It is no longer news that Google is at the forefront of search engine and advertisement technology. It’s no wonder they play quite a role in publishing and writing for blogs and websites.

However, Google may be penalizing websites that share guest posts. We have many findings to support this thesis.

Penalty For Outbound Links

This is a penalty issued manually against a site. It typically entails that Google may have paused PageRank’s flow from the site.

PageRank or PR is a Google search algorithm that finds and lists webpages in the results. You can weigh the importance of a webpage with PR.

NOTE: PR (Page Rank) and DA (Domain Authority) are two different factors. One is of Google and one is given by Moz. 

Due to this, there are algorithmic penalties that may be able to catch guest posts due to an algorithmic update.

It functions by enumerating the number of quality links that connect to a page and use it to determine how important a website is. So more important websites ought to have more of this than less important ones.

A tweet by Alan Bleiweiss (@AlanBleiweiss), a forensic SEO, confirms that there have been outbound penalties due to guest posts.

How Do You Avoid Getting Penalized?

There are many actions to take to avoid being penalized if this is something you would like to avoid altogether:

  • Only link websites with high-quality content.
  • Avoid linking sites that are offering compensation for posting their link. Compensations may not necessarily be with money but it may be for goods or services or reciprocal links.
  • Use, by default, no-follow links in content generated by users.

Penalized, Now What?

An email with an outbound link penalty from Google may read something like this:

“We have detected that some of your articles are guest posts… We have disabled your authority for your outbound links. Please set your outbound links to no-follow and submit a review request.”

Google Penalties on Guest Post Articles 1

You will not be happy receiving such an email from Google. But don’t fret, here are quick steps on what to do to get back up.

  • An easy way to start would be by identifying all the links that point to external websites. There are many resources you can use for that.
  • When you do find the links, you can spot the ones that do not meet the requirements Google has stipulated.
  • Adding a non-follow tag is a sure way to bypass PageRank’s grab.
  • After taking all the steps, you can proceed to submit a reconsideration request. In the console, you should point out the changes you’ve made to the site. Do not spare your details and present the steps you have taken to make sure they do not reoccur.

As a webmaster, the unnatural outbound links penalty can have many adverse effects. One of them is that they may become more wary of selling or placing links. It may also likewise cause webmasters to grow afraid of buying or exchanging links because it is not impossible to get scammed by penalized sites.

Some of the penalties do not really have an effect. You may even choose to do nothing because all the penalty does is say ‘discount the trust in links on your site.’

And this leaves a lot of room for the webmaster to choose to do nothing because it may not benefit him/her to do so. This warning isn’t displayed publicly on the webpage, onus lies on you.

Is the Penalty Directed at Paid Guest Posts or Unpaid Guest Posts?

There may be uncertainty whether the manual actions are directed at just guest articles or for paid guest articles, or over-optimized guest post articles.

Reports confirm that the Google manual actions have been directed only at paid guest articles.

And it may not necessarily have been stated by the publisher that they utilize guest posts.

Branded anchor text can still be pinpointed by Google not necessarily keyword-optimized anchor text. Google is able to point out the guest post even if it may be hidden in other outbound links.

This means that they can identify the link that the publisher stands to gain from.

Google Has Said Nothing

Google has not released any official statement about this campaign.

Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst has stated that he wasn’t aware of any campaign for it in his tweet.

Although the trends analysts may not exactly know everything that is really happening since they are not search engineers.

Webmasters were notified via email that ‘Google has detected a pattern of “unnatural, artificial, deceptive, manipulative outbound link.

For instance, in the previous year, the Webmaster Trends team realized that Google was no longer using Rel-Next/Prev link attribute a few years ago.

Meanwhile senior webmaster for Google, John Mueller, still recommended the use of the link attribute even though it was not in use any longer. Developer pages from Google even still recommended it.

John Mueller has also stated in product forums that there isn’t a need to no-follow every single link on your website. The key difference is finding the ones that lead to sales, product or social media because of the exchange.

Should You Keep Hosting Guest Posts?

The manual links warning communicated to the publisher precisely to add the no-follow attribute to the paid links. This drops strong hints that the warnings aren’t aimed at guest posts in their entirety or receiving guest posts.

Just make sure you add a no-follow link attribute on the sponsored link.

Advice is to restrain from guest posts that do not have a no-follow link attribute. You might want to wait until a formal press statement is released by Google.

The warning email suggests that there is compensation for it. This may hint that the primary goal of Google is to remove the paid links to avoid them from influencing search results artificial.

What’s wrong with Guest Posting?

Google has always been trying to stop paid links and this crackdown on them in guest posts is a new goal.

But do not forget that linking to other sites is a good thing too. You can add value to your website by posting other website and help understand what you’re communicating at a larger whole.

By the way, consistent high-quality content will help web-surfers associate your website with quality.

The problem is the question of how natural it is.

Google cannot support it because it seems like the publisher has been ‘bribed’ and doesn’t endorse the link ‘naturally’.

Also, read Google’s John Mueller On Ranking Important Pages

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