Consider, if you will, the following scenario. You and your neighbors have been subjected to insane motorists who go roaring down your quiet residential street late at night at ungodly speeds, blaring their stereos. In response to complaints, the local police department sets up a speed trap and BAM!, they start nabbing these miscreants. One day, you’re driving home, delighting in how the bad guys were taken down, when suddenly you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror. Turns out you were going 37mph in a 30mph zone. Busted!

You were pulled over for suspicion of creation and distribution of questionable content
By the same token, Google’s Penguin and Panda updates have made strides in filtering out spam sites, and hey, how come the links to your content aren’t showing up either? Turns out that Penguin and Panda are not only filtering out spammy sites, they’re also taking aim at filtering out guest blogging results that appear dubious, characterized by questionable links and content that doesn’t seem to get shared.

Things aren’t getting any easier, thanks to Penguin 2.0’s tighter algorithms. Guest bloggers need to make sure that they don’t get unfairly caught in the net, or, to go back to the original metaphor, the speed trap. Penguin 2.0 penalizes black-hat SEO techniques and rewards good content. The key to success here is not buying a radar detector, but rather, changing the way you do things. And here’s how to change:

Meaningful Links

If your guest blog entry uses outbound links, make sure that they correspond to the topic and lead the readers to reputable sites. But don’t go overboard and stuff your pages with all kinds of links; less is more. By the same token, get inbound links from popular, legitimate sites, and remember that a small handful of links from solid, high-traffic sites is preferable to many links from middling, less-visited sites.

Good Keywords

If there’s a sin that’s as bad as having inappropriate links, it’s the sin of bad keywords. Some authors who have no shame will positively overload their writing with keywords whose relevance is extremely dubious.

Write Good, Sharable Content

Yes, this sounds like a no-brainer, but it is easy to get lazy and skimp on the overall quality of your writing simply to make a deadline or fulfill an obligation. Engaging, interesting content gets bookmarked and shared, thereby creating links back to said content. Know your audience, see what kind of voice the host website uses, and write with an eye to entertain as well as inform. Start with an attractive headline and work from there.

Maintain A Strong Social Presence

Make sure that your social media profiles link back to your material. This means engaging in some self-promotion, which granted, for some people can be a little awkward. But one of the biggest ways to show that your material is being created by a real person is by emphasizing your social media presence. Your guest blog posts should link back to your social profiles, and your profiles should have links to your guest blog posts. This is the sort of symbiosis that solidifies your reputation and increases your search results ranking.

Penguin and Panda are your friends, keeping back the black hats while allowing the truly deserving sites, posts, and articles to make better showings in search results. If they force you to up your game and take your writing to the next level, it will benefit everyone, including yourself. Write on!

Byline: John Terra has been writing freelance and building up his online reputation since 1985, and does not fear penguins nor pandas.

Photo Credit: