A little over a year ago, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Web Spam Team (currently on leave) announced that “guest blogging is done!” and to “stick a fork in it”. However, after some clarification and a deeper look at guest blogging for SEO and linkbuilding, this was just a bunch of hype.
Sure, there are low quality and spammy guest posts out there, and I’m sure that’s what Google has, is, and will be targeting but a lot of people are afraid of using guest blogging in their SEO strategy.
I’m going to explain why it’s okay.
Guest Blogging For SEO and Link Building
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the video that Matt Cutts put out. This, and the blog post he published on his own blog, is what had the SEO community thinking that using guest blogging is a bad strategy.
To add a few quotes from his blog:
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.
Later on followed by:
So 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 let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
Sure, guest blogging has been a spammy practice, supposedly ruined by people thinking they can get some “quick wins” with link building by regurgitating content, and spinning them, then mass submissions like we were still in the days of article directories being a viable way to building links.
Does this really mean you can’t build links with guest blogging? No…
Well okay Skeptic Cat.
It simply means you should be aware of the risks if you’re trying to mass spam guest blogs with spun or rewritten content.
What I think it really boils down to, is the responsibility of the owners of a website or blog that accept guest posting. It’s THEIR responsibility to make sure they’re posting high quality content that’s useful and relevant to their visitors/audience.
Another thing commonly mentioned is that guest blog links should be nofollowed.
There is no way that a website would be penalized for NOT having nofollow tags on links in their own content as long as it was useful and relevant. In fact, having nofollow links in your own content, whether it’s a guest post or not, shows that you believe that the link has a lack of relevance within your own content. How can that be good? It can’t.
Google has constantly been trying to fight link building, no form of link building is “okay”. PageRank no longer being publicly updated probably plays a role in fighting manipulation in search, but with other algorithms and metrics people use like PA and DA, it doesn’t seem like it’s helped much!
Guest blogging will still play a role in link building, and SEO. It may not be an effective form of link building for local SEO due to lack of relevant blogs in many industries that would allow guest posting, but overall, it still has its’ place.
Link building aside, guest blogging can be used for many other things, which we’ll discuss in the next section but as far as SEO purposes go, you can’t deny the possibilities and benefits of guest blogging when using it as part of a co-occurrence and co-citation strategy (the new form of link building).
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The Benefits of Guest Blogging
Let’s pretend for a minute that SEO doesn’t matter, or that search engines don’t even exist. There are plenty of benefits you can find by guest blogging. It doesn’t have to be for the purpose of having an impact on your search rankings.
Some benefits include:
1.) Exposure to a related and relevant audience – Obviously you would do research beforehand, right? Guest blogging to spam links has NEVER been an efficient strategy, but to pick up a backlink and get exposure to a new audience is a great opportunity. Not only can this bring you more authority, notoriety, but it can bring you targeted traffic. Guest blogging is something that can give you third party validation and a great way to growth hack your way to more traffic.
2.) It’s great for branding – What is it you want to be known for? Do you want people to recognize you or your company as an authority source of information or specialization? Using guest blogging is a great way to expand your reach to a new audience and brand yourself as that authority, or an expert with whatever topic you’re guest blogging about!
3.) Great For Building Relationships – When you engage in guest blogging, you should also be bringing something to the table. Not only should you be creating great content but you should also do your best to promote the guest post. If you can account for some of the traffic to that post, then it opens many more doors for future posts and promotion. Networking with those that have authority, can only help you.
There are plenty of benefits to guest blogging that don’t have to be SEO related or SEO inspired. However, if you look at those benefits I listed, it’s exactly what Google wants to see with a website. They want to see them trying to get more exposure, they want to see high quality content, they want to see businesses to approach SEO in a way that they are more “branding” focused.
People may say that guest blogging is done, or it’s finished and outdated, look deeper into it than the misguided advice given by people who only share what they’re told instead of testing it out for themselves.
Use some common sense. How on earth could increased reach, visibility, exposure to a targeted and relevant audience, and better overall branding be something Google will punish you for?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!