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Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about guest blogging in his latest video where a user writes in to ask: “How can I guest blog without it appearing as if I paid for links?”
When his team reviews spam reports, Cutts says that there is a clear distinction between organic guest blog posts and someone disguising their paid links as guest blog content.
One of the clearest ways to identify paid links from organic guest blog content is how well the subject of the post matches the rest of the content on the site. Cutts says spam content is typically off-topic or irrelevant, having little to do with the blog’s niche. Spam content will likely also contain keyword-rich anchor text.
According to Cutts, a true guest blogger is someone who is an established expert on a particular subject. An organic guest blog post will often include a paragraph about the guest blog author, including why they were invited to write a post for the site. True guest bloggers also don’t stuff their anchor text with heavy amounts of keywords.
Cutts notes that in all of these cases there is a spectrum of quality and he has been noticing a rise of low quality guest blog posts. Cutts cautions marketers that guest blogging is starting to feel a lot like a “fad of the month” and not to guest blog on as many sites as possible as one of your tactics for building links.
“Guest blogging is the sort of thing that you should think about doing in moderation, it shouldn’t be your full time job… if that’s all you’re doing then that’s probably not the best way to build reputation for your website.”
Cutts ends the video by saying that usually the difference between paid links and real guest blog posts is pretty clear cut. If you’re doing guest blog posts that end up looking pretty close to paid links, Cutts says they may decide not to count those links regardless.
You can see Matt Cutts’ full response in the video below: