Matt Cutts Has Declared Guest Blogging For SEO ‘Done’

    January 20, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has been warning webmasters about guest blogging abuse for years now. This week, head of webspam Matt Cutts basically declared guest blogging dead.

“Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done,” says Google’s Matt Cutts.

In light of Cutts’ comments will you be wary of contributing guest content on other sites? Of publishing guest content on your site? Share your thoughts on the subject.

Cutts took to his personal blog on Monday to share an email he received from a “content marketer” offering a guest blog post in trade for “a dofollow link or two in the article body,” which Cutts calls a “clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.”

Obviously they didn’t realize who they were emailing unless it was a joke.

Cutts says Google has been seeing more and more reports of this type of thing.

“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,” he writes. “We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy,” he adds. “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

Early comments were a little critical of this stance. One equated it to “throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” in the sense that this takes too broad a view, and would be detrimental to guest bloggers who actually offer legitimate, quality content on legitimate, quality sites.

“Maybe Google needs to up their game and ability to decipher what is quality or not,” suggests Matt Sells, who made the baby/bathwater analogy. “Everyone should not be punished for the wrongdoings of some.”

A bit later, Cutts ended up updating his post, toning down the message significantly.

He said, “I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. 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. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

The title now stands as “The Decay and fall of guest blogging FOR SEO”.

“I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs,” he added. “High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful. I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to ‘guest blogging’ as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

The message may have been toned down, but will webmaster reaction? There’s already talk of disavowing links from old guest blog posts. How many will go overboard? How many will seek to have Google ignore perfectly legitimate links they’ve earned by writing high quality content for fear that it will ultimately hurt them in Google, and end up shooting themselves in the foot? You know, like when they were/are getting rid of other legitimate links in hopes that it will somehow make Google think higher of their sites.

No related Google update was announced or anything, but if such an update were to launch, it would be interesting to follow how well Google could determine what is good vs. what is bad.

Will you accept any guest posts after this? Let us know in the comments.

Image via YouTube

  • Roger M

    Problem is not guest blogging, link networks or any link building techniques.

    The very purpose of HTML is to create documents that link to other documents : inter linked web pages are what makes WWW fun to browse.

    – Problem is G’s algorithm based on link profiles of websites has failed !

  • Ted

    Really. It is about time Google is done. Another edict from the almighty gods of the internet.

  • Ted

    Really. It is about time Google is done. Another edict from the almighty gods of the internet.

  • Ted

    Really. It is about time Google is done. Another edict from the almighty gods of the internet.

  • Gregg

    So… People break the rules “cheat the system” and Google is done??? Really??? Maybe you shouldn’t try and fool the system and should do things on the up and up. We had to lock down our blog so people couldn’t comment. ALL we got were comments that made no sense, had nothing to do with our post, and all they were doing was putting a link for whoever. It was obviously a program and/or the same person with thousands and more email addresses. That is what SEO has become. A way to cheat the system. And then everyone gets mad at who… Google! Why??? They didn’t do anything.

  • nick

    How can he call guest blogging spam? He is clueless the way business works. So any brick and morter company is gaming the “system” when they get a magazine or newspaper to write up a piece on them? The first comment was amusing. Had to remove comment section, why not just activate the anti comment spam plugin that comes with every WP install?

    Seems Matty had his feelings hurt as people would rather advertise their sites via other webmasters instead of paying G’s obscene CPC. Just replace gaming the system with “hurting their bottom line” and the article makes more sense.

  • http://www.kutipan.info Kutipan

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  • http://www.cruelheartbreakerscinema.com Sublithium

    I think Mr. Cutts is focusing his anger in the wrong place. Instead of being mad at people who are trying to beat his unfair mysterious ranking system he should be mad at his own company's E-mail spam filters. They are the ones selling your e-mail addy, Matt. What google wants him do is finally just tell everyone that you need to pay hundreds of dollars a month to google in order to even have your site show in a search result at all.

  • Jeff

    We have seen lot of changes in last 2 years and Matt is continuing to ruin the days of webmasters. There are many business where people cannot invest on adwords. I think g's main focus is to bring public in conclusion "There is nothing to do except Google adwords" to be a part of google search results. If this continues for the next 2 years. I am sure public will change their vision and keep searching in Bing and yahoo instead of Google.

  • http://www.gotourturkey.com/blog/ abrinley

    I'm a content writer for several websites owned by a single entrepreneur. I find that any changes Google makes at this point will be for the purpose of driving more customers towards advertising with their PPC advertising service. This is neither underhanded nor dirty but rather expected now that they have gained such a large corner on the internet search engine market. What in the past was a free service search engine with for profit options has become a for profit search engine with free listing options due to the relative monopoly that Google has. Rather than complain we can all start using other search engines. I know that all my efforts towards SEO still get me first page rankings on Bing, Yahoo and many other engines that use different criteria for ranking. Diversify your search habits as a collective and you will reap the rewards of optimizing your site. If you don't like the system, do what everyone did in the 1990's and change browsers and search engines convince your friends to do the same and you'll start to hit Google where it really hurts. In the mean time thanks for the, "heads up" Chris Crum keep up the good work.

  • Nate

    “Dead” is a big call which shows the egotistical inward looking company it has now become. The bubble will burst but unfortunately us the webmaster have to endure the storm. I suggest Mr Cutts stops looking at what every one else is doing wrong (or so he claims). The thing is when a people or company keeps pointing the fingure and saying “you’re doing it wrong” and “you need to change” at some stage people turn around and say it’s not actually us that need to change or who are doing it wrong it’s you