How Guest Posts Can Harm Your Google Ranking

If you own a blog or website that depends on content and Google’s Panda, then you know the power this algorithm has on the way we do business online. Many unsuspecting site owners don’t realize that they are losing ranking in search engines (or even their right to rank at all) thanks to underhanded tactics used by some freelance writers.

Many sites receive guest posts from bloggers – new and established – to help bring in content as well as affiliation with other groups by name and by links. If you are new to this subject and are taking guest posts from just about every Tom, Dick, Sally, and Mary you find online, you need to know better.

Look into filtering out posts that will not help take your site higher and beware of the crooked content writer who is here to forward his or her own agenda over yours. From keyword stuffing to third-party comments and Wikipedia links, here are the things you should take note of as the captain of your ship.

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Stuffing is for Turkeys

Beware of freelance writers who stuff content with keywords. These are content writers who have never evolved. Even though search engine results depend on keywords, keywords are fine when used in moderation. Using too many keywords, however, will cause Google to pass you up in the search engine rankings and can even get you barred. Aim for lower saturation and better placement of keywords.

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Plagiarism and Duplicate Content

If you are a webmaster that is taking the freelance writer’s word that their content is original, you are making a big mistake. There are freelance writers who check their content before they submit it to you. There are even freelance content writers with a style so unique that they do not have to check.

Even if this is the case, you should always test content. Even honest freelancers with years of experience can accidentally duplicate material. ‘Dirty’ freelancers that steal content can get your website barred from Google rankings. There are freelancers that will copy the whole post, change a few key words or phrases to try and fool CopyScape. But they can’t fool Google.

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And yet, you pay the price, not they. Why trust someone you have never met with your livelihood? Always check content with a good content copy checker application. Try Copyscape or DupeFreePro (which also helps with keyword saturation problems).

Costly Comments

If you hire a freelance writer who has an unusually high comment rate right out of the gate, one of two things is taking place

  1. You have a winner with a style people relate to and content people either love or hate (either is okay if it generates comments).
  2. You have a freelance writer that is paying a service to comment. This is one of the worst things that you can have associated with your honest website or blog.

Google frowns upon this kind of activity and regardless of your ignorance, you are responsible, not the freelancer who will deny and disappear.

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What To Do:

One way to spot this activity is to backtrack links left in comments. The websites that supply them cannot resist adding links to the same sponsors over and over. Watch for redundant names, phrases, and zero negative comments as well.

If you find this activity on your blog or website, drop the writer like a hot rock and remove all posts and comments related to them. Find an honest writer to rewrite the posts in their own words if they are important to your site.

The Link Sneak

If you are paying for content, only allow the writer personal links in his or her bio. If they request or just add links to websites in the content, they are probably being paid to do so.

If you find this kind of behavior from a freelance writer who does it without your knowledge… take offense, even if the link leads to a high-ranking website with good domain authority. It is the dishonesty that counts. The next link could be the one that sinks you. Always check links whether they relate to the content or not.

Good Links

A fact-checking link is fine if it actually backs up a statement or theory forwarded by a freelance writer, but be sure that is all it is. Anything else may be trouble. (Encourage your freelancer to link to internal pages of your blog and website when applicable.)

Wikipedia Links

Wikipedia is not a great place to back up content. It is a public website that accepts its content from freelancers, experts in their fields, or anyone who can follow their guidelines. This does not make every article accurate or automatically credible. Be wary of the freelance content writer who is always depending upon Wikipedia for confirmation of a fact. They should know better.

You are Responsible

Always check links to see where they go and to whom writers are attaching your blog or website. A link to the wrong place can also ruin your rank and domain authority. As the site owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your content writer is not doing anything dishonest or that could get your website or blog barred from the search engines entirely. While this may seem challenging, it is worth it.

Alternatively, you can get a good editor who will normally do most of these things for you. Protect yourself from bad content writers, particularly those who come with their own agenda and you will succeed.