Google has a link schemes document, which shows Webmasters what types of links are prohibited and considered to be unnatural or spammy in nature. They have recently updated this document to include:
- Large-scale guest posting or guest posting with keyword-rich links
- Advertorials or similar articles where payment was involved
- Links with optimized anchor text in press releases
Let’s go over each of these.
Large-Scale Guest Posting or Guest Posting with Keyword-Rich Links
This was a long time coming and it’s no surprise that Google is taking this stand. The problem with guest posting is that many blog owners do not have good control over the quality of content posted. They allow any type of article to be posted, including junk and spammy ones.
The way to avoid being penalized by Google for this would be to increase the quality control over the guest posted articles. The articles should be unique, helpful, and very relevant to your blog. If you have even a slight doubt about an article, then you should reject it.
For guest posters, you should avoid stuffing keywords in your anchor texts in hopes of increasing your rankings for those keywords. Google is increasingly moving towards co-citation and co-occurrence, so the anchor text is losing its usefulness.
Advertorials or Similar Articles Where Payment was Involved
It’s no surprise that Google disapproves of paid links of any kind. The easiest way to follow the rules is to make sure you build links organically without any exchange of money.
If you have paid links or advertorials, you should request that nofollow tag be added to those links, which should make that link safe by Google’s standards as it wouldn’t pass any PageRank.
Links with Optimized Anchor Text in Press Releases
Press releases are kind of like paid article distribution. Although they have a legitimate use on the Internet, people have started abusing them in order to increase their rankings in search engines.
If you are releasing many press releases, you should use branded anchor text or company URL as links. Press releases were never created for SEO purposes so trying to use them for such a reason will get your website on Google’s radar quickly.
Always keep this in mind: If you can’t explain to Google why you have a link from a specific website, then you shouldn’t get that link.