On Monday, Matt Cutts (the head of Google’s Webspam team) took a page out of Richard Sherman’s book when he took to his religiously followed blog and in a video forcefully slammed guest blogging, declaring:
“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.”
And a wave of panic ensued.
Webmasters began hand-wringing that their past efforts in guest blogging would soon result in harsh penalties from Google, undoing their sites’ hard-won placement in the SERPs. Others despaired that the post from Cutts marked the official death knell of guest blogging as an accepted practice.
However, both ideas aren’t necessarily accurate. In order to separate fact from fiction, let’s take a look at the core of the issue:
As Joost de Valk describes, link building has been one of the most important pillars of SEO for the last decade. Search engines (like Google and Bing) view external links as a vote from a third-party source that your site is credible.
However, building external links isn’t an easy task. So, once a new tactic is identified as an easy means to acquire links, the SEO industry jumps all over it. Usually resulting in Google labeling the practice as “spammy.”
Which is precisely what is currently happening to guest blogging. As a tactic, guest blogging has proven its ability to move the needle and build external links; thus resulting in its mis/overuse.
That being said, guest blogging in its truest, most ethical, originally intended form, will remain a legitimate means of sharing audiences between two topically related blogs. The original purpose of guest blogging is not to trick, fool or otherwise manipulate the search engines’ algorithms; rather, it’s to produce high-quality content that provides the Internet with valuable information that satisfies end users’ needs.
When used correctly, guest blogging is an excellent tactic that can be used safely, in moderation and in conjunction with other tactics (e.g. branding and creating great content) to achieve your overall strategy.
Relying too much on any single tactic can have negative impacts on your overall strategy.
That’s why at Oneupweb we always recommend a holistic approach that combines a variety of tactics to drive the overall strategy and achieve the desired results.
And for us, guest blogging is still on the table. One thoughtful, carefully written, logically placed post at a time.