Matt Cutts Debases Guest Blogging – What Now? Tips For Moving Forward
When we posted about Guest Blogging as an Excellent SEO Practice back in June last year we made sure that you knew what to avoid when guest blogging, like linking to irrelevant pages or excessive linking and what to always keep in mind: the usefulness for the user.
Nonetheless, last week Google published an official announcement from Matt Cutts, who made a strong statement at the start of his blog post: If you are involved in guest blogging for links in 2014 you should STOP.
Usually when Matt Cutts devalues an SEO practice so openly it is received effectively as a restraining order for digital marketers. But do we really have to stop guest blogging?
As the head of the web spam team, Cutts specifically stressed how spammy the practice of guest blogging has become in the past few years. Guest blogging really isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an SEO practice, per se. It is a journalistic practice that was used successfully long before Google emerged as the search engine super power.
Authors would have their work published as guests in newspapers or magazines when their content was relevant to the readers of that particular publication. This gave them positive exposure and wider reach in return. And that is exactly the intention with which guest blogging must be done.
Guest blogging was termed as such after writers flocked to the internet for visibility and exposure to their target audience. They soon realized that posting on a fellow blogger’s platform within the same niche was also a great way to earn traffic and links.
Gradually this practice extended to web businesses who began thinking of guest blogging as a great opportunity to improve their site’s SEO by getting them links from other reputed sites in their niche. But now we have reached a point where guest blogging has gone the spammy way of many other popular link building practices in the past, making it a dubious convention at best.
How has this happened? Through writers spinning content and writing numerous low-quality articles in return for links, and websites offering incentives in return for a link in a guest post, overshadowing businesses who are truly interested in good-quality guest post publishing for content marketing.
So What Now, Do We Stop Guest Blogging?
No, we don’t stop. We do it the right way.
We’ll curate quality content to benefit our readers. Everything else remains the same.
In fact, you should be involved in guest blogging for the long term benefits of it. Take note of the following tips for 2014 to gain the benefits of guest blogging without having to worry about being caught by Google for spam:
- Make sure that guest posts are highly relevant, original and help the blog’s audience.
- Focus on guest blogging for branding, authority and visibility, not link popularity.
- Make sure to only write for relevant, authoritative, high-quality sites that will help you to connect with your desired audience.
- Do not link directly to your businesses (or client’s) website within the body of the content unless it is relevant and useful for the readers.
- Only link when necessary and relevant for the audience, avoiding excessive linking.
- Nofollow links within guest posts that feature keyword-rich anchor text.
- If you have a designated landing page stating your guidelines and terms and conditions for guest bloggers you may want to make some changes. Remove any references about links. Name the page with a title alternative to Submit a Guest Post, such as Get Your Article Featured On Our Blog or Blog For Us. Or ideally, remove the page altogether. You can always email guest blogging invitations to known writers in your industry rather than publishing a page that sets you up for random spammy guest-blogging requests.
- Diversify your tactics to avoid relying too much on one of them, such as guest blogging. Analyze your current links and make sure they come from a variety of sources and not from only one type of website or content, which is not natural nor helpful in maximizing your online presence.
Let’s move our guest blogging forward!