On the 20th January 2014, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, told the SEO and digital-marketing world, “stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done”, and that Google would be cracking down with penalties and/or ranking degradations for those found taking part in paid guest posting.
Unsurprisingly, this caused a moment of panic in the SEO industry. Guest blogging had been a popular method employed to gain links in the past and was once considered a respectable method for link building. However, it has now shifted to somewhere within the grey area.
As brands, companies and agencies began to pay for links the SEO value of guest blogs has slowly decreased. Matt Cutts believes that:
“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 link-building strategy.”
In Matt Cutts’ blog post his main concern and issue is with paid guest posts and links and with those who practice this strategy.
Since the original announcement was made, Matt Cutts has come back to calm the panic and reiterate that this does not mean to completely stop guest blogging:
“I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. 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 some absolutely fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there… 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 now see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging.”
Overall, this cannot come as much of a shock to anyone in this industry. The Google Webspam Team has been battling against paid links for the last couple of years. As long as your intentions are honorable (guest posting done for the interest of the community) and you aren’t solely posting for easy backlinks you should be fine.
This highlights the continuous changing nature of the SEO industry. Like many strategies that have been implemented over the last couple of years, we have witnessed the slow decay of another once-authentic practice that has now been tainted by the spammy and lazy techniques of black-hat marketers.
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