And the freaking out continues....
As mentioned in a previous post, Google has reignited the link removal hysteria by going after guest blog posts. People who have written guests posts on other sites over the years are now rushing to have their links removed just in case Google doesn't like them, and decides to penalize their sites. Who can blame them when Google is in fact penalizing sites for guest posts?
Have you tried to have any links removed since Google started cracking down on guest blogging? Would you seek to remove all guest post links if Google were to give you an unnatural link warning? Let us know in the comments.
This may have been a perfectly acceptable practice for years on the Internet, but Google has now decided that it doesn't like it much, and is making people pay.
Of course the message has been that guest blogging for SEO is bad, but high quality guest posts for editorial purposes are just fine. The problem is you're leaving it up to Google's judgment, and that might not be the same as yours. Because of this, people are also wondering if they need to put nofollows on all guest blog links.
The thing about this is that some might argue that high quality guest posts should be counted as a signal of quality in a person's favor, and by extension in their site's favor through a link. That can provide encouragement for some to write these posts. But Google is probably looking at that as a "link scheme," even if it seems perfectly legit to everybody else.
Econsultancy, a respected digital marketing and ecommerce resource site, announced (via Search Engine Roundtable) that it is "taking a safety first apporach. That means adding nofollow links in the bios of guest bloggers".
They proceed to list a bunch of "facts" about their editorial process. Essentially, it all boils down to this: They only accept high quality posts, and have strict guidelines. They do everything the way it's supposed to be done, and assume editorial control over it all - even the signatures. But they do allow links in the signatures, and for that reason, they're afraid that Google might find some reason to penalize them.
Econsultancy's Chris Lake writes, "Google is worried about links in signatures. I guess that can be gamed, on less scrupulous blogs. It’s just that our editorial bar is very high, and all outbound links have to be there on merit, and justified. From a user experience perspective, links in signatures are entirely justifiable. I frequently check out writers in more detail, and wind up following people on the various social networks. But should these links pass on any linkjuice? It seems not, if you want to play it safe (and we do)."
From a user experience perspective. User experience. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, it's Google from the past decade saying over and over again that they want to give people what's best for users.
It SEEMS that these links shouldn't pass on any linkjuice, he says. It seems so because of Google's recent crackdown, but I ask again, why not? If the content is legit, and editorially controlled, why not? Why shouldn't somebody get credit towards their authority on a topic (something Google is particularly interested in nowadays) if their work was editorially selected to appear on a respected site like Econsultancy?
Lake asks, "Can't Google discount these links at an algorithmic level?" He's talking about author bio links, but on a broader level, many have been asking a similar question for years: instead of penalizing sites, why doesn't Google just not count the bad links?
"I’d like to think that if Google’s webspam team was to look at Econsultancy’s content, our guest bloggers, and the way we standardise the signatures, that we’d have no problem. But I can’t bank on that," Lake writes.
Yep, this is what it has come to. Reputable sites with high standards for content have to fear Google because of some change they decided to make. Will it ever end?
Should editorially responsible blogs accepting guest posts worry about linking to authors' sites naturally in author bios? Is this really a threat to search quality? Tell us what you think.
Image via Econsultancy