Does Guest Blogging Work To Build Backlinks?

guest blogging

Why Guest Posting is Preferred Link Building Practice?

Guest posting is a common practice used to build backlinks. Recently, it has gained preferential priority in the SEO community. Because it is relatively safer than other linking building techniques.

In fact, guest posting became so popular since almost all other link building techniques failed to be Google safe. In recent years, Google shut down many businesses by penalizing websites not having a healthy backlink profile.

Here is a Manual action Google took for a website that has unnatural links. If you visit your Google Webmaster Tools and click on “Manual Actions” you can find if you have a manual action penalty.

Manual actions
Google Penalty Against A Website Has Unnatural Links

Let's say you have an eCommerce store with a considerably fine backlink profile. You are making a stable income from your site and recently ordered a new stack of goods from China to sell on your website.

One night Google decides to make a certain algorithmic update. You definitely don't know it. Because Google doesn't every time publicly declares algorithmic updates.

Heck, even if you know an algorithmic update is coming anways you anyways couldn't do anything to save your website.

In a week, you notice there is a significant drop within your revenue. You check your Google Analytics and notice your organic search traffic is dropped 50% overnight. This is in fact what happened too many businesses. A lot of companies shut down overnight with an algorithmic update.

Google Doesn't Always Let You Know About The Penalties

Google will not always let you know if they take action against your website. The above image informs you only for the Manual actions.

However, not having manual actions doesn't mean not having any penalties. There are other types of penalties such as algorithmic penalties, link spam penalties, spun content penalties, etc. your website may become subject to without even you know it.

In recent years, Google took massive action against link building techniques that aim to manipulate its algorithm. Many people believe the only remaining viable option to build backlinks is guest posting.

Hence, it would be right to say, guest posting living its own golden era.

Desire To Build Links But Avoid Any Potential Google Penalties

Here is the common situation a lot of people are dealing with right now. They want to build backlinks however, they don't want to risk their websites.

Link building strategies that worked in the past unfortunately don't work today. Google got really smart by finding websites utilizing shady link building techniques. Guest posting is one of the few remaining link building strategies that appear to be relatively safer.

How To Guest Post Without Taking Risks?

Once the guest posting decision is made, most people start searching for guest posting opportunities online. A simple Google search generally provides a lot of websites to start with. Many people change their minds shortly after understanding that guest posting is not as easy as it seems.

Because to make a guest post on another blog, you must agree with all the requirements that blog dictates. A lot of times, blogs that are in high quality will not let you publish your 500-word article to give you a backlink.

They will require you providing a unique, well-structured and informative article. Because they want to publish the type of content their audience would like to read. Usually, you will be asked to provide a long authoritative content that provides massive value.

Most people are either unwilling to take up this challenge and quit or will use paid guest posting opportunities that they simply pay to someone to buy a link from their website.

Paid Guest Posting Is Bad

Paid guest posting is against Google's terms of services. If Google thinks you've paid for a guest post or offered guest posting on your website, it will take manual action against both websites.

There are many websites sell guest posting services. They're writing content, placing your link, and publishing it for you. Stay away from these types of websites.

Because if they do it for you, they've probably done it for other people before, and they're still going to do it in the future.

If the next buyer after you do a bad job with his guest post, and somehow Google finds out the manipulative action, it will penalize all websites receiving links from that site.

What If Somone Reports Your Website To Google?

Did you know that Google will review your website if your competitor tells Google that you paid for links?

paid links

If someone reports your site to Google what happens next?

Your website will be sent to a Manual reviewer. A human will verify if your website is involved in a business that Google considers illegitimate.

It is speculated that Google has thousands of manual reviewers in countries that labor is cheap. If a manual reviewer checks your website he can easily spot if your guest post is paid. These guys are educated to find paid links and webspam.

Are You Safe If No One Reports You To Google?

I can hear the question in your mind.

“Am I safe if no one reports my website has paid links?”

Unless you trigger any part of Google's algorithm, yes. However, if your site raises red flags that Google's algorithm believes are suspicious, your site will be forwarded to a reviewer for manual action.

By the way, see the image below. Google takes action against not only websites that have paid links but also websites host paid links.

manual action hosting paid guest posts
Manual Action against a website that has unnatural links.

How To Do Guest Posting Without Paying For It?

I will show you the very best way of gaining guest backlinks that is evergreen, 100% safe.

Focus On High-Quality Guest Posting Opportunities Only

When it comes to guest posting, it's not a numbers game. Having a handful of links from very high-authority websites better than a large number of backlinks from non-authoritative websites.

It is your task to find really high authority websites in your niche to publish your guest posts. These websites only allow top-notch content. However, if you can publish your post on a few of them your rankings will skyrocket.

You can make a simple Google search to find authority websites in your niche.

However, I want to mention a website that lets you publish your content on sites like Huffington Post, Forbes, The Guardian, etc.

There is a great website called HARO. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) lets reporters acquire information from the top authorities of the different niches.


HARO sends regular emails every day for you to pick the topic you want to write content about. You create your content and send it back to HARO before the deadline they have specified.

If you're selected as a source, you can tell the writer to include information about you and your website. As you can imagine, it's a popular site for both journalists and potential sources, because everyone is winning in that game.

HARO's one principle is that you shouldn't waste people's time; if you're not a field expert, you should never answer a question (not that any of you should, but it's an important part of the site and worth mentioning to be clear).

If you can have coverage in one of the popular newspapers, you'll get a lot of traffic on your website and, most importantly, a very strong backlink.

Another great website that can be a HARO alternative is ProfNet.


ProfNet works pretty much like HARO. However, ProfNet allows not only journalists to connect with the experts but also bloggers.

ProfNet, unlike HARO, is a paid platform.

There is another great HARO alternative is SourceBottle.


SourceBottle is where expert advice can be received. What separates it from the other similar platforms is the number of listed categories. You can also identify the countries from which you would like to receive queries.

Guest Posting By Outreaching Other Websites

Another option to publish your guest posts on other blogs is to identify and contact authority blogs in your niche.

If you have great content and you write decent outreach emails people will publish your content. Because by providing great content you simply bring value for their websites.

Once you find a website that encourages guest posting with them, read carefully their requirements before any outreach.

Know The Guest Posting Requirements In Advance

Some websites will be more strict than others. I know sites that are ok with publishing 1000 words of content, while some other sites require you to provide a minimum of 3000 words content, an author bio, and professional credentials.

Knowing what is required in advance will save you a lot of time.

Google's Opinion About Guest Blogging

Google reminded the potential dangers of publishing guest blog content to provide backlinks to another website.

According to Google, the number of webspam via Guest posting is becoming an increasingly common problem.

It is strictly prohibited under Google's guidelines on link schemes to distribute content on a large scale when the main intention is to build links back to your own site.

Google's Matt Cutts said:

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”

He also recommended:

“In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.”

Matt Cutts never said all guest blogging is dead!

He hinted guest posting is acceptable only done in an ethical way. He is talking about rubbish, spammy guest posts, that have zero value for the reader.

Ideally, your blog posts should be insightful, useful and shareable and this also applies to all articles published on your own website.