Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team came out on Tuesday in a Webmaster Help video to discuss Google’s view on guest blogging for links. When I first saw the headline in my Twitter feed I was kinda nervous because right now guest posting is my preferred way to promote a new site. I also think guest blogging is generally something that’s really cool. I think the video turned out to be good news for bloggers who are focused on adding value to the net and not focused on cranking out “good enough” articles that look like they belong in an article directory. Here’s the vid -
My thoughts about the video
• Google likes guest posts that are high quality even if they written by authors who aren’t well known yet.
• Cutts mentioned Danny Sullivan, Lisa Barone, and Vanessa Fox as high quality authors. It may be wise for you to familiarize yourself with their work if you haven’t already. Interestingly, 2 out of 3 of those authors write for SearchEngineLand.
• High quality means: knowledgeable, insightful, and original content.
• Google DOES want to give credit to links in guest posts that are high quality.
• Google wants to discount links in guest posts that are low quality. I noticed he didn’t say penalize.
• Google doesn’t like spun articles.
• Google doesn’t like duplicate guest posts so make sure your post only gets published on one blog.
• Google doesn’t like articles that look like they were written for an article directory.
• Google doesn’t like guest posts that are outsourced to non-experts. I personally don’t even allow anyone to guest post here unless they are a regular contributor to the site they want to promote.
• Just enough isn’t enough. If the blog you want to write for says “the post must be 300-700 words”, make your post as close to 700 words as you can without filling it with a bunch of fluff.
• Matt said – “The sorts of links we’d like to be counting more would be – the higher quality articles where somebody really put some work into it and they have something really original to say.”
As I said at the beginning, this is good news for up and coming bloggers who put user experience first and links second. In fact, if you want to put links first – the best way to do that is to concentrate on producing content that is created for users. It should take several hours to write the post and only couple of minutes to decide on your anchor text and insert the link. This means that significantly less than 1% of your thoughts should be on the link.
If it doesn’t take you several hours to write a guest post, don’t be surprised if the links in it get discounted somewhere down the line. In the SEO game, what you can get away with today won’t necessarily work tomorrow – and you really can’t go wrong with producing quality content that contains links to quality content. So do yourself a favor and do it right the first time. It saves a lot of effort down the road.