So… he did it. He finally wrote THAT kind of article that alarmed the entire online world. Matt Cutts made it public on his personal blog that guest blogging is officially considered a spammy SEO practice that violates Google’s quality guidelines.
Okay, he’s calling it
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.” – Matt Cutts
He advised people to stop accepting guest posts on their websites, and the response has been fierce.
A lot of website owners who have been practicing guest blogging, and a lot of online writers who have been writing guest blog posts until now saw the “ban” as harmful for online communities.
Guest blogging, now a cast away …
Guest blogging, which was formerly one of the most powerful tools for getting exposure, creating backlinks, building a brand and getting increased reach, is now (kind of) rejected by Google’s SEO team.
The (former) effectiveness of guest blogging lied in its potential of providing tons of high quality information on a single website, and a lot of backlinks which increased a website’s PageRank.
There are a lot of such websites out there built by guest bloggers. You can imagine their discontent with Cutt’s news…
However, Google has its own reasons for “calling it”:
Cutts declares that, “Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains.” – Matt Cutts
Should you continue writing guest blog posts?
The practice used to bring online business owners a lot of backlinks. It was a great way of creating awareness about your brand, and it used to be one of the best methods for online word-of-mouth advertising.
But… does it still pay to write guest blog posts?
I personally love guest blogs. I love reading them and I love writing them. The quality ones, I mean.
And if I can see the benefits of guest blogging, then Google sees them too. By no means are they trying to tell you to stop writing guest blog posts.
That is, if you are doing it with quality in mind. Remember, today’s SEO world is all about quality, quality, quality. You hear me say this over and over, and I can’t highlight enough how important quality is for SEO.
The main problem is, more and more companies have started to write guest posts on irrelevant websites for the sake of increasing the number of their backlinks. This is why guest blogging will not work the same way as it did.
So if you are writing guest blog posts for the sake of THAT single backlink, I am afraid your strategy will not work in the long term.
BUT – if you write guest posts with the aim of increasing your reach and building brand awareness, then by all means you should NOT stop writing those awesome pieces of content.
Cutts himself says this on his personal blog…
“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. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.”
… and in a video he recorded back in 2013:
Important Tip: The only websites you should consider to write guest blog posts on are the ones who you know are deemed as authority websites that provide quality information in the eyes of the search engines.
These websites are easily identifiable:
- They usually allow a limited number of guest bloggers to create content;
- Communities are starting to come to life around those bloggers’ content: there are multiple comments on posts and they also have a lot of followers on social media platforms;
- These websites have a high page rank – the better the page rank, the better the website (if you’re not sure what a site’s Page Rank is, use SEO Quake to check).
Share these tips with your friends:
Can you accept guest posts without your website being considered spammy?
In November 2012 Matt Cutts actually published a video on this topic:
The 2 main rules to keep your guest blog posts on the good side of SEO are:
1. Handpick your guest bloggers
Are you ready to personally vouch for your guest bloggers? Do you know them personally? Are you 100% sure that they deliver high quality content and zero spam links? Then they’re good to go.
2. Keep the list of guest bloggers short
Limit yourself to a maximum number of 5-10 guest bloggers that you know personally. The more people you have writing on your website, the more likely it is that your website will be considered spammy.
You may want to share these with your friends and let them know how to avoid getting a penalty:
Unless you are a big multi-author blog that has been around for a while, keep your list of guest bloggers short and simple. Did I mention how important it is to know these bloggers personally?
Is this the end of guest blogging?
If you’ve been doing it, don’t worry. There is still hope.
Guest blogging is, as Cutts himself admits, an inexhaustible fountain of information, and a great door to gaining brand exposure. The main problem with it is that it has become spammy.
Didn’t you receive suspicious emails from people who offered to write guest blog posts for you? If not, you are among the lucky ones. The practice of writing spammy, low-quality blog posts has been on the rise. And Google knows it.
So what they are doing is they are trying to draw the line between what’s spammy and what is not.
Now is your turn …
- Do you write guest posts?
- Do you think they are effective?
- Do you think Matt Cutts’ news will affect a lot of website owners?
- What are other practices that you would recommend for those who are practicing high-quality guest blogging?