Cancel Your Guests for 2013: Why Guest Blogging Has Become an SEO No-No

While some have feared, others have welcomed the myriad of updates Google has installed over the past year.  If 2012 was the year of change, 2013 might just be the get-with-the-program year when coming to terms with these new changes.  Google’s updates will now penalize sites that rely on guest bloggers for content if they aren’t up to Google’s snuff.  To protect their SEO, bloggers may find it to be far less time consuming to write their own original content than track the links and website stats of a guest blogger and their questionable blog post.


Why Does Google Want You to Uninvite Your Guest Bloggers?
In an ideal SEO universe, a guest blogger could add expertise, alternate viewpoints, and new blood to a blog.  Of course, they also add links that could improve a blog’s SEO.  Sometimes that’s what happens.  The reality of guest blogging, however, has been fraught with blogs filled with links to spam-filled websites.  Google’s new updates will penalize blogs that do this.  This forces blog owners to follow every link to ensure its SEO-friendliness and to assess the rankings of the websites at the end of those links.  In essence, guest bloggers were becoming webmasters’ darlings as they promoted link acquisition; however, too often guest blogs provided article spins instead of quality content and spam-ridden linkage.


Broken Trust
While guest blogs were once idolized for the good they were intended to do by increasing great content, too many are simply vying for back links from high page ranking sites.  Once guest blogging became more about links than original quality content, critics began to boo and Google perked up its ears.  While these updates occurred in 2012, it’s only been in the last few weeks that sites that rely on guest bloggers have begun to feel the sting of less traffic.


Damaged SEO and Decreased Traffic
If Google has detected with its new updates a strategy to manipulate page search engine rankings with guest blogs, then your analytics tool may already have detected less traffic to your site.  Google has clarified its stance on guest blogging by saying its updates are only targeting spammy guest blog posts or article spinners; however, many blog owners are also worried about simply risking their blog rankings with a guest blog post that may not be quality writing.  If you see a decrease in 2013, do an overhaul of your guest posts; you may want to start dumping any writing that isn’t solid.


Getting Your Traffic Flowing Smoothly Again
If you believe your blog is suffering because of guest blogs, you may decide to cancel your guest blogging activities—at least until you understand the ins and outs of Google’s updates and learn how to employ guest bloggers effectively in order to safeguard your SEO.  If, however, you want to continue to use guest blogging to provide content and exposure for your blog, there a few things you can do to stay on track with Google.

First, don’t outsource your blog writing to a non-native speaker or a writer with a poor command of language.  Second, be careful of those links.  Do not include spammy links or links to lead to pages with low rankings.  This guilty-by-association tack is part of the Google update.  Third, be sure the posted content is not simply an article that has been respun countless times and now appears on your site.  It brings the content of your blog down a notch and Google is penalizing this spin style of writing.


Managing Your Guest Blogger
If you do want to continue to work with guest bloggers and are willing to check all the links and run their posts through Copyscape, there are still some measures you may want to take to ensure your guest blogging goes smoothly and your SEO is enhanced rather than diminished.  Employ guest bloggers from time to time—not all the time.  Blogs that don’t publish their own original content begin to look like they’re in the blogging game entirely for the SEO.  Employ guest bloggers that have industry expertise or are at least top-notch writers.  Keeping these blogs content-focused rather than link-based is an important standard to maintain when working with guest bloggers.


While SEO news has been all about these likely penalties for shoddy guest blogging imposed by Google’s new updates, the reality is only now beginning to hit sites that abuse guest blogging.  Many tech forums are beginning to show signs of irritated bloggers with reduced traffic due to guest blogging; this is likely to be the case for a good portion of 2013 until webmasters comply with Google’s updates and get their blog in good order to win back the traffic they lost.