Guest blogging is popular because it creates a win-win situation for everyone. It works well to drive traffic back to a blog. It works well to give a new blogger exposure on other more established blogs. It works well to provide blog owners fresh content. And it works well to gives readers interesting content from a new perspective.
There are other benefits, too.
For one thing, guest blogging is a great vehicle to allow good writers to quickly become popular bloggers. It’s a way to build your reputation even if you have only recently started blogging and are not getting many visitors to your blog. If you write on a specific niche well—in a clear and authoritative way—then you are attracting positive interest with your work. You are also winning the silent endorsement of the blogger who shares your content with his or her audience.
For another, guest blogging is way of building backlinks back to a site. Consequently, it provides excellent search engine optimization. But that’s not all. Guest blogging, when done right, gives readers high quality, relevant content.
In fact, guest blogging has become so popular that many top blogs now are inundated with requests for guest posting.
Why, then, if guest blogging is so beneficial, providing a wonderful service for writers, publishers, readers and even search engines would Google try to discourage guest blogging?
Actually, Google is not targeting guest blogging. If guest blogging is in some way hampered by Penguin 2.0 or 2.1, then it is just an accidental casualty to a major larger issue Google is trying to tackle with its change in algorithms.
After the dust from Penguin 2.0 and 2.1 settles it may put a dent in this unique win-win strategy for driving traffic back to a website, but, all things considered, while it may damage the enthusiasm shown for guest blogging, it will not be devastating enough to stop it.
It’s unlikely that we are going to see articles and reports on the demise of guest blogging.
While Google is not exactly targeting guest blogs, some devaluing may occur to backlinks and author ranking as a result of the new algorithms.
It’s still too early to say what has changed, but four trends are slowly showing up.
Here are four probable ways that Penguin 2.0 and 2.1 will affect life as we know it on the Internet.
In the past, social signals were a sign that a guest post was popular. After all, if people liked something they might be inclined to share it with friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, and the other popular social media platforms.
Why, then, would Google want to discourage this level of sharing and enthusiasm?
It’s because Google’s unstated prime directive is relevancy and with many people gaming the social signal system by buying hundreds, even thousands, of Tweets or Likes on cheap outsourcing websites like Fiverr and other clones, the relevancy test will fail.
Google’s battle is not actually against people sharing content that they like. It’s really a battle against bots and spam purveyors who are mimicking real Tweets and real Likes.
One sign that an author is gaming the system is the author’s reluctance to mention their guest posts on their own social media platforms. Google reasons that an author who wrote a great piece is inclined to share it with his friends and followers on some major social media websites while an author who had already purchased tweets and likes would probably not be bothered to share it on his or her own social profile.
Still, although things may look grim, one way to resolve Google’s loss of confidence in social signals is to write great posts, share them on your own profiles in social media, and ask influencer’s to do the same. At some point, Google’s algorithms will probably be able to distinguish between real human approval and the footprints left by bots.
A new benchmark is author rank. This will show Google where you are publishing your content and how well people like it on the Internet. While author rank can work in your favor, you also run the risk of having your rank devalued.
Here are two ways to resolve this potential risk of getting your author rank devalued:
It’s important to note that with the new algorithms, publishing on an authority website alone is no guarantee that your author rank will be safe.
Before the change in algorithms, a link was a link. Now, Google questions links, deciding which to value and which to devalue.
If you write a long piece, full of valuable information, then the link will probably be valued, but if you post an infographic, the link will probably be devalued.
What this change basically means is that the rapid link building methods deployed by SEO experts will now be under suspicion.
The worst penalty Google can mete out is to devalue your site. This may happen if you create irrelevant links.
What is an irrelevant link? Suppose, you wrote a guest post on the best places to invest in 2014. Then relevant links might be those going out to Huffington Post, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. Relevant links might also include reference to pertinant dictionaries and encyclopedias like Investopedia or Wikipedia. An irrelevant link would be linking your article to a car website, a plastic surgeon’s website, or a dog grooming website.
While you could probably create irrelevant links a few times, if you do it often enough, your site itself might be devalued. Google would rightly argue, based on the latent semantic index of your guest post, about the relationship between the world of investments and the world of car dealerships, cosmetic surgery, and pet care.
Ultimately, what Google is trying to do is in line with what they have always tried to do—encourage quality content and discourage poor content on the Internet. Quality content is one that informs and educates. Great content wins attention and approval in the form of social media sharing, blog comments, and other forms of popularity. Alternatively, if content is just written for the sake of keywords, backlinks, and other SEO favors, then under the new algorithms, it will be more quickly detected and devalued. Guest blogs that show signs of poor content will suffer. But guest blogs that give circumstantial evidence of good content will actually rise to the surface. The best strategy, then, is to continue to write well and avoid appearing to game the system, either accidentally or intentionally.