Last week Matt Cutts, the head Google’s webspam team, announced that guest blogging is dead. He explained that this tactic has been so badly abused that Google is now forced to take action and adjust their algorithm accordingly. Matt’s exact words were, “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
As you may or may not know, I regularly publish guest articles (like this one on KissMetrics.com) so this announcement caught my eye. But I’m not worried one bit! And you should also not be afraid to continue to guest blog IF you’re doing it correctly. I’ll explain why in this article.
What Is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is simply publishing articles on other websites’ blogs. There is nothing inherently wrong with guest blogging, and I’ll explain later why I still think it’s still an excellent marketing tactic for most businesses. However, many businesses go about guest blogging for all the wrong reasons. For example, as Matt pointed out, there are a lot of marketers using guest blogging solely for search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re familiar with SEO, then you know one of the biggest factors in your search rankings is the quantity and quality of links from other relevant, authoritative websites. Generally speaking, the more quality links you can get from other websites, the higher you’ll rank in Google. So what has happened in the online marketing world, is businesses decided to use guest blogging as a way to get other websites to link to their website. The basic process is to write an article, include a link back to your website, and then go out and publish that article on another website. Bingo, you now have a link that will help your SEO.
To me, guest blogging solely for SEO is a shame. It’s like investing time and energy training to be a pro quarterback just because you want a beautiful wife. Sure, if you look around the NFL, then you’ll see that many quarterbacks do in fact have very attractive wives. It comes with the territory. However, that’s simply a nice byproduct of being a quarterback. It’s not the reason why those guys trained so hard!
Why Did Matt Cutts Say Guest Blogging Is Dead?
If you read Matt’s article carefully, then you’ll notice that he did not say guest blogging in general is dead. He said guest blogging for SEO is dead. There’s a big difference. Matt’s announcement means that Google will start devaluing guest blog links. So if you’re investing in guest blog articles purely for SEO, then I recommend you rethink your strategy.
Why You Should STILL Use Guest Blogging
Last year I wrote an article called The Best Reason To Blog, where I explained that the real purpose for blogging is not for SEO. It’s to position yourself as an authority in your industry and establish your own thought leadership. The same is true with guest blogging. The only difference is where you’re posting the article.
Let’s take a look at the guest post I published on KissMetrics.com so you can see all the benefits you’ll miss out on if you decide to ignore guest blogging in 2014.
First of all, that one article gave Main Street ROI a ton of exposure that we would otherwise have missed. Plus, it positioned us as experts in the area of online marketing and advertising.
At the time of this writing, that guest blog post has 267 Facebook likes, 543 tweets, 148 Google +1s, 89 comments (although not all are showing), and thousands of page views. I don’t have access to the exact webpage stats since it’s not my website, but my best guess is that close to 59,000 prospects saw that article. How I know that brings me to the next key benefit…
2. Relevant Traffic (for free!)
In the guest blog article, there are a couple links to MainStreetROI.com so I can track how many visitors were referred from the article. So far 5,981 prospects clicked on a link in that article to learn more about our business (if 10% clicked the link then that means over 59,000 people saw the article). The article was about Google AdWords advertising so people clicking to learn more were obviously interested in online advertising.
How much money would I have had to invest to generate almost 6,000 visitors who are interested in an “online advertising company”? Well, the estimated cost per click for “online advertising company” is $14.81, so 6,000 visitors would have cost me nearly $90,000! But I didn’t pay $90,000. I simply wrote a guest blog post and that article generated relevant traffic for our business.
3. Partner Relationships
The third key benefit is partner relationships. One of the easiest ways to start a partner relationship is to provide a guest blog article. Then, once your foot is in the door, you can start to talk about other ways to help each other. At Main Street ROI, we started many of our best partnerships via guest blogging and we plan to continue this strategy into 2014.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to start or continue guest blogging even if Google devalues the links in the articles for SEO purposes. As I already said, SEO should never have been the primary reason for guest blogging in the first place. Focus on more exposure, relevant traffic, and building partner relationships, rather than your search rankings!
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Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
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