The New Rules for Guest Blogging

By the looks of it, some search engine optimizers (SEO) and other experts have declared guest blogging dead as of Jan. 20, 2014. For it was on that day that Google’s Matt Cutts posted to his blog an article titled, “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.”

Cutts came out and said, “‚Are using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.” As head of the company’s web spam team, Cutts’ influence is well known. But, his pronouncement doesn’t mean guest blogging has ended, rather that there are new rules to carefully follow.

And there is one word in Cutts’ statement that should be amplified and that word is “probably.” For, probably means that there is still a place for guest blogging, but SEO mavens and web masters alike must understand how to do it. So, read carefully and we’ll share with you a few points to consider in 2014 and beyond.

Avoid Passing PageRank

If guest articles pass PageRank, then you’ll get in trouble here. That’s something Cutts has been saying for years anyway — it is not a new point.

The best thing to do when accepting a guest post is to tell people that all outbound links including any links to their site will carry the “no follow” attribute. The advantage here is that people who are looking simply to gain links to their site will fall away. You’ll be left with contributors who want to actually contribute something beneficial with no expectation of a PageRank benefit.

Expect Better Content

In the previous point we examined that one of the benefits of pulling the PageRank concern out of the equation was gaining better content. Websites that live or die with guest posts will fade away or will make a drastic change. Don’t count on too much of the latter as those sites that were built on a weak foundation will have little reason to make the transition.

If you’ve been managing your site professionally all along, then you’re in good shape. Moreover, you stand to gain here too as you attract only the cream of the crop contributors, people who value your website and want to be associated with it.

Contributors Fully Vetted

Cutts also left the door open to guest blogging by stating, “In general I wouldn‚Äôt recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well.”

And that is what guest blogging should be about anyway — people who write what they do in their own words or at least those own words expressed through someone with the wordsmithing skills required to make these points clearly and persuasively. For we all know that not everyone can write well, but what is written should be fully vetted and something you can personally vouch for.

Not an Ogre

Read some of the responses to Cutts’ pronouncement and you get the feeling that people view him as an ogre and Google as a big bully. There is no point getting in an argument here — Google has articulated its point of view for web search or at least for the 70 percent share of the Internet that it controls. You can play along with the new rules or risk being penalized. Most people will play along and ultimately we should all benefit from a less spammy web experience with more enriching articles contributed.

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