Link building is usually a crucial component of any website search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign. That’s because backlinks to your website boost its standing in Google’s eyes and help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
One of the best ways to do this has been via guest blog posts – pieces of content that are written by one company and published on the website of another.
Such posts are normally informative, full of value for the reader and usually contain a backlink to the author company’s website.
However, while guest posts – also known as partner posts or sponsored content – have been legitimately used by companies to build backlinks to their websites for years, they’ve also formed part of less legitimate large-scale link building campaigns.
The sole purpose of these campaigns has been to build backlinks, rather than provide valuable information to Internet users.
Historically, Google has all but turned a blind eye to such campaigns, until now.
A recent blog post by the world’s largest search engine’s Webspam Team outlines that such practices could lead to websites being penalised going forward.
Google says that when it “detects that a website is publishing articles that contain spammy links”, its perception of the quality of the site could be changed and the site’s ranking affected accordingly.
That’s why, Google says, you should carefully vet any articles from third parties before publishing them on your website.
Furthermore, if you are creating these types of article – which put link building first and value second – don’t be surprised if Google takes action and penalises your website.
To avoid being penalised, Google advises websites not to:
- Stuff keyword-rich links to your site in your articles
- Have the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
- Use or hire article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on
- Use the same or similar content across these articles