Google has been steadily targeting the practice of guest blogging, and the idea has come under increased scrutiny in the past few months. The various Penguin updates, in particular, try to dissuade this practice.
All things considered, guest blogging is still a valid strategy of building links — provided you implement it well and prevent abuse. The intention of manipulating search rankings this way, however, is not.
What is guest blogging?
The simplest definition of the term is that guest blogging (or guest posting) is the practice of finding a blog and writing content for it. Although around for a long time, guest blogging that took off recently after Google started clamping down on some of the more suspicious link building techniques.
Traditional techniques being link exchanges, directory and forum links, and obviously, article marketing. Methods like these were a much easier way of building links, and did not require nearly as much work as writing content for guest blogging. And quite often, they achieved much better results.
And how does Google view it now?
Over time Google noticed that spammers were manipulating search engine rankings using the abovementioned techniques, and started taking action on these using algorithm changes. This is when guest blogging really took off. To the point that it is also getting abused and incorrectly utilized.
This year Google took a definitive stance against it. As Matt Cutts said, back in January 2014:
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”
Things changed with the introduction of the Penguin and Panda updates, with the criteria behind links now starting to become much clearer. Good links are now the ones that come from high quality and relevant sites, those that have plenty of social engagement and user interaction.
Is guest blogging worth it?
The short answer to this question depends on the quality of content. The articles need to be clear, and free of mistakes, they have to be shared via the main social networking sites, hyperlinks must be relevant, and of course, the website you are posting the content to must be reputable.
But if you suspect that your guest blogging efforts run the risk of irking Google, then you absolutely needs to stop. The search engine slaps exorbitant penalties on sites that play foul. One that is hard to fight against and can prove to be very costly for online businesses.
Ultimately, guest blogging is a practice that is slowly but surely falling out of favor in the online world.
Done right, it is a good way to increase exposure — but done right here means extreme focus on quality, no two ways about it.