Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, has publicly and repeatedly stated that guest blogging for SEO purposes is dead.1 We are already seeing that Google is taking an aggressive stance towards link spam, especially on guest posts and link farms.
One thing that really hasn’t been touched upon, but is lurking in the background, is guest blogging for the purpose of increasing your Google Authorship reputation.
As Google starts to incorporate more indicators into its algorithm, we are going to start seeing the decline of links as the major indicator of a web page’s worth, and see the increase in importance of social media mentions, website reputation, publisher reputation, and author reputation. These won’t replace links as an indicator, but they will certainly become more and more important over time.
While the exact formula is kept secret, for obvious reasons, it is clear that Google is going in the direction of measuring a web page’s worth by reputation, in addition to the measures that it already uses, like incoming links.
What this means is that authors that have a high reputation for certain topics, will appear higher in those topics than those with less of a reputation, assuming all other factors are the same.2
I predict that we are going to see a much needed shift in guest blogging towards quality posts for the purpose of either passing the author’s reputation to the website or publisher, or for the purpose of passing the reputation of the website or publisher to the author. Not to mention the clout and exposure an author gets by being published on a respected high traffic site, or the clout a website receives by having a respected author contributing an article.
Hopefully we will see a swift decline in guest posting and articles created for the sole purpose of generating links, as Google cracks down on link spam and reputation becomes more important.
If you have not embraced Google Authorship yet, we recommend that you do now. The sooner you, as an author, get associated with great content, the better your content will show up in the future as reputation becomes more important.
So, guest blogging is not dead. It is just transforming back into what it always was supposed to be: a way to get ideas and great content in front of new eyes.
- Matt has updated his post several times for clarity. If you have not read it in awhile, you may want to read it again. [↩]
- It is important to note that there are a lot of indicators that Google looks at, and the importance of each indicator will be tweaked by Google over time to achieve optimal search results. We do not want to assume that one indicator trumps all others. It is better to take a combined approach. [↩]