There are many articles on the internet talking about the imminent new algorithm update that will target guest blogging and in particular black-hat guest blogging. What I am talking about, in particular, is what Matt Cutts, Head of Spam at Google, recently stated: “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.” When there is so much out there sorting the signal from the noise often makes it hard to decipher the right information. Therefore, I have listed the good, the bad and the ugly for guest posting.
The Good – When should you guest post and blog?
If you’re trying to reach a new audience that another site or page or blog has captured. For example, let’s say Marketing Mavens is trying to reach the tech market. We might go to some tech blogging sites such as, wired.co.uk or cnet.com, for example, and say, “Would you be a good resource for tech marketers?” They might say, “Yes, great we would love your content.” Perfect match.
In addition to creating a relationship with another organisation through content. It is a great way to build some early stages of relationship with another company before you do a formal partnership and it helps to see whether there’s kind of an overlap between your two organisations’ audiences, such that you might want to do a deeper kind of relationship, maybe a sponsorship or an investment together.
Remember, for your best content, I strongly suggest using your own site. Reason being, if you are going to put great stuff out there, even if you think it could do better on somebody else’s site, in the long term you want that to live on your own site.
In researching this article, I got the views from sites that allow ‘white hat’ guest blogging and they agreed that it is and will always be a valuable way to gain additional exposure for your thought leadership. Matt Cutts and Google are specifically looking to weed out low quality content that is solely focused on link building. As long as the posts are written with the audience in mind, then there is no harm in guest posting. Matt Cutts even mentions that multi-authored sites, such as Business2Community, are authoritative and focused on high quality content will see no negative impact of the algorithm.
The Bad – How to upset Google with guest posting
As mentioned, Matt Cutts recently stepped forward to reiterate how Googles search algorithm is now interpreting guest posting. In the past at its high SEO’ers were able to create a piece of content, run it through software such as SE Nuke and post a re-spun version of that article across multiple article sites, blog networks and PR directories but Google soon got wise and began penalising. It then became about relevance and as long as your blog post was unique and placed on a relevant site to the vertical/niche you were targeting you could include keyword rich anchor text links that pointed back to the website you were building links to.
However, this too has been seen to upset Google and simply ensuring that the sites you are posting on have a high PR (page rank) or next to no similar existing backlinks point to other sites may still land you in trouble. If posting now your safest bet is to place an author bio at the top or bottom of the post linking back to your website without using keyword rich anchor text, this will not help with creating keyword rich backlinks like it used to, however will add a more natural link from a relevant authority site, if done correctly and what Google is looking to see more of.
In essence, if your content is not relevant and adds genuine value to the reader or audience of the other site – don’t bother posting it or at least until they change the rules again.
The Ugly – Tiered link building
Any real SEO professional who is tried and tested will tell you to steer clear of the methods that are automated. Generally, if something is too good to be true then it usually is. Link building software is something I wouldn’t touch personally. What I am talking about is the generally accepted concept of tiered link building it would go something like this:
Tier 1: 6 websites pointing to your main website
Tier 2: 10 websites pointing to 6 websites
Tier 3: 10,000 links pointing to 10 websites
You can replace the amount of websites above with any you like but I entered 10 and 6 as just random numbers. Be aware! If your intention is to do this, don’t do it! This is considered as evil spam by Google.
The key is that no matter how well you execute on your automated link building you can rest assure that one day maybe not even in the near future Google is going to send you that webmaster tools penalty notice that you don’t want!
Marketing Mavens is still a big believer on using guest posts but to get our quality content out to our mass audience. Our objective has never been about getting more links, it has always been about sharing our content to our larger audience. If people pick it up and link to it, then great – it is a win, win situation.
What are your views on guest posting? Let me know below!