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I'm glad you tackled this topic. You offer good counsel on a topic I've been thinking about as well.
It's hard to go wrong if one sticks to the rule of relevancy (henceforth known as "ROR").
Certainly, the site itself housing the guest post offers one indicator of relevancy.
I'm far from an expert when it comes to the inner workings of Google,
it seems logical that the algorithm would also take a cue from behavior.
In other words, does anyone click on the darn link. And if they do
click, are they immediately jumping off the page. Both seem like good
indicators when it comes to relevancy.
Back to your
example on the insurance company, it would have been interesting to hear
from the webmaster if his/her site received any referred traffic from
the link. My guess would be no which in turn prompted Google's
interpretation even though your blog and content obviously meet the
threshold of quality.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Google Beats a War Path for Guest Posts; PR Needs to Listen