Search Engine Optimization | 1.27.14
Although it’s been mentioned here and there for the last year, Matt Cutts officially hit the nail on the coffin and made an announcement last week that will change the way companies approach guest blogging as an effective SEO tactic. Frankly put, guest blogging won’t work anymore for your search engine optimization.
The Head of Web Spam stated in his personal blog that, “if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.” His reasoning? Over the last few years, guest blogging has taken a whole new visage as a way to pay for Page Rank or to insert “some spammy links on your blog without you realizing it.” Google’s noticed that the quality of guest blogging has declined and, as a result, is doing something about it.
Guest Blogging’s Back Story
Guest blogging used to be an honor, especially when a high profile website would reach out or invite others to guest blog. It was a big deal to have your content republished. “Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted respected author to write the introduction of your book.” On the other side of the coin, many websites liked it, not necessarily to build link, but as a way to publish high-quality content they didn’t have to produce everyday. It was a way for sites to build SEO and for legitimate reasons was very popular among site owners, authors, and readers.
Guest Blogging Today
However, in the last couple of years, guest blogging has just transformed into a spam-tastic mess of low quality content. And these guest blog posts can completely ruin a site’s credibility and reputation as a great online content provider. More and more instances have surfaced where an “author” will approach a site with great page rank to offer to pay for a blog post to be placed on their site. The site owners think they’re getting good money for simply posting this content on their site. In reality, it’s poorly written content with paid links stolen from other websites.
What Site Owners Can Do
Site owners are the ones being most affected by this and yet, are unaware of the all the changes and updates in search engine optimization, much less what’s going on with guest blogging. What site owners need to know is that guest blogging does more harm than good when it comes to the credibility and page rank in search engines at this point. Here’s what to note about guest blogging:
1. If you’re going to take on guest blogging, make sure the content is coming from someone you know and trust.
Matt writes that, “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 in the future. He goes on the recommend that if you’re going to initiate guest blogging, make sure you’ve put a lot of thought into who you’re featuring on your site. Is this an author you know and trust? Is this a type of author who can make content that’s useful and relevant o your blog audience? It’s always a good idea for a site owner to do an regular audit on writers to ensure the quality is living up to the company’s standards.
2. If you aren’t sure or can’t tell if the guest author can provide you with the right type of content, take guest blogging out the equation entirely.
The problem is that most webmasters are being suckered into these shady guest blogging practices because spammers are promoting it as something that will provide “freshness” and “free content” for your website. Content marketing does give you freshness, but not that type of content they’re promising. If you’re having a difficult time distinguishing high quality guest blogs from bad ones, Matt says it might be best to not consider guest blogging at all.
3. If you want guest blogging to work for other parts of your marketing, do it differently.
“Guest blogging can still work. You shouldn’t turn down a column on CNN or an editorial in Huffington Post if they said you couldn’t have a dofollow link would you? Of course not, because those places send traffic – and that’s key.” Site owners should think of guest blogging as a way to enhance brand exposure to a new audience and in turn produce referral traffic should be the goal. It’s NOT to solely build backlinks to further their search rankings in Google. What Google recommends is a high quality guest post with nofollow links.
Even though guest blogging no longer works from an SEO perspective according to Google and Google’s rules, it’s still (and has always been) a great tactic for building traffic and brand awareness. Change your view on guest blogging as a way to send you more visitors rather than linking back to your site and you’ve got a strong marketing tool on your hands.
Google will always be out to get those low quality guest blogs, but as long as you’re staying true to yourself, implementing a powerful content marketing strategy, and creating and providing high-quality content on your website, you should be in the clear, and as reward, gaining powerful brand exposure going forward.
High-quality content is a great way to build brand awareness and authority for your website. Learn more about our content marketing services that help you build referral traffic, attract leads, and delight customers.
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