Yesterday’s news that Google is taking a dim view of guest blogging for SEO is a nuclear bomb going off in the search marketing world. No one can say this came without warning. No less than four videos posted by Google’s Matt Cutts in the past year hinted that guest blogging for backlinks was a bad idea. Yesterday’s post by Cutts was the end of beating around the bush.
In an act of clairvoyance, Moz.com posted a Whiteboard Friday video three days ago that said guest blogging is a slippery slope of doom. What Google seems to have grown tired of is bloggers trying to outsource production of stories and submitting guest posts at scale to sites for backlinks. Quality content, written by authority contributors, seems to be OK, but guest posts should probably carry
rel="nofollow" links just to be safe.
SEOs destroyed forums, blog comments, links, genuine sharing, web anonymity and eventually SEO itself. – Matt Soczywko on the Makeshift blog
Joost de Valk had a more deeply nuanced view of the issue on his blog yesterday, stating that branding is just as important as link building, and that it’s time for SEOs to become real marketers, not just tacticians. Joost also stated that the people who write on his site either work with him or are closely affiliated, because he respects his brand. I highly recommend reading that article for an idea of what building a brand audience is going to be like from now on.
Where Does Guest Blogging Go From Here?
I see not only quality of content being important from now on, but who is writing it, and who is endorsing it. Shortcuts and tactics aren’t going to cut it anymore. To be ranked like an expert, you’re going to have to produce quality content like an expert. Reaching out to authority creators in your category is going to become pretty damn important.
Guest blogging isn’t going to be done for link juice anymore—too many links from too many low quality sites have killed that tactic. I see guest blogging being done for exposure and indirect traffic back to an author’s site, but not page rank.
Sites are going to be extremely cautious about who they let on their stage and hand the microphone to. You’re going to have to have something to say that really helps people, and that enhances the sites you’re featured on. Sites and brands are going to have to be more cohesive than ever to thrive.