Is Guest Blogging for SEO Dead?

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 20, 2014

In several of our blog posts, we’ve mentioned the practice of writing high quality articles as a guest blogger as a viable SEO technique. But since last month, when Google penalized MyBlogGuest (one of the most popular guest blogging networks), many bloggers and website owners are wondering if it still makes sense to guest blog anywhere. And if you’ve been guest blogging, should you disavow the incoming links to your site from your previous guest blog pieces?

What’s wrong with guest blogging?

MyBlogGuest did not advocate paying for links, so many in the SEO industry have decried Google’s harsh actions against them. But many other guest blogging platforms have sprung up that distinctly lack a dedication to quality content.

Thus, when Google penalizes sites for links from guest blog networks, the notification it gives the webmaster via Webmaster Tools says that “Google has detected a pattern of unnatural, artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to pages on this site. These may be the result of buying links that pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.”

Some guest blogging networks do indeed offer links in exchange for low quality content. That’s why Google has come to regard guest blogging in much the same light as link spamming, just with a higher word count. Those are the guest bloggers and networks that Google is out to penalize, because they don’t really add anything of value to search results.

Legitimate guest blogging

On the other hand, there are those writers who do guest blogging to gain exposure to new readers on high-quality sites and thereby also build their reputations as industry experts. These guest bloggers don’t have anything to worry about and can carry on blogging.

So guest blogging is still a way to generate traffic and improve SERPs, but only if you keep a few pointers in mind:

  • Don’t put all your link building eggs in one basket. Diversify your link building strategy by using known and authoritative directories, social networks and other link sources that are relevant to your site and of unquestionable quality.

  • If you have a local presence, be sure to get listed in Yelp, Foursquare, Insider Pages and other local business directories.

  • Make sure the site you agree to write for is the “real deal”–a place with actual readers who interact with each other and with the author(s) in the comments.

  • Focus on readers and their interests, answering the questions they might ask or informing them of exciting new developments in your industry.

  • Keep links out of the body of blog posts you write for other sites. Instead, have a single link in the Author Bio section and craft content that’s interesting enough to make readers click through for more.

As Google’s Matt Cutts said in his announcement about the new guest blogging-related policy change, “If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.” But if you’re writing informative and original content to inform real readers on legitimate blogs and websites, carry on!