Is Guest Blogging Still a Thing?
For starters, what is guest blogging?
Basically, it’s when you write an article for another to publish on their blog (pretty much what I’m doing right now).
Why does this happen?
Because it’s a win-win situation.
The blog gets new content to publish, expanding itself.
The writer gets exposure or (sometimes) downright money. Note: keep in mind that most blogs CHARGE your for publication, rather than paying.
But the main reason behind guest blogging is link building.
The (seasoned) author spends two to eight hours working on a piece that is not even going to be posted by himself. It’s only fair that, somewhere in the body of the content or in the bio, there is a backlink to their personal blog or website.
This allows him to rank better on Google, which is good for business.Sounds easy, right?
“So, all bloggers out there write pieces for someone else to get backlinks?”
Well, that’s not exactly how it goes…
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
– Matt Cutts, Former Head of Google’s Webspam Team
The Panda and the Penguin:
Guest blogging wasn’t born recently. Oh, no. It’s been around for a long, long time.
It peaked during the pre-2012 period, when things were different.
First of all, once people started realizing how guest blogging could help their SEO (through link building), the practice became rampant. Because, “if this low-quality website accepted my poorly-written article, why not send it to lots of other low-quality websites to get a bunch of links?”
Can you picture the havoc it created?
Of course, Google decided to put a stop to it, with the Panda update.
Duplicate, thin and low-quality content, for instance, were penalized.
It was a great blow by the search engine, but it didn’t quite do the trick:
“Okay, so we can’t send the same piece to be published twice. How about putting tons of links into one piece?”
Needless to say, keyword-stuffing, unnatural links, and link schemes were the new trend that year.
But then, in 2012, Google decided enough was enough: the Penguin update was released, and it targeted those who followed the above practices.
Even though guest bloggers were now able to reverse the damage suffered by Penguin, due to its link-disavowing policy, it’s safe to say they felt blue: their toy was taken away from them, and they had been severely penalized.
Current Landscape in Guest Blogging:
Although Penguin was softened with its 4.0 update (penalizing the spammy links and the page they were inserted, but not the whole domain), the tone was set: there would be no more shenanigans.
The problem was (and is) that people have taken to believe that guest blogging is dead. This is particularly influenced by Matt Cutt’sinsights. Did you notice how even he, the former head of the webspam team at Google, says you have nothing to worry about as long as it’s done right?
I’d like to propose an experiment. Type “guest blogging” on your country’s Google and see what comes up. Here are Brazil’s results:
Trust me: none of those refers negatively to it. Neil Patel’s is actually saying it is the best inbound marketing strategy.
So what happened?
I like to call it “The Spilled Milk Syndrome”, from the Brazilian saying (literally translated): “It’s no use crying over spilled milk”. This means there is no point in regretting things that are already done or lost.
Yes, guest blogging used to be easier. Yes, nowadays you have to try much harder and write more to obtain just the one (or maybe two) do follow links, which have to be carefully embedded so as not to look spammy.
Does this mean guest blogging is done? Is it frowned upon? Forbidden?Outlawed?
You just have follow the rules and actually write it!
Unless you automate, spin or duplicate content, the Panda won’t get you.Tip: the English content is very different than the same content in other languages (the smiling fellow above said so himself). By translating or paying for a Portuguese translation, for example, you would be able to get two links and wouldn’t be penalized for duplicate content.
Also, don’t stuff keywords and don’t add unnatural, spammy links to the content and(this goes without saying) don’t participate in link schemes. This way, Penguin has no reason to target your website.
Basically, if five of your pitches are accepted, and you work separately on all five (or have employees do some of it), putting real effort into writing them, and linking naturally to helpful resources of your own, NOTHING BAD is going to happen to you.
So now I ask you: is guest blogging truly dead, or are you just lazy? let me know what’s your opinion on guest blogging in comments below?