Last month the SEO world was rocked again when Matt Cutts posted the following on his personal blog:
“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.”
Quick, sound the alarm and officially freak out! I’m totally kidding because there are several reasons why guest blogging is still a viable option for both marketing and good SEO. First, let’s dig into exactly what Matt was referring to when he declared that guest blogging is dead.
When Cutts initially posted this declaration on his personal blog, all kinds of panic ensued. This panic forced Matt to clarify his comments with an update to his original post which follows:
“It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. 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 absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.“
Basically what Matt is saying is, “don’t create crappy content as a guest post just so you can get a backlink.” However, you can definitely create great content that offers value to readers and users while also having some SEO purpose in mind.
The whole point of SEO is to get better exposure and outreach, which is also directly intertwined with branding. While “SEO” has been associated with negative connotations, “branding” has remained unscathed. No matter what you call it, the end goal is to get people to pay attention to your business and brand by providing value to your customers.
High-quality guest posts that provide users with good information and that are on reputable sites will always be OK in Google’s book as it accomplishes exposure, branding, increased reach, and a sense of community.
Even if you create high value guest blog posts that don’t contain any links, there is still a lot of good it can do. For example, if you write a high-quality blog post and get it in front of a bigger audience through a guest blog, this can increase your branding exposure and can drive traffic to your site naturally—it accomplishes the same goal of creating back links purely for SEO purposes, but in a much better way.
So will Google start handing out penalties to guest blog sites? I’m sure they will, but it will be given to the same garbage sites that have been penalized in the past, as well as sites that don’t offer any value whatsoever as a whole. The point is that quality content will always rank, whether its a guest blog post or not.
So if you are guest blog posting purely for SEO back linking purposes, you should probably stop. However, if you are creating high-quality blog content that provides users with valuable information as your primary focus with SEO being your secondary focus, you really have nothing to worry about.