Guest Blog

How to Avoid Collateral Damage in Google’s Attack on Guest Blogs

If you’ve been following the search engine news lately, you know that Google recently penalized MyBlogGuest. They view guest blogs as a key contributor to spammy practices. The tactic of guest blogging was put on notice in mid-January by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team. Despite the warning, many in the community weren’t sure when and how Google would take action. It appears now we’ve been given our answer.

Background on Guest Blogs

To provide a little context to this situation, it’s important to understand how we got here.  Guest blogging has been used for years, why the sudden attack?  Matt Cutts answered that question in his blog best when he said “Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking ‘guest post outsourcing’ and writing articles about ‘how to automate guest blogging.'”

I’m not going to debate whether this is a good or bad move by Google, the Internet is full of opinions about that already.  Regardless of how you feel about it, Cutts is right.  There were and are legitimate reasons to guest blog, but it’s a link building strategy that’s been abused for years and Google had to do something.  So what does this mean for you now?

What Happens to Guest Blogging?

It means guest blogging for SEO purposes is dead.  It’s done and buried and not coming back.  That, however, does not mean that guest blogging isn’t still a good tactic – a tactic for exposure.  It’s important to understand the difference so we’ll give give you some simple rules to follow.

First, stop using guest blog networks.  Some of them may follow all of Google’s guidelines to the letter and be perfectly safe from Google taking action.  However, it may not be easy to discern which is which and you do not want to be penalized inadvertently.  You can still guest blog, but find blogs that match your audience and reach out to the owner directly, don’t use a middleman.  You also need to make sure any blogs you write for are using best practices, which brings me to rule number two…

Second, make sure you’re using “nofollow” tags on any outbound links. Google’s John Mueller gave advice about this in mid-2013 and it will continue to be the pattern moving forward. It’s still a good idea to provide links so your readers can find the information and resources you are providing. But remember, you’re not guest blogging for the SEO, so it’s imperative you follow Google’s advice and “nofollow” any outbound links.

Third, focus on your content and the rest will follow.  It’s obvious Google is trying to do away with SEO, but only as a strategy.  If you’re providing good content and you’re providing it often, Google wants you to be found.  They just want it to happen more organically because you’re providing content that people are searching for.

If you adhere to these simple rules, you should be able to avoid any collateral damage.

Conclusion

Guest blogging is dead for SEO, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a tactic for increasing your exposure.  If you goal is providing content that is helpful to others, you’re on the right track.  Make sure you adhere to Google’s guidelines and follow the three simple rules above and you’ll be in good shape.  Happy blogging!