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Your Post-Cutts Guest Blogging Survival Guide

Posted on January 31, 2014

When it comes to guest blogging for SEO, quite a few people are pretty ticked off at Matt Cutts right now. After all, he just declared that guest blogging is a Very Bad Thing for webmasters, and stated that you should stop doing it.

Right?

Well, not quite.

Too hear most SEOs talk about it, you'd think that's exactly what he just said. But Cutts actually made an important (and really not all that subtle) distinction between two different types of guest blogging. Once you know the difference between the two, you can decide for yourself if guest blogging is still a good choice for your business.

The Kind of Guest Blogging Google Doesn't Like

What kind of guest blogging doesn't Google like? Here is the short list:

  • Guest blog posts with "dofollow" links.
  • Blog posts that involve an exchange of money for dofollow links.
  • Blog posts that involve an exchange of money for any other contextual links.
  • Blog posts that in any other way violate Google's quality guidelines.
  • Blog posts that pass pagerank (i.e. those with dofollow links, as noted above).

In other words, guests posts done purely for the sake of SEO are straight out. So are any guest posts that simply look like they might be done for pure SEO's sake.

That doesn't mean that guest blogs can't help your SEO anymore. It just means that they won't do so directly. As you know, Google takes in increasingly more factors when assigning rankings.

So what is guest blogging still good for, and how can it still help your rankings?

How to Guest Blog Post-Cutts

Judging directly from Cutts' post itself, let's look at what he and his spam team (and, presumably, the Google algorithm) think of as good reasons for guest blogging:

  • Reaching a new (relevant) audience
  • Branding
  • Extending a brand's reach
  • Exposure
  • Industry recognition
  • Referrals
  • Engagement with different segments of your audience
  • Interacting with your current community
In other words, creating (or hosting) brand-relevant content to a relevant audience, for purposes other than SEO!

Now it's true that Google can't activate its Thought Police and see inside every person's reason for guest blogging (at least not yet). But it has a pretty good idea of what spammy guest posting looks like. And as some webmasters found out during various Panda and Penguin updates, just looking spammy can spell the death of your online business!

How to Guest Blog after Matt Cutts' Proclamation

So how is an honest business person supposed to practice guest blogging in 2014 onward?

  • Only guest blog with people you already know and trust.
  • Don't guest blog with people you barely know.
  • Don't guest blog for money, nor let someone else do it.
  • Don't engage in the practice with businesses or firms that write to you out of the blue.
  • Do feel free to add "rel=nofollow" links in your guest posts.
  • Share via social media.
This last point is becoming increasingly more important. In an age where Google seems to be valuing links less and less, what does it use to count the way readers "vote" with their attention?

So far, there seem to be a couple of answers. One answer is that content that is repeatedly "Liked" or "+1ed" is more likely to rise in Google's SERPs. Perhaps more importantly, content that is shared is content Google typically loves.

Combine this with the fact that Google knows when someone hits the "back" button from your page after landing there in the SERPs, and you'll see that the best way to high rankings are what Cutts has been saying all along: Give your readers quality content that they find useful and want to share.



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    About the Author

    Steve Baik is the manager of AddMe. He can help you answer any questions you may have in regards to SEO, Internet marketing or buying targeted traffic. Feel free to contact Steve should you have any questions or suggestions.


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