How Publishing Guest Posts on My Blog Dropped Google Search Traffic by 90%
(Note: I am not talking about WPBlogTips.com. Google search traffic decline is affected on one of my blogs but it is not WPBlogTips.com. Just to ensure you’ven’t mistaken :) LOL!)
Many people used to ask me, why I am not accepting guest posts on WPBlogTips.com
There are many reasons for it.
You may noticed that, previous owner of this blog has accepted many low to medium quality articles from guest authors. (If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may know that this blog was bought by me a year ago.) After the acquisition, I try to build a personal brand on this blog. As a part of it, I want to spread my voice instead of sharing stories of many people.
However, I could not spend more time for this blog for last couple of months as I am busy with my web design startup.
Another reason for why I don’t accept guest posts is that I’ve got slapped by Google on one of my previous blogs as I used to publish many low quality articles with spammy looking links on author bio. So I leaned from my experience… Better not to publish any posts than publishing low quality posts.
From 800+ daily page views to 80+ daily page views: Actual Reasons behind 90% Traffic Decline
Nonetheless to say, 90% traffic decline is massive. If you ask me how this happened, I would point a numerous reasons behind this massive drop.
Here are some of my findings…
1. Sold advertising space that violates Google quality guidelines
Almost 70-80% of my traffic was from Google.
Before the Google slap, I had been making a nice chunk of money by selling advertising space of my blog. As my traffic was increasing day by day, I tried to make most out of it.
And, that was the problem.
If your blog is totally depending upon a single firm, whether it is for traffic or for income, you must follow and obey that firm on every aspects. If not, you’ll have to be independent of them.
As 3/4th of my traffic was from Google, I gotta obey their quality guidelines as they are my big boss who brings more visitors to the blog. But I was just behind the money and never care the guidelines.
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
– Section from Google official blog, that warns selling ad space which violates quality guidelines.
Here are some of the ways how I generated quick money.
- Used text-link-ads.com: Every month I used to sell about 3-4 do follow links using Text-link-ads.com.
- Sold direct text links: Apart from using TLA for selling links, I also sold text links directly without any third party.
- Sponsored posts: This was my biggest income source. I’ve even made $100 for just publishing an article that promotes various products. While publishing it, I was total dishonest to my readers as I’ve never mentioned it as a sponsored post but published it as it was written by me.
2. Started accepting guest posts on my blog
If you ask me, what is the TOP REASON for my Google search traffic drop by 90%, I would say that it is accepting guest posts on my blog.
A couple of months ago, I was busy writing a definitive guide ebook. As that ebook was on an new emerging niche, only less number of people were actually blogging on that niche. In fact, web doesn’t provide enough guidance on that particular topic but I knew many people were looking for a solution on that topic… So definitely there is a HUGE market for that particular ebook I was writing about.
So I started writing that ebook…
But the problem is that if I focus my time and energy on writing ebook, I couldn’t have continued with my weekly publishing schedules on my blog.
So I have no other way but to accept guest posts on the blog.
Why I am not accepting guest posts on my blog (and why you shouldn’t)?
I believe that no quality writers will be willing to publish a guest post on your blog unless your blog is one among the 3 categories mentioned below:
- Category #1: Your blog is one among the TOP blogs on your niche.
- Category #2: You have grown nice interactive community around the blog who comments and shares your stuffs regularly.
- Category #3: As a blog’s main author, you have good relationship with quality writers.
Does your blog come under the above 3 mentioned categories? If yes, you can consider accepting guest posts and if not, you might rethink the strategy. I strongly suggest not to accept posts from guest authors unless you involved in the above mentioned 3 categories. Trust me… what I am saying is from my experience ;)
How to survive from Google slap while accepting guest posts
So your blog comes under the one of the three categories which was mentioned above that is safe for accepting posts from guest authors. However, still your blog could be at risk of Google penalization unless you keep a strict guidelines for guest posting.
Here are some of the tips that not only help you survive from Google slap but also help you receive quality contents that both your readers and Google appreciates which may later help you to bring more and more traffic.
1. Accept articles from REAL authors. NEVER accept from SEO companies
No matter if the guest article you receive is ‘ very original and unique‘, you should never accept a post from SEO companies.
Most of the content would be spun. The author bio will looks spammy from Google’s eye which may affect the health of your blog in the long run.
Real authors are humans who interacts with you like interacting with a human. I used to reject those emails immediately, if the sender call me either as admin or as site owner or webmaster, etc.This is how most of so called “SEO people” will be sending you with guest post offer.
Obviously, my name is not admin and I do have a nice name which I should be referred to and that is how humans email.
Samples of emails from SEO companies with guest post offer
2. Check uniqueness of the articles using Copyscape.com
Bloggers normally undervalue checking the uniqueness of an article. Even ‘A-listers’ make a wrong assumption that quality writers never spam or never send duplicate content to them for publishing as a guest post.
So better to check the uniqueness of article before publishing it on your blog. Copyscape.com is the best option for checking uniqueness.
Don’t allow keyword rich linking on author bio
I am not a fan of restricting links inside a post. I always appreciate inserting useful links inside the posts as far as the links are really adding value to the discussion inside a post.
Anyway, if you are worrying a Google penalization, disallow the keyword rich linking inside an author bio.
Over to you
Do you accept guest posts on your blog? Have you ever been penalized by Google? Let me know your thoughts…