Discover how to analyse a backlink profile and differentiate guest post links from natural links.  

How to recognise a Guest post?

Table of contents

The guest posting or guest blogging is a link building technique which involves publishing articles on websites that are different from yours. Inside these articles, there are one or more links to your website. Most of the time, you need to pay or make a link exchange with the websites that publish your articles.

This technique could be listed in the SEO Grey Hat strategies and Google is against its application.

John Muller declared that for Google it is easy to recognise if a post is a guest post or not.

He said:

“Usually it’s pretty obvious.”


In this article, we will explain how it is possible to differentiate between guest posts and normal articles.

There isn’t any information about the strategy used by Google to make this differentiation but, thanks to our experience, we have made a guide to analysing the link profiles of a website.

So, instead of answering the question “how can Google recognise Guest Posts?”, here we will explain “how can humans recognise Guest Posts”.

This guide can be useful to evaluate your competitors and improve your link building strategy.

Furthermore, the understanding of all analytical aspects can make you think on what Google can do to discover Guest Posts.

We think that it is not so simple to recognise guest posts if they are made by following the right guide.

Before starting, you need to know that you can’t make a decision by only analysing 2-3 backlinks.

There isn’t a right amount but the more backlinks you analyse, the more the analysis will be trustworthy.

Now we can go through all the aspects of our backlink profile analysis.


Article content

The article content is one of the main aspects of analysing whether a link is natural or not.


Content quality

Many guest posts are published only to acquire links and their quality is very low.
These kind of articles are written only to place links and there is nothing interesting for the users.
In many cases, the number of words is the minimum, to allow the article to be published.


Many webmasters don’t take care of the guest post topics because they are focused only on acquiring links.

In these cases, few topics are repeated in a lot of articles with few changes.

Also, sometimes the guest post topics are completely off-topic on the websites that publish them.


Articles Aesthetic

If we summarised the next 2 paragraphs in 1 phrase, we would say:
“If you thought that an article is a Guest Post at a first glace, you could probably be right.”


Articles Format

Every website uses its own way to format the articles.
We mean not only the font types and sizes but the use of:

  • Words in bold, italic and underlined;
  • Header h1, h2, etc…;
  • Length of paragraphs
  • Words count of the articles

If all the backlinks of a website had the same articles formatting and this was different to the one used by the websites that published the articles with the links, you could be looking at a backlink profile built with guest posts.


Images of the articles

Another useful aspect to check if we are looking of a Guest Post is the images.

In many guest posts, the main images are logos, screenshots or images that clearly refers to the websites linked in the text. The problem is that most of the time these linked portals are not the main topic of the articles and the images seem off-topic.

In other guest posts there aren’t any images. This could be in contrast to the other website articles.


Hyperlink inside the articles

Having a link to your website is, of course, the main reason to publish a Guest Post.

So, the anchor text and the text written before it are two of the most important aspects to consider if you want to evaluate an article.

Anchor text

Anchor texts are essential in a link building campaign because they can influence the ranking of a page.
Many webmasters often use only the most relevant project keywords as anchor texts but, if you find a backlink profile that has any anchor texts that are exactly alike, you must ask yourself:

  • How is it possible?
  • Why so many copywriters that work for different websites chose the same words to link another portal?

It could be justified if these anchor texts are the brand name but it would be unnatural otherwise.


Text before the links

This is a really underestimated aspect in many Guest Posts.

Copywriters often repeat the same “formulas” before the anchor texts.
Examples are “such as” or “for example” written before the anchor text.

If you find a backlink profile that has in many articles the repetition of these words or similar, you are probably looking at guest posts.


Articles published categories

An easy way to check guest posts is the category where the articles are published.

Some websites have guest post reserved categories.

These categories could be hidden to users without any links in the website menus or called “guest posts” or “sponsored”.


Marked as sponsored and Tags

That it is easy to tell the difference between sponsored posts and other from the other articles of the editorial team, the guest posts are usually marked as sponsored posts.

In these cases, it is simple for both Search Engines and users to find them.

Furthermore, all the paid links have to be tagged with rel=”sponsored” according to Google guidelines.



This is a short list of all the parameters that you could check to recognise Guest Posts.

You need to consider many variables and it is not so simple to analyse a backlink profile to check guest posts.

It is good practice to analyse 10-15 backlinks and to not be focused on only one.
This is the best way to have a clear idea of website backlink profile.