Can Guest Blogging help you with your SEO? So long as it remains honest!

Guest BloggingGoogle is not the Bible. But if you depend on Google for attracting traffic to your web site, you need to pay attention to every word, every change that Google makes to its rules, as if you were drinking in the words of a wise old sage.

Recent events have clearly shown that the rules made by Google can sometimes be very unstable. After having first encouraged “authorship” for news articles and posts on blogs, this principle has recently been abandoned. The information which used to contain the name, photo, link to Google+ and the entry giving the number of circles in which the author appears have recently been reduced to the name and the link to Google+.

Moreover, Google’s rules are not always clear. Google “punishes” your site if there is duplicate content, in other words, content which can be found on other sites. But can Google really distinguish between an article published on your website after this same article has previously been published on the author’s blog, and content which has been “borrowed” from third parties (with or without their consent) in order to fill up pages with the sole aim of attracting visitors?

Matt Cutt, the well known SEO specialist at Google recently attempted to answer this difficult question in an article. Cutts first of all stirred up controversy by stating that guest blogging is simply something you shouldn't do, because it is too close to spam. Later, however, he nuanced his position. You need not worry about placing a guest blog on your site, but take into account the following rules: don’t do it too often, insert it in the right place and make sure that the content is suitable.

If you are the author of an article, you should be careful about the sites to which you give permission to use your content. If these sites are “dubious” in the eyes of Google because they contain too much spam, that can also damage you. Here are some general rules to help you in this connection:

  • Google does not like pages where the “above the fold” part - the part which is visible without scrolling down the screen - is full of advertisements with no real content. Make sure that your article is not published on such a site.
  • Articles currently on the site should not cover too many subjects, but should be properly organised in silos.
  • The content on the site must be organised by a webmaster. Avoid sites where you can publish your content without any checking by an editor-in-chief.
  • Conversely, if a site applies a whole range of strict rules with which any article published by an invited contributor must comply in terms of form and content, you can consider that as a plus.
  • Also take into account scores such as Domain Authority scores which you can access on, for example, http://www.opensiteexplorer.org. It is not very good to allow your article to be taken up by a site which has a score lower than your own.
  • If you have to pay to place a guest blog on a web site, avoiding the site is strongly recommended. Such sites are highly dubious.

On the other hand, if you want to post a guest blog on your site, don’t imagine that you will inevitably be “punished” by Google.

In short, if you only publish articles relating to your activities and which contribute genuine added value (in other words, which are not solely used for SEO purposes), a guest blog can sometimes be a genuine plus for your site!