Finally, what Matt Cutts announced on his personal blog in January 2014 has now become a shocking reality with a guest blogging network been penalized recently by Google. The distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts had already advised the Webmasters to stop guest blogging as a link-building strategy for gaining juice. Similarly, great emphasis was laid on accepting a blog post that is written by someone you can assure in terms of credibility and quality, which is also applicable to a site on which you submit the post. The announcement had already alerted the SEO community but the practical trailer has actually proven the power of the decision taken.
After taking a look at this penalization, I guess most ( paid ) guest blog authors, as well as webmasters accepting such posts, will stop with their work. After all, nobody wishes that their sites get penalized, particularly after passing through the havoc of the former updates of Panda and Penguin. So, does this mean that Google will no longer consider guest posts? Well, this is not going to happen so soon. So, heaving a sigh of relief, let us find out why!
Fall in Quality and Rise in Spam: Motivation to Take Such a Decision!
Well, the only reason here is spamming happening through guest blogging. This clearly conveys that the admired Engineer has no problem with guest blogging but with the way in which it is done. Cutts has already pointed that guest blogging has become a more spam SEO tactic over time. In his personal blog on ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO’, he also revealed an email received wherein the unknown sender offered money for publishing a guest blog post with one or two ‘dofollow’ links in the body. Concisely, the sender intended to purchase links from Cutts, which is a lucid violation of the quality guidelines of Google.
Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging: Matt Cutts – March 19, 2014
The ‘follow’ or ‘dofollow’ link is enviable, as it can pass some authority and PageRank to the destined site to which that anchor tag points. Instead of using it in the right sense, a few guest bloggers have misused the benefit of getting the PageRank. They have caused an excessive influx of low-quality content masked as a guest blog. Not only does this betray the readers but also puts the online credibility of the site owner at risk, who accepts such posts. This is perhaps because a majority of readers expect the site owner to guarantee the quality of its content.
In addition, it has become a much more widespread tactic for the authors to offer money for publishing their blog posts on what they observe as high-quality sites. This allures many owners as an easy way to make money but the reality is that the authors are simply masking paid links in the realm of a guest post whose content is usually of low quality, just stolen, or is least relevant for that site on which it is published.
Alternate Option for SEO? Will it Really Work?
It seems that Google has removed ( paid or sponsored ) guest blogging going out of the SEO world for saving the naive webmasters who are unaware of the spammers’ selfish motives. While this is on the positive side, many may also look upon it as Google’s tactic to move people to its PPC plan that was not used by many because of guest blogging. So now, if we assume that paid guest blogging has gone, then the only option for the webmasters will be to use PPC (Pay per Click) through AdWords. However, the biggest limitation of this tactic is that the search results for a specific searched keyword will show the Google ad-based sites in the initial pages but there will be still no guarantee whether those sites will have quality and relevant content for the readers.
High-Quality Guest Blogging: Still Encouraged?
Apparently, yes! Matt Cutts added more clarification with the additional context in order to calm down the storm in the SEO community. According to Cutts:
A webmaster should accept a guest blog post only if he knows the author well.
– Matt Cutts
He also affirmed that there are yet many good reasons to choose guest blogging, which include branding, exposure, and increased reach. Nobody can deny these reasons, as they were present before Google and that they will continue even in the future. Cutts also accepted that there are truly some incredible, high-quality guest bloggers and that ‘multi-author blogs’ were not under Google’s sharp monitoring eyes. In short, Google does not like guest blogging for the goal of SEO.
In short, guest blogging is still viable for the reasons that Cutts specified, provided it offers high-quality, relevant content with ‘no-follow or social media page links. The only difference will be that one will now think of such posting as readers, not as a link-building source.