Guest Posting: Should I still do it?

At the beginning of this year, the head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, wrote a blog titled, ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO‘. After reading this, many people (naturally) have questioned the worth of guest blogging. As this year draws to a close we’d like to address the issue head on to help clear the air on guest posting.

Here at Keyword Eye, we’ve set up an old-school debate not to determine if you should still guest blog or not — But to help you make an informed decision.

Guest Posting: Should I still do it? No!

If you’re desperate to get links, and clutching at guest posting as a last possible lifeline then this is not for you.

Guest posting solely for links can be tempting. Creating high quality content for authoritative sites takes a long time, and a lot of effort. And when there are lots of other sites willing to post everything and anything, it doesn’t take much thought to start getting in contact with these guys instead. But, it’s important to step back and think: “If this site publishes something of mine that has been rushed and splattered with links, then what other low quality content are they posting?” And more importantly, “Do I want to be associated with it?

As a golden rule you should never write for a website that publishes any old blog, or publish a writer that writes any old blog. To be successful, guest posts must be shared between a site and a writer that specialize in a common interest.

Littering a post with lots of low-quality, spammy links will not improve your SEO. Sure, you might see an increase in traffic coming to your site, but it will almost definitely be the wrong kind. People will click on your site, and then click away instantly, resulting in a high bounce rate. And, considering that the average bounce rate is already 50%, you don’t want to increase this.

Also, if you get caught out by the guest posting algorithm then you risk being removed from search engines for months on end whilst you get rid of all the black hat links you wasted time creating. If you thought your SEO struggled without guest posting, then imagine having no search engine ranking at all. If SEO is something that you struggle with,  it might be a good idea to check out our blog from last week which discusses the most important search engine ranking features of today.

Guest Posting: Should I still do it? Yes!

The people that will continue with guest posting are adamant that it is not dead, in their minds it is simply retreating back to it’s roots. What they mean by this is going back to a time when a high-quality writer would post on a relevant blog, or a high-quality blog would seek out a talented, on-topic writer — A time when everyone wore white hats and SEO came to those that deserved it. But, as with every great SEO practice, a mass of baddies in black hats jumped on the bandwagon, churning out poor-quality guest posts filled with spammy links.

However, this is no reason to stop guest posting. The underlying message in Matt Cutt’s blog is that guest posters must be more cautious in order to differentiate themselves from the black hats. To do this you need to double check that the sites you are linking to are authoritative and applicable to what you are writing about. For more context, check out this video by Google’s webspam team:

To make guest posting work for you, it shouldn’t be your only way of obtaining backlinks. First and foremost, it should be a way of entertaining and informing your users, with backlinks acting as a side bonus. If you are a high-quality writer, or publisher, but you do really rely on the backlinks from your blog, then check out this post about guest-blogging by the backlink experts at Backlinko.

Used correctly, guest posting is a great way to build relationships with fellow authorities within your industry. It’s also a way of gaining feedback from your peers and users about what content works best for your site. And despite what others think of guest posting, if you do it right it’s been proven to work. Studies have shown that 90% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog.

So, you’ve heard both sides of the story, seen both sides of the coin, now it’s time to answer the question yourself. But, before you do, we have one last snippet of advice that is worthing taking a look at. This brilliant video by Moz shows the journey of guest blogging:

Written by AJ Silber

Read more of AJ's articles.