Be happy that guest blogging for SEO is dead

New England Warrior Camp 2010

Matt Cutts stuck a fork in yet another automated, low-quality, easy-to-outsource SEO tactic recently: guest blogging for SEO. In his words:

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging [for SEO] 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.”

Is anyone truly surprised by this announcement? Every day, my inbox is clogged with dozens upon dozens of really bad, automated pitches for guest blog posts. Every day, they get flagged as spam. The bots have taken over the space, and now Google is going to lay the smackdown on them.

Before you lament the death of another part of easy SEO, consider another part of Matt’s words:

“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.”

In other words, behave as if there were no Google. Would you still pursue guest blogging if there was no SEO, if Google wasn’t looking over your shoulder? Yes, absolutely. If Oprah Winfrey emailed me and said she wanted to guest blog here, I’d say yes.

Here’s the part that I think a lot of marketers have missed. The impending death of guest blogging for SEO purposes is a good thing, a very good thing, for content marketers who produce great quality content. The less garbage there is, the less hard our audiences have to work to find the good stuff. A diamond in the mud may be a diamond, but it’s easier to find in a bucket of mud than in a stadium filled with mud. If this puts down a bad content marketing practice that’s become so automated that no humans even need to be involved, then good. Cull the herd, as it were.

If you’ve been relying on spammy guest blogging practices for SEO purposes, then it’s time to move on. If you’re still bringing in guest bloggers who you know, trust, and vouch for personally, then chances are Google isn’t going to hurt you (at least based on what Matt said in his post).

The sky falls selectively in the world of SEO, but it tends to fall on “easy” first. Stop chasing “easy” and start chasing “great”, and you’ll spend a lot less time dodging sky fragments.


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  • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

    As usual, you say what needs to be said and nail it!

    Thank you.

  • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

    The only guest blog posts that I will allow are ones that I have actively solicited myself from subject matter experts or for specific opinions. I hadn’t thought about why my Gmail had been automatically marking requests for guest posts (ugg I too get swamped with these poorly formed pitches) as spam – that should have been a clear indicator and obvious red flag. Great to see Google leading the way and putting the smackdown on this sordid practice. Hopefully in a few more years the email requests will stop :) Great post (as usual).

  • http://sharonmostyn.com Sharon Mostyn

    Not surprising. While this doesn’t mean not to guest blog – or not to
    have guest bloggers on your site – it does mean that Google is
    continuing its quest for quality content. Go Google! The world (wide web) can use all the quality content it can get.

  • http://www.RoninMarketeer.com John Wall

    Great post, you have an interesting blog here. If you are interested I could do a guest post for you.

  • http://www.DataScopic.net/ Oz

    Good topic, and thanks for letting us know this, Chris. One good thing about this going away is a warning I got from someone. I did a guest blogpost for someone, and they did one for me. We planned to publish them around the same time.

    Someone warned that we run the risk of getting a spanking from Google for gaming SEO.

    OOPS! That wasn’t our plan at all.

    Well, ok! The house has fallen on that witch. HURRAY!

  • Wesley Picotte

    I don’t think Cutts said anything that people who manage legitimate blogs don’t already understand. However, it certainly wouldn’t be a shame to see curbed the race to the bottom practiced by certain top-tier social media / marketing blogs. One can only hope.

    I did like the POV he shared about the level of effort required to create a great post, the SEO implications for posting this on a blog other than your own, and the real-world benefits for doing so. But here again, it’s just pragmatism being articulated that I think most good marketers get.

    I do agree wholeheartedly with your point about separating the wheat from the chaff. In my experience, the changes implemented by Google over the past couple of years do a decent job of this, but there’s still a frustratingly high percentage of said chaff in search results today.

    Here’s to the end of gaming search (hahahahaha…)!

  • http://www.secretsushi.com/ Adam Helweh

    Spot on. Nuff said.

  • http://www.lovevivah.com/ Subhash Prajapati

    Good announcement by mutt cutts because many webmasters are doing spam guest posting.

  • Spook SEO

    This is not so bad as people are talking about Google is more conscious about the quality of the techniques we are using and if we do something like the quantity of guest blogging and do not focus on the content we are delivering it may be spam and what I think if you have the quality guest blogging and filled your own site with quality content it will be good for you.