Keep Writing Quality Content: SEO Bloggers React To Matt Cutts’ Claim “Guest Blogging Is Dead”

matt cuttsGoogle’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, caused an uproar in the SEO community yesterday when he published a blog post on his personal blog claiming guest blogging for SEO purposes is dead.

In his post, Cutts offered a history of how guest blogging has moved from being a reliable source of high-quality content to now being overrun with spam.

“Guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy,” wrote Cutts. “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well.”

As Cutts’ words spread across the web, many SEO bloggers took to their own blogs to offer their take on the demise of guest blogging.

With so much being said on the topic, we’ve put together a round-up of industry reactions, summarizing comments from a selection of popular SEO bloggers.

Christopher Penn: www.ChristopherSPenn.com

Blogger Christopher Penn wasn’t surprised that an “automated, low-quality, easy-to-outsource” SEO tactic like guest blogging is on its way out.

In his post titled, “Be Happy that Guest Blogging For SEO Is Dead,” Penn advises bloggers to continue as if there were no Google: “Would you still pursue guest blogging if there was no SEO, if Google wasn’t looking over your shoulder? Yes, absolutely.”

Penn writes that the death of guest blogging for SEO is a “good thing” for content marketers focused on creating quality content:

If you’ve been relying on spammy guest blogging practices for SEO purposes, then it’s time to move on. If you’re still bringing in guest bloggers who you know, trust and vouch for personally, then chances are Google isn’t going to hurt you.

Andy Beal: www.MarketingPilgrim.com

Andy Beal is another blogger who is happy about Cutts’ announcement. “I’ve grown tired of the gazillion guest post pitches I receive every day,” writes Beal, “Seriously, it’s become worse than the paid link spam emails.”

Beal claims he had already stopped taking guest posts unless he knew the author personally. He goes on to write that he believes guest blogging for exposure – a tactic Cutts vouched for when he updated his post – is still a valuable tactic, “There’s nothing like a quality guest post to get your name in front of a different audience and generate direct traffic back to your site.”

(Cutts later updated his post to clarify that guest blogging is still worthwhile when trying to gain exposure, branding, increased reach, and community.)

Kevin Phelps: www.GuestBlogPoster.com

Some weren’t as thrilled about the news and even took offense to Cutts’ post.

“Even after Matt Cutts’ well thought out response toward guest blogging, I believe they [Google] penalize link building techniques (as opposed to strategies) out of the sheer fact that Google obviously doesn’t even know what guest blogging is,” writes Kevin Phelps on GuestBlogPoster.com.

Phelps claims Cutts isn’t talking about actual guest blogging tactics when he says “Guest blogging is dead,” but is instead referring to manipulative, spammy techniques.

“Lumping those who legitimately contribute to real websites with spammers isn’t fair and it’s not something Google can even enforce unless you’re engaging in spammy techniques,” writes Phelps.

Ann Smarty: www.SEOSmarty.com

Ann Smarty, who also runs the MyBlogGuest.com service, wrote a post on SEOSmarty.com claiming she isn’t concerned with Google. “Google is NOT your friend or your partner,” writes Smarty, “If you grow big enough, Google is likely to become your competitor. Do you really want to depend on Google?”

Smarty tells beginning bloggers that if somebody likes your content and wants to publish it, there is nothing broken. “If someone wants to contribute to your blog and you LOVE what they have to say? Do you need to be on your own because Google wants you to be alone?” asks Smarty.

She later updated her post, clarifying bloggers should not go against Google guidelines. “What I was really trying to say,” writes Smarty, “Do marketing as if Google didn’t exist,” echoing Penn’s advice to continue as if there was no Google.

Jerod Morris: www.CopyBlogger.com

Copyblogger’s Jerod Morris cut to the chase, writing, “Guest blogging is not done, dead or destitute. Have standards, do right by your audience, and play to win in the long term. In short, don’t act like a spammer.”

Morris pointed out that Google will fail as a search engine if it begins penalizing sites with quality content in the form of a guest post. “Quality always wins,” write Morris.

Elisa Gabbert: www.WordStream.com

Search marketing software provider Wordstream published a post on its company blog with similar sentiments. Wordstream’s Elisa Gabbert argues that any SEO tactic will fall victim to the same spammy charges overtime, not just guest blogging.

She says publishers concerned with being penalized by Google should: 1.) Only publish good guest posts; 2.) Don’t label the posts as guests posts; and, 3.) Build relationships, not links.

“Google has always stressed that quality, unique, user-friendly content is the key to search engine rankings,” writes Gabbert, “My guess is, sites that publish content that meets all those criteria won’t be penalized, whether or not some of those content pieces are guest posts.”

Joost de Valk: www.Yoast.com

The founder and CEO of SEO consulting agency Yoast.com agrees with Cutts: “The latest tactic being hammered by Matt Cutts is guest blogging,” writes de Valk, “As the owner of a fairly popular blog, I can only agree with him: it’s gone too far.”

De Valk’s post focuses on the link building attributes of guest blogging, claiming, “Branding is the new link building.” He expands on the idea that guest blogging is out:

So SEOs have a choice: now that Matt has said guest blogging won’t work anymore, are they going to try and find the next disposable tactic? Will they remain tricksters? Or are they going to become real marketers? I think that as an industry we’ve been relying on crappy tactics enough by now.

De Valk goes on to emphasize how brands need to rely on a variety of tactics – and not just rely on one – to optimize their SEO efforts.

Ryan Jones: www.OutSpokenMedia.com

Ryan Jones shares de Valk’s opinion on tactics versus strategies on a the OutSpokenMedia.com blog.

“Guest blogging is a tactic, not a strategy,” writes Jones, “It’s time our industry took a step back from the ‘what’ and started taking a longer look at the ‘why’ of SEO tactics.”

He goes on to say:

It seems whenever an SEO tactic becomes popular, Google decides to take action on it…Google hates automated tactics that provide little value to actual website visitors such as creating links and content just to increase search rankings.

Jones believes that while spammy guest blogging is dead, quality guest posts are not. In his post, Jones outlines a number of SEO tactics that have fallen from grace, from link directories, to press releases, comments and infographics.

“You wouldn’t turn down a column on CNN or an editorial in the Huffington Post if they said you couldn’t have a dofollow link, would you?” asks Jones, “It’s about the audience, not the HTML.”

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | SEO - Search Engine Optimization

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About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Great !
    SEOs now have the subject to chew until the Panda 3rd anniversary.

    To be the Guest or Not to be ?

    What would these guys do without Matt Cutts ?

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Very nice compilation on this subject!

    I really like what Ryan Jones said — guest blogging is a tactic, not a strategy. If we started to analyze WHY we guest blog, it would help us understand better what we’re doing in the bigger picture of SEO.

    Using it to gain unfair ground in the search engines is not a good strategy at all. But it is a tactic nonetheless — a tactic we should all stop.

  • http://www.clickfire.com/ Emory Rowland

    Twisting the fork in the backs of bloggers, are you Matt?

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    There’s no doubt, quality content will always be the king. The competition in the digital world continues to tighten and the best way for your company to get noticed is to publish a quality content.

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    Then how can you explain success of sites like bubblews [dot] com ?
    Do you find content posted there quality enough ?
    This site gets decent amount of traffic from Google during many months already.

    What about seroundtable [dot] com ? Is this quality content ?
    This website is on top of Google SERPs for many queries.

    Mashable ? Is this quality content ?
    Also on tops.

    I can provide more examples, but let’s start from these )

  • http://www.otriadmarketing.com/ Christopher Skyi

    If you’re doing “guest blogging” with the right objectives in mind, then you won’t care if you have to use a no following link; better yet — just link to your G+ author page. Anyone who wrote with a link being the only goal was an idiot. Good riddance to you . . .

  • http://www.otriadmarketing.com/ Christopher Skyi

    If you’re doing “guest blogging” with the right objectives in mind, then you won’t care if you have to use a no following link; better yet — just link to your G+ author page. Anyone who wrote with a link being the only goal was an idiot. Good riddance to you . . .

  • http://www.otriadmarketing.com/ Christopher Skyi

    If you’re doing “guest blogging” with the right objectives in mind, then you won’t care if you have to use a no following link; better yet — just link to your G+ author page. Anyone who wrote with a link being the only goal was an idiot. Good riddance to you . . .

  • Harsh Wardhan Singh

    Google is hammering spammers not strategic marketers. None can deny that guest post spamming has really gone too far. I myself get several emails claiming to have a network or list of guest blogs of different niches. This is a pure spamming. Guest blogging has almost become Link Networks and so needs to be busted.

    I agree with what bloggers above have stated. If you are sure that your approach is natural and strategic and you do not compromise with quality of the content, you can publish your guest post on sites who like to publish it. Google is basically against the manipulative techniques not the strategic ones.

  • Harsh Wardhan Singh

    Google is hammering spammers not strategic marketers. None can deny that guest post spamming has really gone too far. I myself get several emails claiming to have a network or list of guest blogs of different niches. This is a pure spamming. Guest blogging has almost become Link Networks and so needs to be busted.

    I agree with what bloggers above have stated. If you are sure that your approach is natural and strategic and you do not compromise with quality of the content, you can publish your guest post on sites who like to publish it. Google is basically against the manipulative techniques not the strategic ones.

  • Harsh Wardhan Singh

    That’s I think is the best way to authenticate your identity with your content. Though Google has always been clear on their policy of no spamming, they have never provided what to do instead what they are not to do. What do you think to do with the sites that do not allow an author account and publish the content with giving credits to the author in the end as the guest blogger? Should they just link the published article link in their Contributor To section?

  • Eijaz Pardhan

    Well this is something really helpful for all of us, but the thing stuck done on a particular subject. Yes i agree with most of the views that guest blogging needs to be a high quality content and we need to do that. Thank you very much for your guide.

    Regards

    Angeljackets.com

  • Eijaz Pardhan

    Well this is something really helpful for all of us, but the thing stuck done on a particular subject. Yes i agree with most of the views that guest blogging needs to be a high quality content and we need to do that. Thank you very much for your guide.

    Regards

    Angeljackets.com

  • http://seohour.com/ Akash KB

    Dear webmasters,

    Publish quality content (business as-usual)…. and SEO (market) your content/site as if there were no links, no Google….. and most importantly ‘no Matt Cutts!’

  • http://www.drugpossessionlaws.com/ David Matson

    Everything Matt says gets a huge reaction, but he rarely makes such a definitive statement. Particularly when it looks like a strong reversal to previous comments.

    People are sensitive to when it seems like Google is “Changing the rules”, but they miss the intent behind it.
    It’s always been strategy, not tactics. It’s always been serve the audience, don’t game the crawlers.

  • onlineyourself

    This is called monopoly whenever they want they make things white and when they want to finish up Google make them black

  • Link Juice

    Re “Lumping those who legitimately contribute to real websites with spammers isn’t fair”
    It’s the same scare tactics that were used when talking about online press releases.
    There’s good PR and bad PR just as there is good and bad guest blogging

  • http://www.richardharrison.es/ Richard Harrison

    To be perfectly honest, if this is what Google thinks then they should probably follow their own advice, and remove the ‘guest blogger’ Mr. Cutts, replacing him with someone the community trust and doesn’t try to spread dissent & disinformation to legitimate businesses simply trying to survive long enough to make a crust!

  • Virginia Nussey

    I’m most keen on Jerod Morris’s straight-to-the-heart take. I also posted analysis on behalf of Bruce Clay, Inc. over at Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+Bruceclayinc/posts/26T9mU1qZiH).

  • http://www.seobooklab.com/ Ram Babu SEO

    Content that are being loved be your audiences may bring everything you want from the market, what Google follows the same. .

  • Jyothi S

    Hello..Good point. They must have bribed Google really well to be on top ;)

  • Hemant Malav

    Matt said, low quality quest posts will die. Doesn’t panda and penguin already axe them??

    Or Google will specifically look at the sites which have “Guest Posting/Guest Author” in title

  • Hemant Malav

    Matt said, low quality quest posts will die. Doesn’t panda and penguin already axe them??

    Or Google will specifically look at the sites which have “Guest Posting/Guest Author” in title

  • seokungfu

    YAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-z-z-z-zzzzz #pathetic #boring

  • http://www.blissdrive.com/ MarkSJohnson

    I agree too, comments should be natural and should have good quality for it to appear natural and have better chance of approval. Creating spammy posts just put you in risk.

  • Sunil

    Whether guest-blogging is dead or alive, as a matter of fact, it renders no good to a writer, except being clouded with (futile) obsession for a quality backlinks (or getting known as a writer). Over 2 yrs, I stopped guest-blogging. Reason? Well, the realisation that when I can write quality contents, I don’t need guest-blogging to introduce world that I am a SEO writer, rather I would prefer blogging on my own wordpress, blogpost account and would drive quality traffics to my website, thus self-centrically benefiting my own website from SEO perspective in simultaneous effort of accentuating my own individuality as a writer.

    Quality writers shouldn’t be obsessed with the mental servitude to a pedantic and paid guest-blogging sites. If you can writer well, the world will know you (eventually), and the search engine will reward you (eventually)…that’s it.

  • Sunil

    What about Copyblogger.com, then? Ever been there? What about Wikipedia, then? Ever been there? Mashable? That’s still good if not better enough.

  • zelot

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