If you’re in the digital marketing space, you’ve likely heard the hullabaloo about the changes coming to Google that will affect guest blogging.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, said this on his blog last week:
“Okay, I’m calling it: 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.”
Although much has been written about this in the last week, I wanted to share what I am telling our clients — guest blogging is NOT dead.
And, in fact, this change might actually be a good thing for companies and blogs that focus on producing quality content.
Guest Blogging is NOT Dead
Don’t believe me?
Here’s why I think Matt Cutts’ stance on guest blogging will help brands that approach guest blogging the right way:
1. It might cut down on spam.
If you publish a quality blog, you likely get lots of spammy requests to write guest posts for your blog.
Want to see what I mean? Check out these examples of spammy guest post pitches from the folks at Spin Sucks. I get stuff like that all the time. I bet you do too.
If Google starts drawing a line in the sand on this practice, we might start to see some of this go away. I could be wrong, but a girl can dream!
2. It reinforces good guest blogging practices.
I’ve always preached that you should build relationships with the publication or blogger before sending a guest post pitch. Not only will your article be much more likely to be published, but it also shows that you’ve put in the work and you’re interested in connecting and adding value — not just gaining a link.
Matt reinforced this idea in his blog post:
“In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well.”
If you take the time to get to know a blogger or editor BEFORE you pitch them, you shouldn’t have any problem getting your guest post published on quality blogs.
3. The cream will rise to the top.
If Google is recognizing that guest posting has become spammy SEO practice, websites that publish low-quality articles laden with links get punished for it.
Yes, guest blogging has been a good way to increase your site’s search rankings.
However, there have always been other reasons to guest blog — it gets you in front of a new audience and helps you build credibility as a thought leader on a particular topic.
As Matt said in his post, that has always been the case and it always will.
If you keep your focus on that, you should be just fine. And, in fact, you might even been rewarded for it.
4. It encourages brands to become publishers.
As the smart folks at Copyblogger pointed out, if you treat your content like a true media publication, you should be fine.
Think about traditional media outlets and online publications — they have editorial standards that t quality articles.
You should too.
Instead of treating your content like a piddly little blog, think of it more like an online magazine with a team of writers. This is happening all the time with the growth of brand journalism.
Companies that focus on building authority and content this way should have no trouble surviving any impending changes coming from Google.
Matt even suggested this when addressing multi-author blogs:
“I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.”
Guest Blogging: The Bottom Line
Guest blogging the right way has always been a lot of work. And, it will continue to be.
But, those who are willing to put in the time to do it the right way will be rewarded – both from Google and from a growing following of readers who value your work and what you have to say.
What do you think about this? Will you continue to pursue guest blogging or are you changing your approach?