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