Will Google’s Next Algorithm Update Penalise Guest Blogs?
In light of Matt Cutt’s latest blog post on ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO’, there are no doubt thousands of webmasters freaking out right now, along with SEO agencies whose sole strategy relies on paid guest blogs.
However, if you truly understand the art of guest blogging, then you don’t need to worry about the next looming Google update.
Cutt’s isn’t denouncing the value of guest blogs – he’s just reiterating what good SEO and branding is all about.
Here are Blueclaw’s thoughts on the superficially worrying post;
Mike McDougall, Head of Search
I don’t think it’s much in the way of news.
“Just don’t broker links on crappy sites which are clearly set up to take advantage of the industry’s constant thirst for links. If that’s news to you, then it’s likely that your strategies have been in trouble for a long time.
Some proportion of the Link Building community will always pursue the lowest barrier to entry, with the mindset of ‘How can we harvest links for the lowest possible input of time and money spent?’
They then seek to rinse and repeat a tactic (in this case, the much-maligned ‘Guest Post’) until Google’s algorithm steps in and penalises or devalues said tactic. Smart search marketers have known for a long time that this type of ‘bottom feeding’ isn’t going to produce innovative, future-proof search strategies for their clients.
The important thing here is to clearly understand the distinction between guest blogging for your brand on meaningful and reputable sites that share common themes with your business (see our recent post on Search Engine Journal), and the kind of lowest common denominator – guest blogging to harvest links for the sake of links.
If a tactic requires zero strategic thinking and creativity, then it’s likely to be an ineffective method of link building.”
Martin Woods, SEO Manager
“If there wasn’t a link or it was a no follow link, would you still bother?
“History often repeats itself, especially when it comes to SEO and the imminent devaluation of paid guest blogging links will be another influential chapter in the SEO spam history book.
Since the invention of search engines, companies have been continuously looking for ‘cheap quick fixes’ to game the system and guest blogging has become the latest tactic in these flawed marketing strategies.
Done correctly, organic search marketing builds sustainable long- term marketing campaigns which stand the test of time, meaning guest blogging solely for the sake of gaining link juice just isn’t a viable strategy!”
So, what’s my opinion on guest blogging?
Guest blogging shouldn’t be frowned upon – if you’re doing it right.
The question you need to ask yourself if you’ve been guest blogging is, ‘If there wasn’t a link or it was a no follow link, would you still bother?’
If it’s no, then you shouldn’t be guest blogging in the first place!
Whenever I guest blog somewhere, it’s always about the relevance of the content and the audience. Guest blogging is a great way to gain greater brand visibility and add value to your target audience (the word target here is the key!)
I won’t say that I don’t ask for links, because that’s simply not true – I’m a link builder at heart, but it might be to my Twitter profile instead. After all, I’d like people to know who I am and how to contact me if they so wish.
Yet if you’ve used link builders whose sole focus is to gain as many links as possible, as quick as possible, then you may have something to worry about.
If you’ve ultimately been spamming via low quality guest posting for the past few years since directories, press release and article sites ‘stopped working’, then watch out for a bumpy ride this year!
However, if you’ve been doing it in moderation along with other marketing activities, then you might just be OK.
As to whether you will get a Google penalty, or just a devaluation, I think everyone is unsure at this point. However I’d seriously consider removing guest blog links if you’re uneasy about your historic activities.”
Fergus Clawson, MD
Diversify or die!
“A robust content marketing and outreach strategy is more crucial than ever before. Links must be earned and not shoved into weak looking, low quality guest posts on sites which are riddled with paid links. It’s too obvious and will only yield short term results.
Link footprints bloated with guest blogging will be the next major penalty trigger.
Diversify or die!”
What are your thoughts on this?
Do you think Google will come down hard on those who are using guest blogs as a form of link-building or do you think Matt Cutt’s post is just scare-mongering at its best?