Sooner or later, it had to happen – guest blogs themselves have become a sign of potential spam. In his video blog this week, Matt Cutts warned bloggers that the search engine has become wary of sites that carry too many guest blog posts.
The difference between a natural blog entry and one created by a marketer is usually easy to spot, Cutts says. The latter type of post usually makes extensive use of keywords, whereas the pattern of text in natural posts is more varied. It’s also likely to be on a different topic from most of the blog, or only tangentially connected, while most genuine blog posts are written by experts or informed enthusiasts on specific subjects.
Cutts implies that sites that aim to attract traffic with a lot of guest blogs are likely to fall in Google’s rankings. To generate effective content marketing that doesn’t cause this problem, it’s important to make sure it’s genuinely relevant and useful in the place where it’s published, and it’s advisable to link to other sites as well as the one it’s intended to promote. This allows the potential for groups of related businesses to work together – for instance, a cake maker, a photographers’ agency and a dressmaker might contribute to wedding-themed blogs and link to one another, sharing the effort involved in article production and avoiding penalization while boosting one another’s profiles and securing recommendations from each other.
Google continues to praise good content and says that sites that invest in this will always have an advantage. If a business runs its own blog and wants to avoid getting into trouble if it publishes guest pieces, it should aim to ensure that the ratio of these to its own entries does not become too high. Blogs publishing large numbers of guest posts are likely to drop in the rankings themselves, causing a problem for the sites they link to even if those sites have not themselves attracted adverse notice, because their outbound links will have a lower value. This means that sites that have made extensive use of this type of marketing in the past may face difficulties as Google tightens its restrictions.
When it comes to effective content marketing, Cutts’ recommendation to businesses is to use a lot of different ways to market their sites. A well-rounded approach is not likely to attract trouble.