Guest Posting: Good or Bad?


Guest Posting

Guest posting is a common technique for building backlinks to a website. It’s been a tried-and-true method for increasing search results since the beginning of search engines, but recently it has come under fire and may not be the search engine optimization (SEO) panacea that it once was. The reason for this is that search engines (Google in particular) have become much more conscientious of filtering out what they consider “low-quality” backlinks.

The practice of guest posting starts when a blog or website owner reaches out to others to write something thematically and contextually relevant. For example: A men’s health care blog might reach out to a blogger who writes about the fine art of men’s wet-shaving and invite that blogger to write a guest post on their website. The site normally doesn’t write about shaving, but they do sell men’s shaving products, so it’s relevant. The blogger brings his expertise and quality content to the men’s health care blog, and in that blog post, he can link back to his own blog. In return, he can post about his content on his own site, linking back to the health care blog. It’s a mutual back-scratch.

As good as it sounds, it might not be the best thing for your website, though. There can be some downsides…

Downside To Guest Posting

Bad Content

Guest Posting

Janet Leigh in Psycho (Amazing Film!)

One of the worst things you can do for your site is to allow a low-quality writer to post something. You don’t want to publish something that really doesn’t have much to do with your content or subject matter and is stuffed with keywords that reek of SEO desperation. Having obviously out-of-place content on your site can turn off search engines, but it can also turn off your valuable human readers. You never want to get into a situation where a community member on your site mentions the lack of quality on a guest post, saying something like “Why the heck am I reading this on here?”

You also need to be aware of who your guest posters are. If the post they gave you is the same post they submitted to several other blogs, that’s a very big red flag. Make sure your guest poster is relevant in their field, an expert in the subject matter and has written original content specifically for your site.

Poor Backlink Quality

One of the newest things Google has started looking at is backlink quality. It’s not just enough to have backlinks to your site any more; if you have a guest poster who writes poorly or just stuffs a post full of keywords, then finishes with a link to their site that has some obviously SEO-wrought anchor text, Google could actually punish both sites for that.

One of the things the SEO world is currently talking about is patterns in anchor text for backlinks. The current best practice is to leave the anchor text up to the blog you’re guest posting for, never asking to insert your own anchor text.

The Right Way to Guest Post

This is definitely not a situation in which we should all be immediately scratching guest posts off our content calendars. There are still plenty of benefits to quality guest posts. Backlinks are still critical, and besides that, the social queues that come from engaged readers connecting with your content through a blog that they read and trust are invaluable. You may just gain a new community member through a guest blog post, and that is extremely useful (particularly when paired with social share buttons!)

The key is having high-quality guest posts from high-quality writers. If you are solicited out of the blue from someone in an email who just wants to write about any random subject for your site in exchange for a simple link, that’s something you probably don’t want on your site. If, however, a prolific blogger in your field sends you an email with a detailed reason for wanting to write a guest post, it may be worth pursuing.

As with all things in the SEO world, following current trends in the content and search discussion can be tremendously valuable. Search providers are ever pushing towards their mission of providing the most relevant search results to their users, and the most important thing will always remain high-quality content that is genuine and natural. Backlinks are important too — but make sure they’re good ones!

What is your view of guest blogging?  Do you think it is still good, or have you gone off the idea?  Please let us know your opinions by leaving a comment below!

About Sarah Fudin

Sarah works as the Inbound Marketing Manager for the George Washington University’s online Masters in Public Health program; which provides the opportunity for students to earn their MPH degree through GW’s new innovative online platform. In her free time, Sarah enjoys running, reading and 16 Handles frozen yogurt. You can learn more by following her on Twitter.

  • What if guest posting leads to losing loyal readers to better bloggers than you? What do you do then? How would you prevent it?

    • Hi Abdul,

      That is an excellent question! Whilst it seems logical that, by allowing people to guest post on your site, you could end up losing visitors, the reverse can actually happen. Allowing other people to write for your site is a great way to provide your readers with extra content. If you make sure that the content that you publish is of a high quality, people will be interested in it no matter who has written it.

      You have to remember that the vast majority of people aren’t coming to read your articles because “you” wrote them, they are coming to your site because of the “content”.

      That’s not to say that people may be introduced to an author they like, but they will still appreciate that they found them on your site. If anything, they may like visiting your site to find other quality authors that they can learn more about.

      Guest authors can also help bring in traffic to your website. When you publish one of their posts, they are likely to promote it across their social media profiles to their followers. That means that you have the opportunity to attract new visitors from them, who will hopefully like your other posts.

      If you are worried about losing readers though (which I don’t think you should be) the best bet would just be not to allow guest authors on your site.

  • Nice Post Sarah,

    I have been getting a bit sick of Guest Posters recently on my site – some of the stuff I post is great only the poster is only interested in the backlink. There is no after comments or any interaction at all after the post goes live. I am not tarnishing them all with the same brush here – this site does have some fantastic guest posts, with loads of relevant after material.

    A decent, well respected guest poster will follow up any comments on the post for at least a few days after. This at least shows the host that they were not just submitting for the backlink……

    I am thinking of removing or rather editing some of mine soon if things don’t change…


    • Hi John,

      I can totally sympathize with your situation, having had quite a few people write for this site. I have found that the vast majority unfortunately don’t follow up on comments and are only interested in a link. That said, from my point of view, I couldn’t care less. Let me explain…

      I run this site and I allow other writers to submit their own content. This helps me publish more content on a regular basis for my readers and grow the site. Whether an author follows up on comments doesn’t really affect me, as I always try to answer people’s comments myself. Of course I would much prefer it if they did follow up on comments, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really affect me or my site (a selfish view, but a valid one). I still get to publish a quality post for my site.

      Now that is my point of view from a publishers perspective. If on the other hand I was writing a post for another site (which I do), then I would make sure that I reply to all comments that have been left, as that would be in my best interest.

      It may sound harsh, but you have to look after yourself online. If someone can’t be bothered to follow up on comments on their own post that they have submitted, then that is their problem. You still get the post and the traffic that that generates, it’s a win win!

      • Andi Leeman

        That is something I have noticed with you Matt and it is an excellent example, if a guest writer doesn’t follow up, you do and as you say, you and your site gets the respect and the writer suddenly becomes nothing more than a worker so to speak. You are the face of the site. I try and follow your lead and answer as much as I can even if the post isn’t written by me.

        • I think that is the best way to approach blogging. It’s your face (site owner’s) that is the one being judged when someone comes to visit your site, not the individual writers. Therefore you have to make sure that everything is up to your standard.

          Like I say, I always prefer (and encourage) writers to follow up on their posts when published, but I can’t force them. It’s often a good way to spot the good quality writers though, as they are the ones that do follow up.

      • Oh yeah, I do the same. Just a shame that’s all…. I do not lose any sleep over it.

  • Catherine Holt

    I am a newbie to guest posting and all these recent changes are a little scary to get going with. I have been approached in the last week to provide guest posts and also to accept guest posts. What are your thoughts on accepting guest posts from sites that have a lower PR than you? Would this affect your site in any way? I like the idea of being able to post on other’s sites and if I can get fresh content on mine, then that is great too!

    • I think a lot of people have been scared off of guest posts recently, but I think that is because the recent updates are misunderstood. Google aren’t against people writing for other sites, they just don’t want spammy posts or spun posts published all over the place.

      Accepting guest posts is still a great way to provide additional content for your site. The only thing that you need to worry about is the quality of the post you publish. As long as you make sure you edit posts up to your standard (like I do) you will be fine.

      As for judging a post based on PageRank, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The vast majority of writers will aim to write for sites that have a higher PR than themselves, not the other way. The biggest benefit to guest posting is that you can provide additional content to your readers.

  • Clair Trebes

    This is a really great post from Sarah, and has generated a good thread of comments – to which Matt has demonstrated WHY his site is a good place for people to guest post on and why he allows so many people the opportunity to do so.

    I think personally there will “always be someone better” but this can’t let either a site stop people posting or people writing in the first place.

    Of course whichever side of the coin you are on your priority should be to yourself and doing things as best you possibly can as it is a reflection on you and other people will see it and make judgements against it.


    • Exactly! It may sound selfish, but you have to worry about yourself first. As you say, you (the site owner) are the one that will be judged, not the guest poster. As long as a publisher makes sure to publish the best possible content for their readers, they will appreciate it no matter who it was written by.

      That’s not to say there aren’t benefits to writing for other sites, as there are! You can raise your profile and reach a new audience. That is why it is important that you provide high quality content AND follow up on that. The two are equally as important.

  • Andi Leeman

    All very true, writing for other people’s sites will still go on and so it should, Google is a search engine not a dictatorship, they might want to clean up bad practices but they are not against people wanting to work with each other or break up friends like teachers used to do with me and my old mate Paul at school 🙂

    Guest posting has recently been abused when companies learned that backlinking needed to look more natural and guest posting was one of the best ways to do it. Unfortunately no care or attention was put into these guest posts and they have now becomes so noticeably bad they are unnatural and this is ruining guest posting for many of us.

    • I believe a lot of people think that Google is cracking down on guest posting in general, but they are just trying to clean up the ones that abuse the system. The internet is based on connections, so they will never be able to stop people linking or writing for other sites. They can, however, look at who is abusing the system by spinning content or using unnatural links.

      “Natural” posting and linking is the key. People should concentrate on writing for relevant sites, not just any site they can get onto.

  • Guest posting is good if it done on proper way but if you are using it for backlink then it’s a bad. Share your opinions or articles on other site is always great.. 🙂

    • Definitely! Google is cracking down on sites that promote guest posting as a way to build backlinks, but that doesn’t mean that genuine writers can’t write for other sites. Try to write for relevant sites and only produce quality content, then everybody is happy!

  • Suvo


    As far as guest posting is concerned it is still there front liner in SEO world and will be there.
    We need to take care choosing a writer for guest posting and relevant topics with quality content. Otherwise Google doesn’t have any problem with quality content or links.


    • Hi Suvo,

      Yes, there is a big responsibility on the site owner to only approve quality writers on their site. It can be tempting, especially when you first start a site, to allow anyone and everyone to write for you. In the long-run, it’s much better to cherry pick the best writers for your site and avoid the low quality ones.

      As long as sites do this, there will be no issues with allowing people to write for your site.

      • suvo

        Hi Matt,

        But now a days everybody is running to acquire the no 1 position and for that reason they are taking all kind of short cut methods which is creating problem.

        • Some may take short cut methods, but I can assure you that the best blogs don’t! There is no point trying to beat the system as eventually they will be found out and ranked down heavily. Much better to stick with the search engine rules and work with them.

  • Deepak

    I’ve just started my blog and I understand that quality back links are somewhat beneficial for our site but Being fresher in this writing area is it good practice to post on a different blog, I mean who would allow a newbie to write on their wall. And is it good to place my site link with every guest post?

  • It’s really amazing how quickly Google understands SEO practices and changes its algorithms. For few years, content writers and SEO companies had a good idea posting content on various sites. With article marketing getting a hit and now guest blogging, businesses are left with implementing only best practices and no spam.

  • thanks