You Thought Our Guest Blogging Rules Were Crazy!

Last September we announced that we had new editorial rules for guest posts that we would harshly stick too, we did this because we’d eventually spent a lot of time sifting through (what can only be described as) crap low quality content and duplicate content to find the good stuff. It had become a needle in a haystack scenario and to be honest we were sick of it and we knew that guest posting was beginning to see the dawn of it’s death for SEO as a link building tool. But since then we’ve had literally hundreds of emails saying our rules are crazy and they would never post with us again, to which I happily reply with “Thats great news, we value our readers and we ask our writers to also – if you cannot meet our guidelines we are happy that you won’t be posting.”
So earlier this week when Matt Cutts (Head of Web Spam @ Google) released another video warning about the end of guest posting as link building, we were quite happy to have seen the future and moved quickly to ensure SEO Andy and clients wouldn’t have issues with this in 2014.

Matt Cutts Says, Don’t Use Guest Blogging For Links


Truly, Guest Posting for Links is Dead

In his latest blog post on the subject Matt says:

Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way any more.

Ultimately, what this boils down to is what I have always believed and why SEO Andy didn’t have very many guest blogs during the first years of it’s life.

1 – Don’t Guest Post For Links
When you guest post it’s always been my belief that you should do so because you have some information that you want to share with a certain demographic or audience that you wouldn’t usually reach. It’s something usually beyond which that blog / site offers and so it will both help you (as a brand) to be seen in the community and that site as their readers will get more value from the site – win win!

To be honest, I’ve always been happy to do a guest post and not get a link back to my sites, any of them. As long as my name is attributed and contextual links to industry sites are in place I don’t mind that a link to SEO Andy goes missing. I am not there for the link, as with this blog, I am there to help and offer my opinion.

2 – Guest Posts Need to be Expert / Have Authority
One of the major reasons for SEO Andy not accepting guest posts a while back and now having rigid rules is that I don’t want any tom, dick or harry putting out crap on this blog. This blog has been built to be an authority and to help it’s readers and new readers. It has not been built to be a spam hub like many blogs have.

If you don’t have something new to say or are unable to add value to a topic then don’t think about guest blogging. You would be wasting your time and even if you got that post up, the value of the content would be so low that the link would be near worthless – why waste your time and effort.

3 – Spinning Articles is Bull
So you think are are clever “automating guest posts”, spinning them so they are 20% different on one site to another – or any other similar tactic. Well news for you guys, it doesn’t work – we aren’t that stupid, at leas those of us who care about our readers anyway. As a general rule, unless the content is truly awesome and worth sharing to our audience (because else where is a completely different audience) then we compare the content and personally I look for no more than a 20% likeness to another post on the web.

Had you turned around and asked me to take a read of that other post and perhaps posts some social links to it or perhaps add my opinion in comments I may have done so. You would get far more value from that engagement than you would from reposting crap on this site or any other – stop doing it.

So, Link building Is NOT Dead?

Let me be honest, Guest Blogging isn’t dead – at least not if you do it for the right reasons and in the right way. So how do you do guest blogging the right way? Here are some tips…

1 – Don’t Randomly Email Offering a Post
I can’t tell you more how much I dislike getting emails from random people offering a guest post with “100% unique content” or “exclusive to you” in the body – I take it as given that if you write that you write guest posts everyday and are building links using it. The answer remains NO, unless I know you and have spoke to you.

One of my friends Joost de Valk (owner of YOAST) spoke about this very point in a blog post on the subject of guest blogging. His view is basically:

If you check the list of authors on this blog [yoast], you’ll see people that either work here, I’ve personally worked with in previous jobs / projects and / or consider good friends. All of them are people with an opinion I respect on their respective topics.

Joost is spot on, and its why I build a relationship with my guest bloggers. People like Kate Simpson, who I’ve known and worked with are going to be offering their expert opinions, Alexandra Nicola is another author I know quite well – i would vouch for them both no end for work and opinion. If I don’t trust you, you won’t be posting here.

2 – Write for Your Brand
Seriously, if you have to ask for a link – I am sceptical that I should even be speaking with you (and given the video above you may want to reconsider that anyway).

Write the post because you want to contribute, you want to help, or because you’ve been asked to do so. Take for example my recent post about how to write compelling content on Boagworld, I didn’t write it because I wanted a link, I wrote it to reach a larger audience that Boagworld has and audience I don’t normally get to write for. It was about showing I was an expert in my field (which is something Paul Boag spoke about in a recent Boagworld podcast, the perception people have of Web Experts).

So don’t write for a link, write for you and more importantly the audience.

Do You Guest Blog, What Your View On It’s Future?

We want to know what you think of the guest blogging industry, whether you are in it or you get 20 emails a day offering a post. let us know, leave a comment below or tweet @andykinsey.

Featured image source, be an expert

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8 Comments on “You Thought Our Guest Blogging Rules Were Crazy!”

  1. I’ve never really been a fan of using guest blogging for SEO purposes anyway. I find much more value in generating conversations and interactions with the people I write for.
    A contact is far more valuable to me, than a light boost to SEO Ranking.

    1. Dom, I agree completely with this sentiment. A contact who you can talk to and have a conversation with is much more valuable than just guest posting because you “need” too. Let’s be honest anyone who just uses that as a Link Building Strategy is barking up the wrong tree anyway.

  2. I stupidly put a guest post on a clients blog last year (from another client) both sites were in the same niche (construction). And every day since I get very arrogant, presumptuous messages from apparent ‘seo bloggers’ offering to guest post on the site in exchange for a link pointing to their clients site. Sadly the content they are offering in unrelated, boring, badly put together rubbish, and as a result have since deleted all guest posts from all my websites – as from these awful messages knew it was only a matter of time til Mr Cutts threw this out here.
    There really are some very stupid people passing themselves off as seo experts these days, and I am with you Andy on keeping you guest doors close to crap content! good on you and keep up the great work… GREAT CONTENT IS KING

  3. What about the blog owners who don’t know how to create nofollow links? I think there’s a ton of folks out there with good intentions who may not be aware about all of this. Does a link in a bio count as spammy? And do we need to go back and ask all the blog owners we’ve ever guest posted on to change our links? How does Google know that we’re a quality guest poster? You say, “if you know someone well enough to vouch for them…” How does one vouch for that someone with Google? Is there a checkbox somewhere??

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I’m going to be to the point here, don’t take it as me being angry I am just short on time but want to get you an answer to these valid points you make.
      1) if you don’t know how to make a no follow link, a simple search shows this google help page – explains simply how to and why. If you don’t have code level access search for “no follow ” where is your CMS.

      2) In general links in a bio for me can fall either side, as can any link. to me it’s not where the link is but how it is and what it is. If the link is in the bio or the article it can be spammy if its clearly not related to that page topic, so for example if you write about cats and link to a page about diamonds – this is why comment spam is common place, it falls in with this rule usually. But if the link is relevant, like I write about SEO and Digital Marketing, if I link to the company I work for who offers those services in a post or bio that isn’t spam. Its not where its what and why.

      3) If you think you’ve built spammy links or they could be considered spammy by guest posting then yes go back and change or get them deleted. Be aware though that if Google already knows its you that has wrote them and it see’s this taking place it will look at your posts in general and ask whether they are spammy or not. My advice is to forensically look at your posts around the web and consider the worth – if they rank well then its a 50/50 gamble, if they don’t rank then leave the be.

      Another note on this is that you will come across some bloggers (including me to an extent) who wont always change a link without a good reason. If i think the link is relevant and looks ok I wont change it – not only does it risk that one post for me but potentially the full site, if Google thinks ive a number of spam posts because it see’s this action it risks the site. Don’t be surprised to get a No in reply.

      4) (and 5) – A quality guest poster is someone who can show that they write well in good clear english. someone who can show me a post or two they’ve wrote which rank and are highly relevant to the site they are one – and of course without spammy links. This is pretty much what Google is looking for too, ultimately no one knows exactly what googles looks for in an author, but industry standing and to some extent social shares will have some part to play (and thats how you can see if someone is quality) to vouch for someone you share something of theirs, and if they are a regular blogger on your site this too can show your trust in them. – hence the recent move to enhance Google Authorship and what it means.

      What Google doesnt want is to discourage the “mum and dad” blogger, those people who are just sharing with a family or friends and don’t care about rankings at all. This is a move to get people around the world, like yourself, questioning the work they’ve done and more importantly what they do in the future. it’s about increasing quality of search for the user across the board.

  4. Andy Kinsey, fab post. After Penguine 2.1 updated. Many Seo experts want to guest post but scare to hit by Google. And your post is one of the best post. Its helpful for many people.

  5. Using guest posting as a way to gain links was always going to catch the eye of Google in the end and that is why Google is now clamping down on it. Even though Matt Cutts has said do not do it, I can see relevance in doing guest posting because it is about the high quality content that has been written and whether it is offering any value to the reader.

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