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The Rules Of Guest Blogging Have Just Changed…For The Better

Matt Cutts guest blogging spam

Yesterday, Matt Cutts (Google’s head of Webspam team) said that “Guest posting is dead“. As you might imagine this caused a lot of ripples across the blogosphere and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth (okay the last parts a bit much but you get the idea). As many SEO groups had adapted since Google’s earlier changes which penalised getting links through leaving spam comments or having a site with LOTS of words for search engines they had moved to Guest blogging as a way to get links for established (and not established) blogs. At the same time many well known and popular blogs had grown from nothing to having a huge following for guest posting.

So do Matt’s words mean it is really over?

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Guest posting for links is Dead

If you just want to rank high in Google for people to find your site then I’m sorry to tell you that although Guest blogging isn’t dead yet. It almost certainly will in a matter of weeks. Matt Cutts has gone on record criticising other SEO practices on his personal site and then Google has updated it’s algorithm. It’s a real problem for business who are trying to rank higher in search engines (especially start ups) but they have adapted in the past and I’m sure they will again.

The second edge to this sword is that if you accept guest posts (especially for money when not disclosing that fact) and they are targeted at “low quality” [that being high number of ads to low quality of content with lots of keywords] sites, this will hurt your site as well. So exercise extreme caution over who you accept guest posts.

Quality Guest Posting Is Still Okay

Just because Guest blogging to gain SEO magic points to boost your blog higher in Google is dead, doesn’t mean that guest posting is dead or that you shouldn’t do it yourself. Matt’s latter comments show that he doesn’t want to punish sites who have multiple contributors (few! is okay!) . Personally, I’ve never really had a site that gained most of it’s traffic from people searching for it. Most of the time my sites have been viewed and found because I wrote good things that people wanted to share rather than trying to rig the system.

For a while now there has been talk of Social Media Optimization rather than Search Engine Optimisation. That is making the most of social media to build a following that you can keep and Google is never going to stop sending your way. I’m sure for you as a Christian Blogger it’s much better to have people regularly viewing your site and learning from it rather than landing on it for a one off post (exception if you’re trying to make money from advertising.)

Gaining Readers From Guest Posts

The way I have gained the most readers to different sites and projects I’ve done, has been guest posts. When I’ve written a post that really helped someone else on someone elses blog they usually check out my bio at the bottom. When I’ve written a good one that is very persuasive and is all about the reader, some people click on it (not loads but some) gaining you some readers. I’ll be honest, it’s much easier to gain a permanent reader if you have some kind of free giveaway like a free ebook but it isn’t essential.

As Matt says in his article Guest blogging for building readers or a community is still a good thing. It’s just not good for SEO anymore.

Don’t Try And Cheat The System

No matter what Google does affecting Guest blogging then nothing will stop this. I encourage you all to not get too focused on your search engine ranking, it’s much harder to raise and there is always a chance Google will penalise you for raising it in a negative way. Instead focus on building connections with readers via social media, guest posts, online communities and any other way you can think of. Even if Google punishes your sites ranking for it, it won’t stop that reader from being a reader.

Although the game has changed slightly since I wrote my last post on guest blogging I hope you agree that it’s still worth doing and sign your blog up to the list if you accept guest posts.

About Chris Wilson

I'm a 27 English as a foreign language Teacher based in Badajoz in Spain. I also run the Christian Bloggers community and enjoy writing in my free time.

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4 Replies

  1. When I saw the news I was both happy and sad – Matt updated his blog with the fact that they won’t penalize multi-author websites or high-quality blog posts, but they will get down on the guest blog posting for links.

    However, I think that there will be some errors in doing this, since the algorithm they have may wrongfully penalize websites that practice blog posting, at least in the beginning….

    1. It will be interesting to see when the new algorithm comes out and I suspect that some popular sites probably will suffer a bit due to it. However, I also suspect that unless they are really relying on people finding their sites from searches they’ll still do well. The ones that provide real value will still have good links for other reasons as well and Matt does seem to almost completely retract everything in his additional comment that “high quality posts” won’t be punished!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Chris. I think this could potentially be a good thing if it just means that spam is going to decrease. I’ve not seen a whole lot of guest posts that don’t have quality content. Though, this new push might make it increasingly harder for copywriters to write for blogs to sell their clients’ products. Hopefully, it will not affect regular bloggers just trying to share a word on another’s blog.

    1. Oh Chanda you are lucky! I’ve been approached a couple of times on sites for Guest posts which have been for links and for no other reasons (it’s a real shame). Sure they offer “value” but they generally seem to be “filler” posts to me. Every post I’ve had from community members has been something I’ve felt has value.

      I actually think this could help copywriters. Sure companies won’t want you to write guest posts as much but it will probably boost the reason to write for the companies site as that is going to be one of the best ways to increase their awareness. Plus there are still reasons to do guest promotion even if it doesn’t lead to an increase in traffic from search engines.

      I suspect it won’t affect many of our members in vast amounts but I wait to be proven wrong!

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