How to Guest Post Within the Google Webmaster Guidelines

If you’re like most people in SEO, you’re confused about Google’s updated Webmaster Guidelines. They say “large-scale guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links” are now a no-no. But what does that mean in real life? This video will show you how you can still take advantage of guest posting without having to worry about violating their Webmaster Guidelines. You’ll learn how to find appropriate guest post targets and how to include your links without setting off alarms at Google.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up everybody? It’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout and in this video, I’m going to show you how to guest post within the Google webmaster guidelines. So, if you head over to the Google webmaster guideline section of Google.com and go to the link schemes area, you’ll notice that they specifically address guest posting. So right here, it says, “Large scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text are technically against the webmaster guidelines.”

So, what are they talking about? Well, basically, article marketing, which is where you post an article on article directories, if you do that on a large scale, that was always against the Google webmaster guidelines and this is a good example right here of an article published at a popular article directory, EzineArticles.com. So, there’s nothing inherently wrong with posting an article here, but the problem is, is when you have an author bio area like this and it has an obvious anchor text link at the bottom. So, people have basically taken this same strategy, applied it to guest posting and that’s what gets you in trouble. So, for example, you know, if you post at one article directory, that’s okay, even if it has anchor text links like this. The problem is when you scale it.

So, here is an article I found at a place called Articles Factory, okay? And I took one of the sentences from this article and put it into Google in quotes and as you can see, there’s over 5,000 results, which means that this article has been syndicated to 5,000 different websites, which is just amazing. And that’s definitely the kind of thing you want to avoid with guest posting. You do want to make sure every guest post that you publish is original.

Now, besides the fact that you should, you know, not scale guest posts into an extreme scale,  you should also make sure that you don’t pay for guest posts because paying for guest posts is technically against the Google webmaster guidelines and as you can see here, from this guest posts guidelines page that I found, they say straight up, “Please do not contact me for guest post if there are commercial links included in your guest post.” So basically, they charge a publishing fee, which it says right here. There is a publishing fee for publishing a guest post on that site. So that’s definitely something  you want to avoid at all costs because that is obvious, you know, that’s a paid link and that’s against the webmaster guidelines.

So, the next thing you want to check out is whether or not the site that you’re guest posting on is just a real site or just a glorified article directory that exists just to accept guest posts. So, the first thing I look at actually, when I’m considering guest posting on a site, is whether or not there’s any user interaction. So, in this case, we have this website here with the article, ‘The Importance of Link Variance in Your SEO Strategy’, so we don’t know.

Maybe that is a great article, but, you know, at the bottom, you can see that there’s almost no social signals and there are no comments. And if you scroll down and you see that over and over again, no social signals, no comments, no social signals, no comments, that’s basically an article directory that’s like, masquerading as a blog that accepts guest posts, okay? So, that’s definitely something that you want to avoid. So, any site that’s not real and it doesn’t have any user interaction signals.

And you also want to avoid sites like this. So, on the surface, you know, this looks kind of like a cool website, The Ferrington Post, kind of like The Huffington Post, but then when you look at the content, you can see that it’s basically an article directory, okay? So, you know, they have vacation destinations, they talk about the Dodge Dart, they talk about Major League Baseball, they’re talking about how to relax and plan for your vacation, things you don’t want to do in prison, the topics are all over the place. This is just basically an article directory and when you look at the content, you can see that it just is basically nonsense, you know? ‘How to get residential solar power for your town’ and you can see right here that there’s an anchor text link to another website. So, that is basically something that exists just to get this link. So, the content isn’t really quality and it’s the same with another article I found about going green with solar palm lights and if you scroll to the bottom, you can see that there’s an exact match anchor text link here.

So, that’s basically how you want to screen for guest post targets and obviously, when you post your guest post in your author bio, you definitely don’t want to use anchor text like this. You want to use natural anchor text like a brand or just an anchor text that describes what your content is about.

Now finally, I wanted to show you this one because this is a good example of what you don’t want to do in terms of posting on unrelated sites. So, you can see here that this is a guest post by Sarah of Premier Packaging. So, her site is about packaging, but if you look at the site that it’s on, it’s actually an entrepreneur small business website. So, I see this a lot where if you’re in a niche that’s hard, like the packaging industry, it’s going to be hard to find packaging sites to guest blog on. So, it’s okay to do one or two guest posts on unrelated sites, but this person has really scaled this, okay? And this is what you don’t want to do.

So, you can do this once in a while, but don’t make this a cornerstone of your strategy. Make sure that the sites that you’re guest posting on are related, because that’s a huge, huge footprint that Google is going to use to penalize sites that are, you know, going overboard with guest posts. And if you do post on an unrelated site, you do want to use anchor text like this, which is natural, okay? So, this is something that Sarah did right. You know, it says, ‘a provider of any and all retail packaging,’ so, she doesn’t just say, you know, just retail packaging. But as you can see, the content that it links to is about gift bags, which obviously has nothing to do with, you know, the packaging  she’s talking about or the content of the website overall, so relevancy is super important.

So, to sum up basically, you want to limit guest posting as a strategy. You don’t want to scale it up too much because that leaves a footprint and it shows that you’re trying to manipulate Google and it goes against the webmaster guidelines because they explicitly state that large scale article marketing or guest posting, okay? So, definitely keep it at a minimum scale that is going to be effective. Also, don’t syndicate the same content everywhere, don’t pay for a guest post and be picky about your targets. Make sure you’re posting on real sites that are in your niche. If you do that, guest posting is a fantastic link building and internet marketing strategy. So, thanks for watching this video and I’ll see you in the next one.