The Death of Guest Blogging for SEO

On 20th January, Matt Cutts declared that guest blogging as a link-building strategy is dead. It’s clear that guest blogging has been employed by the majority of SEOs and rarely with good intention.

What is guest blogging?

In essence, writing content which is featured on an external website, commonly a blog, usually with the goal of receiving an incoming link from that site. When you receive a link from a high-authority site, this naturally has a positive impact for Google’s view of your own authority; this lead to many SEOs using guest blogging as a link-building strategy.

The practice, as outlined in Cutts’s post, has become very spammy – even using an email he himself received from an SEO requesting the opportunity for what was essentially a paid for guest post with links.

In his post, Cutts states:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well.

Unfortunately, there is a slippery slope (outlined by Rand Fiskin on Moz) where SEOs start with great content on great sites and slowly, the benefits from the links outweigh the SEOs focus on quality content. Soon they will post whatever content they can (regardless of quality) wherever they believe they can get an incoming link.

Regarding this, Cutts says:

Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging as a linkbuilding strategy.

However, this doesn’t mean that guest blogging itself is dead.

The statement Cutts made was largely aimed at SEO agencies who write guest posts for the sole purpose of receiving a link to their client’s website.

There are many high-authority businesses and blogs with multiple authors and contributors. These are highly unlikely to be affected by any changes to how guest posts are viewed. Many of the most followed and trusted blogs on the web curate content from multiple guest bloggers (e.g. Moz, eConsultancy).

So how do we approach guest blogging?

For bloggers, one option would be to use only nofollow links on guest posts and be more selective about who they accept content and guests posts from. If you place a link in the article, make sure that it will benefit your readers or add value to the post.

For SEOs and online marketers, guest blogging should be viewed as another string to your bow. It allows you to put your content in front of a new audience, build your authority and your reach. Internet users are savvy, they don’t need a link to your website to reach you, a quick Google and they’ve found your site.

If you have written a great article which fits perfectly into another’s blog, by all means get in touch with them. Don’t be discouraged from writing, sharing and featuring good content – that’s the opposite of what Google wants.