Is guest posting okay providing it’s good content?

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There has been much discussion and speculation about guest posting since Google came out and said if guest posting is your strategy for getting links, then you should probably stop. The questions is, is guest posting okay providing it’s good content?

The answer to this could be NO!

“Guest posting has become spammy” – another statement from Matt Cutts. I do not disagree with this, for sure it seems that guest posting has been a vehicle that many have used to acquire links and manipulate the SERPs. I can see that where an article and anchor text is off-topic, this should be addressed. The problem is however, Google has previously stated that where an author adds good content to a website, it’s acceptable for a link to appear in exchange for this service. So does it no longer matter if the article is of quality, or is it just the case that you should not allow guest posts on your website?

Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan today had a few words to say to one another on Twitter about a site that recently encountered a Google penalty. DocSheldon is a website devoted to content strategy, seo copywriting, tools, tips & tutorials. You can see it featured on Google here. It features an article on best practices for hispanic social networking and an outbound link using ‘hispanic data’ as the anchor text.

Danny was unhappy that Google had been imprecise on why DocSheldon had received the penalty and that it appeared to be the case that an entire website had been penalised for a single guest post.  So Matt took to twitter to respond. Here’s a snippet of some of their twitter exchanges:

The dangers of guest posting

Is guest posting okay if the quality is good

If I am correct, Matt is suggesting that the DocSheldon website is a guest blog, so Google took action. The alarming point for me, is that there is no mention here of article quality. As an Inbound Marketing Agency in Birmingham this leads us to conclude that if you own a website and you allow guest posts, you could end up in hot water. Not only are Google going after those that use guest posting as a linking strategy, but they are also penalising websites that allow guest contributors. This could mean that where it was previously okay to allow guest posts and outbound links in return for quality content, this could be no longer is the case. This is widely known as content syndication.

I’ve never been a fan of guest posts. This is probably because I regularly get inundated by individuals wishing to leverage a link on my website in return for quality content, but the quality is not there. That’s not to say I would turn away content from the likes of Eric Ward :-). The problem is, Eric doesn’t need my website anymore than he needs a hole in his head!

I admit, I did once allow a guest post to feature on my website, but on reflection the content was average, so I recently decided that it was time to cast this into the trash. In light of the above, it was probably a wise decision.

My favourite tweet of the day came from Dr. Pete Meyers:

Guest posting in the playground

In summary

I personally would keep away from allowing guest contributors on your website, unless the content is absolute quality and you are confident that any outbound links point to an authoritative website that is completely relevant to your own. Plus you need to keep control of the number of guest authors. What you cannot afford is to be perceived by Google as a guest blog network. Perhaps, it’s best to writing quality content yourself and this will attract links, likes, shares and retweets.

Further discussions on this topic can be found here.

If you liked this article, you may also like 12 sure fire ways to get a Google penalty or rankings drop

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