The Death of Guest Blogging?
If you really think about it, it was bound to happen. Like all SEO tricks, Google will take exception with them and shoot them dead. It’s obvious that Penguin and Panda were only the beginning of more to come. And more has come. This blog post by Google’s Matt Cutts on January 20, 2014, says it loud and clear and its title rings the death knell: “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.” Let’s dig deeper into what Matt Cutts had to say and what it implies and foretells for the future of guest blogging.
Matt Cutt’s main concern seems to be that guest blogging has become “too spammy.” I think we can all agree on that. Cutts uses a spam email he received as one example. Anyone that runs a well-visited blog has undoubtedly received emails such as this or at least has had unsolicited guest blogging inquiries.
Matt Cutts recognizes that much of guest blogging is done for the purpose of getting links that increase PageRank. He goes on to make this statement: “Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”
Why has Guest Blogging Lost Favor with Google?
Guest blogging started out as something legitimate. However, as with all things SEO, people figure out how to manipulate it and abuse it. As Cutts says: “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.”
It has now reached the level of paid guest posts, outsourcing and even automation. The legitimacy has deteriorated and the quality becomes vapid. Not only that, but unscrupulous paid guest bloggers often insert spam links on owners’ blogs without their knowledge. Cutts views this as a downward spiral.
What To Do?
Cutts doesn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you know the blogger personally and/or can vouch for them. Cutts also recommends not to look to guest blog posts for any type of SEO benefit or link-building strategy.
Google Giveth, Google Taketh Away
We’ve all heard everyone and their hairstylist spewing about the benefits of guest blogging and all the SEO juice we can drain from it. So the herd runs to the lushest, verdant pasture and devours. Mega-cash gets paid for guest blog posts. Then you wake up one morning, today for example, and Google has decreed: “Thou shalt not Guest Blog for SEO and PageRank.” Should we hate the referee or hate the game? Or should we just accept the fact: “That cow ain’t giving no more milk” and move on?
What Does the Future Hold?
If you are wondering how guest blogging is going to help with PageRank or SEO purposes, I’ll leave you with Matt Cutts’ own words, which leave no doubt in its prognostication of guest blogging’s future:
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s gotten too spammy.”
—Matt Cutts, head of webspam team at Google