Guest blogging – the good and the bad

Guest blogging

Yesterday there was a big furore about guest blogging. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, wrote a post titled The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO that got a lot of people’s tongues wagging, saying that guest blogging is dead.

People were jumping on the bandwagon bemoaning about the demise of guest blogging, but it hasn’t died, it’s only being regulated. Google is monitoring the amount of spam being generated by SEO agencies desperate to try and beat the system, appeasing demanding clients who want to be at the top of the first page in Google. They are trying to find another way to accomplish the practice of “spraying and praying” paid links around the web to gain a hold over SEO, and targeting unsuspecting blogs is one of their tactics.

How to detect spammy guest blogging

Matt was actually quite clear about the difference between spam and bona fide guest blogging.

Spamming guest blogs are very noticeable as the content doesn’t match the subject manner of the blog it wants to guest on. The ‘author’ won’t have done any research or even appeared to have read any of the blog’s posts, and basically wants to dump content that has no relationship to its niche or industry.

It probably will be introduced by an automated letter with obvious merged fields either working or not working, and they will say things like

On my part, I assure you a high quality article that is
– 100% original
– Well written
– Relevant to your audience and
– Exclusive to you

We can also explore including internal links to related articles across your site to help keep your readers engaged with other content on your blog.

The post will be peppered with “keyword-rich anchor text” (eg lots of links) which can’t be relied upon to go to suitable websites. The style will be stuffed full of keywords with no flow or syntax, bad or broken English with no idea of grammar, and if further investigation was made on the web, you’d probably find similar posts on other websites, signifying these posts have been “spinned” many times for a bigger impact.

How to detect bona fide guest blogging

A true guest blogger who is an expert working for themselves and merely wants to spread their content to a larger audience should not feel intimidated by these spammy guest bloggers. Guest blogging is an excellent way of gaining more exposure for good writing and brand awareness, increases the author’s reach to a much larger audience than on their own blogs and establishes a good community through comment control and instantaneous replies, especially if regularly writing for a multi-author blog.

That’s another thing that differentiates a guest blogger from spammers, the same author will post many times on the same blogs, always providing added value and excellent quality, improving the lives of their readers and gaining a reputation as a go-to resource and a trusted writer. Any links included in the content will be sparse, relevant and reliable.

Proper guest blogging authors will provide an introductory paragraph about themselves at the beginning or end of the post, or regular guest authors will be accompanied by a bio-box that provides more information about them and invitation links that enable readers to connect with them on social media or read their other posts. If the author is canny, they would have signed up to Google Authorship to increase their expert status as authors within the search engines, and the rich snippets that index their posts will show their avatar and links to the Google+ profiles.

Should we still do guest blogging?

The answer is yes! Just because Google is now coming down hard on spamming guest blogging doesn’t mean it will give ordinary guest bloggers a hard time. As long as you write good quality posts taking care over your SEO practices, regularly contribute to your host blogs with an accompanying bio-box or introduction, and interact suitably with your readers through commenting and social media to create a community or tribe, Google should boost your visibility on the web that you obviously deserve.

Alice Elliott
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  • I think a lot of the uproar surround the fact that Mr Cutts was being as clear as mud again, this time though he did add in a clarification when he saw how his post was being construed.

    The good news is we can all get back to the business of blogging and not wasting hours deleting these crappy SEO agency emails from our inbox.

    • Hear hear, Sarah, we could all benefit from less spammy posting requests!

      Poor Matt Cutts, it’s not his fault he can’t explain things properly (or maybe he should?). I did take the time to watch the four videos on his blog post to try and see it from his point of view, and that’s where I gleaned the material for this post.

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