From all indication it does appear that it is time to braze up for another big surprise from the almighty Google! And when I say “big” that might just be an understatement!
A few days ago, Matt Cutt, the head of Google’s webspam team, again shook the SEO world when he wrote on his personal blog that he “expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward.”
Of course, that assertion drew the ire of the SEO community and Matt had to quickly add an update some clarifications. But that notwithstanding, it is clear from the tone of Matt’s post that Google is definitely up to something!
Stick A Fork In It: Guest Blogging Is Done!
I personally want to look beyond the clarifications. His message is clear enough. Hear him:
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”
Going further, he said,
“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.”
I’m sure the warning signals are clear enough.
Will Google Really Go On With Such A Threat?
Considering the fact that Google had issued some form of warning in the past (like the warning against content farms before the Panda update, we just need to take this one real serious.
For sometime now Google has being giving some form of warning against guest blogging. For example, take a look at these ones issued through Matt:
- Back in 2012, Matt issued his first warning in a video where he talked about high-quality guest posts vs. spammer guest blogs.
- In July of 2013 there was another warning with an advice to nofollow links in a guest post!
- Not quite long after that, in October 2013, another warning came with the advice to do guest blogging with moderation!
- And then in Dec. 2013, Matt indicated that Google would take stronger action against what he termed: “guest blogging as spam!”
I’m sure you can clearly see the handwriting on the wall!
This simply reminds me of a saying among my people that when the hen repeatedly pecks the head of the cockroach, it would definitely swallow the cockroach! 🙂 So, if Google has repeatedly warned against guest blogging, we cannot expect anything less.
We must also recall that Google issued this type of warning against content farms before releasing the Panda update.
How Will This Affect The Blogging Community?
Though we cannot clearly say for now what the outcome would be if Google made good its threats (Google has always been unpredictable), one thing I can say for now is that like the Panda update that affected both the “good and the ugly”, any harmer on guest blogging will definitely affect many blogs.
My reasoning here is the fact that nearly every blog that accepts guest posts usually rewards the guest blogger with a dofollow link. It’s kind of expected. And thus far there is no indication if Google has the tools to differentiate between guest posts that were done “purely” for SEO purposes and those that were not. If this is not in place, any penalty targeted at guest blogging would definitely have wide sweeping effects!
Is There Anything We Can Do About This?
For now, I think we need to carefully study Matt’s post especially the update he was forced to add after the many reactions from the SEO community.
Here’s the addition:
“It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). 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. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.
I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”
If you it reading carefully, it is clear that multi-author blogs might just escape the harmer if it ever fell! But for the rest of us, the recommendation is, be skeptical and cautious!
Very elusive you might say!
In the recent past Google has shown that it’s indeed the almighty when it comes to search engine marketing. They set the rules and they enforce them. Internet marketers and content marketing practitioners have always been at Google’s mercy. I think what we just need to do right now is to prepare our blogs for this update. Trying to fight or live in denial mood will not help.
Over to you: What is your take on this new move? Do you think Google would be doing the blogging community good if they hit at blogs that accept guest posts just because those posts have dofollow links?