In February of 2020, several publishers and SEO experts reported on Google’s latest crackdown. Namely, people have been getting the so-called “unnatural outbound link penalty” on their guest post articles. Once Google spots an outbound guest post link, it disables the page owner’s authority until they remove the said link or use the <nofollow> link attribute.

But why is Google doing this? And are all guest posts going down? We’ve decided to find a clear answer for ourselves.

Paid Guest Posts vs. Guest Posts

The difference might sound trivial to an average business owner, but Google is exclusively targeting paid guest posts. In fact, it does so with pinpoint accuracy; out of ten outbound links, if only one of them is a paid post, Google will identify it. There are a ton of sellers across the web, eager to take your money and post your link somewhere in an article, but Google is always one step ahead, and now everyone using these services is paying the price.

Guest posts, whether paid or not, help some businesses achieve a better SEO ranking. However, some individuals abuse that by posting links to other websites in order to boost their own numbers. That’s why Google issues its unnatural outbound link penalties — it wants your content to be original, organic, and SEO-compatible.

Should We Continue Publishing Guest Post Content?

As stated above, Google specifically targets paid content. That, in and of itself, implies that non-paid guest posts are perfectly fine.

On the other hand, paid links might be fine as long as you use the <nofollow> link attribute. But it’s not that cut and dried. Posting any paid links, even with the <nofollow> attribute, can still put your business at risk. The best course of action is to adhere to the official rules, as stated by Google.

What Does Google Say?

As of March 2020, there has been no official statement from Google. A few webmaster trends’ analysts claim that they know nothing about a campaign to target paid guest posts on websites.

However, analysts aren’t necessarily that well informed on everything that’s going on in Google behind closed doors. So, even if there were an outright campaign to target guest posts, paid or otherwise, an analyst probably wouldn’t be the first to know. Still, this is why we never use paid links to rank our client’s websites. Our positive SEO service relies heavily upon tried-and-true paths to long term ranking.

Based on the information we have, you simply have to focus on getting organic guest posts that you don’t have to pay for. Most of these penalties are manual, so we can at least be sure that this isn’t some algorithm that penalizes users indiscriminately.

Therefore, don’t put that tinfoil hat on just yet. Instead, make sure to learn as much as you can about the unnatural outbound link penalty and get ready for any future inconvenience.

If your site has been penalized, get in touch with us immediately to have it fixed as soon as possible.