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Big News from Matt Cutts: The Death of Guest Blogging?

4 MINUTE READ | January 22, 2014

Big News from Matt Cutts: The Death of Guest Blogging?

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Kerry Dean

Kerry Dean has written this article. More details coming soon.

There was some pretty big news in the SEO world yesterday, and it came from Matt Cutts:

As you know, Matt is the head of Google’s Spam Team. He’s like the #1 Spam Cop. If Google were a ‘Police Academy’ movie, Matt would be Commandant Lassard. Well, kinda. Matt is really intelligent and not as goofy. 🙂

The death of guest blogging? This is a big deal in the SEO world because Matt (and Google) is taking an official stance against ‘Guest Blogging’ as a link-building tactic/method. It’s not very often that Google takes an official stance against tactics, so it’s certainly got the SEO world talking. In fact, if you are interested in reading more, here are a few additional resources and reactions:

If we look back at the history of SEO, it’s pretty easy to see the tactics that worked. And it’s easy to find the most common methods that worked because those were the methods that Google targeted. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane:

  • Mid-1990’s: Build a website. Get into the Yahoo Directory and/or DMOZ directory. BOOM! ROASTED! You’re ranking.

  • Late 1990s: Keyword stuffing every meta tag, alt tag, footer, and even some content blocks that were not even visible to users.

    • Also, during this time, Google PageRank was a big factor in rankings. If there is a site that was outranking you, just get them to link to you. Most people had no idea about SEO, and they would gladly link to you. Fools!

  • Early 2000s: Comment spam and/or blog spam. Build a list of 100,000 blog posts that don’t moderate their comments. Use software to post comments with links back to your site.

  • 2002-April 24, 2012: Just buy the links. Several sites are created to connect content publishers with advertisers, making it really easy to buy links on awesome websites, crappy websites, and all website in between.

  • April 24, 2012 to present: This is the day that Google Penguin pretty much killed every sneaky way of building links. Even methods that were considered whitehat were completely devalued. And it wasn’t just for small brands. Penguin is a real threat to any website doing anything that is trying to game Google rankings.

  • 2006-2014: During this time period, Guest Blogging ruled! When Google said “Don’t pay for links” – everyone started “guest blogging,” which was just another way to pay for links. But with guest blogging, you are writing an article that contains a link back to your site, and then you are asking/paying another website to post that article on their site. Brilliant, right? Not so much.

  • Jan. 20, 2014: Matt Cutts announces the death of Guest Blogging. He later changes the title of his post to ‘decay and fall’ instead of ‘death’. But we know what he really meant.

Look at me: I’m practically an Internet Archaeologist!

(/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/police-academy-commandant-eric-lassard.jpg ""Guest blogging had a good run." - Commandant Lassard, SEO")

“Guest blogging had a good run.” – Commandant Lassard, SEO

So what happens next? It’s still a cat-and-mouse game on some levels, so I’m sure there are SEOs who are already using some new, relatively unknown method to game the system. That’s a given.

Google has spent the past 15 years trying to catch the mouse, who is still running away with the cheese. But the mouse’s lead has been severely diminished. This is an awful metaphor. But the point is that SEO is no longer about being clever or tricky or finding sneaky ways to build links and game the rankings algorithms. For Google anyways. It’s still open season on Bing. Now *that* was a shot!

BTW I totally LOL’d when Matt wrote “this is why we can’t have nice things.”

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BTW #2: I’m pretty sure that Tackleberry would’ve made a fine SEO. But that’s a post for another day.