Is 2014 The End of Guest Blogging?
Matt Cutts has come out with a post on his personal blog entitled “The decay and fall of guest blogging“. It’s quite interesting as it’s something that I wrote about around a week ago on Densely.org called “The Way We Guest Post – Content Marketing“. In it, I wrote:
Google will try to become more aggressive as we become more aggressive at guest posting. My prediction for 2014 is that we’ll see algorithmic updates, similar to Penguin, which will dive straight into world of guest posting. – 11 January, 2014
It makes sense. If everyone starts doing something that is very popular then in the end it will become abused and overused. The strategy behind guest blogging from an SEO perspective has always been about gaining links that would help boost your rankings. It’s a tactic used by many SEO agencies and I’ll admit that I’ve done my fair share. But Google has not made it easy to rank in the search engine results page. For many start-up websites it is impossible to rank and compete, unless you engage in activities such as guest posting.
I’ll agree with Matt on this though:
Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. – Matt Cutts
He’s right. Guest posting has indeed been turned from being a legitimate practice, whereby you would be a guest author on big sites such as TechCrunch, WSJ, Mashable etc and you’d give your professional view on a subject of your expertise. This still happens, but this has been outweighed by the fact the majority of guest posts are now for those lovely dofollow anchor text links.
So there you have it: the decay of a once-authentic way to reach people. Given how spammy it’s become, I’d expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward. – Matt Cutts
The last bit of Matt Cutt’s post is actually quite informational. Is he suggesting that there will be an algorithmic update of some sort that would dive into the world of guest blogging — like I had predicted just only a week ago? Maybe and very likely, yes.
I also see Google devaluing guest posts and lowering their effectiveness when it comes to rankings. I doubt we’ll see Google penalising every website that has used guest posting as a method to increase rankings. In effect, the only websites that will be hurt from this are for sites that have gained the majority of their backlinks by guest posting on other blogs in a way that Google considers spammy.
Will it be a future tactic that SEOs can engage in? Well, that’s a pretty good question. After all, Cutts has always insisted that it’s low quality guest posting that would get a website in trouble. How about high quality guest posting? I guess that would depend on one’s definition. But from my perspective and from listening to Matt Cutts over the years, he talks a lot about article spinning or re-writing content in many of his videos. And yet doesn’t really address the fact that there are people who write really well and will do guest blogging for the same motives on high quality websites. Whatever the case, I’ll be following this closely. It’ll be quite interesting to see how Google determines exactly what a low quality guest post is.
See the discussion I posted on /r/BigSEO, where industry professionals are giving their opinions on this.