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Why I’m Thankful Matt Cutts Kneecapped Guest Posts for SEO



guest-postsMatt Cutts decided his next 30 day challenge would be to cause chaos and angst in the SEO community by announcing the demise of guest blogging as a tactic for getting backlinks.

It’s a lengthy post, with lots of justifications for the move, but boils down to this:

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

According to my Twitter stream, just about every SEO I know was in favor of the move. Which goes to show the high caliber of SEOs I happen to know. ;-) As a blogger, I was also grateful to see this move. Why? Because I’ve grown tired of the gazillion guest post pitches I receive every day. Seriously, it’s become worse than the paid link spam emails.

Take this one, totally unsolicited:

Below is the link to the article for your review. If everything looks good you are free to post it.

“Implementing International BYOD Policies: Challenges and Solutions” ([Link to content farm generator])

If you have any questions please let me know.

Thank you so much!

My reply?

Thanks, we’ll pass. It’s not on topic and we don’t accept posts from content farms.

Regards,

Andy Beal

It had gotten to the point where I had given up on accepting guest posts unless I personally knew the author and could vouch for the quality of their work. Now that Matt Cutts has said that guest posts for links are dead–or at least as dead as Google’s algorithms can detect them–I’m hoping to have some sanity back in my inbox.

Of course, much of the discussion centered around whether guest posts had any value at all, now that Google had taken action. Well, of course they still have value. There’s nothing like a quality guest post to get your name in front of a different audience and generate direct traffic back to your site. That’s something that Matt ended up clarifying with this addendum to his post:

“It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. 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.”

As the adage goes: guest posts are dead, long live guest posts!

  • SEOsherlock

    Don’t forget your “Guest Post Author” SEO Friendly Alternatives:

    • Ria Parish

      That “insertion companion” seems a bit of a questionable title….

  • http://zacjohnson.com/ Zac Johnson

    It’s about time. Everyone was abusing the system so bad. Guest blogging will still work for those who do it right (real accounts, Google authorship, great content), but they were never the ones who were taking advantage of it in the first place.

  • Jack Xinger

    Well is official now and I’m glad it is. Matt announced is looking into
    guest posting and since then a lot of bad things went up including the
    complete investigation of bribing bloggers by guest posting agencies.

    https://searchengineleaks.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/guestpostshop-bribing-bloggers-investigation/

    That’s my opinion as well: Low quality guest posting spread by marketing agencies have brought attention to this practice and forced Matt to make this announcement.

    Genuine guest posting should be just fine if is done properly.

  • Jordan McCollum

    I hate the guest blogging spam, too, but if I’d been the one to cover this, the headline probably would have been “Google’s too lazy to tell this post from content farm spam.” (Of course, it doesn’t work if YOU’re writing it, Andy ;)

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      You know, if you need a break from writing award winning books, you’re always welcome to guest post with us. ;-)

  • cynthialil

    My favorite line from his post: “Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space.” Love it.

  • S Emerson

    Evidently the guest blogging marketer I received a request from yesterday didn’t get the memo. (wink) Wanted to reply with a snarky comment but just canned the email instead.
    This could make it hard for an up and coming blogger/website owner in the future because if you only accept guest posts from someone you know it’s a vicious circle for the newbie (like getting a job out of school) – can’t get the opportunity w/o experience and ya can’t get experience w/o an opportunity.

  • Kane Valvo

    I agree I sick of spam bots filling up my blog inbox, I think using Google plus is much more safe and you can see who the people are and what content they fill in there posts.

  • http://eduresult.in/ Trisha Agarwal

    Just like anything else, though, you’ll have to come out and say that there are going to be exceptions to the rule. Does this mean that I cannot have a column on Search Engine Watch or Search Engine Land and that potentially be considered a “guest blog post”?

    And then there’s the occasional guest author or guest “blogger” on the Wall Street Journal or NY Times site. They have blogs.

    I agree, though, that it needs to be very clear, especially in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, that it’s about low-quality/spam guest posting and guest articles.

  • http://www.brandignity.com/ Brandignity

    I think guest posts can be very useful and powerful but you have to write for relevant sources. If you sell fishing lures a great place for a guest post would be a fishing related blog not a blog selling car insurance. I think many people miss that step in the thinking process.

  • http://keyseo.io/ Andrew

    Agreed with your sentiments, Andy.
    One thing he also said: “If the links are nofollowed, then they don’t affect PageRank, so it
    would be outside the scope of my team at that point. A high-quality
    guest post with nofollowed links can still be a good way to get exposure
    to a new audience, branding, etc.”
    So no-follow links for the guest bloggers then.

  • searchlocal

    Fantastic move on Google’s part. So many “legitimate” SEO companies use this tactic and junk blogs to create “valuable” links for their clients. So often it works wonders in the short-term…and then the results tank. Hopefully SEO companies will start to get the memo and clean up/out the SEO world a bit.

  • http://www.blissdrive.com/ MarkSJohnson

    We know that one of the best strategies
    used in SEO is guest blogging, but this strategy weren’t used as it is .Now,
    these kneecapping according to Matt Cutts I think is enough to warn spammers
    and instead use the strategy rightly

  • Spook SEO

    Guest blogging is a good source. The main reason why Cutts don’t want Guest Blogging is because Google don’t trust authors from Guest Blogpost as it might be that the real author uses only an alias name.

  • Felix Brown

    Guest posting surely the best way to get both back link and traffic. And if our guest posting is great, it surely can boost our reputation.