Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging “Done” … Are We All Screwed?

Guest Blogging is Not Dead

Matt Cutts went Richard Sherman on guest blogging today.

The gist of his personal blog post — entitled “The decay and fall of guest blogging” — is this:

Guest blogging was once an authentic way to reach people, but now it’s spammy, so we should all expect Google to start spanking sites that publish guest blogs.

In his words:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.

We publish articles from guest contributors here at Copyblogger. You may too on your site. You’ve probably written a guest blog post, or two, or ten. Are you screwed? Are we all?

No. But don’t take it from me.

Guest blogging is not done

Take it from the CEO, who tweeted this not long after Cutts’ blog post started making its way through the Twittersphere:

If you were running your site like a true media production, this whole “no guest blogging” thing would be even sillier to you.

— Brian Clark (@brianclark) January 20, 2014

He then expounded:

@MichelleDLowery There is no way @mattcutts is talking about online magazines with multiple contributors.

— Brian Clark (@brianclark) January 20, 2014

@MichelleDLowery My point being, treat it like a magazine, with quality standards, and you’re fine. cc: @mattcutts

— Brian Clark (@brianclark) January 20, 2014

And finally, the ultimate lesson in all of this:

@joehall I agree with you. But why change the type of site you create because @mattcutts said something? Build quality no matter what.

— Brian Clark (@brianclark) January 20, 2014

Build quality no matter what

Google fails as a search engine if it starts penalizing sites that deliver quality content just because that content happens to be in the form of a guest post. And we all fail as publishers if we follow a strategy of chasing hypothetical algorithm changes.

Quality will always win.

Guest blogging is not “done,” dead, or destitute. Have standards, do right by your audience, and play to win in the long term.

In short, don’t act like a spammer. And I think you know what that means.

Follow this simple rule, and you’re not screwed if you publish content from outside contributors. And you’re not screwed if you contribute to other sites.

Unless they suck. Unless they are the spammers. Then, yes, you’re screwed … but you didn’t need to hear from Matt Cutts to know that.

Update: Cutts clarifies

Matt updated his post with this:

Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.

I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.

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