Just today I got the following email: “We are interested in forming a content relationship with your site. Our writers can construct a carefully researched guest article for your site. The aim is unique and interesting content for your readers to enjoy. Our goal is to provide high quality content that can naturally attract traffic and links. This way we both win! We just ask that we can place one reference in the article or bio back to our site.”
Like most bloggers, I get upwards of a dozen posts like this a week. It’s not terribly surprising; I have a mid-range pagerank blog (my site’s a 4 right now), and I also have infrequent posting with low enough traffic that it probably appears that I’m a both an SEO novice and hungry for content. So I look like an easy mark to anyone practicing black hat SEO tricks.
But I think the days of getting emails like the one I quoted above are in the past. In a recent post on his blog, Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam Team) wrote:
“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.”
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.”
So what does this mean for you as a blogger? Well, as Matt Cutts said, don’t take guest posts from people you don’t know and don’t accept “guest posts” for pay. But of course you can continue to feature other writers or bloggers on your site (Kristen Howerton, for instance, has a lovely guest posting series on her site Rage Against the Minivan that is unlikely to raise any red flags at Google). As John Rampton pointed out in Search Engine Journal:
I’m positive that Cutts isn’t bashing on all guest posting but more on people that are only guest posting for a stupid link. Seriously people, stop guest posting for links. Guest post cause you’re now in front of a unique audience that you can teach something new to. Teach and inspire them. Show them something they haven’t seen before. Be a real part of a new community to expand your personal brand. Focus on HIGH-QUALITY and not lower/garbage posts.
Personally, I’ll just be happy if this reduces the onslaught of spammy emails I get on a daily basis. For now I’m going to respond to those pitches with Matt’s post. Maybe it will help all of us.