Anyone who has ever run a blog will have encountered at least 1 of the 2 common guest blogging scenarios for boosting SEO. The most common scenario is when a site owner gets contacted by someone claiming to work for a marketing agency. They “love” your blog and would like to post an article on it, sometimes they may even offer to pay you money to do it. This is enough to get any small site owner excited, its almost like a triple win. Someone likes your blog, they want to give you easy money and you get extra content for your blog without doing any work. Like anything else in live, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The question you need to ask yourself is “what do they get out of this?”. The answer is quite simple, but isn’t something a lot of people know if they aren’t fully familiar with how SEO and Google works.
One of the many different ways that Google considers the value of a website is to check how many websites link to your website. Think of it in the real world. If the CEO of Microsoft says that your tech blog is the best site ever it will really hold a lot of weight, now if a junkie down an alley says the same, his opinion isn’t worth as much. The same goes for websites. When a site links to your website it’s like that website saying that your website is worth visiting. It is of course very hard to make high profile sites link to a website, so often people will pay a bunch of small websites to give them a referral. This is a very common practice and is accepted by Google, but you need to remember is that Google is very smart and can often tell when the link is genuine.
If you have a blog that is all about cooking and in the middle you get paid to place a link to a casino website. Casinos have nothing to do with your niche and 99% of the time these articles will either sneak the link in or blatantly promote it with something like “While you enjoy this meal, why not checkout this online blackjack”. You are really just providing a backlink and wrapping it up in an article. Google consider this spam and if you get caught it could generate penalty toward your website. There is a line between a spammy guest post and a genuine one and you need to be able to identify them. If you run a site dedicated to movies, and a small indie movie producer asks you to promote his upcoming movie with a link then by all means do so if you want. The niche matches and it’s a genuine request. You need to determine why they want the link. If it’s to promote a new product or help boost their business, then there is nothing wrong with this. If you personally think its worthwhile for your readers then its all good. If the purpose of the link is to increase the websites SEO performance and increase search engine results, then stay well away. The small amount of money you get from these links isn’t going to be worth loosing your entire website. It’s pretty much impossible to build a successful website these days if the site doesn’t show up in search engine results.