Before we take this article any further let\’s get a few facts straightened out first. Last week Matt Cutts, head of Google\’s Webspam Team, put out a post regarding why you shouldn\’t use guest posting to build links. Here is a quick snippet from the post:
Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.
Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way any more.
The real point is actually pretty clear for everyone who took the time to decipherer the message behind Cutts post. Guest posting done with the interest of the community and readers in mind still have value. But attempts at getting guest posts published in a manipulative manner, purely or primarily for the SEO benefit of the backlink, are no longer going to be effective (and by implication, may even lead to penalties or ranking degradation).
The gray area isn\’t even that large; it\’s generally fairly easy to separate legitimate guest post requests from the spammy ones.
Sender: legitimate guest post requests will generally come from people you know, or have at least heard of, or even have somewhat of a reputable online presence and can tell you directly why they want to write for your blog while also going beyond the overly used \”Hey, OMG I love your blog, best I\’ve ever seen, I want to write for you!\”
Images: Budding Geek
Tip: If you are going to send out emails asking for guest post opportunities make sure you read the sites guest post guidelines, read a few of the host blogs posts to get a feel for their writing style, send the email to the right person (nobody in sales cares about your article on how a girls blueberry muffin looks like her dog-true story btw)
Relevance: A legitimate request will generally focus on one specific post, suitable for your audience and relevant to your typical topics and style. For example, this post on fascinating social media facts and statistics was a great fit for Jeff Bullas’ blog, because it meshes well both topically and stylistically with the kinds of posts Jeff often writes. But this style would not have worked as well on a site like Social Media Examiner.
Another thing about spammy guest posters- they miraculously are able to write on any topic under the sun. Need a article about a dog grooming service, you got it! Need a article about the sun\’s energy, you got that too, or any custom topic that you prefer (;
Compensation: Matt specifically calls out in his post, that \”email offering money to get links that pass PageRank (are) a clear violation of Google\’s quality guidelines.\” A legitimate guest blogger offers a post that has value to your blog in and of itself, and so would not propose monetary compensation.
Backlinks: virtually all guest posts will include backlinks. Now, not saying this is a bad thing all together. The difference between a actual legitimate and spammy request is:
1. The purpose of the links: do they appear to be there to guide the reader to additional, relevant information- or are they actually placing them trying to sell something or link back to a page that shows no relevance to the post.
2. The author\’s approach to the link itself; if the author is comfortable with you changing or deleting any of the links then the guest post is clearly not just a spammy attempt at link building.
Comfort level: this can be a little more vague and will vary among individuals, but essentially; based on what you know about the person who is proposing the guest post to you, would you be open to connecting with him or her on various social media platforms? Possibly even to-under the right circumstances-write your own guest post for that person\’s blog?
Motivation: Matt later noted in a addition to his original post quoted above, \”There are still many good reasons to do guest blogging.\” It can increase brand awareness, provides the opportunity to connect with a new audience, and it helps increase overall web presence for a brand or product.
Another point to consider: Matt never actually makes the point that no type of guest posting still provides some SEO benefit- only that guest-blogging is no longer effective as a large scale link-building strategy and that Matt would \”recommend skepticism when someone reaches out and offers a guest blog article.\”
But let\’s take a moment and be honest, Google cannot truly look into the heart of a blogger and determine their true motivation, maybe a inexperienced blogger is not trying to actually spam you, they just have yet to learn the tricks of the trade and may come across as a spam bot with their overload of links and cheesy email proposals. But what Google will continue to do is look at characteristics like a site\’s overall link profile (do guest post links make up an inordinate share of all backlinks?) and the quality of linking sites in determining rankings.
So everyone sit back down in your seat because guest blogging is not dead but actually alive and thriving. The only thing that has died is the practice of generating large numbers of backlinks through spammy email outreach for guest posts.