The Era of Cautious Guest Blogging

As Google has trained an ever more watchful eye on links in guest blog posts, it is clear that this is the era of cautious guest blogging, for some at least. While some blog authors have opted to continue, or to begin, an honest outbound linking strategy in guest blog posts in an effort to avoid a knock in the search engine results pages (SERPs), other blog authors have taken a defiant position through inaction, feeling something like an infringement on free speech.

Though identifying spammy outbound links in guest blog posts may be easy on some websites, Google’s spam crusade has pummeled a few innocents along the way, one example (depending upon your opinion of the guest blog post’s quality, of course) being the manual penalty handed down to Doc Sheldon for what Google deemed a questionable outbound link. The penalty has since been remanded following a lively discussion of the matter in the SEO community.

Even though guest blog posts have been made out to look like the villain, such a characterization is not entirely accurate. It is true that they have been over-exploited to a certain extent. However, it is highly encouraged to continue sharing the thoughts and opinions of guest authors on a blog for the benefit of the blog’s readership.

According to a recent blog post written by Sheldon for Search Engine Watch, for blog owners who want to play by the rules, all outbound links in a guest blog post should be nofollow. This way, the relevant links are still in the post, still available to the audience for further exploration, but their implementation avoids suspicion and penalty.

Another safe alternative is to create a link to the guest author’s social media site of choice. Sheldon specifically recommends linking out to the author’s Google+ page.

The purpose of guest blog posts is to share useful information and a new perspective with a blog’s readership. If there are any reservations about the guest blog post have a negative impact on the overall visitor experience, then perhaps the blog owner and content marketing team should consider dropping the post entirely to avoid a loss in readership.

Have questions about guest blogging and adding outbound links? Feel free to send us an email.

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