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I’m late to the party on this. Matt Cutts’ post on guest blogging was over a month ago and there have been numerous responses to it across the internet.

So why post now? Because Alvaro asked me to. I’m an advocate of link building through content (in the inbound marketing/content marketing/promote interesting, engaging content school), but the line between that and spammy techniques keeps getting blurred by the sort of SEO “experts” who couldn’t engage with an audience if they got down on one knee on a gondola ride in Venice.

With that said, here’s my interpretation of Matt Cutts’ post.

buy When a guest blog post is useful (Hint: It’s not when you want a followed link)

Guest blog posting, as far as I’m concerned, is an opportunity to get my content in front of another audience and get them to give my site a chance too. If you actually read Matt Cutts’ post (or the comment conversations that he got involved with), that’s fine.

I’ll take a link because that’s what the audience can follow, but I want it to be the name of my website and I want it to be in an author bio section, because I want people to know it’s my content and where they can find more. It can be nofollowed. I really don’t care. That’s not why I’m here.

Does that have a positive SEO impact? Honestly, I think it does. Not necessarily the post itself (I do think nofollow links can still be helpful but that’s another topic), but through any sharing or new visitors (who may share future content) or anything else that the other channels you should be engaging with can provide.

This is all old news though; “write a quality piece of content, promote it properly and you should see some benefits in rankings and traffic” is hardly ground-breaking advice. online pharmacies canada When a guest blog post isn’t useful

Matt (yeah, we’re on first name terms) actually gives a good example of this in the post. It’s when you’re misleading the audience or search engines. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because that’s exactly what Google’s link guidelines warn against.

Not alerting the audience when your content is an editorial/advertorial/sponsored piece? You’re being a misleading dick. Linking through in the copy with exact match anchor text on followed links? You’re being a misleading dick to search engines (which ultimately means you’re being a misleading dick to the audience of the search engine because they expect quality, non-manipulated results in their organic listings, you dick).

This becomes even worse (like the example in Mr Cutts’ post (we fell out and now I have to use his surname)) when you’re paying for a blog post so you can get the links. And calling this a sponsored blog post instead does not make this better. canadian pharmacy online Why did Matt even need to say this?

Well, the first reason is because, unfortunately, SEO tends to be done by marketers or advertisers.
Even Rand Fishkin of Moz fame has said (in a less direct way) that marketers tend to be inhuman assholes.

The second is that it still works. We’ve had Penguin and Penguin 2 and Panda and whatever else, but there are still black hat ways of doing SEO and they still have a positive effect on your rankings. Buying links in blog posts is one of these and has replaced buying sidebar links, which replaced buying sitewide links.

One argument I’ve heard about why this still works is that Google isn’t smart enough to tell if a guest blog post is spammy, but again that’s a topic for another day (suffice to say, Google employs people who are smarter than you and is developing ways of automatically spotting shitty blog posts).

Which brings us to…

If it works, why not do it?  or  The Conclusion

I like to view Matt Cutts’ youtube videos and blog posts as an early warning system. They’re an indication of where Google is next focussing its attention. Recently, that’s been spammy guest blog posting, so I’d start trimming your backlink profile for those before another big round of Penguin penalties roll out (if you value long term success over short term gains, of course).

Basically, Matt Cutt’s post changed nothing. Google is still against spammy links. Google is still against bought links. This was just him highlighting a specific example of spammy, bought links that, for some reason, lots of SEOs think are okay.

I’m going to finish with a quote from his article about behaviour that, in my experience, is endemic to SEO and what’s wrong with the industry:

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.”

Thanks for reading, and I hope this has been helpful, useful or interesting in some small way.

Alex Douglas-Mann is a professional SEO person who loves content. He doesn’t have his own SEO or marketing site, but you can reach him @Fingerwords on Twitter. He does have a website called Fingerwords, but it has nothing to do with this post and is just full of stories and poetry instead.

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