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The Death of Guest Blogging for SEO

A few days ago Matt Cutts published a post on his blog that got the whole Internet Marketing crowd running around and screaming in panic: “OMG, Google just killed guest blogging”. The subject became so popular it jumped to #2 trending topic on Google+.

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Before you panic you must read in the title of Matt’s post: “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO”. Guest Blogging for SEO is the main keyword here. If getting a backlink was your main reason to guest blog then I am happy Google is doing something about it. I do agree that this fad has turned into an unstoppable industry of spam and low quality content.

If you truly love guest blogging, you shouldn’t care about Google killing the backlinks and taking action against low quality blogs and low quality posts. Getting a backlink was never the true goal of guest blogging. Branding yourself and getting exposure – that’s the point.

In other words, if I got a chance to write a guest post for Search Engine Land or MOZ – I would do it in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t concentrate on inserting a link to my site from that guest post. I would be happy enough if I got thousands of people to read my post.

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Now, I am sure Google isn’t really going to ban guest blogging, they can’t really prevent you from posting on other blogs. Will the backlinks from these posts lose its value? They probably will in most cases. However, if you create amazing content and it gets posted on high profile blogs – you will benefit from it.

Google has been killing all “link building strategies” over the years (forum links, blog comment links, linking networks, etc.). But in reality Google is simply going back to basics.

So how do you do SEO if you can’t build links?

  1. Write good quality content. I have been forcing this point throughout my blog in the past few months. Good content gets you better rankings and loyal followers.
  2. Write often. Updating your site or blog once a month isn’t going to cut it. Try to update at least a few times a week but make sure you aren’t lacking quality.
  3. Produce more content. Writing blog posts is all good but you need to create videos, eBooks, podcasts and slides. All of it can easily be done in 2014.
  4. Long tail keywords. No one cancelled those. Long tails are easy to rank for and if you use enough of them, you might be getting thousands of visitors just for these phrases.
  5. Be Creative. Use Übersuggest. This point is related to #4.  Whenever you run out of idea for new content, use a suggestion tool.
  6. Get mentions. When your name/brand is mentioned online, Google adds to your authority. Even if there is no link to your website. Make sure people are talking about you.
  7. Get Social. This is probably the most important point of them all. I don’t need to tell you that you absolutely must have a Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. You also need to be active on these networks. Don’t limit yourself to posting your own links on G=. Talk to other people. Follow, and get followers. Share, reshare, +1, etc. Be social.

Edit. Step #8. (suggested by Jay in comments)

Internal linking.

If you write great content and you write a new post then link to your other great content. I do that and I see you doing that all the time. It works. Wikipedia…ahem.

This is a good way to let your readers know that you have written relevant posts and these posts might be very beneficial to your reader.

Just yesterday I had a meeting with a local marketing prospect and he said: “Your website ranks #1 on Google but what really made me pick up the phone and call you was the fact that your LinkedIn page was on the first page as well. I don’t trust companies without a LinkedIn account.”

Social networking presence isn’t only beneficial to your rankings, it’s also help potential clients find you and trust you.

Conclusion.

Forget about link building. Forget about black hat SEO. Follow the steps 1-to-7 and you will get better rankings and higher income.

Have anything to add? Share in the comments below!

 

- Alex

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4 Comments

  1. Good points Alex.

    I never quite understood the whole guest blogging craze AFTER Panda. To me it was like people did that because they realized that building backlinks no longer worked and someone said that the way to go was guest blogging.

    Well isn’t that the same thing? You write a post on another site and include your link – isn’t that link building? Never saw the point.

    I do understand guest blogging for the sake of building an audience through an already existing community kinda like what Copyblogger did.

    One thing to add to your 7 points – internal linking.

    If you write great content and you write a new post then link to your other great content. I do that and I see you doing that all the time. It works. Wikipedia…ahem.

    • Well, Jay, I have never done guest blogging but I did think of it at some point, in the past. I guess now creating great content is even MORE important than ever ;)

  2. Great post Alex. So much of this IM crowd have this sky is falling mentality when it comes to SEO. I remember how they said Google instant is going to kill affiliate marketing and other times before that. I can’t deny I was once on that bandwagon, but experience has taught me that Google is moving in the right direction. It’s just wrong when blogs would get higher rankings simply because of backlinks. It ruins the game and kills incentive to create content.

    • Vitaliy, I must agree with you on this one. When you know that it’s getting almost impossible to game the system and it becomes fair game for everyone, you are more motivated to create good content. Simply because you know that with time you will outrank your competitors ;)

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