Since Matt Cutts talked about sticking a fork in it back in 2014, there has been much debate about the purpose and value of guest blogging.I think it’s still worthwhile, and we value contributions from beyond our team, but the landscape has changed over the past two years. In this post I’ll look at what guest posting is all about now and the value it has for writers and publishers.
Guest Blogging for Links is Dead
The key point from Matt Cutts’ statement is that guest blogging should not be about obtaining links from sites like Search Engine Watch. Or link-building in general.
Matt Cutts’ statement on guest blogging:
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 as a link-building strategy.
Despite this pronouncement, it still happens. Guest writers will try to insert links to their sites, and we editors receive approaches from people who are clearly all about the links.
In the past, it has been an easy way to gain links. This resulted in a torrent of crappy guest posts and – I speak from experience here – tons and tons of low quality blogging approaches to editors. As someone who has worked for online publishers, I welcomed Cutts’ statement to an extent, as it did ease the flow of guest blogging approaches for a while. Moreover, it forced publishers to deal with the issue.
Some blogs and publishers were concerned about the penalties they may suffer if Google perceived that they’d provided links in return for free content.
In this context, it was obvious that the link between SEO and guest blogging needed to be broken.
As a publisher, my approach to this is to have a policy of no links to guest authors’ own sites, or to those of their clients.
This has a number of positive effects:
- It removes the perception that guest authors are writing on sites like this in return for links.
- It tells the guest authors that they can’t just cram loads of links into posts pointing at their own websites as a reward for guest blogging.
- No links means that guest bloggers have to write for other reasons than link-building.
- Point three deters a lot of lower quality approaches and saves us editors time.
So What’s the Point of Guest Blogging Now?
For the publisher, contributed articles have several benefits :
- A different perspective. It’s great to have a view from people working in digital marketing, running agencies, e-commerce sites and so on who have a different experience than our writing team.
- Promotion. Guest writers who have large networks on social media can help to promote your content to new audiences.
- Search visibility. Google wants content and guests providing the kind of quality posts we’re looking for will help us to improve our search visibility.
- Quality content. Good guest writers who want to show off their knowledge should provide some quality, and hopefully evergreen, articles which are is valuable for our audience.