Is Guest Blogging Dead?

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Matt Cutts, Head of WebSpam At Google, published an article yesterday that caused an uproar throughout the blogsophere that basically called for an end to guest blogging.

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

guest-blogging-is-dead

Before you flip out, the key part of his statement is “…if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014…”

Do you guest blog for just SEO purposes? If yes then he’s definitely talking to you.

Ask yourself this: A webmaster says you can guest post on their site but the links will be nofollow, do you still write the post for them? If no then you’re probably up the creek without a paddle. Sorry.

But let’s be honest if you write low-quality guest posts or even high quality guest posts just for a backlink, then you know Google is after you anyway. SEO and guest blogging were never intended to go together. This article by Matt shouldn’t be a surprise for people who are abusing guest posting.

Should I Allow People To Guest Post On My Blog?

If you run a legitimate blog, you need to up your game on whom you allow to guest post on your site. If you know the person and can vouch for them that the quality will be high, then go for it (remember quality will always win- Google makes money when they have the trust of the user. The only way they gain trust is by sending them to a high-quality page). If the person seems at all spammy say no, and move on. You don’t want your website to be associated with them. If you’re on the fence about allowing a blog post or not, either just politely decline or tell them you’ll post it but all the links must be nofollow. If their adamant about the links being dofollow, then say no thanks.

Let’s take a look at a reply comment Matt made to one of his readers:

David, if the links in a guest post are nofollowed then it doesn’t affect PageRank, so that would be within our guidelines. I agree that some guest blog posts can be a good way to get exposure to a new audience. I just wanted to highlight that guest blogging as a whole has gotten pretty spammy at this point.

When in doubt just make those links nofollow. Easy as that.

Here is an example email you should ignore:

spam-guest-blog

  1. We have a guidelines that explains the process you need to follow if you want to be considered as a guest poster on SteamFeed. This person clearly didn’t read it.
  2. This person asked for dofollow links right away. RED FLAG! Delete from inbox.
  3. This person gave no information at all as to what type of article they had in mind, or why they think they would add value to our community.

Why Should I Still Guest Post?

Guest posting was never intended to be about SEO. Guest posting was and is about getting your name out there and telling your story. It’s still a great way to increase your exposure and bring readers to your blog (even if they come from a nofollow link).

If you can find quality sites to guest post on, then here are some of the benefits you can look forward to:

  • Increase your authority/credibility
  • Grow your reach
  • Build a community
  • Brand awareness

Take a look at Matt’s video from December 2013 for some more insight from him.

What If I Contribute To A Multi-Author Site?

Once again it all comes back to quality. If you believe the multi-author site is partaking in posting low-quality articles from spammers just to have more content, then you don’t want to be associated with them, especially if you’ve connected yourself through Google Authorship. Matt made it very clear that Multi-Author sites that post high-quality content are not what he’s referencing when he says “…guest blogging is done..”

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.

So let’s all take a deep breath together… everything will be okay for you. Focus on quality, quality, and QUALITY, and you’ll be fine. Google is going after spammers, not you (unless of course you’re reading SteamFeed and you’re a spammer, which would be weird). So be cautious out there but don’t stop guest posting if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

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DJ Thistle
D.J. Thistle is a co-founder of SteamFeed, a blog that focuses on the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing. His passion in technology is only rivaled by his desire to connect with others through social media. He has been a featured speaker multiple times on how to get started in social media at various wine industry events. He has spent the last 9 years teaching in public and private schools in Massachusetts and California. He is happily married and enjoys every moment of raising his beautiful daughter.
DJ Thistle

@djthistle

I'm a husband, father, educator, geek, bookworm, stock market enthusiast, and some would call me an Apple fanboy. Co-Founder of @SteamFeedCom
Do You Know What Your Time is Worth? http://t.co/TKIAxTnFxT via @blogger_beat - 1 hour ago
DJ Thistle
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Comments

  1. Matt Cutts ALWAYS references "low-quality guest blog posting." So as long as the content is good then I also think that any link within the article that actually makes sense (like the reference to Matt Cutt's blog in this article) is fine and should not be nofollow'd.

    • Good call Jonny. If you follow Matt you know he has consistently mentioned staying away from low-quality posts. However, when he made his original post yesterday it was a bit vague as to what he was referencing exactly. Luckily he updated his post with some more information to clarify what he meant.

      Thanks for stopping by Jonny!

  2. Nailed it…great job DJ. I think you have a point as to people need to understand exactly just what Matt was saying, All too often people read the title, the first paragraph and skim through the rest and go off the deep end.

    Great article and thanks for taking the time to respond.

    • Thanks Gerry. I can see how people might have gotten scared right off the bat. But like you said sometimes it's better to take a moment and really digest what his message and intention is here. Matt and Google don't want great content to stop being produced. They want spam content to stop. So if you're creating great content or accepting great content on your blog then you're all good. Keep doing what you're doing.

  3. Dj, want to ask a salient question must all guest post have no follow links. Are do follow then dead.

    How then can Google tell the difference between guest post and your post where you link out to other people.

    And finally, what would you say about interviews. Aren’t they like guest post.

    Love to hear your feedback.

    • Peter, I see no reason to make all guest posts nofollow links. If you genuinely know and trust the author of said guest post and you know they'll post high quality content then allow the links to be regular "dofollow" links. If the links are providing value to the reader and they increase the value of the article and not "tricking" the reader then the links are appropriate. Keep them as is.

      Thanks for stopping by Peter. :)

  4. DJ, Great article. Do you think Google will crack down on bloggers-for-rent like the kind TapInfluence offers?

    • Ryan, I don't know a lot about TapInfluence but it looks as though you can buy content from different genres of writers to post on your blog, correct me if I'm wrong. From following Matt Cutts for a long time now my guess would be that content that is created just for the sake of creating content will do well in the future. However, if said paid content is original and of high quality and provides value to your community I see no reason why Google would penalize for that.

  5. I guess it was a slow week for Matt Cutts since he felt the need to post something that he has said time and time again as if it were something new.
    For me, it's been awhile since a published a guest post from someone who I'm not already familiar with. Any email I get out of the blue is suspect.
    Thanks for sharing all the details DJ!
    My recent post Time for You to Get Serious with Your Pinterest Promotions

    • Ileane, great point. Matt has been saying this over and over again but this time he made it very clear that Google will not put up with it anymore. I don't think people were seeing the writing on the wall.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. :)

  6. Excellent clarification, DJ. Similar panic erupted when Panda, Penguin then Hummingbird rolled out. Much gnashing of teeth and decrees that SEO is dead.
    As you state, Google's business model is to provide the best search results it can. To do that, it has to get rid of spammers and "black hatter".
    That's why is created G+ as the "entity engine" and semantic search is built upon trust, authority and quality of content.

    My recent post 10 Tips To Help Your Google Plus Resolution Succeed

    • Thanks Ray!

      People always freak out when it comes to Google. So many people rely on Google for their livelihood that any announcement may change their entire strategy (not the best plan to put all of your eggs in one basket but that's the way it is for some). :)

      I agree about them creating G+ for the "entity engine". With more and more spam flooding the internet every day Google needed to find a better way to find "great" content. What better way than through having your peers on G+ give you that "authority" because you've proven that you're real, know what you're talking about, and willing to help people. Hence the reason why I try and interact with you on G+ all the time. I want Google to know that I trust you and find value in you (oh and the content that you post is pretty awesome too but that's not my point). I want Google to associate DJ Thistle with Ray Hiltz. I hope you don't mind. :)

  7. There is always an outbreak of SEO etc is "dead" whenever Matt Cutts speaks out or Google update their algorithm, but I think everyone in the SEO world should know what direction Google is heading in, they have been making massive progress, over the last few years, in making sure spammy SEO is dead. If you are practicing high volume/low quality link building tactics, even if it works in the short term you are going to lose sooner or later. Rand Fishkin spoke about this in last weeks whiteboard Friday.
    You're 100% right DJ, it is all about quality, if you are publishing quality content on quality, genuine, websites i'm pretty sure mighty Google will be kept happy.

  8. Guest Posting is dead because spammers killed it that just making guest post for links then leave.
    I still believe that it's still alive as long as we're doing it in a good and proper way.
    My recent post SEO Director

  9. Thanks for the great post. As always, Google's drive toward quality content impacts poorly generated information–in this case guest blog posts, and there probably shouldn't be a problem working with legitimate sites.

  10. I agree with you on one hand but share the sentiments of several others here.

    I get spammy guest blog requests all the time. I’m mean constantly. It is a slight annoyance but I just sent them to spam. Similarly I get blog comment spam all the time. Their spam gets filtered etc. Not approved. But that doesn’t mean every blog comment is spam, just because I get a ton of spam comments that never see the light of day.

    So in other words I just ignore the spam guest posts requests, just as I ignore the spam comment requests.

    So yes there are many people that are being spammy guest blogging. No doubt about it. And no doubt it can be annoying. But I’m smart enough to know when someone is just wanting a quick link from me and I just say no when that is the case.

    Just because there are a lot of spammers and individuals just looking for links, that should not invalidate all guest blogging as a whole practice. This is far too broad a stroke as some one in the comment above said.

    You should not lump all guest blogging into the spam category just because spammers exist.

    Also just because you got an email offering money for a guest post does not mean all guest posts are paid links.
    My recent post Bihar Police 11783 Constable Recruitment 2014 biharpolice.bih.nic.in

  11. Someone said that guest posting is as old as the newspaper. If we analyze to death whatever Matt Cutts says every time, Page Titles would long have been dead. As long as YOU know that you're not spamming the web, you can more or less do whatever you want, and Google will have to take note eventually.

    DJ is spot on as usual. This meme sums it all up – http://bit.ly/1mzWYen

  12. After the Matt Cutts post about guest blogging, bloggers are worried about building backlinks. I read so many posts which are describing guest blogging as dead but some others are considering it still live. Your post is clearly describing that if someone do relative and natural guest blogging then it is good for the credibility and authority of your website. Now I'll pay attention on guest blogging again which I stopped after the Matt Cutts post.
    My recent post Why Punctuation Matters: Dashes vs. Underscores in Your Site’s URL

  13. In my opinion if you are working on the basics and use the right techniques in guest blogging then it will carry for a long period. Matt Cutts should always prefer to natural and healthy back-links. In these days lots of SEO prefer to use the short hand technique and did not work on quality content. We should work on quality content for the revival of guest blogging.

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