Gaga Over Guest Blogging

“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. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”

- Matt Cutts (@mattcutts)

In case you missed it, yesterday Matt Cutts killed guest blogging:


Which caused the internet to exhibit an overexcited and irrational mental confusion.

But did he really kill guest blogging? Did you bother to read what he wrote?

Let’s have a look:

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.

If you stop here, you’ll probably still conclude that you should never contribute a guest blog post anywhere ever again. Really though, what I think he’s saying is a bit more nuanced. First, if you’re guest blogging primarily for links, this is probably causing you to make all sorts of bad decisions about your guest blogging practices (i.e. where you’re posting, what you’re posting, how you’re linking, etc).

Cutts also said:

If you ignore the bad spacing and read the parts that I bolded, someone sent me a spam email offering money to get links that pass PageRank. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines. Moreover, we’ve been seeing more and more reports of “guest blogging” that are really “paying for PageRank” or worse, “we’ll insert some spammy links on your blog without you realizing it.”

Ah. So, it would probably be wise to avoid sites that are sending out spam emails soliciting posts. Especially those that are talking about PageRank, dofollows and links more generally. And especially those sites/networks that Cutts has publicly “called out.”

Instead, if you’re going to guest post, start with an entirely different purpose than merely links. How about audience exposure?

Would you post on that crappy spam site to attract attention from a new audience? No, of course you wouldn’t. Why? Because you know that no one is going to those sites.

Instead, you’d probably consider sites where people are actually reading.

Cutts also notes

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, accept posts from strangers? Not so much. Accept posts from people you actually know? Sure. Accept posts from people who are recognized in your field? Absolutely.

Spin guest posts and author resources boxes for submission to “blog networks?” Of course not.

But everyone on the internet says that Matt Cutts killed guest blogging!

First, not everyone is saying that.

Second, he didn’t say that:

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. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.

Which takes us back to the real core issue:

The problem is quality.

Quality posts. Quality sites. Quality links. Quality, quality, quality…

What is quality you ask? You’ll know.

You’ll know because people will tell you. They’ll link to you. They’ll share it. They’ll +1 in. They’ll email you about it. They’ll mention it.

You’ll know.

So, giving up guest posting? Be my guest!