In case you’re not as tapped into the SEO world as us marketing professionals, you might have missed the firestorm that Google’s head of Webspam team, Matt Cutts, started a few weeks ago. He wrote a post about Google’s stance on guest blog posts, which many misinterpreted to mean that we should all give up on writing them. Before his words get twisted yet again, let me quote him from his post:
…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.
A similar outcry happened in 2012 when Cutts made a similar decree about press releases.
So Should We Stop Guest Blogging?
Let me interpret what I believe Cutts is trying to tell us.
There are plenty of people using content marketing tools like guest blogging, search engine marketing, and press releases in the correct way; that is: using them to build credibility and to reach a wider audience. But there are an increasing number of people who take advantage of these strategies to get their spammy links on other people’s sites, in the hopes that Google will raise their sites up search results.
I can’t tell you how many bloggers have pitched topics for my marketing blog that wanted to include unrelated links, like payday loans or online college degrees. I’m smart enough to know that Google will penalize me if I accept these posts and so I politely decline.
If you’re not a spammer, you shouldn’t have to worry.
I will say, though, that if you were hoping your guest posts would raise your profile on Google, it probably won’t. However, if someone searches for your name and sees a ton of guest post links, well, that can’t be a bad thing in my book.
How Should We Shift Our Thinking About Guest Blogging?
Nothing’s changed in how I’m thinking about guest blogging strategy. I do it to connect with readers I wouldn’t otherwise have found, like you (yes, you). I use it to educate an audience on what I know best (marketing and entrepreneurship) and to participate in the small business community. Because I’m a writer for hire, often people read my content and then contact me about writing for them. So guest blogging continues to be my top priority for finding new business.
As long as your guest posts meet the following criteria, you can continue to use it as an effective strategy:
- It’s relevant to the blog’s audience
- It contains only links that complement or relate to the blog (so a link to a small business article here on Tweak Your Biz)
- It’s useful and informative
If your blogs fall into this realm anyway, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But this post is meant to inform you of what the SEO world is buzzing about, which can be helpful if one day you pitch a blogger about contributing, and he pushes back saying guest posts are bad. Send him to this post and set him straight!
Editor’s Note: This was originally written by Susan Guillory for Tweak Your Biz.