Since Penguin 1.0 first exploded onto the scene last April, I think its fair to say that guest blogging has become the link building method of choice for many SEOs and online marketers in the industry. The process of creating (what should be unique) content and posting it on other peoples blog, guest blogging has two major benefits for any site; it helps to drive valuable traffic to the site and it also helps to up the number of links (and unique IP addresses) feeding back into the site.
Now, in the early days of guest blogging (which incidentally hark back to pre-Penguin times), everything was great. Only a small number of blogs in any one niche accepted guest posts which meant quality was always the focus and securing a guest post on such a blog for a site was seen as a major win for SEOs and link builders alike.
Penguin Changes The Game
These days, thats not the case. Thanks to that nasty Penguin stamping down on every other old-school link building technique, guest blogging quickly became the favourite link building method and as a result, lots of sites opened their blogs up to guest bloggers in an attempt to cash in in some cases quite literally!
The problem? Quality went out the window and so did the hard work that went with it! Suddenly guest bloggers were popping up all over the place on the most random blogs you could imagine and securing a guest blog was now no longer considered a major win but a part of everyday life.
Of course, with any new link building technique, the question of how risky and viable guest blogging was as a technique quickly arose and, while many experts threw their two cents into the debate, a month on from the release of Penguin 2.0, were still no closer to a real definitive answer.
Matt Cutts Speaks Out
Googles opinion? Well, thanks to their new open and honest policy, Matt Cutts actually waded in to the debate and released not just one but two videos on the subject last year. Ive embedded them both below (if you cant see them, you may want to refresh this page) but if you dont have time/cant be bothered to watch them, Ill fill you in.
As you can imagine, theres no clear-cut answer here. In the videos, Matt says that when it comes to guest blogging, it all depends on the site and the writer. If the writer is of a high quality, is an expert and has a clear message that they want to put out, guest blogging is definitely a viable option because it allows them to bring their expertise to another platform and reach a new audience.
He goes on to say that its when guest blogging is taken to the extreme that it starts to become an issue. He says that Google are less likely to want to count links from guest blogs that are of low quality (spun articles, same blog appearing on multiple sites), while theyre more likely to want to count links that have come from more high quality articles where its obvious a lot of work has gone into it.
In the second video, Matt pretty much clarifies what he said in the first video and also goes on to say that Google will take action if they come across instances of low quality guest blogging (spun articles etc). He says you should be cautious if youre using guest blogging as a primary link acquisition strategy and you should be wary of sites that let anyone post. Finally, he says that you should think about whether the site youre planning to guest blog on would make the end-user happy because if it wouldnt, thats the type of site theyre most likely to take action against.
Hmm, so now we know what the Google Gods think but what the people on the ground, the people who are using guest blogging as a technique in their 9-5 day think? To get your opinion, we took to Twitter and weve had some great replies. Needless to say, just like everything else in SEO and link building, the topic of guest blogging has got you divided. Here are some of our favourite answers to the question; What do you think of guest blogging as a link building technique?.
First up, Haroon and Halit are definite fans!