Google periodically does carry out interviews & release information on their algorithm. Often these interviews bring about fear, uncertainty & doubt amongst SEO’ers (and it has done with me in the past. One interview released on Digital Inspiration recently contained a very ambiguous answer which is designed to spread such fear & doubt amongst people, though this time they’ve targeted a crowd of people that is largely supported in the past – bloggers.
This is the question:-
Q 11. I have launched a new blog and it obviously won’t rank in Google because none of the reputable blogs are currently linking to it. Therefore, I am actively writing guest posts on other blogs as that gives me a chance to get a link from them. Is Google fine with guest blogging and do links ‘earned’ from writing guest blogs matter?
John Mueller: Making and promoting a new site takes time and effort. In general I would recommend putting that work into your own site, instead of creating content for other people’s sites.
It’s much better to create great content for your blog and to let other sites refer visitors to your site on their own. Good luck!
Dodging of the question at politician levels, but reading into it over and over again, whilst it doesn’t explicitly state that links in Guest Posts are discounted from Google’s algorithm, it can be suggested. But like I said, there’s no definite “yes” or “no” answer.
If we assume a “no”, that guest posts do not count to Google’s ranking (which this answer seems to be – things are often discouraged before acted upon), it’s a bit silly. For a number of reasons.
Google’s Mentality of “Build it & They Will Come” Doesn’t Work
I really think it’s naive of Mr. Mueller to believe the statement “Recommend putting work into your own site”. What does he expect that work to be? Work in producing content after content after content? Or actually promoting their blog? Hell, if it’s the latter, the easiest and best ways to get your blog in front of people is – surprise surprise – guest blogging. I suspect Mr. Mueller has never owned a blog or been simply a part of larger blogs that he has contributed to.
How Can They Tell?
Speaking of larger blogs – how will they decide what is a guest post, particularly when blogs, such as SEO Bullshit or Twitip, are 90-95% guest blogs? Likewise how can they tell with blogs such as SEO Chicks? Sure there’s about 4 or 5 authors, but each of the authors have their own site. Dean Cruddace suggested to me that Google can look at link profiles & search blogs for phrases such as “Guest Blog By….”, which is fine, but surely a way to combat this is to not announce who your guest blog is by & put a link within the content. Personally to me that seems a bit deceitful, and goes against being open & honest to your readers, a cardinal sin I believe when it comes to blogging.
Where do you draw the line though? I answered a question & my reply was put on Problogger. Technically it’s a tiny mini guest blog as I’ve contributed content in the hope of getting a link back (which was advertised as a bonus). Should that link be discounted? It’s all very grey – which I suppose that everything is in SEO.
Goes Against Editorial Policy
If you read a number of SEO guides, it will appear that one thing that Google loves is in content links, links that are perceived to be editorial in nature rather than submissive. Suppose if I write a guest post to promote my site (site A), but link to site B saying that it’s awesome, and put it on site C. Even though I recommend site B, would link juice being passed from site C to site B count and yet not to site A? The link to site B is an editorial (in fact, both myself & site C’s owner have approved it).
Which takes me onto my next question – surely with any decent blog an editorial policy is in place on the posts that go live? Therefore not any old site is linked to (I am like this with Retro Garden). If there is no editorial policy, why the heck are you trying to guest blog on there?
The rise in guest blogging seemed to coincide with a bit of FUD that Google put out a while back, the truth that links pass pagerank, so much so that people didn’t want to pass pagerank with links and so got a bit arsey linking out. Links became a commodity (which you could buy and sell), and nobody linked out, unless in exchange for a guest post. Now Google isn’t too keen on these, so has put out another piece of FUD against them.
So should you stop guest posting? Absolutely not. Even with no SEO benefit, I can’t see how blogging on somebody else’s blog can harm you within the SERP’s. Furthermore, writing guest blogs to larger audiences can really help get a large amount of traffic to your site. For bloggers of all sizes, writing about your chosen topic & placing it on a larger blog can really help drive traffic to your site. For new bloggers, it’s a no brainer way of promotion.
Incidentally the interview linked to above did cover a lot of other things that were a lot more clear cut, check out Malcolm Coles‘ roundup for things you should pick up from the interview including affiliate linking & moving domain names.
So bloggers, are you going to stop guest blogging?