A couple of months ago, Google's Matt Cutts talked about ways that writers can guest blog without coming across to Google as spammy. But is it possible Google might penalize guest blogging sites in the future? Can people feel safe guest blogging as long as they are maintaining a focus on quality?
In the latest webmaster help video, Cutts began by saying that he's becoming more cynical about guest blogging, and you can see the cynicism growing each time he tackles the topic in one of his webmaster help videos.
First, he said there's a big difference between quality guest blogging and a lot of the low-quality guest blogging sites and posts we see nowadays.
"Whenever I answered the question way back in the sands of time I would say, 'Well I'm working on the assumption you got high quality guest bloggers, people whose words you really, really trust,'" Cutts said. "But it's clear from the way people are talking about it that there's a lot of low-quality guest blogger sites and there's a lot of low-quality guest blogging going on."
Cutts also addressed a growing problem: that guest blogging is becoming automated. Anytime things become automated, such as many years ago with blog comments, Google might get more suspicious and could consider it spam.
"Anytime people are automating that or abusing that or really trying to make a bunch of links without doing the sort of hard work that would really earn links on the basis of merit or because they're editorial, then it's safe to assume the Google will take a closer look at that," Cutts said.
He shared four great recommendations on what notto do as part of your guest blogging strategy, to avoid falling into the guest blogging spam trap. Don't:
- Make it your only way gathering links.
- Send out thousands of blast emails offering to guest blog.
- Guest blog with the same article on two different blogs.
- Take one article and spin it lots of times.
"There's definitely a lot of abuse, and growing spam that we are seeing in the guest blogging space," Cutts said.
He cautioned that when a certain SEO technique starts to become abused too much, then Google definitely takes a look at it to see if they need to respond to in order to clean up spam in that space. A lot of today's black hat techniques were actually pretty vanilla SEO techniques years ago that just got abused to a such extent that Google had to respond and penalize sites.
"Regardless of the spam technique that people are using from month-to-month, we're always looking at what sort of things are starting to be more and more abused, and we're always willing to respond to that and take the appropriate action to make sure that users get the best set of search results," Cutts said.
Bottom line: You really need to be careful about the types of sites you guest blog on. Ensure the site is high quality and definitely avoid any guest blogging sites that appear low quality and spammy. It wouldn't be surprising to see Google hit spammy guest blogging sites pretty hard, so consider yourself warned.