Google’s Announcement: Google Cautions Against Guest Posting – Everything that is Going On
Google’s John Mueller tweeted that for the past few years, Google has not only been frowning on guest posting but also devaluating them. He also added, with the help of years of data for training algorithms, Google can easily find and devaluate guest post links so that they don’t help a site rank better.
No penalization for guest posts:
John Mueller only explains what is wrong with Google and how easy it is for Google to devalue guest posts’ links so that they don’t help a site to rank higher. His comments about guest post link building are a continuation of the discussion that started with his warning about SEMRush’s guest post link building outreach service.
Earlier, Google has given warning about certain techniques before cracking them down. But this is not something that happened with guest posts.
However, from where the discussion aroused, I mean, the SEMRUsh service has now promised to maintain the highest quality whenever publishing a guest article. Mueller called the guest post links as an unnatural links scheme, and SEMRush stopped offering the service.
This fact is the webmasters and publishers are worried about if there is any penalty associated with guest posts. In fact, an individual tweeted whether penalties are coming. However, John Mueller replied that no penalties are coming for guest posting. According to him, since there are very few people that are using guest posting, he does not find the necessity for the webspam team to jump in.
In his words:
“….there are new people starting on SEO all the time (yay!), but it’s all years old in the meantime & nothing has changed there at all. Unless this storm in a teacup triggers a lot of people to start, I don’t see a need for the webspam team to jump in.”
Why is guest posting problematic?
Back in 2014, the former Google engineer Matt Cutts wrote a blog post announcing that keeping links for guest posting is over. The SEO community somehow forgot his warning. After a few years, the so-called white-hat SEO specialists started implementing black hat scraping software to extract email addresses from the websites and dump data into email spam software so that it can automate the guest article process.
The major reason that guest posting is problematic for SEOs is that guest posting does not work for ranking purposes for years.
The guest posting is only for brand building. It has a lot of value when it comes to building your brand reputation. But it should not be used as a ranking tool.
John Mueller has also commented that the main reason that the guest posting for links is problematic for Google is that it includes unnatural links.
In Mueller’s words:
“The part that’s problematic is the links — if you’re providing the content/the links, then those links shouldn’t be passing signals & should have the rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow attached. It’s fine to see it as a way of reaching a broader audience.”
He also explains that if there is any link in the guest posts, that must be nofollow, even if it is a natural link.
“Essentially if the link is within the guest post, it should be nofollow, even if it’s a “natural” link you’re adding there.
FWIW none of this is new, and I’m not aware of any plans to ramp up manual reviews of this. We catch most of these algorithmically anyway.”
Are links in Author Bylines problematic?
Mueller replied to a tweet that the main part in the guest post that is problematic is the links. In case you provide links, they must not be passing signals, or re-nofollow should be attached.
“The part that’s problematic is the links – if you’re providing the content/the links, then those links shouldn’t be passing signals & should have the rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow attached. It’s fine to see it as a way of reaching a broader audience.”
In this reply, one webmaster asked Mueller if it works even in the case of a byline, which is a natural link.
According to a webmaster,
“Even the byline? Say I have an author page on my site, or to the domain name if writing as an org? That seems like a natural link to me.”
John Mueller replied with a positive note “Yes, even there”.
The Way Google identifies guest posts:
When someone asked Mueller about how Google recognizes guest posts, he replied that it is quite easy for Google to identify guest post articles.
Articles that are clearly labeled as guest posts are easily identified. However, the article, not labeled as sponsored, and published as normal content, is a bit difficult to identify. Since non-labeled guest posts are difficult to identify, it has become a tempting option for webmasters and SEOs. However, it is not legal according to the US government guidelines about native advertising. Native advertising refers to the promotional content that is paid for and published in a way so that it looks like a regular article.
According to the FTC Guidelines:
“A basic truth-in-advertising principle is that it’s deceptive to mislead consumers about the commercial nature of the content. Advertisements or promotional messages are deceptive if they convey to consumers expressly or by implication that they’re independent, impartial, or from a source other than the sponsoring advertiser – in other words, that they’re something other than ads.”
Publishers may be compelled to label native advertising as advertisements or else face the possibility of legal action against them by the US government.
Though the former Google engineer Matt Cutts warned the SEO community much before, people did not pay attention much. Today Mueller is not stating an opinion, he is saving the SEO community from wasting time and money by implementing a technique that does not help. So, there is literally nothing to disagree with him.
The best reaction to it would be to apply the strategy that will help you to rank.