Matt Cutts of Google last week made a statement about the fall of guest blogging for SEO that caused quite a stir.
According to Cutts, “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.”
After initially launching this statement on his personal blog, marketers everywhere had many reasons for concern: Is Google going to start punishing all of my guest blog posts? What about all of the work I’ve done over the past three years creating quality guest blog content? Is my website about to take a huge hit because of guest posts I’ve already done?
Google responded swiftly to the dramatic outcries by explaining that guest blogging, when done well, still has value: “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,” said Cutts.
Because of this new information from Google, marketers who practice guest blogging as part of their strategy need to consider several important factors when crafting content for other blogs, and when accepting guest content for their own.
Below are 4 tips for staying on top of an effective (and high quality) guest blogging strategy.
Not All Links Are Good Links
Rand Fishkin of Moz commented last week on what he calls the “slippery slope” of guest blogging. Marketers often start a guest posting strategy off strong, only producing original content for highly authoritative blogs. But slowly they slip, and eventually they are willing to provide guest posts created with recycled content to just about anybody with a website and a blog.
This slippery slope is what has caused guest blogging to become so spammy. If you are willing to post content on any blog just for the sake of getting links back to your site, the links you will be getting probably won’t help your authority or rank. That’s why Fishkin recommends only putting your energy into guest posting for blogs that are authoritative. Use the Open Site Explorer tool to research the authority of the blogs you are considering writing for (and compare their authority to your own).
Only Post Content from Sources You Are Personally Willing to Vouch For
The content you post, along with the source you accept it from, must be content that you have reviewed and evaluated thoroughly. Content and sources should be checked for a few major issues:
- Does the content provide value to our audience?
- Is this original content that has not been duplicated elsewhere?
- Is the content free of grammatical errors?
- Are any links in the post pointing to spammy sources?
- Is the source that provided the post authoritative? Do they have compelling, relevant content on their website?
If you have evaluated the content, decided that it is not duplicated elsewhere on the web, and feel the source is credible, then by all the means, post the blog. Rand Fishkin even suggests going as far as only accepting content from professional connections, customers, or friends.
Write Content for Authority, Not Just for Links
Share-ability, branding, and thought leadership are all more valuable initiatives than link juice. Reaching your desired audience through quality content that provides them with immense value is going to provide your website (and business) with the greatest visibility and value. The more valuable content you produce, the more your content will succeed at:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Helping you establish a position as a thought leader in your industry
- Increasing share-ability on social networks and the overall reach of your content
- Building brand awareness
Keep Your Best Content for Yourself
In other words…only keep the best content you produce for your own blog. Ultimately you want to keep the most informative content your team writes on your own blog because that content will attract the best (and most) traffic to your site. Don’t spend all of the time and effort that goes into creating an incredible blog post only to drive all of that traffic to another website. High-quality links and referrals are great, but a dynamite piece of content that you believe will attract a lot of attention should always be hosted on your own blog.
Guest blogging isn’t dead, but the days of spammy guest blogging are. Have additional tips for guest blogging? Leave them in the comments section below.