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:

He then expounded:

And finally, the ultimate lesson in all of this:

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.

Want to discuss anything about this article? Share your thoughts over on Google+.

About the author

Jerod Morris


Jerod Morris is the Director of Content for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter, , or see what makes his heart sing at Primility.com.

Print Friendly

Smarter is Better Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing

Here’s what we’ve got for you:

  • 15 high-impact ebooks on content marketing, SEO, email marketing, landing pages, keyword research, and more.
  • A 20-part Internet marketing course that lays out a comprehensive path for your own online strategy.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of Copyblogger.com, and how it all profitably fits together.
Free Registration

Take The Conversation Further ...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Google+ or Twitter to join the conversation right now!

Comments

  1. I opened up my blog for guest blogging months ago. I was excited, not knowing that I have opened up the flood gate of spam.. I realised it after a few weeks but by then, it was too late and the damage was done

    I’ve stopped accepting guest posts, even if they look like real bloggers or writers now. I just can’t take that chance anymore.. the links on the article may point to a bad site, articles may have been spun, etc etc.. sad

    • Michael, you have learned a tough lesson than I also learned. It is why you must be ever-vigilant about the quality of the content AND the links on your site. (And usually if you focus on the former, the latter mostly takes care of itself.) Never accept guest posts just to accept them … accept them and publish them when they deliver true value to your audience.

      • Yeah, I thought they were genuine writers so I was trying to help them out as well to get exposure/portfolio.

        Didn’t realise it til it’s too late and my blog’s link was everywhere on the net (those that accept guest posts). Probably contribute to an algorithmic penalty by Penguin, sigh, who knows

        • Michael – I think sometimes they actually are genuine writers. They’ve just been led astray…

          In the past, I’ve worked with some freelancers who’d been hired by an SEO firm to seek out guest posting opportunities for clients.

          They were real people, not posers with a pen-name. And it was quality content.

          The problem was they were using guest posting as a way to try and manipulate rankings.

          I don’t know how Google could determine the “motivation” behind a post – but they could certainly make a good guess about authors/sites who appear in too many places on lower quality sites, and are writing about an extremely wide range of topics instead of writing as an “authority.”

          That being said – I wonder if too much “spammy guest posting” could also affect an author’s online authority?

          • It certainly can — that’s one of the goals of Authorship (in my opinion, from the outside looking in) — to discourage writers from tarnishing their own reputations by participating in spam.

          • As a branding expert or someone who works in the branding and online brand or reputation management industry, I confidently say that an author (or any professional)’s online authority becomes jeopardized when associated with either questionable content or questionable network of sites, companies, and professionals. For example, consider a LinkedIn profile. If someone reached out to you through LinkedIn and you checked that person’s profile and saw that he or she was associated with questionable companies or contacts, you’d think twice about that person’s credibility and motivation.

  2. Darren DeMatas :

    As richard would say “Don’t try me with a sorry guest blog post thats spammy”

  3. Jerod,

    Great analysis. Your lede wins the internet today.

  4. Bad idea in general to ever run a guest post:

    - That you don’t think is 100% right for your audience
    - From someone you don’t know and wouldn’t be able to vouch for

    Those two bad ideas were bad before Matt’s post.

    • That’s summarized, now!

    • Thanks for those two points Sonia. They do help clarify things a bit.

      :-)

      • I think Sonia’s first point is dead right: think about your audience. I’m not so sure about her second point.

        My policy has always been to ask people who ask if they can guest blog to demonstrate the quality of their writing first. And if the quality, style and general tone of voice is in line with your blog, why not give them a go?

        • It’s a matter of doing some due diligence. What else are they publishing? Where? Do they have a reputation? You don’t have to be “big” to be well respected.

          Even if they’re good, if they’re creating a lot of sub-standard content for this kind of spam, you don’t want them or their links on your site.

          Of course, you can always talk with them and try to convince them to forego the Dark Side.

  5. Yikes! I just paid for Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Course and NOW you tell me the practice is going away??

    My take away:

    “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.”

    I’m working to craft quality posts, not just spam to generate meaningless traffic.

    I’m still working through Jon’s course and learning loads, but I have guest posted already. Those posts have always been reviewed before being published.

    • Brenda, if you are writing quality content, then you’ll be just fine.

      • How the hell does someone define “quality.” That word is so subjective and means completely different things to different people. And even if it were perfectly definable, how the hell could a search engine know the difference between quality and unquality?

        Seriously, google isn’t able to differentiate good, copyblogger approved, writing from junk writing. How could it! Most people can’t even consciously tell the difference, how could a algorithm…

        • It’s actually not all that complex.

          Content is high-quality when it works for the audience: it gets shared, it gets linked to (by real sites with real audiences), people go on to read more content on the site, etc.

          It’s the job of the search engines to get very smart about those “signals” and how to measure them, while filtering out the game-playing.

        • Quality content, by my definition, would include the following:

          1) Original, written by the purported author.

          2) Timely or timeless. Either extremely newsworthy and relevant, or extremely useful and having a long shelf-life.

          3) Doesn’t beat a dead horse and cover ground already covered ad nauseum by 6 billion other bloggers.

          4) Captures my interest in the first sentence and holds my attention throughout.

          5) Makes me want to continue the conversation (even, perhaps, to spontaneously share or link to it in a post of my own).

          It’s not that hard, is it? But some people insist on making their life’s work an attempt to reduce that to a formula – splog, rinse, repeat.

    • There’s a terminology problem, I think. If you read the email Matt pasted into his post, you’ll get an excellent look at what you should not ever do.

    • (And everything you’re learning in Jon’s course will continue to serve you very well.)

      • I’m counting on it!

      • What’s funny is I had one of the biggest sales days ever for my guest blogging course yesterday. A huge flood of people signed up. I’m guessing it’s because of all of the smart people (like you) explaining what Matt really meant.

        Now, if only I can get him to endorse my course as the RIGHT way to do things… *wanders off to achieve world domination*

    • What you learn in Jon’s course won’t just help your guest blogging abilities, but your blogging abilities in general. If nothing else, you come out a better writer.

      The course’s true value comes from having the team review your work and suggest improvements. Their assistance through multiple drafts won’t just strengthen your guest post; they will strengthen your writing.

      The course is like steroids for your writing muscles.

  6. Someone was freaking out about this on a Google+ group I’m on, and I said this exact thing to them. I guess I know what type of writer he was and what site he ran.

    • Most likely. :-)

      I am all for Google cracking down on spammy link-generation practices. We all are. But for a search engine that is so focused on giving its users the best content possible, it simply does not make sense for ALL guest blogging to deemed unworthy.

  7. Not all guest posting is dead and buried but only the low quality, spammy one where the only goal of guest poster was to gain a dofollow backlink not to reach a new audience.

    Just like the company exposed in the investigation cought bribing bloggers to post articles on their sites http://searchengineleaks.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/guestpostshop-bribing-bloggers-investigation/

  8. Some of the best blogs on the web are multi-author blogs. Stick to producing terrific stuff.

    When it’s your own blog, only publish the very best you’re capable of, no matter whose name is there. If a post isn’t really right, don’t run it. (Or work with the writer to make it great.)

    When it’s someone else’s blog, show up with your best and don’t cut corners.

  9. The over-reaction to Matt’s statement is a tad funny but also understandable.

    I want to call Matt the “Alan Greenspan” of our industry. Has to choose his words carefully if he doesn’t want to throw people into a panic.

    At the same time, I appreciate how forthright he is about what he says. He did append his blog post with some qualifying statements about quality guest blogging, I just wish he would have done that up front.

    • I agree … Cutts went back and specifically added language to clarify that he doesn’t mean quality multi-author blogs:

      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.

      • Being that I own a guest posting service, I was incredibly nervous on January 20th when I saw Matt’s announcement, but I have since mellowed out about the whole thing. I agree with you, Google is going after low quality spam and guest posting has been an abused tactic in SEO. When guest posting is done properly and you submit quality content to niche relevant sites, it’s still a good method for building rankings, traffic, and authority.

    • Great point Scott. I completely agree with the Alan Greenspan analogy.

      Matt Cutts should be very careful when crafting his copy!
      :-)

    • Yep, great point Scott. His changes make it much more clear what he meant.

  10. The first Cutt is always the deepest. All kidding aside, this news is not bad.
    Michael

  11. Lol, someone couldn’t wait to use a Richard Sherman reference I see. ;-)

  12. I just had a request for a guest post and when he sent it to me, it read like an advertisement for a law firm (link included). This person has no ties to the firm other than I assume they pay him to get the crap on as many sites as possible. I refused it but nicely suggested if the law firm would like to advertise on my site, I was open to conversation. Never heard from him again.

    I think this is the type of post Cutts was referring to.

    A true guest post should tell a compelling story that is beneficial to the site readers…Quality as you say. Thanks for this.

  13. Awww maaaan. Content Marketing died earlier this month and now this? I’m still grieving the death of social and email marketing. Why won’t the things stop dying?!!?!

    (great post.)

  14. adolf witzeling :

    Guest Posts are Dead. For real? You’d rather get rid of guest posts than eliminating spam? Not logical! Just my two cents.

  15. Matt Cutts is not a magician. He’s smart, his engineers are even smarter but google crawlers are robots. They will penalize the super spammy blogs and all other posts will be fine.

    It’s what makes up the web. Not publishing a guest post on your blog is silly. If it’s good, quality content then post away! And if it has a link back to a writers site and makes sense then that’s fine. If it’s just to link back for SEO then don’t post it.

    Matt Cutts needs to go away already. Retracting his statement should tell you all something.

    • I think Matt’s fine. I imagine he gets a little frustrated having to find 27 million ways to say the exact same thing: Quit trying to game search by publishing crap.

      Frankly, it’s the “I wonder what Matt meant by that” follow-ups that make me shake my head at times.

  16. Well, it’s a relief to hear that those of us non-spammers can go about our business as usual. But if that’s what Cutts meant all along…why didn’t he just say that and ditch the hyperbolic title? *sadist*

  17. That’s too bad he updated his post. I like the exasperated Cutts better than the thoughtful one.

  18. I actually think this is a good thing. The emphasis people put on loophole techniques never ceases to amaze me.

    Instead of saying I’m going to create the very best I can for the next 12 months and enjoy the ride. Everyone seems to think “I want to get famous no matter what I have to do.”

    If it weren’t for spam killers like Matt Cutts and company, the web would be one big Viagra ad…

  19. He got our attention, now did he? But then of course, he had OUR attention already, because he IS Matt Cutts, the voice of Google.

    But I imagine if he had been clearer about his message in the first place, we wouldn’t have kicked up so much dust on the topic. And what is the value of our dust? Amplification. I’m sure that there are many folks who are finding out who Matt Cutts is today…just like I’m finding out who Richard Sherman is. [Amy Pabalan is shaking her head at me in disgust, I know. :) ]

    This little kerfluffle reminds me of the bear bells I used to affix to my daughters’ jackets when we hiked the mountains of Oregon. That seems to be Matt’s style. A preference of bear bells over pepper spray. Warning shots to get our attention and make sure that the Google experience is a high-quality one.

    That’s why I spend 75% of my social media engagement over on Google Plus…and most of the remaining on Twitter.

    And yes, Brenda, Jon’s class does rock, does it not? I had NO idea I would be getting that much value. Simply stunned.

  20. My conclusion after reading the post and comments:

    As long as you know what you’re doing, whether it’s open & honest or spamming & manipulative, you already know full well what is likely to happen – you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    PS. I hadn’t come across Mr. Cutts before today. Having googled him, I now understand he works at Google. If he has his way, it would mean Google would define “quality” no longer by content, but by where it is published. This won’t kill the spammers, it’ll only create the next-new breed. Instead, why not go after those who commit clear violations of Google’s quality guidelines?

  21. Matt Cutts is a jerk. He knew the uproar this would cause.

    He’s frustrated because he knows the spammers have him beat.

    As long as links = authority there will be link schemes. Too much money is at stake.

  22. SEO is dead, Google Authorship is a waste of time, content marketing sucks …

  23. Guest blogging is dead?

    And not only that. You can read just about every month that blogging is dead as well.

    Next thing we’ll read is that bloggers are dead too (I’m checking my pulse…).

    I think it’s important not to get side-tracked with these kind of predictions. As long as we offer top content to our readers – whether it’s our own posts, or guest posts – blogs will continue to thrive.

    • Kimberly Davis :

      I think true quality content is important and if you’re educated in this then you’ll also apply your wisdom and knowledge before thinking about how much money it’s going to make you. If you care about quality blogging and reading then just be watchful. If people care more about the almighty dollar (which there’s alot of that unfortunately) then yes we’re going to ruin good reading and marketing on the net. Remember: FTGOOD ALWAYS PREVAILS.

  24. I have carefully read through the post and all of the comments.

    To me there is a silver lining here: all of us who have been producing excellent content thanks to Copyblogger and Jon Morrow’s guest blogging course are likely to move up in the search engine rankings as the changes (implied by Matt Cuts) take effect.

    Isn’t that a big win for us?

  25. I believe your post and your company’s influence in the blogger space really shifted the narrative today and combated Matt Cutts’ misguided post. I just saw his edits. Great job!

  26. Fabulous blog! Quality above everything, I say.

  27. What Matt was really trying to say was “SEO is spammy” :)

    I’m speaking from the deadzone of course.

  28. As long as people no longer exploit guest blogging as a tactic to gain high quantities of backlinks to their website in order to influence search rankings than what’s the problem? I can appreciate people’s concerns around whether the algorithm is sophisticated enough to differentiate between low quality content sites and high quality online publications however Google’s aim will always be to provide the best possible results to its users, by doing this it will remain the most dominate search engine and the revenue generated through their paid ad systems will continue to grow.

    My point being that if Google fail to make this differentiation then their search engine will fail to secure a large share of the market.

    The only way webmasters will be affected by Google’s resilience to penalise sites that participate in guest blogging tactics is if they attempt to scale through exploiting blogs that have little to no editorial guidelines to secure backlinks that move influence search rankings.

  29. Great Analysis Morris.
    Guest Blogging may be an alternate way to reach out to your audience but it’s the matter of disgrace when bloggers simply used it to spam their links.
    If we stick to the quality there is no harm in writing guest posts but be little conscious while accepting guest posts requests.

    Although Guest Blogging is constructive way to build community but beware of the spammers too……

  30. I would still continue not to accept guest blog posts and neither do I write any, just to be on safer side. Google can still track using maybe the authorship. Guest blogging might work well for famous bloggers like CopyBlogger but not all new blogs. I had written a post this this which I believe might add few more points to the above article and also my point on why I don’t accept guest posts. http://howtotechguru.com/guest-blogging-for-your-blog/2106

    • You can accept quality guest posts. Just have standards, and adhere to them.

    • Hey Ravindra,

      While I respect your decision to not accept or write guest posts, I don’t think your point of being on the ‘safe’ side should be a reason not to do guest posting.

      Guest posting is about exposure , branding, reaching a larger audience, building relationships/community as well as getting expert opinions or other viewpoints that would be of interest to your audience among other things. Basically, by doing proper guest posting, you’re finding a valid traffic stream to your website that doesn’t rely on Google and whatever algorithm changes it brings.

      It really is sad to me though because a blanket statement such as the one that Matt Cutts has made will probably scare some people from guest posting (either receiving or giving) making for a more closed web or one where we keep hearing from the same people over and over.

      The great thing about internet is that it allows for spreading/sharing/collaboration of ideas in a much faster & efficient way.

      … end of mini rant :)

      • Alon, I’m with you. Some of the best, most popular articles on our company blog came from guest authors. I would never close my site to other contributors. If nothing else, it helps keep your readers engaged by providing a fresh perspective. I can’t think of a single major blog I follow that doesn’t allow qualified contributors.

        I also enjoy posting on other sites because I get to write about topics that are of interest to me, but don’t necessarily fit my employer’s site.

        I get plenty of the spammy emails Cutts used as an example in his piece. I’ve responded to some of them inquiring as to whether or not I’ll be able to post on their sites. I’ve yet to receive an affirmative answer because spammers are all about take, no give.

  31. I would think that the main thing Google is going to be watching out for is repetitive posts on the net. This has always been Google policy. You can’t have two websites with the same content. Google doesn’t play with that, never has. So if you have guest content that also appears on other blogs, you could be sabotaging yourself with Google.
    Lesson is to keep the content fresh and new. Who but a spammer would want to do otherwise, anyway?

    • Agree. Make sure that any guest post is ONLY for your site, not a duplicate.

      • Great point…I saw a blog article recently that was well written and it had lots of comments BUT I then saw it on several other blogs too. I assume that those blog sites felt it was great content so they included it. I didn’t consider Google’s perspective of seeing that same content (with the same headline) in multiple places. So thanks for mentioning the duplicate content issue.

        • There’s always the canonical tag if for some reason you want to post the same content in two places.

          But as the “host” blog, sometimes someone will send you something they’ve already posted without letting you know — as the publisher you just need to verify what you’re getting.

        • It’s also possible you’re seeing scrapes — disreputable blogs that copy posts from other blogs. These are also known as scumbags. (Technical term, there.)

  32. Guest blogging (the spammy kind Matt’s talking about) has been “dead” a long time. It just hasn’t laid down and stopped kicking. It’s like litter on the highways in the 1970s. I remember people who were righteously angry over new laws to prevent it, who honestly believed it was their RIGHT to toss their household trash at the side of the road.

    I wonder that anyone who does “offer quality content” ever wasted a moment’s worry on Matt’s pronouncement; surely they all know it doesn’t apply to THEM?

    • Holly, you would hope so … but based on the initial comments to Matt’s post (before he updated it), there was a lot of fear that he was referring to ALL guest blogging.

      • Well, there’s a lot of fear and hyperbole on the Internet, in general. You’ve been around long enough to know that.

        Seriously, though, what’s the point in blogging if blogs become glorified ads and exercises in jockeying for search engine placement – if no one READS blogs, anymore? (I can say that here, right? I don’t think Copyblogger’s in any danger.) What’s the point of link-building if we’re all so wary of linkmines that we don’t click anything?

        What’s the point of email (or snail mail, lately, for that matter) if we’re all so weary of being bombarded by spam that we can’t even be bothered to sift through it to find the good stuff or even our bills? (I’m getting to that point, and I weep for all the dead trees lying in a heap on my dining room table.)

        It all backfires, eventually, doesn’t it?

        • It all backfires … except for creating quality content that solves problems for an audience. That never backfires. And the issue people took with Matt’s post, as originally worded, is that he seemed to saying even quality guest blogging was “done” because a portion of it (a big portion) was spammy.

          • I’d have just blithely assumed he was addressing the spammy guest bloggers who like to THINK they’re “producing quality content” instead of “writing things people want to read,” and gone on my merry way. :)

            Spammy bloggers know all the good buzzwords, but have no idea how to produce quality content. I’d rather read badly written, genuine posts from real people than well-written but bland splogs. The spinning software is getting cleverer, though – I have to give the developers props for that, even though I’d rather they fell into a deep, dark hole. Makes me think of the old adage about an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters eventually churning out the collected works of Shakespeare… I’m starting to think that it can be done, after all.

    • Never underestimate the effect of FUD on good people. Matt seems to have forgotten that the online content world has expanded well beyond the spammers that he has the thankless task of trying to stifle.

    • My point exactly. This is only about low quality guest post that guest posting shops and shady bloggers spread to get backlinks and go up in SERPs.

      “Our last investigation reveals how marketing agencies like GuestPostShop owned by Ken Courtright who also run Todays Growth Consultant and Incomestore.com bribe bloggers to place guest post articles for their customers.”

      https://searchengineleaks.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/matt-cutts-is-aware-of-our-investigations/

      If you are a genuine blogger and you’re an authority in your niche, or atleast have something interesting, fresh to say then you should do guest posting but if your solely purpose is to grab a dofollow backlink for you or for your customers you should stop.
      At least that’s how I see Matt’s words.

  33. One of my site got screwed way back in Jan, 2013 for extensive use of guest blogging.
    Articles were high quality, but they used to contain one external link, and for which the site got penalized in SERP and traffic decreased.
    After that I have stopped accepting Guest posts as this has became too risky.

  34. Great piece! It’s the same as saying SEO is dead… it’s not dead.. it’s the same as it’s always been.. have great content, have it in a search friendly format and Google will like you just fine.. Try to trick Mother Google and you will fail… The Sky is NOT falling! :)

  35. In other words, since you are doing things the right way already, just ignore this issue entirely. As was stated over and over again in the article, there is NO WAY that Google maintains a negative stance on quality content just because it was published in the form of a guest post. I know many pro bloggers whose most popular posts are guest posts from other bloggers.

    Never stop guest posting, so long as it doesn’t impede your own blog’s ability to produce consistent quality.

  36. “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. ”

    Agreed! Yes, spammers have taken guest blogging and run away with it, but they do that to every successful link building tactic. Guest blogging has so many other positive benefits aside from earning a few links, that to stop doing it altogether seems like a big mistake to me!

  37. I actually just recently accepted my first guest post. I realized after it was posted that it seemed a little spammy, but the content was pretty good and it was about a topic that I had not covered, so I removed the spammy SEO keyword link (as I stated I would do in my guest posting policy) and published it. It was more the approach and the initial email that seemed spammy, but the content was still good.

  38. I really believe that was quite an unnecessary post by Matt.

    Any experienced content marketer who believes in investing time in his content would never even consider the type of email that Matt shared in his post.

    Those are just plain spammers who’re looking for backlinks.

    And guest blogging purely for backlinks has never been a good strategy anyway.

    So why create so much fuss.

    Nothing changes. Create quality, engage people and solve problems, and you’ll be absolutely fine.

  39. Brian is dead on.

    Think about a site the New York Times. They have thousands of bylines on the site and somehow, I can’t imagine that Cutts is saying Google will crack down on them. Why? Because the content is high-quality and the writers are well-regarded. (BTW, shouldn’t authorship fix the guest blogging spam problem?)

    It brings up a point that a lot of content marketers miss. The future of content marketing is journalism (at least some form of it) and media. Journalists get a lot of things right (just not monetization) and I think more content creators should be modeling their sites off the best journalism outlets.

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

    Definitely right, Jerrod! As long as you’re earning your links rather than building them quickly it shouldn’t appear spammy in the eyes of Google.

  41. Quality content is quality content, whether its guest blogging, articles, even feedback on this blog. I think Matt was simply addressing an issue that many of us realized long ago. I guess the link builders run with what seems to work in the short term. Google knows good content! Guest blogging in NOT DONE for the quality writers who are writing to give relevant information to their readers. I hope guest blogging IS DONE for the spammers trying to rank off others hard work.

  42. I think Matt was referring to the spammy side of guest blogging.
    You just need to be vigilant about the quality of guest post. Make sure there’s a clear guest posting policy on your site on what is acceptable and what is not. There’s nothing wrong with rejecting an article because it does not adhere your policy.

  43. It scarce me seriously. I don’t know what’s going at Google. Is guest blogging finally buried? Please clarify guys..

  44. I am in support with Brian Clarke “build quality no matter what”. This should be the mantra of guest post publishers. Quality would always take the center stage no matter the updates of Google.

    Matt Cutts might have caused a panic by his declaration that “…guest blogging is done…” but the truth remains that he is speaking of guest posts or guest blogs with poor contents and spammy links!

    Obeying the rules of “quality” would not hurt any website or blog!

  45. That was a bold thing to say. But in my personal opinion, guest blogging is not dead because quality content will never be dead, and it seems like it will be just like that for a while with Google. Guest blogging is effective but for sites that accept guest posts, they are the ones in control of which one to approve or not. Naturally, if a blog site owner just accepts any guest post, spam will be present. So it’s really up to quality management of the site owner. But then again, a quality post is a quality post and Google knows that.

  46. It’s horrible when things you say are understood differently to how you intended..!

    I am wanting to get into blogging soon and hopefully Google won’t be punishing guest posts en masse!

  47. Of course, many folks spin the articles and do guest blogging that are meaningless and moreover not helpful for the readers who search for the topic in particular niche.

  48. Timely topic for me. We have just started accepting guest posts on our company blog but I’m a bit wary. I have the final edit but am still worried that editing content to our standards will be overwhelming, so we’re starting very slowly. On the other hand, I believe that there are many people “out there” who can offer valuable insights about social media, Facebook and small-business marketing that would be of interest to our readers. The key will be to adhere to our core values — if the content doesn’t educate readers, and provide value, or if it’s entirely self-promotional it shouldn’t be on our blog (and that goes for the content we create, too!).

    • If it makes you feel better, I was one of the first in the industry to start accepting guest posts, back in 2007. And from day one, I always edited to my quality standards, which no one did at the time. We continue that practice today, just like a magazine … because frankly, that’s what Copyblogger is.

      It’s a lot of work. But it’s worth it, and it should be the default standard these days, especially after what Matt had to say.

      • Why not just make every guest post “no-follow” from here on out and just put the entire debate to rest?

        • Why should we have to do that, especially for people we trust and vouch for? Let Google do the job they’re supposed to do.

          • Because the primary argument I see from those who still guest blog is “I don’t do it for the passing of link juice, I do it to improve my reputation, branding and get my content in front of a new group of people.”
            In this case, the “do-follow” shouldn’t matter. Just take it off and avoid any accidental collateral damage that may occur. Seems rather simple and safe. I know I certainly wouldn’t endanger my business just for the sake of hoping Google does their job.

          • Let’s just say I’m not worried. As Jerod says in the post, if Google penalizes a site like Copyblogger with our emphasis on quality content, Google has failed as a search engine.

          • Brian’s right. Personally, I think it’s insulting to no follow a single link in an author bio simply to appease the Google gods. Why should a writer be asked to contribute quality work purely for “exposure?” That’s kind of like someone who asks you to design a logo for free because they “can’t afford to pay you, but it will build your portfolio and give you exposure.”

          • Amen, Katherine.

            Every time I hear “write for free, gain valuable exposure” I think naughty thoughts – mainly profanity – while envisioning writers, naked under trenchcoats, standing in seedy back alleys on the Internet, “exposing” themselves.

            No, thanks.

      • The main point being, you run this as a magazine – not as a blog accepting spammy ads pretending to be guest posts just so you don’t have to write new content or pay someone else to provide well-written articles.

        I just got tired. I’m a writer (a writer-writer, mind you – not a “marketing writer” or a “content provider” or whatever) and I don’t want to BE a publisher. So I stopped accepting guest posts altogether. Life is good.

        • Nested comments don’t go deep enough for me to respond above… but anyway, I don’t think anyone wants someone to guest post for free. You get the exposure to another audience, referral traffic through the links, etc. That is what guest posting in the pure form is supposed to be.
          By attaching a monetary term such as “for free” to your comment, you are inferring that you guest post as a means of payment for the “do-follow” link. That is essentially what Matt Cutts doesn’t want.
          Is that why you guest post? For the link? Certainly you don’t charge people to put your content on their sites and link back do you?

          • Oh noez, you’ve found me out.

            The only reason I do anything online is get links. And I also buy and sell them on my site.

            Get over yourself.

  49. I have to agree with what the majority of folks here are saying – it all boils down to the quality of the content and its uniqueness. For those sites that are not properly managing, moderating or actually reading the guest bloggers comment before posting – chances are those sites will be penalized for their oversight. As Jerod states – have standards and adhere to them.

    Another point this brings me to is Google recently released their Authorship tool inside of G+ – and believe what Matt Cutts may indirectly be inferring to and where the big G will be aiming their sights, is toward people who claim authorship of their content (and would normally do so because its not crap) and start baking the author’s tag into their algorithm as good content authenticated by a real person…

  50. I opened up my blog feed and saw 3 articles all together about the death of guest blogging (or so it seemed). I was really scared for a second. My companies blog is about to start reaching out for guest blogging soon. I’m happy to hear that this is in fact not the case. High quality content is the key. Honestly, I never really stopped to consider that opening up your blog for guest blogging was a potential window to spam. I’m happy I’m aware of this now. Thanks for this insightful blog!

    • You’re welcome Tyler. Glad you decided to actually read about the topic instead of just getting spooked from headlines and running away from guest blogging … which is, and will remain, a smart tactic for delivering valuable content (when you have standards and adhere to them).

  51. “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.”

    so nothing has changed. don’t suck and don’t work with suckers.

  52. Wow, I did not realize that spammers could be guest bloggers. I have recently had a few awesome opportunities and my heart sunk a bit after reading the title. I am glad so many people don’t think guest posting is “done” though. I really enjoy it and it has helped me tremendously! Really good topic!

  53. I’ve written on this topic a lot myself lately as well. Considering I’ve written over 100 guest articles on various sites, I’m glad to see some action taking place. All of my articles were always with my real name and I was never writing for a “link” – it was more about getting my message and name out there. Guest blogging is awesome when you are actually trying to provide value and benefit from people seeing your name, picture and what site you write for. Guest blogging isn’t going anywhere for the people who are doing it right!

  54. I never did any guest blogging elsewhere nor accepted guests on my blogs. Perhaps, I am a bit anti-social that way but somehow I believed that my best work should appear on my blog and all IP/copyrights should be protected there in. That way, I am not affected by this particular update from Google.

    However, if done correctly, guest blogging brings in value to the current readers of a blog when the guest blogger himself is a subject matter expert and authority blogger. On the other hand, if it’s done for visibility/traffic/SEO purpose, it’s going to sabotage the purpose (like Google is thinking)

    • Ajith! (Yeah, I really just saw that one of my favorite plug-in authors had joined the conversation, and had to say hello. :) )

      I’ve done guest blogging and accepted guest posts on my blog, but like I said earlier, I prefer to do it at sites that are run like magazines (not blogs where they’re just looking for “content” to look “fresh” for Google) and I now would only be willing to accept posts that were written as if for a selective magazine. Since I have no budget to pay for what those are worth and next to no interest in being a publisher (not to mention that “guest posts” are a little odd on a “personal blog”), I don’t actively seek them out.

  55. What about the blog owners who don’t know how to create nofollow links? I think there’s a ton of folks out there with good intentions who may not be aware about all of this. Does a link in a bio count as spammy? And do we need to go back and ask all the blog owners we’ve ever guest posted on to change our links? How does Google know that we’re a quality guest poster? You say, “if you know someone well enough to vouch for them…” How does one vouch for that someone with Google? Is there a checkbox somewhere??

    Thanks in Advance

    • I don’t think you need to worry about nofollow/dofollow links unless the link does not fit the context of the site. For example, if someone tried to slip a link to a Viagra site in on a guest post here at Copyblogger … that would not be allowed.

  56. One thing that the SEO Agencies don’t do is using persona wisely for guest blogging.

    For many of our clients we’ve preferred doing outreaching on their behalf and submit post with a real Google+ Author Profile.

    It does take a bit of an extra effort but really worth it in the long run because of has been happening lately.

    I believe ethical relationship based marketing with strong social signals will outperform anything.

  57. After the Matt Cutts’ post about declaring guest posts as spam there is big change expected in SEO field and professionals are worried about building backlinks. No doubt SEO is getting difficult day by day and everyone is making predication about the future of SEO. I come to know so many things about guest post from the experts’ opinions. I think now people should built backlinks on relevant website without the difference of no-follow and do-follow but keep the quality. Overall your post is pretty helpful for bloggers to achieve top ranking in Google’s friendly method.

    • It’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just that there are simply no more short cuts. A webmasters mindset should change from “building links” to simply promotion of your website. Because you need to let people know you exist. But some take it too far.

  58. After reading Matt Cutts post, I think guest blogging is not dead. Guest blogging for link building purpose is totally dead. If anyone is a great content writer, he would be benefited by guest blogging for sure. But now guest posting intention has to be branding, not link building. In the bottom of Matt’s post, he explained that top quality guest blogging for branding purpose is a great practice. So, there would be no problem if we keep up high quality guest blogging.

    In addition to prevent any kind of negative effects, we should guest post with preferred author account, google+ authorship markup and things similar to these. These will make the post natural so there is no chance of being affected by Google.

  59. I red the Matt Cutts post just at the time I received some guest posts for my blog.

    The post didn’t change my stand to accept guest post. It only sends me signal that I’ve to be watchful which author and post shoud be honored.

    Eventhough my blog is still young and is only on the infant stage, the quality standard has to be given.

    Thanks for your input

  60. Quality ♥

  61. Guest blogging is still a respectable thing, and I agree with matt that spammers should be penalized but just claiming that guest blogging is not respectful anymore is a slap in the face of many bloggers,

    The main goal of Guest blogging is to spread the word about your site or product and to reach a new audience, Legitimate Guest blogging is going to be fine according to Matt.

    You can find out other views on this matter here, Be Careful with Guest Blogging posts, It can affect your SEO

  62. I don’t think anything has changed massively to be honest. Aiming for low quality sites is highly likely to come back and haunt you and disrupt your campaigns. Alternatively, targeting high quality sites, working with authors, and building a reputation with a community isn’t going to be as damaging – as Matt Cutts has already alluded to.

    Guest posting still has plenty to offer if the content is of a decent quality and the sites are established. Essentially, guest posts shouldn’t be completed solely for SEO purposes. Thanks for posting Jerod.

  63. Matts post is yet another great reason to focus on traffic through networking, referrals and listbuilding. Relying on Google is nuts.

  64. I believe in quality. I can’t imagine a website/article would ever be penalized for quality content whether it comes from you, or a guest blogger. As long as it’s original and posses’ authority, it will be recognized as such.

  65. I guess paying for traffic and links using AdWords will always be cool for Google. It’s just another example that Google wants people to use its services and nothing else. They shouldn’t decide what’s good or bad, they should only stick to providing reliable results, but they are no more a search engine, just a business aiming to rule the net. Imho.

  66. I completely agree with you Scott. Quality content will always be quality content.

  67. Google clearly mentioned in their Webmasters Guidelines that, anything this is done in excess to gain backlinks is subjected to penalty. So doing few guest post in a month or accepting few guest post in a month, shouldn’t be any problem.

  68. Google penalized all customers of GuestPost Shop – company that was bribing bloggers to accept their guest posts.

    https://searchengineleaks.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/guestpostshop-customers-are-penalized-by-google/

    This was quite interpretive. tough measure considering there are some big shots , established websites in that list.

  69. Hey Jerod,

    Hmm.. Interesting, I wonder if its just aimed at blogs that have many do-follow links or how else they are going to set this up to weed out the good from the bad. I mean many blogs have multiple links to lots of different sites in the comments, so its my guess about many do-follow links going to sites perhaps in different categories.. your thoughts?

    • Great question Paul. Not sure. We don’t add “nofollow” to links here, and Copyblogger would be a prime example of a site you would NOT want to dock for accepting guest posts, or dock the guest posters, because they are all of such high quality.

  70. richard mclachlan :

    If this was in fact a shot across the bow, way back in 20 January 2014… I am not seeing the cannonballs hitting the fan yet.

    See this example

    • Great video Richard and a great way to shine a light on how Google gets it wrong often. I sense a lot of frustration in Matt’s post and the fact that he’s been making noises about guest blogging since 2012 now and yet we still haven’t seen any algorithmic update that penalises guest posts and I think this is because they dont know how to and there isnt a update they can simply roll out without affecting everysingle site on the web. There are positives and negatives to this though, the positives being that people can continue guest blogging and accepting them for now but also that some sites and companies are going to get away with spammy tactics and content like your examples above…

  71. This discussion really helped me to think about accepting guest blogs. Special thanks to all for sharing their experiences. I was almost going to create “guest blog welcome page” but now I have stopped. It’s time to find alternative way to welcome or giveaway a blog post, let’s exchange the love ;) I’m writing some rules for my guests. I hope they’ll love them.

    Jerrod thanks for your post, I’ll write a follow up article and’ll send you pingback sooner. No, one is going to screw anyone. :)

    all the best.