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How can I guest blog without it appearing as if I paid for links?

How can I guest blog without it appearing as if I paid for links? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from Phoenix, Arizona. Ben asks, “How can I guest blog without it looking like I pay for links?” OK, that’s a fun question. So let’s talk about– for example, whenever we get a spam report, and we dig into it in the manual webspam team, usually, there’s a pretty clear distinction between an occasional guest blog versus someone who is doing large-scale pay-for-links kinds of stuff. So what are the different criteria on that spectrum? So if you’re paying for links, it’s more likely that it’s an off-topic or an irrelevant blog post that doesn’t really match the subject of the blog itself. It’s more likely you’ll see the keyword-rich anchor text, that sort of thing, whereas a guest blog, it’s more likely to be, hopefully, someone that’s expert. There will usually be a paragraph there that talks about who this person is, why you invited them to be on your blog. Hopefully, the guest blogger isn’t dropping keywords in their anchors nearly as much as these other sorts of methods of generating links. So it is interesting, because in all of these cases, you can see a spectrum of quality. You can have paid links with buy cheap Viagra, all that stuff. You can have article marketing, where somebody doesn’t even have a relationship with the blog, and they just write an article of 500 words, or whatever. And they embed their keyword-rich anchor text in their bio, or something like that. And then you’ve got guest blogging, which can be low quality. And frankly, I think there’s been a growth of low-quality guest blogging recently. Or it can be higher quality stuff, where someone really is an expert, and you really do want their opinion on something that’s especially interesting or relevant to your blog’s audience. And so there is this spectrum. And we look at those kinds of criteria when we try to distinguish whether something is organic or not, whether something really deserves to be considered high quality, or whether it’s more likely to be spam. So one note of caution I would advise is it feels like a lot of people– guest blogging seems like it’s the fad of the month a little bit, because we do hear a lot of people who are complaining about tons of people just spraying and praying, sending out invitations. I’m going to guest blog on all these different things. And sometimes they’re spinning their guest blogs. They’re not even writing unique content for each blog. And I don’t think that that’s the best way to build links to your site. And so I wouldn’t recommend that as a tactic. Guest blogging is probably the sort of thing that you should be thinking about doing in moderation. It shouldn’t be your full-time job going around find people that– can I borrow your soapbox, and climb up on it, and talk for a few little bits, and then also embed some links back to my blog? If that’s all you’re doing, then that’s probably not the best way to build reputation to your website. But that’s a little bit of the criteria. I was talking with someone right before we taped this video, and usually it’s pretty clear cut, the sorts of things that are paid links versus guest blogs. Whereas if you’re doing a guest blog and it gets pretty close to what looks like paid links, then that might be the sort of thing where we decide we don’t want to count those links, regardless. Hope that helps.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: