest blog post. You can use the same plugin to link your name to posts that you make yourself.

Advantages of a Guest Blogger Bio

A guest blogger bio proves that the guest blogger truly is a guest, and not just made up by you in an attempt to show your diversity. It not only enables you to exclude spambots, but also enables guest bloggers to receive a genuine reward for their work that is recognized by Google. Both you and your guest blogger will be rewarded with more points in the Google ranking race, irrespective of how that race is scored.

Do what Google wants, and you will not be punished. Try to second guess Google, or misuse the way you think its algorithms work, and you might achieve a temporary gain but will eventually lose – as thousands found when they lost their entire income and livelihood when Google cottoned on to the Adsense keyword spinning scam.

Importance of Original Blog Content

Article spinning is likely to be next on Google’s list, and Panda and Penguin are the first shots at that. Ultimately, articles created by article spinners and scrapers, using sections of existing web content, will be hit hard, and many other livelihoods will disappear overnight.

Make sure your guest bloggers are reputable, because if they create their content using scrapers and spinners, expect to be hit hard yourself in the not too distant future. Manually written original content is what Google expects and will ultimately get.

It should not be long before bloggers are punished if the post does not inform Google of the identity of the author. Also, if Google believes the author might be a spammer, then the blog will also be punished.

A blog that is not listed on Google will not go very far! Those that say ‘to heck with Google’, and focus on Bing and Yahoo, also do not go far. Try it and find out for yourself. Google gets more traffic than Yahoo and Bing combined – in fact over 65% of all web searches.

Problems with Comments

Never allow comments to include links to a website that you have not checked. The name of those making comments should be linked to their Google+ account – if they have no such account, then no link! It’s your own safety you should think about, not their linking strategy. Link comments to the author’s bio if they have one – no bio, no link!

Many comments are spam – created by ‘commenting software.’ These are constructed to provide a link directly to a web page that generally has no relation to the topic of your blog. Allow this, and your blog listing is liable to drop rapidly. All links in your comments section should be defaulted to ‘nofollow’- only the name of the poster should be linked to their bio. This not only increases the value of the comments to both you and the person making the comment, but both of you are given credit by Google.

Association with Penguin

All of this makes sense when you consider the Penguin update. Penguin demands most links in article marketing to be either naked links (the actual URL) or for the anchor text to be either the name of the business or the name of the author. Keyword-based anchor text should comprise no more than around 20-30% of the total links.

Google is following a trend whereby the name of the author of content is more important than the keywords used in the link. Google+, the G+ button and authorship were apparently designed to enable this, and an understanding of what is in Google’s corporate mind will enable you to make best use of guest blogging and understand better what to avoid. What do you think about guest posting, just share your thoughts with us in form of comment below.


  1. Kelly says

    Right and wrong way of accepting guest bloggers — I will definitely keep these in mind. Very enlightening post. Thanks very much.

  2. says

    At the end of the day, we are responsibe for our own site. It pays to know all the rules before accepting guest bloggers and invite only those with good online reputation.

  3. says

    Thanks Rajesh for the insights. So to summarize and to make my understanding clear, below should be the correct approach (please correct me if I have misunderstood or mistated anything here)-

    1. No Links to your own site in the post body of the guest post.
    2. Link your G+ profiles as authors
    3. Link your about page in the author section

    My doubts –

    1. What If I post my homepage link with my name in the author section?
    2. What if I post any internal link of my website in author section?
    Vikash recently posted – – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Coupon For WalletsMy Profile

  4. says

    It’s hard to guess what Google really does with regard to guest blogs and other types of links. After all, it’s an algorithm, not a human that checks the links. My guess is that it applies rather simple rules, otherwise it cannot scale it up.

    Actually, in view of what you wrote, I’m surprised that you have commentluv enabled on this site, as this appears to violate some of your rules. How would you respond to that?
    Steve Morris recently posted – Is the world getting better or worse?My Profile

  5. says

    Having an authors bio is very important because it makes the comment or guest post real. Ensuring an author or person commenting have their google plus profile indicated is the best way to counter spam because google profiles must have the name of a real person.
    It is also beneficial to the guest blogger if they have registered for the google authorship because it boosts their ranking in google authorship.

  6. says

    There is nothing wrong allowing someone to guest post on your blog as long as the content is worth reading even SEOMOZ accepts guest post yet they never get penalize because the value of content is there and it’s more important than a single link.

    I’m not really impress with this post specially on this quote

    “Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
    Excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)”

    What do you say Raj?

      • Berna says

        Yes they do. As long as it’s relevant and the quality is there.

        There is a simple simple question: What is more important a QUALITY CONTENT or a SINGLE LINK?

        Of course, everyone will answer QUALITY CONTENT. So why would anyone not allow a guest blogger who is offering a valuable content?

        Some of the answers are:

        1. There is a an out going link
        2. because there is it should be paid
        3. Some blog admin doesn’t really care about reviewing a submitted guest post/ pitch, not knowing that it was well written for the sole purpose of their blog readers.

        That’s pure ignorance!! The truth behind this is that all websites needs SEO let’s not fool ourselves.

          • says

            You know Raj you still don’t get my point. It doesn’t matter if it was written by SEO firm or anybody else, the important thing is that it posses the quality needed for your blog. Anyways, as a blog admin you have the full control over rejecting a low quality guest post. Instead focusing on that single link why not put your attention on reviewing content and see if it meets your quality. You just don’t know, that guest post may get viral and brings you thousand viewers/readers..

            BTW FYI this post ” Why Blogs that Allow Guest Posts Will Be Penalized in 2013″ was written by a guest blogger and he runs a SEO firm. Lastly, it’s already October and 2014 is coming if that the case problogger should be penalized for accepting guest post too. lol :)

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