Or at least that’s what certain panicked SEO professionals would have you believe following Matt Cutts’ latest sensational post ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO‘.
But before you feverishly start to re-assess your SEO strategy for 2014 lets take a look at Matt’s post in more detail and what it actually means for the months ahead.
To begin with, the title of the blog post is significant as Matt notes the ‘decay’ of guest blogging. A fair description to a certain degree as there has been a marked rise in guest blogging networks that have led to the decomposition of something that should be an organic process. Networks such as BlogDash, Blogger LinkUp, Blog Synergy and GuestBlogIt are but a few of the sites facilitating manufactured guest blogging, offering businesses and bloggers an easy way to outreach content in return for increased exposure, and ultimately backlinks.
The topics covered in the GoogleWebmasterHelp videos in relation to guest blogging over the years have been extremely telling with concern growing over guest blogging as spam. From an inquisitive request for Google’s view on guest blogging, to predictions of penalties it’s clear to see that marketers and Google both know the game is up.
Following on from these videos, a recent email to Matt has sparked fresh discussion as the sender of the email enquired about posting guest articles on his blog. Although the sender assured 100% original, well written, relevant and exclusive content there were two noteworthy stumbling blocks in the email, being ‘we can consider making suitable contribution’ if an article were to go ahead provided the article included a ‘dofollow link or two in the article body’. The crux of the problem here is that the sender is essentially insinuating paying for PageRank, a big no-no.
So where does this leave guest blogging in 2014? Cast to the ranks of directories, over-optimised anchortext and buying links? In short, no. Not if you practise guest blogging in the natural manner it should always have been approached. As with all marketing activity, avoid bad practice and bad company and focus on building relationships, not links.
As far as do’s and don’ts go for guest blogging here are some tips to take on board if you’re continuing to guest blog;
Don’t send out 1000’s of emails with guest blog requests.
Do your research. Take the time read contextually relevant sites and only contact those where you can add value, whether it be in the form of an opinion piece, advice, or research findings.
Don’t be lazy and pay for a guest blogging network to ‘spam’ out potential posts.
Do put in the effort. Earn links and traffic to your site through beneficial, expertly written content. Hardwork pays off.
Don’t insert keyword rich anchortext.
Do take nofollow opportunities, and yes even opportunities where there are no links at all. Branding and exposure is just as valuable for establishing yourself as an authoritative industry leader.
Don’t spin a single piece of content into multiple pieces.
Do create compelling content that your target audience will not only want to read but share and comment on.
Don’t prioritise guest blogging.
Do include guest blogging as part of your marketing mix but incorporate other inbound marketing techniques such as paid search, social media, on-page optimisation, video, white papers and so on.
Don’t panic. For the foreseeable future spammers will always find some way of exploiting legitimate marketing methods.
Do embrace ethical SEO and evolve with Google’s best practices to provide your visitors with the best user experience.