Allowing a guest blogger to contribute to your website or blog used to be a viable option for growing your online audience and boosting traffic to your page. The thinking behind allowing a guest blogger to post on your site was that, assuming the individual represented a respected brand, the person’s voice represented authority within your industry. An individual’s contribution would increase traffic on your site, boost visibility for your brand, and create backlinks for your site.
In recent years however, guest blogging has fallen into disrepute. In Google’s quest to clean up the Internet and its search results, allowing a guest blogger was one of the SEO tactics that was designated as a black-hat tactic. However, guest bloggers continue to appear on websites everywhere. The question on the minds of many is whether or not they should allow a guest blogger on their site. So, should you pursue a guest blogger?
The Case Against Guest Blogging
The argument against guest blogging has to start with the opinion of Matt Cutts. If you are unfamiliar with this man, allow us to introduce you to him. Cutts is the head of Google’s online war against spammers and black-hat SEO tactics. When Cutts and his team make a decision regarding web spam and SEO, it is often the final word on the topic. He used his own blog in early 2014 to provide a clear warning about the dangers of guest blogging as a link-building technique. In his post, Cutts opened with the following argument:
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company. Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way anymore.”
In his argument against guest blogging, Cutts points out that many small-business owners (in particular) and webmasters not involved in the SEO community are often duped by guest bloggers with little or no real authority in a given niche. Individuals looking to make a quick buck contact webmasters and site owners offering their services and promising to deliver 100% unique content that will help generate visibility and boost traffic on their site. What do these requests often look like? Well, Cutts offers a perfect example of a spam email he received:
My name is XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX and I work as a content marketer for a high end digital marketing agency in [a city halfway around the world]. I have been promoting high quality content in select niches for our clients.
We are always on the lookout for professional, high class sites to further promote our clients and when I came across your blog I was very impressed with the fan following that you have established.I [sic] would love to speak to you regarding the possibility of posting some guest articles on your blog. Should you be open to the idea, we can consider making suitable contribution, befitting to high standard of services that your blog offers to larger audience.
On my part, I assure you a high quality article that is-
– 100% original
– Well written
– Relevant to your audience and
– Exclusive to you
The biggest problem with guest blogging is a lack of quality content and knowledge on the behalf of webmasters and site owners. Deceitful bloggers offer to provide quality content, which is really low in quality, and the result is often spammy information that dents the credibility of a site and harms its visibility on Google SERPs.
Arguing in Favor of Guest Blogging
When conducted properly, the practice of guest blogging can still offer your website benefits. Assuming you are working with a reputable blogger representing a position of authority (as an individual or representative of an established brand), you can increase your site and brand visibility, while enjoying the benefits of greater traffic levels.
If you’re going to allow guest bloggers to contribute to your website, there are a few simple guidelines you should follow to ensure that you are building links in a quality manner that will not result in penalties from Google and other search engines. The following tips will help protect your site against spam content from a guest blogger with content that is low in quality:
- Don’t label posts as guest posts: You’ll lose out on authority and credibility almost immediately by labeling a post as a guest post. Allow a blogger to identify themselves as guest contributor in their opening paragraph if you like, but don’t label the post in the headline as a guest post.
- Audit content: Never accept a guest post and simply paste it into your website. Look through the content you’ve been provided to ensure that it offers an authoritative voice and relevant information.
- Check links: If your guest blogger has provided links within the content, check them out. Follow each link to ensure it doesn’t redirect your readers to spammy content.
- Ask for a bio: Ask any blogger you are considering hiring for a bio to double check their statements.
- Say no: If the situation doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to change your mind and say no.
- Never surrender control: Don’t provide a guest blogger with an author account that allows them to freely post until you’ve worked with them for a long period of time and feel comfortable enough to do so.
Guest blogging is far from dead, but it is under intense scrutiny today. Before you pursue any guest blogger, make sure you follow the tips above. Overall, avoid using guest bloggers on a frequent basis. The best approach to help avoid penalties from Google is to use a guest blogger sparingly. If you follow the information we’ve provided, you will avoid unnecessary penalties from search engines and enjoy the benefits guest blogging can still offer.