Guest Blogging dead? Matt Cutts calls it…

by G on January 23, 2014

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With the latest news that guest blogging days are numbered (according to  our heavenly Father), I thought it would be only right to do a quick post to acknowledge, with thanks, the latest alert from the Google spam team. Good luck with detection.

Consider that once upon a time it was much easier for Google to detect spam because Google was all about links (they still are, but don’t let them catch you). Of consequence, open source platforms that allowed users to post links – WordPress Laconica, Pligg, to cite but a few – were very quickly hoovered up by the spam crews and then easily addressed by Google – here’s a small sample of some of the old-hat footprints that were used before 2012.

Pligg
inurl:”upcoming” intitle:”pligg”
inurl:”register” intitle:”pligg”
inurl:”cloud.php” intitle:”pligg”
inurl:”live_comments” intitle:”pligg”
inurl:”faq-en.php” intext:”pligg”
inanchor:”Pligg beta 9 Home”
inanchor:”About Pligg”
inurl:”/pligg” inurl:/register.php
inurl:register.php intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit”
inurl:/register intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit” intext:”Tag Cloud” -inurl:.php
inurl:/register intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit” -inurl:.php
inurl:/register intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit” -inurl:.php intitle:”register”
inurl:/register intext:”Powered by Pligg” -inurl:.php
inurl:/register.php intext:”Powered by Pligg”
“Powered by Pligg”
intitle:”Pligg beta”
“What Is Pligg?”
intitle:”Pligg Beta 9″
“http://www.pligg.com”
inurl:register.php intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit”
inurl:/register intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit” intext:”Tag Cloud” -inurl:.php
inurl:/register intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit” -inurl:.php
inurl:/register intext:”upcoming” intext:”published” intext:”submit” -inurl:.php intitle:”register”
inurl:/register intext:”Powered by Pligg” -inurl:.php
inurl:/register.php intext:”Powered by Pligg”

Wiki
inurl:wiki/index.php
inuinurl:wiki/index.php
inurl:/wiki/User:
inurl:/TikiWiki/

Guestbooks
.html?page=comments
/?agbook=addentry
/?show=guestbook&do=add
/?t=add
/GuestBook/addentry.php

Based on their content and various ‘detectables’ within these open-source platforms page structure, they could easily be found and spammed by SEOs.

Fast forward to now and just about every open source platform has either been spammed to death, or has been sufficiently modified by webdev’s, to negate link-dropping by the many tools (now almost obsolete) on the market. But then along comes guest blogging to complicate things for Google’s team.

Guest blogging is much harder to detect and address because:

  • The websites offering this kind of opportunity to content producers are not on a unified platform.
  • They websites may not be on the same server/network (like the link-farms).
  • There may be no evidence historically of the website having ever offered a guest blog to someone in the past (darn it, no detection there even!)
  • There may be no textual identifier within the page that hosts the guest post that declares it a guest post.
  • And last but not least: these guest post websites might actually be making Google money (person arrives at a crap website, and then punches Adsense to get the hell out of there – worst case, or, person arrives at a great website and then clicks Adsense because it is relevant- good case)

Sure there are really basic footprints which will pull back results where link-builders might be able to gather links (see below), but what our heavenly father is basically now saying is that you shouldn’t be doing guest blogging for this exclusive reason.  Instead, if you are guest blogging because you want to expose your expertise to readers then that’s okay..this is the same line that the team at Google churn out when they talk about promoting good quality websites, while asking you to delimit your data so it can be served in the knowledge graph with a greyed out source.

  • inurl:/write-for-us
  • inurl:/write-a-guest-post

For those still guest blogging the considerations for doing so should not have changed that much because if your are writing or providing content for a website, you should not be wasting your money on any site that does not add value to your brand. Have I done guest blogging for links? Yes of course, because it works (as explained above). Will I get hit with a penalty, probably or probably not – I’ll fix it if I do.

It’s worth baring in mind that the eventual Google Algo update on this issue (which will be yet another way to shuffle listings across revenue channels) will not take into consideration the quality metrics you are hoping for. Just look at Penguin or Panda to see how many webmasters that were cleaner than clean got hammered!

In all of the link-building tactics the mistake is to use these methods exclusively, they should be complimentary to an ongoing marketing strategy, not the marketing strategy!

SEO is scattered with tactics that work for a bit and then stop, and then there is something new. It’s what makes it so interesting, and it’s what keeps Matt in a job 🙂

On a side note – yesterday, I just published my first post on my software reviews website and I’m going to cover some of the ways I approach all this guff that comes out of Google HQ from a technology standpoint (you can download a free web-scraper) with the aim of also convincing you to purchase some software tools that I think rock.

 

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Author Information
Glyn S. H. has been online marketing since 1999 and has developed campaigns for leading luxury brands that have included Nestlè and Interflora . He works primarily in for the Travel and Tourism sector, helping hotels beat-down OTA paychecks. He has a web-marketing company, a Masters in Professional Communication, speaks fluent Italian, and is married with two kids. He also has a good sense of humour – essential for survival in web-marketing. He is not employed by Google. To contact via email: glyn@ (this domain).

 

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