Matt Cutts calls time on artificial guest blogging for SEO

Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts has admitted the days of using guest posts as a means of gaining links has past. Cutts believes that, over time, guest posting has become an increasingly spammy practice, with many search marketers artificially placing articles on sites just for the link.

It is predicted that “Google’s web spam team will take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward.” Relying on guest posting as an {{seo}} link building strategy looks like leading websites on a road to ruin, but Cutts has admitted that not all guest posting is bad on the web.

There are still many good reasons why industry professionals guest blog on relevant sites to provide increased brand exposure, consumer reach and the chance to make a difference within a direct niche or community.

“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging. Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there,” said Cutts.

In short, what Cutts is saying is merely a continuation of what Google has been intimating for the last 12 months or more: sites that “earn” their links naturally will be rewarded as opposed to sites that have gained links without genuine effort.

This is also a warning to websites that accept guest posts, or those who do a lot of guest blogging, that they may find themselves facing a manual penalty if Google’s spam police were to conduct a review of their recent activity. It’s very similar to Google’s dim view towards advertorials back in spring 2013 when online florists, Interflora and many UK newspapers received Google penalties.

Guest posts with links that are “nofollowed” do not affect PageRank and are not currently under scrutiny from Google’s web spam team. A high-quality guest posts with nofollowed links can still be a credible way to gain exposure to a new audience.

Some people may consider Google’s targeting of guest blogging as a whole to be a little heavy-handed. Why not place a greater emphasis on authorship and creating good, engaging content? Are we writing for people or search engines? As we move into 2014 it’s increasingly for the former.

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