After Matt Cutts’ post about guest blogging sent a ripple through the webmaster community, I wanted to clear some of the smoke and explain why I think Matt Cutts is just trying to use scare tactics and discourage hardworking SEOs.
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done” -Matt Cutts
As we say back home in North Carolina, If you believe this, I got some oceanfront property in Tennessee selling REAL cheap! If guest blogging hurts your rankings, that means every time someone else writes about you on their blog or site, they are actually hurting you and this just cannot be the case. It doesn’t take an SEO genius to be able to see that Google could never implement an algorithm that would effectively put a stop to guest posting.
Here’s a Real World Example
When I was working at NYFA.edu I noticed hundreds of articles being written about our organization every week. Being one of the most famous film schools in the world with several thousand students and international locations, this is just bound to happen. I even set alerts to notify me of each one so I could track them down and make the most out of each posting and mention. That being said, according to Matt Cutts, this kind of activity should have killed our rankings!
How to Guest Blog Effectively
You can be caught violating Google’s link scheme guidelines via guest blogging and penalized! However, the trick is to not get caught so this means you have to do it in a way that looks “natural” and compliant.
Don’t send mass mailers- If reported as spam, it will raise red flags with Google. Manually write each email to be unique and customized to each outreach scenario.
Don’t ask- for links that pass PR in your email exchanges. “That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.”
Don’t use EMAT- Using exact match anchor text is a thing of the past anyways and a clear signal of ranking manipulation. Less than 20% of your inbound links should contain EMAT.
Don’t post on crappy sites- Stay away from splogs, bad neighborhoods and spammy networks. Only do guest posting exchanges with high quality relevant sites that will increase your credibility and authority not pull it down.
Don’t allow bad placement- Make sure your posts are not specifically marked as “guest post”, “sponsored post” or even put into a sponsored category or archive.
Don’t worry about even getting a link! Instead, a mention of your site or brand can be just as effective via citation building. You can also get great exposure and link juice from your Google Authorship account or from linking to your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts.
- Think of legitimate ways to engage and collaborate with relevant sites.
- Provide high quality content from authoritative Google Authorship accounts or known bloggers.
- Pick up the phone or try to contact people on other networks such as Linkedin, Twitter, FB or even face to face within your business community. Relying solely on emails can be view as spam.