At the beginning of 2014, Matt Cutts published on his blog that guest blogging is not working anymore. The main reason, according to Matt, is that such practice became more and more spammy. The main idea of guest blogging is to get quality content and not just a link.
Then, Matt updated a post saying that quality guest blogging is still working, and there are many fantastic guest bloggers who write very high quality content. On the other hand, low-quality sites that accept guest posts should stop using this technique.
I decided to find today whether top SEO specialists are still using guest blogging for SEO or not. At first, though, I will share my thoughts on this.
What is the difference between guest blogging and content marketing? I think that, now, many people can’t exactly tell the difference. Content marketing is not about links. You should focus on creating quality content and then people will share your post. This means that you, of course, will get the links.
Let me show you some examples. I found this post and, if you take a quick look, you will notice that it is a guest post and not a quality post. You should be careful with such submissions.
- The site accepts articles from everyone.
- The post is very small. But we know that longer content get more reshares online.
- The post is not unique. I just copied the first sentence and pasted into Google. First two sites have the same posts.
- It has only two links and both show rich targeted anchor and to the same site.
I think, now, you know what Matt Cutts has in mind when he was talking about spammy guest posts.
Of course such posts do not have any quality content and will not get any citations, backlinks, etc. Zero, according to Majestic SEO.
Now, let’s take a look at this post at SearchEngineJournal. It was submitted on the same date when I started to work on this article [25th of September] but has already received 324 social reshares. In addition, it has 4 backlinks, according to Ahrefs.
There is not a big difference between guest blogging and content marketing. But when you do the last; you do not care about links. Author rank is what really matters. For example, if you read my latest SEO roundup here; you will see that I added links to the posts I liked.Those authors did not pay me as I wished and even asked.: ) Readers of temi.co.uk can read quality posts and, at the same time; I received some good social reshares from authoritative accounts. If you look at the anchor I used, you will see that they completely different and natural.That is the most important thing. Also, my post received 165 backlinks. Not bad.
So you can forget about guest blogging and switch to content marketing. Last rank correlation analysis shows that backlinks with keyword lose their importance. You should focus on content more than on links. However, it does not matter if you completely forget about building even anchor links. Read what top SEOs think about links with targeted keywords.
Now, let’s take a look on what top SEO specialists think about guest blogging.
Neil Patel neilpatel.com
I do not use guest blogging for SEO. Sure, you can use it to build links, but eventually it can hurt you if Google changes their algorithm. Instead, I use guest posting to drive relevant traffic and sales. If you can guest post on sites that are in the same industry as you, it will be easy for you to access more customers that are interested in your product or service.
And if you don’t generate any sales from your guest posts, you will gain brand awareness. This will indirectly help you increase your sales in the long run.
Tom Pick webbiquity.com
Guest blogging can be helpful for SEO, but the most effective guest posts aren’t written just to create a backlink. Guest posts should extend a brand’s overall online presence in a positive and productive way. So ask questions like: Does this post add value for the blog owner? Will the post help strengthen the relationship with him or her? Will the content be helpful to the kind of people who read the blog? And, does the post reflect well on the brand? If the post accomplishes all of those objectives; it’s valuable to the brand regardless of its effect on search rankings.
Ruben Gamez www.bidsketch.com
Yes and no. Do I use guest blogging ONLY for SEO? No. Is SEO one of the factors when we look at for SEO? Definitely.
We make sure to guest post on sites where links from those sites are valuable. In the old days, you’d look at Page Rank, and we still look at that.However, it’s not as important for SEO as it used to be. We also look at things like traffic, Alexa rankings, social activity, and how it ranks for certain terms. Besides that, we look at how many shares and comments most posts get. We do this for traffic and list building reasons. We try to get people to come back to our site by offering them an incentive (like a free ebook).
One thing we don’t do is insert a bunch of keyword rich links into our guest posts. We’re posting on high quality sites and they wouldn’t like that — not to mention, Google doesn’t like that anymore, either. We add one, maybe two links to something relevant to what we’re writing about and that tends to work well for us.
Venchito Tampon digitalphilippines.net
Yes. When finding prospects for guest blogging, I consider these very important qualification factors:
- Domain authority
- Relevancy of the guest blog target to my website
- Design of the website
- Engagement signals (average # of comments per post, social shares, etc.)
- Referring domains pointing to domain itself
- Traffic cost (SEMrush metric) – to ensure that the post can rank for traffic-driving keywords
- Quality of post published
- Frequency of guest posts published within the month: If the guest blog target publishes guest posts almost every week and don’t have strict editorial guidelines; then it’s not a blog worth pursuing for content contribution.
Besides the guidelines I listed below, I always use my senses to check if the blog is a good fit for guestblogging campaign.If you’re looking for an in-depth guide about guest blogging, you can check out this post on how to guest blog properly in this Post Penguin age.
Aaron Agius www.louderonline.com.au
We don’t use guest blogging for SEO. We use it for traffic generation and brand awareness. The links that we do get may help with rankings, but that is not the primary goal of any guest blogging we do.
Our criteria is based on ensuring that the blogs are engaging, the posts are updated often, that there are comments and social shares, and that there is an active community. We then also look at metrics such as Domain Authority and the link profiles of the site to ensure there are no risks in posting on a site that will end up penalized in the near future.
Brian Massey customercreationequation.com
We do encourage people to guest post on our site. http://conversionscientist.com/content-marketing-2/guest-bloggers-content-marketing-2/guest-bloggers-wanted-want-share-knowledge-audience-yes/
Our focus with regard to SEO is quality over quantity. We aren’t looking for keywords as much as quality back links; not crap links. A quality back link is a link from a high authority site in the digital marketing space. Quality back links only come when we have quality content to link to. Thus, we are looking for original research, split test results, and “how to” content with specific examples. We also enjoy unique content, such as infographics, videos, podcasts, and other interactives.
Nick Loper www.sidehustlenation.com
I used to think of guest blogging as an SEO strategy, and I think there is still some value in getting your links out there on other relevant sites, but today, it’s more of a way to get your material and your message in front of a relevant audience.
The best guest posts are the ones that legitimately help the reader — I love the in-depth, step-by-step case studies. The world doesn’t need another half-assed list post! (although I’m certainly guilty of this at times…)
Before I pitch a guest post, I try and make sure I have something compelling and shareable that will help the readers of whatever blog host I’m pitching it to.
Ann Smarty viralcontentbuzz.com
I don’t do guest blogging for SEO, but I do guest blogging for visibility. And the criteria is the same I would apply to any content that I publish online: Original angle, helpful advice, lots of visuals that aim at helping the reader. I maintain monthly guest blogging columns and commit to writing for free at sites like Small Biz Trends, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, Business.com and a few others. I’ve never done guest blogging for SEO, but it does work great for branding and reputation management! It does bring some good search signals, but I wouldn’t focus on those.
Charles Floate www.godofseo.ca
I don’t really use guest blogging for SEO anymore; mainly use it to get niche, targeted traffic back to my site – You’ll see if you look into my guest posts that most of them are on blogs like Search Engine Journal and Matthew Woodward etc.. Yet, I post the most on sites that have the best target audience (like Matthew Woodward, Find My Blog Way, etc.) and not that have the best domain stats.
Kristi Hines kristihines.com
I have always used guest blogging more for authority than SEO. With this approach in mind, I only contributed to sites with larger audiences and more engagement than my own, which led to an increase of traffic from new audiences. As an added bonus, the links I acquired through guest blogging were from authoritative sites. Thus far, I haven’t been warned of a link penalty based on the guest blogging I have done. Of course, I have seen the example that cited a link from Youmoz as an example of a link outside of Google’s quality guidelines, so you never know when the hammer will come down on anything related to guest blogging, no matter what your intentions were.
Adam Connell www.bloggingwizard.com
Instead, I guest blog for visibility, branding and to build my email list. Traffic is another benefit, but there are better ways to get traffic.
So instead of linking to my blogs home page in my author bio, I’ll link to a landing page on my site which is topically relevant the post I’ve contributed. There is usually some sort of bribe available on the page and the fact that the reader has clicked through on a post that I’ve written makes them far more likely to subscribe to my email list.
Sure, there will always be SEO related benefits, but that isn’t what it’s about.
This is about being visible and creating a community of people that you can reach easily. A community that Google can’t take away from you.
Paul Shapiro searchwilderness.com
I’m a professional SEO and I guest blog, but I don’t guest blog for SEO. I guest blog to build my personal authority online, the same way that journalists might desire a byline for a major newspaper. They aren’t getting links out of it. They are gaining credibility, respect, and readership. So, I don’t need to quantify a guest blogging opportunity by some useless metric like Domain Authority, because I’m not blogging for links. This is the acid test: I’ll pretty much only guest blog on a website if it is a publication I have respect for and would like my name to appear on. Links, if you get them, are only a bonus.
Joe Williams zenoptimise.com
Yes, I still use guest blogging even after Matt Cutts said he was putting a fork in it 🙂 You could look at Moz’s Domain Authority as guidance for quality, but that alone may put you in the wrong mindset. The right mindset is asking yourself whether a potential guest blog post will add value beyond just SEO? Does the guest blog have a similar audience and readership that you would like to attract to your blog?
Guest blogging is particularly risky for businesses when they don’t have a blog of their own as it misses the main point – to build an audience of blog followers. I feel the main benefits for SEO mainly come secondary by getting more eyeballs to your site, and that usually results in more backlinks in the long run.
Erik Emanuelli erikemanuelli.com
Guest blogging has been a widely used strategy for internet marketers, but since the beginning of this year when Matt Cutts made ??his statements, most of the people got scared and stopped en masse to do it to earn easy links.
My last guest post was in late 2013 and, since then, I have not had the opportunity to contribute to other blogs.
I think if I wanted to do guest blogging again, I would focus on finding influential websites in my niche, being careful not to over optimized anchors on the guest post byline.
Most of all, it would be important to focus in contributing with high quality and relevant content.
Robbie Richards www.robbierichards.com
I pursue guest posting for three reasons –
- Build relationships with reputable brands/ industry influencers
- Build credibility and grow my online brand
- Tap into new audiences and drive targeted traffic to my site
I never use guest posts as a purely SEO-driven strategy. Instead, I focus on guest posting on sites that have a high level of authority, receive a lot of traffic, and have an engaged reader base. I also pay attention to the social media presence. Usually brands will publish their guest posts to social media channels. If they have an engaged audience you’ll not only see a lift in traffic, but a nice lift in your social media fan counts.
More authority, social engagement and traffic will indirectly help your SEO.
It was not a big surprise for me that most SEO specialists do not use guest blogging. Now they use content marketing because author rank plays a big role nowadays. If you create nice posts without thinking about backlinks, you receive even more than you were expected. Readers of your post will mention your work on their social accounts, blog, company sites, etc. In addition, you do not need to think about different anchors because your visitors will link to you in natural way.
I'm SEO specialist and certified Adwords consultant. I have been working in Search Engine Marketing for over three year. In addition working in SEO, I love writing about the subject and contributing to forum discussion in forums about various aspects of Search Engine Optimisation from link building to content development. Read more about me here