Allowing guest authors on your website has many benefits. It’s a win/win in the sense that it can help to create a community for your readers, while allowing the authors to create awareness of their business through their useful content. Allowing guest bloggers on your blog is also one way to boost your inbound traffic.
So then, why did the guardian of Google’s search results just declare the practice of guest blogging dead and buried?
Matt Cutts is the head of web spam at Google, tasked with keeping “black hat” underhanded search engine optimization tactics from being effective. He also evangelizes best practices for those who want to appear in search results because they’re consistently producing original, valuable content relevant to those keywords. Recently, he wrote a post called The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO on his own blog. At least as far as Google’s SERPs go, Cutts has the final word, and he originally came across pretty straightforward about his verdict:
“I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”
This could read like he’s killing guest blogging altogether. He’s not. And instead he gives us a hint about how we can maintain the practice of guest blogging without setting off link spam alarms inside the Googlesphere: trust your guest blogger. In other words, be sure the authenticity of your connection to the guest blogger is clear and unassailable. Would you introduce this person to your colleagues? Your customers? Your family?
If the answer is yes, you’re probably safe trading guest posts with that person. Cutts clarified even further, as published in this article by Search Engine Land:
“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.
Aaahh, clarity. The clarification continues on this issue, and it should comfort you. Unless you’re a super-automated spam-writing link-grabbing SEO bot from the darkest depths of he__. Well, you get it. Marketing Land added their own words of comfort to the mix, pointing out that this isn’t really a change for Google at all. The company still wants “to reward sites that have ‘earned’ links, rather than sites that have gained links without any real effort.”
So, are guest authors on your blog a good idea? Yes, as long as they’re people you know, at least in the we-talk-a-lot-on-Twitter-and-share-a-worldview sort of way.
The key questions to ask if you’re thinking about publishing a guest author on your site are:
Does this add value to my site?
Will my readers find this valuable?
Would I read the article if I came across it by accident?
If your answer is “yes” to these questions, it’s probably safe to publish the author’s guest post on your site. And it’ll be a bonus that you won’t have to look over your shoulder for Matt Cutts, and his spam-ignoring algorithms.