There are often changes to the way that Google see various practices undertaken by people looking to improve their organic rankings and yesterday we heard from Matt Cutts that guest posting is now the latest strategy to be placed under the Google microscope.
Following a series of videos in where Cutts addressed questions surrounding guest blogging, the outcome of the discussion seems to now be centred around the fact that Google believe that guest blogging has now become a low quality practice in the most part and as we have seen with many strategies to increase linkage into a website, has been abused to the point in which Google are now forced into taking action against it.
Speaking in a blogpost on his own site, Cutts revealed an email that had been sent to him by a self-proclaimed content marketer who introduced themselves as working for "a high end digital marketing agency", going on to share that they had been "promoting high quality content in select niches" for their clients.
Although the email seems to have clearly have been ill-researched and sent to potentially the worst possible person that it could have been, Cutts took the time to pick out a particular section of the email that clearly located the issue that made sure that the request for this particular content was about to breach the guidelines that Google have in place, the particular wording being "All I ask in return is a dofollow link or two in the article body".
The SEO community has clearly picked up the post as a talking point since the article was published and speculation grows towards the nature of the post, whether it could be an attempt to scare SEO's into moving away from the practice to make their cleaning of low quality instances up easier than if there was to be continued placements, or whether it was a true reflection of how Google viewed guest blogging as a whole.
Watching the series of videos that Matt displays throughout his article, he once again fails to be able to give a definitive conclusion regarding guest blogging, being drawn into a discussion over the quality of the placements and the authority of the person creating the content, saying in one of his videos that an SEO blog that had the likes of Danny Sullivan posting on their site would benefit as he is believed to be a leader in his industry.
Seeming to address more about the low quality, spun instances within the guest blogging market, Cutts pointed out that failure to be able to write the content yourself about a market in which you are knowledgeable should be a strong indicator that the placement that you had in mind was not suitable for you but he also moved to say that there are still a number of reasons that guest blogging is a good practice.
In a later added section of his post, Cutts said that guest blogging allowed for "exposure, branding, increased reach and community", seeming to indicate that sourcing the right placements that would generate a return via visitor traffic, even without a followed link, would be the sort of placement that Google would conceive to be what all website owners should target.
Once again it seems that the desire for better organic rankings and a lack of willingness to moderate the use of guest blogging as a smaller element to a marketing strategy, SEO's have abused the practice enough to make sure that Google simply had to take notice and plot action against those that have done so.
Personally I feel that Cutts has not ruled out guest blogging as a medium in which can be used, as long as not only the placement is well researched and relevant to a field in which you feel you can share your knowledge for the benefit of others but also the content is unique, written by you, not outsourced and informative for those that read it.
All you have to do in order to figure out whether a placement is suitable for your site is to ask yourself would to still take the placement if all links in the post were to be no-followed?
On a side note, take a look at the title of the post that Matt chose and ask yourself whether that his focus is to stop guest blogging as a whole or whether he is looking to stop the abusers that mine out content in return for links… Let me know your thoughts.
All of the videos that have been recorded by Matt covering the subject are collated on his blogpost, so follow the link above if you which to see them.