Guest blogging is the practice of contributing original content to other websites as a way to build industry-relevant relationships, provide other sites with high-brow information and earn well-deserved links back to branded pages. Because guest blogging focuses on user experience and consumer education, it’s an acceptable way to build links.

Since Google’s Penguin algorithm release, link building has become a harder, yet more effective, SEO tactic. For too long, SEOs paid for links to boost their backlink profiles and inflate their sites’ value on the web. Google took this black hat practice to heart and unleashed its fury, essentially banning such practices from seeing the light of day again.

As such, the same people who engaged in spammy link buying initiatives have looked for equally shady avenues to take advantage of Google’s extreme reach. However, guest blogging is one practice that, when executed well, drives PageRank higher for brands organically.

Of course, even with guest blogging, content marketing professionals have the potential to offend Google’s increasingly strict standards for link building. The search engine’s Matt Cutts notes that when engaging in guest blogging, content writers can’t shop the same article around to several websites, as that will be considered duplicate content and trigger spam filters. He makes sure to emphasize that marketers can reach out to a variety of websites, but they must be prepared to create content targeted at a specific audience, relevant to the host website and original by nature.

Guest blogging can be a powerful practice for organizations looking to network within their industries, make connections with customers they didn’t know they had and build authority around certain topics. It’s important for brands to remember that Google has its eye on guest blogs, and likely won’t hesitate to release a new algorithm that punish publishers who disrupt the organic flow of the ‘net.