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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