Google Warns Against Large-Scale Guest Posting, Advertorials & “Optimized Anchor Text” In Press Releases

Google logoGoogle has quietly updated the link schemes document under their Webmaster guidelines to add large-scale guest posting, advertorials and optimized anchor text in articles or press releases to the list of types of links that violate their guidelines.

The new guideline examples that were added to this document include:

  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank
  • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.

Google also removed these guideline examples:

  • Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank
  • Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence

Large-Scale Guest Posts

This should come as no surprise, it is a topic we covered earlier this month. If you are guest blogging with the intent to build links, and those blog posts are done large-scale with very little quality built into them, Google may take action against the links in those articles or guest blog posts.

You can do guest blog posts but if you are doing it with the intent to gain keyword-rich anchor text, then be warned.


Again, this should also come as no surprise. We had a detailed video from Google’s Matt Cutts on why advertorials with links need to be nofollwed. We even had major e-commerce sites get penalized for using this technique to build links.

Optimized Anchor Text In Press Releases

This is one of the big changes that may have not been so clear for many webmasters. Google said, “links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites,” is an example of an unnatural link that violate their guidelines. The key are the examples given and the phrase “distributed on other sites.” If you are publishing a press release or an article on your site and distribute it through a wire or through an article site, you must make sure to nofollow the links if those links are “optimized anchor text.”

The example Google gives is:

There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.

NOTE: See our follow-up story, Google: Links In Press Releases Should Use Nofollow Like Paid Links

Google Removed Some Examples Of Link Schemes

Why did Google specifically remove those examples of link schemes? It is unclear and we hope to clarify. I do think that those examples are still covered in the overall theme of the link schemes document. In fact, I think the other examples, for the most part, cover the examples removed.

A hat tip to Menaseh for sending this tip my way.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: Analysis | Google: SEO | Link Building: General | Link Building: Paid Links | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Darryl M

    Anything abused is spam. so this should be a no brainer. Dah!

  • Admin

    Hey ..My blog is open for guest posts but only for quality guest posts.
    Generally i used to avoid making exact anchor links but sometimes on the
    request of author i create such anchor link… is that thing can harm my
    blog ?

  • Steve K

    Seriously? I would do a guest post because it gives me a juicy back link back to my site, which helps me rank higher in the SERPS to ultimately do one thing – Make More Money. I’m not in business to give fluffy posts all day long for free. Your in business to either make money or your not. If you like to blog for the fun of it – I’m cool with that.

    Google steals your content all day long and makes around 40 plus Billion every year from it. Nuff said..

  • Steve K

    Tens of thousands of sites have been penalized for being white hat all the way. Don’t kid yourself to believing the PR spin by Matt Cutts. Many high quality sites get tanked daily by Google just because. You build a brand so people eventually just go directly to your site and avoid searching in Google.

  • Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

    Lots of good stuff here about press releases. But what about contests (where folks are publishing links to all the participants’ websites)? Or handing out badges for the sidebar (that link back to the contest’s site)? Do all of those need to be no follow now, too?

  • Dean Dawkins


  • Mirsad

    Is it than wise for me to comment here or not than?? :))

  • Matt Dimock

    Ummm … Google was actually built using the concept of PageRank, with the core idea of providing an unsurpassed user experience with undeniably better search results completely geared towards their users. And Google’s not leading you to just use on-site keywords, let alone do they even like people focusing on PageRank. So, yeah …..

  • Abbas Sarfraz Sheikh

    Great move I believe. This will discourage building keywords ranking from high PR web advocates and move focus on keyword-optimized websites and content .

  • Jag Landar

    Guest posting is a good thing! a whole host of companies use to let you do it the pot is getting smaller. Yapmouth does not let you do it anymore along with a number of other sites.

  • Darryl M

    If only the bulk of companies who come seeking expertise knew the worth of branding. Alas it is what it is. Steve, I am not a fan of any link building. A website is a marketing asset that should have clear goals. Ranking for KWs was 2000; however, ranking for brand is another education lesson for businesses to learn. Mark my words that even SM authority will land folks in jail soon because even that notion is laughable.

  • Enfuzed

    If you own a blog that allows guest posts and a keyword link in the guest author bio, will this affect your blog? or just the guest authors website it’s linking to?

  • nitin tyagi

    How to Get Rank on Search engines?100% working free SEO tips
    Thanks & regards

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