As of late, the debate about whether or not using guest blogging is an ethical method of backlinking to your website has heated up. The short answer is yes, if you do it correctly.
Guest blogging is when you publish an article on another person’s website. Many people use this tactic to link back to their websites, just as they did years ago, when they outsourced the compiling of hundreds of short blogs (usually around 200 words) to writers who would pick them up dirt cheap, and upload them, anchor text and hyperlink included, to article marketing platforms.
This was a great method of improving their page ranking, until they got caught. Now it’s virtually impossible to guest blog on a grand scale and avoid detection.
Website owners who wish to drive traffic to their homepage now use guest blogging in a slightly different way. The blogs are a lot longer, and they are not outsourced, but the article quality is still very low. Hyperlinks to an owner’s homepage are anchored by their name in the author box, and the keyword density is very high. All of these things will tip off Google’s algorithm to spam, and website owners will be penalized.
Are there ways to link back to your homepage without being penalized?
Yes. Inserting a ‘do not follow’ command after a link will tell Google not to take clicks on the hyperlink into account when generating your website’s URL ranking. A sudden bump in your page ranking will alert the algorithm to potential spam, and you are liable to be audited. Unless you’ve been successful in turning a profit in the interim, expect your efforts to have been in vain.
The question that you need to ask yourself is ‘would this link be here if I didn’t put it there?’ Avoid anchoring hyperlinks in the author box and watch your keyword density. High keyword density alerts the algorithm to potential spam and you will be penalized for it, regardless of whether or not it was intentional. Even high quality guest blogging can find you penalized if you’re not careful.