Guest Blogging: Dead or Alive?

Contributed to by Tim Grenda, Covario

If you follow the world of search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and Google’s ongoing efforts to regulate its search engine results, you probably felt a great disturbance in the force on Jan. 20.

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, issued a strongly-worded statement that writing guest blogs as an SEO strategy was “dead.”  He warned website publishers to think twice about hosting guest posts from writers they don’t personally know, and that writers who rely on guest posting as a primary means of gaining online exposure and links back to their own sites should quit doing it.

To Cutts, the popular practice of guest blogging simply has become too watered down with unsavory characters who post poorly written articles on low-quality, spammy sites for Google to continue recognizing those links as valuable “votes” for ranking sites in Google’s search results.

But what about the vast number of large brands, website publishers, and freelance writers who have long used guest blogging as a way to expand their online reach by having their work featured on other sites?  Should they really quit contributing articles to other sites altogether?  On the surface, Cutts’ proclamation seemed to be a big blow for those publishers and writers who have relied on guest blogging to spread their names and work online, but, on closer inspection, Cutts’ statement left plenty of room for brands and website publishers to continue on the road of guest blogging, as long as they avoid some potentially dangerous pot holes along the way.

Improve Your Guest Blogging Approach

Without a doubt, there is still great value in guest blogging for large brands and website publishers who want to get their work in front of new and larger audiences.  By guest blogging, writers are able to share their insights with a different, and possibly larger, audience.  Also, site publishers are able to feature additional and new voices on their sites, which brings real value to site visitors.

However, brands, publishers, and writers should pay close attention to where they post their articles, and  to who else is posting there to help ensure that their guest blogging work does not run afoul of Google’s guidelines.  For more on Covario’s current position on guest blogging, download our POV here.

Also, by building real relationships with bloggers and site publishers, writers can create a broad network of sites where they feature their work, building engagement with readers, and increasing their exposure online.  Writers should avoid contributing to low-quality sites that appear designed only for hosting guest blogs and focus instead on contributing to legitimate sites that offer valuable content to readers.

By sticking to these “good neighborhoods” online, brands and writers can gain valuable exposure, and earn links back to their websites.

So, while you may have heard otherwise lately, guest blogging is not “dead.”  By sticking to high-quality sites and surrounding themselves with reputable writers and publishers, guest bloggers can keep on writing.

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