Did Matt Cutts say that Guest Blogging for Links is Dead?

by Sherryl Perry on January 21, 2014

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Over the past year, Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) has been fielding questions about guest blogging and whether or not it hurts or helps with SEO. Well, it’s January 2014 and yesterday Matt Cutts made it very clear (on his blog) that if you’re guest blogging to gain links stop.

Matt Cutts on Guest Blogging in 2012:

In his October 2012 GoogleWebmaster Help video, What is Google’s view on guest blogging for links?, Matt started out stating that there are a couple of ways to interpret guest blogging.

One way to look at guest blogging is the high quality guest posts that provide value. The other way to look at guest blogging is when it’s taken to “extremes”. For example, some guest bloggers offer the same article to multiple outlets or they “spin” an article.  Other “authors” outsource the writing of the article to non-experts and then insert their affiliate links.

The take-away from Matt’s 2012 video is that, generally, we should be happy to publish high-quality articles from guest bloggers while avoiding guest articles that are of lower quality intended strictly to generate backlinks.

Matt Cutts on Guest Blogging in 2014:

To quote Matt from his blog post on January 20th 2014:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.

For those of you who are interested in reading more on Matt’s recent blog post, check out Matt Cutts: “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done” by Matt McGee on SearchEngineLand.com or you can weigh in on the discussion on Search Engine Land’s Google+ page.

Over to You:

What are your thoughts about guest blogging? Do you have any existing guest posts that contain affiliate links from guest bloggers? If so, have you tagged them with the no-follow attribute? Do you guest blog?

Update: Matt Cutts, stirred up the Internet with his blog post titled “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done”. Since then, he’s changed the title to “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO”. The original title definitely got people talking! (Testimony to a good headline, I’d say.)

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Kostas
Twitter:
May 5, 2014 at 8:04 am

Hi Sherryl
I think guest posting will continue to be valuable for those approaching it in the right manner. If you are posting to impart information and not jusdt for a backlink, then you are likely to have a great level of success. Guest blogging is not dead, spammy guest blogging is!
Kostas recently posted..How To Measure If Your Guest Post Campaign Was A SuccessMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 5, 2014 at 9:50 am

Hi Kostas,
I agree completely. I have done very little guest blogging over the years but since Matt Cutts wrote that blog post, I’ve already written one. 🙂 The blog that I wrote for belongs to Adrienne Smith. Both of us are confident that guest blogging can add value. Since that post was published, I’ve already seen a few of Adrienne’s readers here and I know that she’s received a few readers from my blog as well.

Maybe, the fact that there was such a buzz over this will motivate other bloggers to write guest posts too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google Website Signals SERPs and Title Tags #FridayFindsMy Profile

Mahesh Charjan
Twitter:
March 16, 2014 at 8:46 am

thank you!!!! This totally worked. I applied it into my newest post where I wanted some links “do follow” and some links “no follow” and its seems to be just fine. I’m so excited! Thank you thank you!
Mahesh Charjan recently posted..How to remove SD/MICRO SD memory card passwordMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

You are very welcome Mahesh. Thanks so much for letting me know that you found my post helpful and that you were able to implement what I suggested. Hearing that made me smile. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

prashanth
Twitter:
February 2, 2014 at 3:47 am

Nice and an informative article.whether the backlinks of guest blogging doesn’t work, it is more important to see that through guest blogging engaging readers with the articles.The main intention of any blogger should be educating the readers on varied topics ,so the guest blogging is important apart from getting just backlinks.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Agreed! Guest blogging should add value to the readers of the blog that we’re guest posting on – not drive traffic with backlinks. I’m especially offended by bloggers who submit posts with the sole intention of driving traffic to affiliate links. It’s a waste of my time to even consider it.

Thanks for dropping by and for leaving a link to your article about Google PageRank.

Kalen
Twitter:
February 3, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Yeah the people that want to offer a “guest post” for pure backlinking purposes are easy to spot. Here are some of the signs that I use to diagnose them:

1. Emphasizing the fact that the article is “100% FREE” (this shows they know their intentions aren’t genuine and think they must try hard to sound otherwise)
2. Saying that the article will have great spelling and grammar (Wouldn’t any good writer take that as a given)
3. See 2 except they use terrible phrasing such as “extremely good/well grammar”
4. Says they love your site but don’t even acknowlege you by name (obviously a bot)
5. Submit article ideas that are totally irrelevant to the site niche, such as X Reasons You Need SEO for Your Website for a blog about the paleo diet (probably the same bot)

Unfortunately, these posts are sent every day because there are actually bloggers out there that accept them, which means the rest of us become targets too. I think this is the kind of nonsense Matt was trying to go after.
Kalen recently posted..Why Matt Cutts Guest Post Warning Shouldn’t Freak You OutMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 4, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Those are great signs Kalen! I hadn’t noticed the “100% FREE” promise before but (right after reading your reply) I got a request that included that. The irrelevant ideas always get me irritated. I used to find some of those requests a little humorous when I first started blogging but they’ve worn me down.

I almost passed on a guest offer this week from a legitimate blogger. Thankfully, we follow each other on Twitter and she tweeted me asking if I had received her email. After fishing it out of my deleted folders, we connected and I will be publishing it for her.

Thank goodness that she tweeted me and didn’t DM me! Thanks to the spam I get there, I never check DMs on Twitter. (I’ll save that for another rant.)

Thanks so much for sharing your tips with us.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

Larry Rivera
Twitter:
January 30, 2014 at 10:15 am

Hi Sherryl, great article I am glad matt cutt has declared war on spammy guest post. Hopefully this cuts down on the amount of spam we get in our inboxes from people who are spammers.Thanks for sharing..

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Thanks for letting me know that you liked my article Larry. A lot of us are really hoping that Google’s war on spammy posts benefit those of us who are trying to create good content that adds value.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

Steve Hippel
Twitter:
January 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Hi Sherryl.

Reading other comments, it’s clear to see that most of your readers can see that regardless of SEO, there’s great value in good quality guest blogging. Adrienna makes a very important point about trust and relationships. A friend is unlikely to let you down and very likely to do their best by you.

SEO is only one ingredient in the cake. What Mr Cutts says is OK today, probably won’t be tomorrow anyway. He is out to get spammers and that can only be a good thing for genuine and serious bloggers. If you are not a spammer, you really don’t need to worry. A sensible approach should see that you don’t get harmed, even if you don’t get SEO value.

As much as I admire Matt’s efforts, I think that obsession has got in the way of common sense at Google at the moment. If I type “plumbers bexhill” (my home town) in a UK search, here’s what I get back on page one of the organic results (excluding places):

8 directories.
2 national emergency plumbing services.
0 local plumbers.

Not just poor quality results but simply not what I’m searching for at all. If someone types “plumbers bexhill” in a search, I recon they are probably looking for a local plumber.

This doesn’t just apply to plumbers. Many local searches are the same at the moment. I thought it was a glitch caused by an algorithm change and Google would do something about it. It’s been months now though.

Maybe it’s not us lot who need a lesson in the difference between genuine and spam. I think Mr Cutts needs to get one eye back on quality at his end too 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Steve,
Yes. I think most of the bloggers who visit here (especially those who take the time to join the conversation) recognize the value of guest blogging and the importance of building trust and relationships. I certainly am going to continue accepting guest posts here. (You know you’re welcome back as a guest blogger anytime.) I’m also going to make an effort to guest blog myself this year. (Adrienne has told me that she’ll be sending me an invitation.)

I believe that Matt Cutts was trying to send ripples through the blogging community that guest blogging for backlinks alone will not be tolerated. Part of the problem is that some bloggers did not read his entire post and they panicked. As you say, take a sensible approach to guest blogging and even if you don’t get added SEO value, as long as you’re not intentionally spamming, you’ll be fine. (There’s a huge difference between links to resources that add value and affiliate links that are trying to sell something.)

Your example of searching for “plumbers bexhill” is right on. I’m at the point now where I get so frustrated with Google’s search results that I often go directly to Bing and search there. (Maybe more of us should be doing that more often.)

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your insight with us. It’s always good to see you here. 🙂

Steve Hippel
Twitter:
January 30, 2014 at 3:56 am

I’m wandering off subject a bit now but I had to pop back and say that I agree with your point about more of us using Bing.

I sometimes think that Google treats bloggers (almost) like the enemy. I have often wondered what impact it would have on Google’s figures if SEO’s, bloggers and internet marketers all switched for a month.
Perhaps we should start a revolt 🙂

I would be delighted and honoured to guest post again Sherryl. I do plan to return to the blogging scene but I have other priorities at the moment. I miss the social aspect of blogging but it has had to take second place for a while. I have a few things to finish but I will be back with a new blog, quite soon.

Susan Payton January 29, 2014 at 10:36 am

I for one am not going to let Cutts deter me from my primary source of referrals. Guest blogging done WRONG has got to go. But writing well-targeted posts does serve its purpose. It’s not about having that link boost your search results, but rather if someone likes your article, they can click it to learn more. I accept guest posts but always screen the link bloggers want. If it’s not relevant to my small business content, it’s got to go.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Susan,
I agree with you that guest blogging done wrong is bad for everyone. Hopefully, we’ll see the end of backlink spam or at the very least it will be deterred somewhat. I still accept guest posts too.

Thanks for joining the conversation.
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Catarina
Twitter:
January 26, 2014 at 7:46 am

As you know, I don’t accept guest posts on my blog and welcome what Matt Cutts sasy. Get a lot of proposals from people who want to guest blog on my site but turn them all down. If I accepted such a post it would be from someone I know and am happy to be associated with online. Not someone I have never heard of that isn’t even polite enough to answer when you nicely turn them down.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 27, 2014 at 7:46 am

Catarina, Your blog is so clearly your voice that I can’t even imagine a guest blogger on your site. Do you guest blog on other sites?

Mitch Mitchell
Twitter:
January 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

I stopped guest posting on one of my blogs, the only one I allowed to have guest posts in that fashion, at the beginning of the year. I always knew why people wanted to write for my blog and all the content was related. Yet, suddenly they started getting on my nerves with low quality articles and then the suddenly avalanche of requests to remove links from posts that they wrote; wasn’t worth the bother anymore.
Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Mitch,
I have only received a request from one guest blogger to remove his links. At the same time, he provided me with new anchor text. In his case, I appreciated him sending me an email letting me know. It was an old post and I had not paid any attention to old guest posts. (I’m paying attention now thanks to Matt Cutts’ post.)

My biggest beef with guest bloggers is that some of them promise to reply to comments and then they don’t or they start writing throw-away comments that are a waste of time to read. Those authors are not welcome back. On the other hand, I have received reqests from readers to invite one guest blogger back.

Thanks for weighing in on this. I have not visited your blog in a while. I’m going to hope over and visit now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do We Really Need Flat Design?My Profile

Stacy Claflin
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 11:54 am

Thanks for sharing, Sherryl. Guest blogging, when done correctly, can be most effective. As blogger who accepts guest posts, you need to have a clear guest posting policy. When I had my personal growth blog, I accepted a lot of guest posts and I quickly learned that. There are a lot of “guest bloggers” (who don’t even have their own blog) that just want to link drop. I had a strict policy of links in guest posts if they didn’t respond to comments.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Hi Stacy,
Thanks for dropping by. I admit that while I have guidelines for accepting guest posts, I have not formally written them up and posted them yet. (I agree that I should and will.)

Just before Matt posted his article on his blog, I received a proposal from someone who announced that they had a staff of writers who blogged about products and services. She wanted to know if I’d accept guest posts from them. It wounds exactly like what Google will be penalizing us for!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..The Ultimate Guide to Generating Backlinks – Part 2My Profile

Jeevan Jacob John
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 11:39 am

Hey Sherryl,

There was a little ambiguity in his title (not sure if he meant it, but it did get bloggers talking about it…which is good in terms of traffic for his blog. Although, I doubt whether he needs any more attention…he is already famous :D).

In any case, I do agree with Matt. Guest posting just for SEO should be penalized (I think…because doing it just for links usually means poor quality content).

Of course, many of guest post for other reasons – exposure for instance..but link building is also included in that (we can’t expect the visitors to Google us, can we? Unless they find our content exceptional!).

I am still thinking about it though…In the video, he mentioned that only accept guest posts from people we actually know (which makes sense..but, how would this affect the big blogs? They may not necessarily have time to get to know these authors).

Perhaps, I shouldn’t worry about that 😉 Let the big blogs take care of their own things!
Jeevan Jacob John recently posted..Is Your Blog Special?My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Jeevan,

I don’t plan on taking Matt Cutts’ suggestion (to know the author before we accept a guest post from them) literally. Rather than having to already have a personal connection, I look at their “contact sphere” and their published content. Are they connected with bloggers who I know and respect? Do they have guest posts published on authoritative sites? Are they perceived as a respected authority in their field?

If the answer is yes to those questions, than I will definitely consider an article from them. I know some bloggers prefer to have that existing personal connection and some will only invite a guest blogger if they’re an active commenter on their blog. While those are valid reasons and I agree that it’s a nice way to reward people who are part of your community, I want to keep my options open. Some of the best guest posts on my blog (measured by the comment activity, shares and traffic) were authored by bloggers who I had not previously met.

What do you think about this approach?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..2 Steps to Stalking the Popular Kids and Getting More TrafficMy Profile

Jeevan Jacob John
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 8:50 pm

That works too 🙂

I don’t think we need to put a requirement for them to be active commenters (although I would recommend them to…gives them a chance to introduce themselves to the community :D).

Jeevan Jacob John
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 8:54 pm

One thing I forgot to mention is implementation.

I have had a plan in the past…but, I gave too many exceptions…looked past the requirements for some of the guest posts (plus, it wasn’t written by people I knew..I really shouldn’t have done that).

I will keep your plan in mind 😀 (I don’t plan to open my new blog up for guest posting..but, I might in the future. Who knows?).

One of the things I will certainly look into is the community at the author’s blog (are they willing to invest some time to building a community? I understand that people may have different goals..but community is a good measure, especially for new bloggers).

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Jeevan,
I always ask guest bloggers if they will reply to comments that are left on their articles and I won’t accept a post from anyone who says they won’t. If they’re genuine about wanting to engage with my readers, they follow through. I have worked with a couple of bloggers who did not follow through with this. (They’re not allowed back.) On the other hand, I know a couple of bloggers who have connected with readers here and they’ve gained a bit of a following and traffic from my site. Guest blogging can be a win-win for both of us.

As always, thanks for adding to the discussion. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

William Butler
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 8:44 am

Hi Sherryl,
Thanks for I have been blogging for just over a year. I have had a guest blogger on my site from someone I know and can vouch for, but I have not established guest blogging guidelines.Nor did that post contain affiliate links.

I have also guest blogged on a few sites now, never with any consideration of links. I’m not one for black hat tricks. I prefer the slow, methodical way of just being honest and up-front with people. As we build relationships with others, I think he links will come, so I’m more focused on adding value to others and quality writing.

Enjoy your weekend!
Bill
William Butler recently posted..The Hidden Power Of Hindsight & What It Can Teach YouMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Hi Bill,
I’ve been getting to know you on Facebook and it’s easy to tell that you have good intentions as a blogger and you’re about building meaningful relationships and not self-promotion. I predict that your strategy will work well for you.

I just sent a connection request to you on LinkedIn (unfortunately, I sent it before I could personalize it) and I noticed that you’re not in any LinkedIn groups yet. I help manage a group called “Bloggers Helping Bloggers” and it can be a nice way to expand your connections with other bloggers.

This group is managed a little differently from other LI groups. We keep the main discussion area open for people who want to ask questions or have ideas to share. We do not allow sharing our posts in that area. Instead, there is a weekly discussion started solely for that purpose. It’s a good way to introduce yourself to some active members of the blogging community and it can be a good way to drive traffic to your blog. It’s something that you may want to consider joining. (There are quite a few readers here who comment regularly who are active there.)

Enjoy your weekend too and thanks for stopping by!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

Akaahan Terungwa January 24, 2014 at 3:40 am

Hello Sherryl,

Guest blogging cannot die. Instead, I see the death of poor quality entries that are sent in sorely for link juice.

Even before Matt Cutts blog entry, I always gave the Nofollow attribute to all links emanating from guest posts. And you know what happened? Most of the persons who guest blogged for me always did send in a note asking for their links to be tagge with the ‘dofollow’ attribute! Can you imagine?

The worst case is actually offering money for dofollow links! Between free organic traffic (and all the benefits it ensures) and a one time payment from a spammy web author, which should a prudent content producer choose?

This action would sanitize the web…these spammers are something else!

Always,
Terungwa
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Hi Akaahan,
I may have foolishly allowed some do-follow links in guest posts (especially in the early days of this blog). My goal today is to go through all of the guest posts on my blog and rectify that.

I received one of those emails from someone who explained that he “needed” the do-follow tags on his affiliate links. It sounded like a desperate plea to me.

It is amazing to receive emails from people offering to pay for links or to participate in a link exchange. You usually can tell at a glance that their niche is totally unrelated to yours and that the request is inappropriate. (Well, that usually applies to the content of some of the guest blog proposals we get too.)

Wouldn’t it be great if Google’s action did “sanitize the web”. That would be wonderful.

Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by and contribute to the conversation.

Sue Price
Twitter:
January 23, 2014 at 2:40 am

Hi Sherryl

Thanks for sharing the video with Matt Cutts. I think everything he said made perfect sense and is the way it should be.

Personally I think guest blogging is great if done with quality and for the right reasons. I have only had a couple of people do guest posts for me and I have also done a couple.

I love some of the posts Adrienne has and sure those of us who have been guests for her get exposure to many other people.

Thanks again for sharing this.

Sue
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 23, 2014 at 10:40 am

Hi Sue,
You’re very welcome. I’m sure you’re right about the exposure that you get from guest blogging on Adrienne’s site. I’ve connected with quite a few bloggers over there. Guests blogging (done right) is about building awareness and connecting.

Thanks for joining the discussion.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Do You Know Which Bad Links Caused Your Google Penalty?My Profile

Jeri
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 11:39 pm

I try to write two guest posts a month, but only for blogs I occasionally comment on and am familiar with. I just ignore the spammy requests because they\’re usually pretty transparent. What I often wonder about if how a Google alert doesn\’t always come back to me after one of my guest posts appears. It makes me wonder if the site has been properly indexed, though I do try to submit to good blogs that can be a beneficial link to my own. Yet, guest posting is still about building contacts and community as well.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

Hi Jeri,
Just a thought but when you don’t get a Google alert (that your guest post was published), is there a link on that site to your email address? If there is a link, is there any chance that it’s no-follow?

You’re definitely using guest blogging in the “right” way. Lately, a lot of the spammy requests that I receive use the same email template. It’s a real nuisance.

Barbara Charles
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Very interesting article. Why? Because I’ve been getting requests from people who want to guest post on my blog. I thought it was a compliment originally, but since learned it is a way for people to get links. But even before I knew that, I turned every one who asked me down. Didn’t trust it instinctively I guess. Even their approach was spammy.

I’ve done a few guest posts for others and I’ve had one or two guest post for me, but these are people I know. I don’t think it should be used regularly.

I really didn’t know much about guest posting and how it affects Google so thank you for the post. Great info.
Thanks,
Barbara

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

Hi Barbara,
Your instincts are good! I listened to my instincts recently when I turned down an article that was submitted by someone who has written several guest posts for my blog. (It just had a different tone to it than the articles that they had submitted in the past.) I held onto that post and mulled it over for the entire 3-day weekend before declining it. Within 24-hours, I had read the Search Engine Land article(about Matt Cutts post) and realized that my instincts were good too. 🙂

Thanks for joining us here!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..The Ultimate Guide to Generating Backlinks – Part 1My Profile

Susan Oakes
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Hi Sherryl,

As you know I don’t accept guest posts. I think for the big sites and online magazines they have strict editorial guidelines and people who do the editing and this i believe is acceptable for Google. Perhaps it is a case from now on site owners will have to pay more attention to the editing and standards side and include no affiliate links.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Hi Susan,
It’s great to see you here. I do know that you don’t accept guest posts and never have. You do an excellent job of providing quality content all by yourself. 🙂

I’ve always accepted the occasional guest post, partly to bring additional insight and a new perspective to my blog and (honestly) in part to help fill in the gaps when I have fallen behind in content.

Of late, I’ve had the nagging feeling that all of the attention that Google has been focusing on backlinks could potentially put us at risk (as it pertains to guest blogging). I think your suggestion that site owners pay attention to the “editing and standards side” of big blogs and online magazines is excellent. Thanks so much for adding that to the conversation.

A.k.Andrew
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I’m with Susan on this. I definitely wouldn’t have any guest post who I didn’t think has relevant content, and I also have turned down guest posting as I struggle to keep up with my own posts. But I think Adrienne raises a good point too about blogs purely becoming about numbers, rather than good content. Surely the latter has to be the bottom line, or am I being naive? I do get tired of see the same issues churned over and over again, really saying nothing new. Thanks so much for this post Sherryl. You’ve sparked a good discussion.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Hi A.K.,
I hope all is well with you! To be honest with you, I can’t seem to find the time to guest post either but then again, I’ve been known to leave mini blog posts in my comments. (Just ask Adrienne or Silviu, if there’s any doubt. 🙂 )

People go back and forth whether content is “King’ but a strong case can be built for it.

Thanks for taking the time to drop by and join the conversation. I’m a happy “camper” when we get a healthy discussion going on here.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Things to Avoid When Guest BloggingMy Profile

Adrienne
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 10:47 am

Hey Sherryl,

As per our conversation over on Google+ about this issue I’m actually glad to be honest with you that Google is finally cracking down on this because I believe people have really gone way overboard with guest posting. To me on so many blogs it’s not even about the quality of the posts any longer. It’s about building links and so many people are still so darn obsessive about that.

I’m actually so happy that I’ve been doing this right all this time. If you want to write a guest post on my blog you have to be a loyal regular reader and commenter so that means I’ve built up a relationship with you. I stand behind you and I’m thrilled to have you share your knowledge with my readers. How does it benefit my guests? They get new readers to their blogs and they get to start building relationships with them.

I think that’s the way it should have been from the beginning although I do know that sites like Copyblogger and Problogger, etc. you can’t really know everyone. I’m wondering how they’ll start to handle them from this day forward.

Thanks for giving us your take on this.

~Adrienne
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Hi Adrienne,
I’m glad to see Google cracking down on this too. Maybe we’ll get a break from all those unsolicited pleas to guest post for us as a bonus.

I like your idea of only accepting guest posts from loyal readers and commenters. That’s the approach I’m taking now. In the past, I accepted posts from bloggers who I did not have solid connections too. In most cases, they had guest posted for other bloggers who I respected but I did make a few exceptions. Most of them worked out for me but there are a handful of guest posts on my blog where the author chose to not reply to comments . One guest author was replying with throw-away responses. That’s a clear sign that their intention was to get a backlink and not build meaningful relationships with my readers. I owe my readers more and those authors are not allowed back.

You raise an interesting point about sites like Copyblogger and Problogger. I’ll be curious to see how they handle this as well.

As always, thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Did Matt Cutts say that Guest Blogging for Links is Dead?My Profile

silviu
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 4:28 am

Hi Sherryl,

“Guest blogging is done”? LOL! It looks like many other bold statements:
“Email marketing is dead”; “SEO is dead” etc. By the way, let’s take the second statement: “SEO is dead”.

I talked to an internet marketer and business women, a few days ago. When talking about SEO she said: “I created a blog 4 years ago, and optimized it the best way possible. Then I started on other projects and never updated it. 4 years later this blog still brings me a few bucks a day without me “touching” it. It focuses on an important need, indeed, but I never updated it. The only reason it is still working now is SEO.”

Whenever I hear somebody saying: “SEO is dead.” I immediately think: SEO is dead only for those who suck at SEO. The same with email marketing and, obviously, the same with guest blogging.

Countless abuses were made, indeed and Google will tighten the ropes (that’s for sure) but .. you cannot forbid anything on the net and Google is to smart to overestimate its power.

My personal opinion: I was never interested in guest posting for ranking. The only reason why I would guest post is to attract attention and drive traffic. If you can create high value guest posts, this will happen and the rest is not important. Higher rankings will come naturally when you guest post with value.

Have a wonderful day
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Silviu,
As always, I appreciate your insight, I’m of the same opinion as you. I don’t believe guest blogging is dead. Spam backlinks may be dead but that would be a good thing!

I believe the real value in guest blogging is building relationships and brand awareness. Guest blogging on sites where your customers/clients are is the key. Even if you’re new to the site that you’re posting on, you should reply to the comments that are left on your posts. To me, a connection with someone that way is worth more than 100 visitors (or more) from a link that somehow landed them on my site.

Did we know each other when I blogged about the traffic that I got from an online social game called Sitizen? (I think that was before we met.) I got a real bump in traffic from that site but the bounce rate was 95.6%. I know it may be a bit of a stretch comparing guest blogging for backlinks with backlinks on a social game site but my point is the traffic from that site was meaningless. People who weren’t the least bit interested in what I had to say were clicking on links to visit – and leaving. That site has been down for a while. Otherwise, I would probably have submitted a disavow request to Goggle but it looks like they may be re-launching soon. So, I’ll have to keep an eye on incoming links. (We all should be anyways.)

You have a wonderful day too!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic SourceMy Profile

Nishkarsh Sharma
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 1:02 am

Hi Sherryl,
In some way or the other, Matt Cutt’s is right. Guest blogging has been one of the most highly used tools to create back links and fetch more traffic. Lately a number of bloggers have begun using it in the wrong way. One should definitely not accept gust posts randomly.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I agree Nishkarsh. BTW – Thanks for leaving me a comment on this post on Blokube. I followed you there and on Twitter. It looks like your blog can be a good resource to bloggers. I’m off to check it out!
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Ray January 21, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Well what’s left if they do away with or penalize this now? I can’t think of much. It’s like they want everything nofollow or something.

There are a lot of people and businesses that take advantage of this to gain rankings, and are more than willing to pay a price to get a dofollow link or two. Most of us smaller sites don’t have that kind of money to spend on a regular basis.

On the other hand there are people that do quality guest posts. Sure they are still trying to increase rankings and traffic, but what else are they to do? Matt is famous for telling everyone to write compelling quality content and sites will naturally link to you. This is bull in my opinion especially for smaller sites, and those just getting started. You can write all the quality content you want and you aren’t going to get people naturally linking to your site if you don’t do some promoting, backlinking, and such.

There are a lot of opinions for and against what Matt seems to be proposing. Some of them do make good points in both directions. I am not sure where I stand on it at this point. I am getting tired of all this penalty stuff and trying to keep track of what you should and should not do. I mean they lead everyone to believe something is OK now, and six months to a year down the road they change their mind and then you get zapped because what you were doing will get you penalized.

I really feel for new website owners getting started. There is no way many of them will know about all these penalties and updates until it’s too late.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Ray,
I truly believe that bloggers like you and I (and the other bloggers who we regularly interact with) will be fine and backlinks will continue to help us. I’m glad that Google is clamping down on backlinks from spammers. If it’s no longer beneficialto them, maybe they will stop bombarding us with guest post suggestions.

We’ve always had to be careful what sites we linked to (and linked to us). I think Google is just taking a stronger stand now. Matt certainly got the blogosphere talking about this. Maybe spammers will move on to another strategy (wishful thinking on my part).

I’m tired of the penalty stuff too Ray. You know that my site suffered terribly a while ago and I still haven’t recovered from the loss of traffic. I’m taking Matt’s post as a “heads-up” and it serves as a reminder that I need to go back to the guest posts that I’ve published and scrutinize the backlinks. Are they all pointing to sites that I want to be associated with? If they’re pointing to an affiliate link, do I have it don’t-follow?

You’re right about new website owners. It is a challenge keeping up with everything. You and I both know that the target URL of a backlink can change too (for example, the domain name may now point to a completely different site). So, I know you’ve read the post that I’m linking to below but other readers may find it helpful.
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Donna Merrill
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Thanks for sharing this video of Matt Cutts. I think too many people took guest posts to the extreme and over-used it. It becomes spam that way.

But if we do it responsibly and really know the person who we have as a guest,it does work well. We cannot do it too often, but as long as it is original and is a trusted person, we will be fine.

So no need to be shaking in our boots when Matt came out the other day with this and it hit the internet like wild fire.

-Donna
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I agree with you Donna on your approach to guest blogging. Actually, this may help legitimate bloggers who aren’t out to just build backlinks. It has become abusive lately.

Thanks for dropping by!

Kumar Gauraw
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Interestingly, I have never been big on guest blogging for SEO although I have allowed people I trust to guest blog on my blog and I have published at other places as a guest blogger where I had a personal connection (As Matt explains).

One of the things I always did was, I had a condition that the guest blogger has to respond to comments and whenever they didn’t I made all their links (no affiliate links allowed by guest bloggers on my site anyway), as “nofollow’.

So that way, I am happy with this development. Thank you for sharing this info. I am sure a lot more write ups are on their way after this big update from Google 🙂

Regards,
kumar
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Hi Kumar,

I always get a commitment from guest bloggers here to reply to comments too. (In reality, some are better than others at doing this.) I haven’t guest blogged much myself and a few of the times that I have, it’s been because of a personal connection too.

Thanks for sharing your strategy with us. It makes a lot of sense to me (and others too, I’m sure).

David FB
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm

When I did my blog migration, it came up that you only want one version of the site live as Google will tend to view duplicate sites & posts as spam. That would be very bad SEO for your new site. There are lots of sites like that, designed simply for Google Ad traffic – so they’re pretty sensitive about this.

In that context, I’d agree. If you’re going to post the same article all over, you’re not going to help yourself.

But not guest posting? I disagree the category or value is dead. If you provide a quality article to another related site with links back to your own, it will bring quality traffic. Same with quality comments. I’ve found that the number one source of real readers (vs skimmers) is quality comments on other related sites. Guest posts have a similar effect but I do them less often.

The real trick is – your own site has to have quality content. If it doesn’t you’ll get a hit but not a reader. I’ve seen lots of things that promote hit generation (like guest posts) but too many of them just give you hit numbers. I’ve had articles promoted on some social media sites that create huge surges in hits – but they’re by skimmers who never click forward – even to read the whole article.

On the flip side, you know you’re doing well when readers stay and read more. More links per visitor, subscriptions, etc.

Then you know you’re contributing to the blogosphere.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Hi Dave,
Matt Cutts’ headline was meant to be provocative and it worked. The blogosphere is still buzzing over it. (I didn’t hesitate making my headline a little provoking too. 🙂

Anyways, Jeannette mentioned that Matt had changed his post headline. So, I checked. He went from “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done” to “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. That’s much less dramatic.

I’m going to definitely continue accepting guest posts and you never know, I may even try my hand at guest blogging.

I agree with your thoughts on guest blogging, commenting and providing quality content. You’re “dead-on” about getting readers vs skimmers. It’s about engaging with our readers and building meaningful relationships.

Your experience regarding huge surges in hits from social media sites reminds me of the time that I started receiving quite a bit of traffic from an online social game called Sitizens. (Last I checked, that site was no longer active but it looks like they’re planning a relaunch next month.) For some reason, I was on someone’s radar screen and became an unwitting recipient of traffic. Of course, the bounce rate was ridiculous and I don’t believe there was any value to me from that traffic but it was a nice boost and fodder for a blog post. 🙂

As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us on this. I know that there are several readers who enjoy the comment section here. So, I’m grateful when people take the time to join the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic SourceMy Profile

Susan Cooper
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

It’s interesting, I have wondering about this for a while. I rarely accept guest post to my blog unless they are relevant topics and I know the individual well and their intent. Because of my dyslexia, I rarely do any guest posting myself for others because it takes me so long to write one. The funny part is I get many requests to do a guest post and often turn them down. That said, I think I have been doing the right thing by default… LOL. 🙂
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I doaccept guest posts especially on topics like eCommerce and SEO. Those topics are so large that I believe it helps to bring a new perspective to my blog. I admit though that recently, I was starting to have reservations about accepting articles from one of my guest bloggers (who has contributed more than one post). While it’s hig quality content, I’ve just been having a nagging feeling that backlinking has been so abused lately (in general) that it would just be a matter of time before it could potentially hurt us.

I’m certainly going to keep accepting guest posts but I’m hoping to feature writers that are strictly interested in building relationships and brand awareness and are not motivated by affiliate links.

Congratulations on doing the right thing by “default”. 🙂

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 11:14 am

Matt Cutts really stirred up a storm with his post and had to go back and change the headline and clarify his intentions. I will continue to use quality guest posts. I have guest post guidelines on my website but I still get many awful requests — including the very one that Matt used in his post. It all goes back to the quality of the content. Quite a tempest in a teacup.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Jeannette,
He did stir up quite a storm! It’s testimonial to a good headline. 🙂

(For those of you who may not know, the original title of Matt’s post was “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done” and he changed that to “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO”.)

I have yet to post guest guidelines but I will. I’m going to continue posting quality guest posts too and yes, I get those awful requests too. “Tempest in a teacup” – I like that!

Heather fonseca
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 9:51 am

I used to post guest posts with paid links for a fee. Usually the articles were usually so poorly written I had to completely rewrite them. I’m no longer trying to make money on my blog so I’ve stopped allowing guest posts, but I probably get 20 requests a month! Some look legit but others are obviously looking for paid links and are spammy.
I’m still going through my blog, removing bad links and generally cleaning things up, but I’m still struggling to figure out how to create a no follow link. I used to be able to switch it off and on via my edit panel, but the feature’s been removed by Woo. It looks like the Yoast plugin might have a similar feature but I can’t tell if it actually makes all the links in the post “no follow” or not. I’ve tried adding the “no follow” tag directly to the links but I seem to be doing something wrong and the links don’t go where they should. Essential I’m complete befuddled.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hi Heather,
Good luck cleaning up backlinks. That is a never ending project. Sites come and go (and domains change hands). So, a backlink that was fine yesterday can go sour today.

I find the easiest way to add the “no-follow” tag (in a blog post) is to:

1) Click on the “Text” tab (on the same line as the “Add Media” button). This will switch you from “Visual” mode to show the HTML code.

2) The line that contains the link, will start with the less-than symbol and the letter “a”. (It ends with the less-than symbol followed by a forward slash another letter a and then the more-than symbol.)

Place your cursor after the less-than symbol AND the letter A.

3) Key a SPACE followed by:

rel=”nofollow”

NOTE: Code can be finicky. The best way to enter any code is to either key it directly into your post or enter it into a text editor and then copy and paste it. Do NOT copy and paste code from a word processing program directly into WordPress. That will turn your quotes from straight up and down into “fancy” quotes.

Always preview your post first and you can keep a draft post to play with code first. (I’m in the habit of always clicking back on the “Visual” tab before I update my post.)

Heather, feel free to email me if you need more help than this. It’s not easy trying to explain code without being able to insert an example of the image.

Heather Fonseca
Twitter:
February 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Oh my gosh Sheryl thank you!!!! This totally worked. I applied it into my newest post where I wanted some links “do follow” and some links “no follow” and its seems to be just fine. I’m so excited! Thank you thank you!
Heather Fonseca recently posted..Three Brands of BB Cream to TryMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 2, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Wonderful! Thanks for letting me know that worked for you Heather. (You must be proud of yourself. 🙂 Code can be tricky!)
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Diana
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 6:02 am

I just read Matt Cutts post like a couple of hours ago – great post, Sherryl!

I wouldn’t say we should put a stop on gust blogging (Matt Cutts doesn’t say that either) but we should definitely be careful whom you accept as guest author and where we post our own guest posts.

For instance, you might be very fond of a blogger and want to add value to their blog through a superb blog post your wrote – but if that blogger accepts guest posts from random people with questionable quality – then your guest post is in bad company and you should think twice before proceeding (or better say “decline”)

I am planning to open my blog for guest authors later this year – i am currently short on time to write the guest blogging guidelines, invite fellow bloggers and then deal with them until we agree on topics and all. I will be following this issue for sure – but i strongly believe posting guest posts from experts in certain areas is a great way to put yourself in front of more readers without being spammy.

Great post, buffering it for later – thanks for the read, Sherryl!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

Hi Diana,

It didn’t take long for this story to get traction, did it? In the past, I have accepted guest posts from people who I didn’t already have connections with but going forward, I’m only accepting posts from bloggers who I either know personally or have previously published articles on sites that I trust.

You raise a good point about where we submit our posts as well. I have done very little guest blogging (for time reasons) but I used to submit my RSS feed to several sites including Social Media Today. That’s a practice I stopped a couple of years ago for the very reason that you raise. I had no control over the other posts that were being included and much of that content (while good quality) was being shared on multiple channels.

That’s good that you’re writing guest blogging guidelines. That’s been on my to-do list for much too long.

Thanks for adding to the conversation and for buffering this! I appreciate it.

Lisa
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 5:46 am

Hi Sherryl, I’ve been reading up on it and it “appears” it is more about spammy guest blog posts but I may scale down to be safe. I always had an affiliate type links set as no follow so that’s not a change for me. I do have contributors at my blog and I’m assuming they are considered guest bloggers too?
Matt really created a firestorm yesterday on blogging, let’s see how far it will go Sherryl.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 21, 2014 at 9:58 am

Hi Lisa,
I agree that this is about spammy posts and not about legitimate guest posts. I’ve always refused any guest article that even appears to be written to promote a product or service but I admit that there is one guest blogger here who does have affiliate links in his posts. He does provide valuable insight into his area of expertise though. Even before I read Matt Cutts’ blog yesterday, I had decided to not publish more articles from him. I just had this unsettling feeling that I should stop. Weird! Today, I’m going back through the guest posts here checking where all the links lead to again.

As always, thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation.

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