This is an issue that has received a great deal of attention over the last month or so. Ever since Matt Cutts' article 'The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO
', marketers and webmasters have been scrambling trying to figure out whether there's still a place for guest blogging in their marketing strategies.
Matt wrote, "Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it's just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn't recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn't recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy."
So, does this mean the end of guest blogging?
No; not even close
. I would argue (along with many other marketers), that Matt's post isn't telling us anything we didn't know before.
We've known for a long time that guest blogging has the potential to be spammy, and that both publishers and guest bloggers need to be careful about whose company they keep. But in light of Cutts' recent post, it would be helpful to briefly recap some of the key rules of non-spammy guest posting.
Rule #1: Know why you're guest blogging
If you're guest blogging for the sole purpose of building inbound links, you should stop. If, on the other hand, you're guest posting in order to drive traffic, increase awareness, or build up your reputation through Google Authorship, there's no reason you should stop.
Cutts even writes, "I'm not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they'll continue into the future."
Guest posting is, and always has been, a fantastic way to reach outside the bubble of your own community and expand your reach. If this is the intention behind your guest blogging strategy, then you're on the right track.
Rule #2: Guest blogging is about building relationships, not links
While there are few hard and fast rules for guest blogging (even in light of Cutts' blog post), one general rule to keep in mind is to focus on building relationships, not on links. What I mean is this: both publishers and guest posts need to be careful about whom they form relationships with.
If you have a site that typically accepts guest posts, there's no reason to stop. However, you should be even more diligent about ensuring you only accept top-quality content from people you know and trust.
Rather than accepting guest posts from a bunch of random bloggers, consider asking a few contributors to write regular posts. In the long run, this will mean less work for you, and potentially better results for both parties in terms of SEO.
Rule #3: There are some types of sites you should never guest post on
For this one, I'm speaking directly to those of you who are wondering how you can determine which sites are 'worthy' of your guest posts. Fortunately, there are some good general rules you can follow to avoid posting on less-than-trustworthy sites that may be seen as 'spammy'. Avoid guest blogging on:
- Blogs with very little content, or content that is consistently poor-quality (typos, short articles, grammatical errors, etc.)
- Blog networks
- Blogs that have no obvious social proof such as social media followers or comments
- Blogs that allow anyone to guest post (the higher the standard the better; while it will be harder to be accepted, at least you'll know you're in respectable company)
- Blogs that act as link farms
- Blogs that only have old, outdated content.
These types of sites are unlikely to help you grow your audience or your reach, and in fact, may do you more harm than good.
I don't see guest blogging going away anytime soon, but I do agree that 2014 will be a year of changes for online marketers
. With the internet being built on the principles of connectivity and collaboration, guest posting is far too critical a piece to ever be completely eradicated. That said, it's incumbent on publishers and guest posters alike to be informed and aware of changes and developments in guest posting guidelines.
Is guest blogging a core component of your marketing strategy? What changes, if any, do you plan to make in light of Matt Cutts' announcement?
February 26, 2014
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.