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SEO: Google's Position on Guest Blogging

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Guest blogging can be a great way to market yourself and your brand and has become a major component of content marketing. The problem with every successful marketing channel is that people try to game the system. Anyone with a decent blog has gotten the annoying spam emails which propose free content in the exchange of a back-link. They offer no content value, are poorly written, contain irrelevant links, and are always sent to you by what seems a fake email.

A couple months back Matt Cutts of Google published a blog post announcing that they were done with guest blogging for SEO. In that post, he made the following statements.

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‘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.

I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.

While this message left many questioning how Google viewed their websites and guest blogging attempts, it didn’t come across too critical. However, Cutts recently released a second statement that they were taking action against websites they deemed as spammy and using guest blogging as a means of marketing.

The first target Google took action on was a blogging network called MyBlogGuest, penalizing the network, publishers and websites that benefited from links.

I have personally tried MyBlogGuest, we published content on some of our blogs before concluding that the rules MyBlogGuest had in place made the content risky and unreliable. Some of those include:

  • A strict rule that you couldn't make any changes to the content. We would come across good articles that needed minor editing or just a simple title change. But under the rules we had to make a decision to either publish as is or not publish at all.
  • Links: Some articles were really well done and only contained a link to the authors profile page or personal website. We have no problem with that. But most of the articles came with an endless of amount of links and once again, the rules MyBlogGuest put in place forced you to either publish as is or not publish at all.

Guest blogging can still be a great marketing tool and Cutts makes that clear in his statement above. I find the uproar over his actions to be mostly people that were benefiting from link building strategies.

MyGuestBlog could have been a great tool as strictly a content exchange that provided blogs with quality content and in return exposure for the writers. And that's the difference between quality guest posts and spam. Blog to build your profile and brand and you'll be in great shape. Blog to exclusively promote a product or link and you'll have Cutts coming after you.

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