Okay, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon – so sue me (actually, please don’t).
Matt Cutts has seemingly called time on guest blogging, at least for SEO purposes, but is this going to be the end of guest blogging as a whole? It’s entirely possible. A good amount of guest blogging is done for SEO purposes, with many services focusing on spammy posts and links. If this announcement does nothing else other than to scare every webmaster into not giving guest blogging opportunities, then we could see the end of it completely, whether it’s for SEO or not.
That will be a sad day for us all.
The state of play
Guest blogging is a very useful way of increasing your reach and influence to new audiences and markets by finding blogs linked to your interest, niche, service or product and spreading the word. This has been going on for some time; it’s not a new thing that popped up 18 months ago, for example.
The problem is in the links. There are countless services contacting blogs to have links put in – even if they have some relevance, it’s the amount this is happening to improve the authority or rank of a website. The days when guest blogging was done for the benefit of the people reading the blogs has seemingly been replaced by benefitting only the client or brand behind them and that’s what Cutts and Google doesn’t like.
Is there a solution?
If guest posts stopped having links in them, that would probably help but it would mean people actively going out and finding the author or topic of the post and that won’t always be successful.
It’s also to do with the quality of the guest post. Any writer can churn out generic posts that work on a number of websites but a guest post should be tailored and specific to a particular blog. This does take a lot longer but the value and quality are likely to be better. It can also build a much better relationship that opens up regular writing opportunities.
I’m no technical expert, so I don’t know if there’s a way to discern a high quality post from a spammy one but that sounds like the ideal solution, doesn’t it? Some links are beneficial, especially citing sources or leading to further information or related articles or websites. That is the benefit of guest posting and we stand to lose that because of black hat SEO services that are focused on spammy links.
If these services were told no link would be given, would you likely hear from them again? Probably not, and that can help you to decide if you should give that person the opportunity to write a post at all (although, yes, if they disappear the point is moot but they might try and argue, which gives you your answer).
What’s going to happen?
Well, that’s what we’re not sure about. Rumours are running about thick and thin about algorithm updates in the coming months that are once again going to cause countless webmasters to suffer new penalties and spend more money on solving problems. The other side of the coin is that this is a scare tactic, and that what’s coming will be totally different to what Cutts has said. This has happened before and could well happen again.
For now, we have to keep doing what we have been. Working within best practises to help clients get the results they want. If that is the end of guest blogging, we’ll have to adapt – as we have done through every other update Google has sent our way. I hope this doesn’t happen though. Done properly, it’s a very useful and powerful tool that can benefit everyone.