netmeg - 2:47 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
The bottom line is, Google wants links that are freely given (or at least appear to be freely given) and anything else (to them) smacks of attempted manipulation. We can bitch and moan about it here all we want, but that won't pay the rent.
As far as the difference between an advertorial and a guest post, it's kind of a "I'd know it if I saw it" kind of thing. If I offer a guest post (or have a guest post on one of my web properties) I allow for ONE link - to the author's profile or website. No product links, no tweaked anchor text, and no more than a single link. Yea I'm probably overdoing it, but since the line *is* so murky and I've never been a link maven, I don't want to waste valuable time worrying about it (my time is better spent trying to think up ways to delight the users and drive a truck over my competition)
When you're talking about your bread and butter, err on the cautious side, even if it grinds you to have to do it. If you're just playing around to see where the boundaries are, or you have enough sites that you can afford to risk tanking one, of course, that's a different story. I wish I had the time to do that kind of testing because I think it's valuable, but unfortunately I don't. So I err on the side of caution and not risk.