The recent announcement from Google’s Matt Cutts that guest blogging is done has set off a few alarm bells and caused a bit of consternation around the web. However, a little context makes all the difference. It’s important to understand what Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, is really getting at – which is basically that guest blogging simply for SEO purposes is on the way out.
Why is this happening?
Guest blogging has been promoted as a good way for website owners to build community and brand awareness, and generate more interest in their site, and for guest bloggers to become recognised as trusted writers and to increase their readership.
However, it seems that once news is out there about how a particular course of action can impact on search engine rankings, the spammers come on board and start trying out shortcuts and cheap tricks to get ahead of the pack. It happened with link networks and keywords, and now unfortunately it has been happening with guest blogging!
So what has been going on?
- Blogs being published on sites in exchange for links that may have no real relationship to either the blog post or the site. Often both the blog posts and the sites are pretty thin on quality as well.
- Posts being published that provide little in the way of useful information for the site’s audience and / or that are not related to the host site’s purpose and content.
- The inappropriate use of keywords in blog posts to improve the chances of gaining higher SEO ranking. “A true guest blogger,” said Cutts in this article, “is usually someone who is an expert on the subject matter and doesn’t drop a heavy amount of keywords in their anchor text.”
- In some cases, the bloggers in question are paying website owners to publish their work, which means in effect they are resorting to paying for links – a tactic frowned on by search engine companies.
What can be done about it?
While it might seem like the spammers ruin it for everyone else, this is not necessarily the case. The important thing now with guest blogging is to stick to search engine guidelines and not attempt to take shortcuts.
- Website owners need to ensure that they only publish blogs by writers they know and trust, and that the posts themselves contain high-quality relevant content and links. Matt Cutts also recommends using moderation when it comes to guest blogging.
- Guest bloggers should avoid publishing on low-quality websites, and ensure their posts are original, exclusive, of a very high standard and contain links that are related to the post and the publishing site. Guest-bloggers may also benefit by building their writing credibility through Google+ Authorship.
It’s important to note that while there is no actual ‘guest-blogging algorithm’ in place, the high priority being placed on the quality of content means that Google is likely to be on the lookout for guest posts that appear to have been published purely for SEO purposes such as link building.
SEO can be a bit like being in business itself – you can use tricks and tactics to get more attention and a ‘quick grab’, or you can build relationships and focus on providing the best quality you can. So, hopefully we’ve given you some useful information about the latest on guest blogging. As long as you follow the above guidelines, you should be able to continue to use guest blogging as one of your business-building tools.