Is Guest Blogging Dead?
Content consumption is at an all-time high thanks to today’s digital world of social networks and mobile devices. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in enterprises spending more resources on content creation in order to keep up with demand.
To achieve the best performance from content initiatives, enterprises must not only publish content on a regular basis, but also publish quality content based on audience preferences. This can be difficult to do, as writing blog posts, designing infographics and producing videos with value are all time-consuming tasks. One way publishers have been able to keep up with content demand and maintain quality, however, is with guest blogging.
In fact, guest blogging not only helps enterprises publish more content, but it is also a practice that can help brands establish authority. For instance, if a veterinarian writes a guest blog post for a pet supply retailer about the benefits of grain-free food for dogs, the article is likely to be a hit with the retailer's audience. Not only does the topic resonate with the pet store’s customers, but the advice is also coming from a respected professional and it delivers a point of view different from the store’s typical staff blogs. Unfortunately, that type of unique and informative content could soon be in jeopardy.
Matt Cutts Says…
The head honcho of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts, has taken to his blog to publicize his grievances with the practice of guest blogging. Most notably, he says that guest blogging has become a link-building technique and therefore has resulted in low-quality, spammy content.
“Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy,” says 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.”
Cutt’s goes on to state that he’d expect Google’s Webspam team to take a “pretty dim view” of guest blogging going forward, despite it being a “once-authentic” way to reach people.
While spam is certainly an issue on the Web, it seems a little harsh for Google to potentially label all guest blogging that contains a link as spam. For instance, many publishers, Website Magazine included, insert a link to contributor’s websites under the author byline and bio of an article. This is not a sneaky, spammy practice, but rather a way for readers to learn more about the author of the piece of content they are reading. On a case-by-case basis, a link will be included within an article if it supports an argument, ads meaning or directs readers to more information.
Moreover, spam is a problem that has plagued the Web since its infancy, and (unfortunately) spammers will continue to find ways to distribute their content despite Google’s stance on guest blogging. This begs the question as to why Google doesn’t consider a different plan of action, such as putting a bigger emphasis on its authorship program and good quality, authoritative content?
The Future of Guest Blogging
Before you start turning down content from guest bloggers, know that the future of this practice is not dead.
In fact, Cutts later clarified his statement by saying that there are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging, including for exposure, branding and increasing reach. Moreover, Cutts states that he’s not “talking about multi-author blogs,” but rather low-quality sites that have “latched on to guest blogging as their link-building strategies.”
Essentially, guest blogging is still acceptable if the content is quality and relevant to the publisher’s audience – just as it always should have been. This does mean that some publishers will need to take a good look at their contributed content guidelines and make better decisions as to what they publish. That said, it should be pretty obvious that low-quality content, like that which comes from a guest blogging service, is not something worth publishing – nor has it ever been. The bottom line is that any piece of content your enterprise publishes should add value to your site and shouldn’t be published just to build links or increase overall content numbers. The goal of content marketing has always been to engage an audience through a specific objective, whether it be to inform or to entertain. If you still don’t want to take the risk of being punished by Google for posting guest blogs, however, you can always insert nofollow links into the contributed content you publish.
Unfortunately, Cutts' announcement could have more of an impact than just scaring off spammers, as it could turn businesses away from publishing valuable contributed content in the long run. Moreover, penalizing guest blogs has the potential to increase under-the-table solicitations from spammers to journalists. After all, much to the chagrin of Google (and the rest of us), #SpammersGunnaSpam.
What do you think about Cutts stance on guest blogging? Let us know in the Comment Section below: