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Matt Cutts: Guest Blogging for SEO is Over
jackxin




msg:4638211
 3:26 pm on Jan 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Are you accepting or request guest blog posts ? Matt Cutts confirmed in a tweet "we池e taking action on hundreds of buyers, dozens of sites, & dozens of spammy writers," in reference to a blogs bribing investigation.

There is a new case going on with extensive investigation on customers, marketing agencies and bloggers taking money to manipulate search engine rankings.

https://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/414175219796824064
[mattcutts.com...]

Matt Cutt's announcement should make most of this bloggers think twice before accepting paid guest posting and marketing firms stop bribing them if they care about SERPs.

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 10:14 pm (utc) on Jan 20, 2014]
[edit reason] added MC article [/edit]

 

RP_Joe




msg:4639816
 9:05 am on Jan 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anything the trick Google into thinking your website is more valuable, is trouble.

3zero




msg:4640035
 4:28 am on Jan 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

More "link paranoia" from Google. I don't know about you but I am seeing soon sites will be too scared to link.

Robert Charlton




msg:4640647
 3:50 am on Jan 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

UPDATE...

For those who haven't seen it (and I'm not seeing it noted above), Matt posted a clarification at the end of his post, emphasizing that he's talking not about all guest blogging, but about guest blogging just for SEO. The addition isn't dated, so it's not clear when it happened.

That said, aakk9999 had posted the current title... The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO ...when she posted a link to Matt's blog in this thread on Jan 20, 2014 (PST -8).

Part of Matt's addition...

Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I値l add a bit more context. I知 not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they値l continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I知 talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes....

While Matt has been saying for a while now that cookie-cutter blog posts, if you stick a fork into them, will crumble, he was also, in this discussion from last year, somewhat fuzzy about future guidelines....

Google says link building is not dead, illegal or bad
July 11, 2013
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4592085.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I'm thinking that the overstatement about the end of guest blogging and the switch back was intended to catch the attention of many who still view routine cookie-cutter blogging as a link building technique, and that the line is intentionally fuzzy.


Thanks to Danny Sullivan's article in Marketing Land for the alert...

Google Clarifies: Guest Blogging Is OK, But "Guest Blogging For SEO" Is Not
[marketingland.com...]

Vamm




msg:4640934
 7:18 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Whoa, we got a contact today, along the lines of Sorry we do not accept guest posts any longer, and we have retoractively deleted all past guest posts, including one of yours, hopefully you understand. I would expect this spreading some more.

Also those who have accepting guest posts, I'd say they might consider sending out an email, "Pay us $15 and we remove your guest post, or else you lose because Google said guest blogging is a no-no." Similar to the recent reversal of one-time-fee paid links, hehe.

FranticFish




msg:4640948
 8:52 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Unless I'm missing something, this clarification represents a major change in Google's policies.

Pay-per-post = paid link. We knew that; we always knew that.
Spammy anchor text = bad. We knew that too.

But is Google now saying that they want certain types of EDITORIAL links to be no-followed?

If you pitch for a guest post and your content is good enough to be accepted by the site editor(s), and no money has changed hands, then that is an EDITORIAL decision to link to your site.

Google may need to reword this page: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en

Because "creating links that weren't editorially placed or vouched for by the site's owner on a page" says to me that it's still OK to ask for links. But that doesn't gel with this 'clarification'.

Do we now have shades of meaning in "editorially placed" links? Is approaching people to ask for a link now wrong, even if they award it based on merit?

skdreamz




msg:4640957
 10:01 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yes, Matt announced that Guest post is dead, so what will be the another option to make quality backlinks ?

simonmc




msg:4640964
 10:17 am on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

What does editorial placed even mean? I can pay for an article in exchange for a link from the writer. I can just link without anything changing hands. I can nofollow everything to stay safe.

What value does editorial placed have if everything is nofollowed anyway? This is surely where all linking is going for fear of upsetting the master. Maybe not now but at the next whim of change.

Jez123




msg:4641051
 5:11 pm on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have some guest blogs. About 5 to 10 or so. Need I worry and either try to get them no followed or disavow them? I REALLY don't need another penalty after being hit by Penguin for 16 months and nearly out of business. I've said it before and I will say it again. Harsh. Why seek to punish for something that was deemed acceptable? If it was not acceptable thay could have said (in definite terms and not Cutts / google speak that is very open to interpretation).

EditorialGuy




msg:4641134
 2:16 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Why seek to punish for something that was deemed acceptable?


The kind of spammy guest posting that Matt Cutts describes has always been in violation of Google's guidelines. It's just more prevalent today than it was in the not-so-distant past.

The bottom-feeding SEO firms that were buying links a year or two ago are now buying "guest post" placements. Instead of buying plain-vanilla text links, they're buying links wrapped in 300, 400, or 500 words of fluff. But they're still buying links.

ken_b




msg:4641135
 2:25 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I知 not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Sounds good.

But good intentions and actual actions are often quite different.

zeus




msg:4641162
 9:40 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have just ordered my first guest post link ever, I think google just go after those quick low content blogs, which is full with guest posters, if at all. Also dont believe everything google says. When they mention guest blogging is dead, thats a BIG step for google to get rid of spammy bloggers, im not sure they will do that much to the algo. A guest post is a great why to see/get new content on a site.

FranticFish




msg:4641192
 12:18 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

The problem is that people who SHOULDN'T end up caring about their linking practices DO.

I'm the facilitator for a link-building campaign at the moment; the site I'm doing it on behalf of has done real weighty research work and commissioned academics to help them produce some of their white papers. They have 4 people involved in their own blog. They run their own annual industry forum with hundreds of attendees from all over the world.

We're trying to get that content and information noticed and cited. One of the angles is to approach influencer blogs and pitch them for a guest post
- summarising a particular set of research, providing follow up link to said paper
- commentary from an industry expert on new developments, with a link to the blog perhaps.

Yes, we're doing this for SEO as a part of marketing. Of COURSE we are.

But there's no money changing hands for the decision to award the guest slot. We've pitched a tech editor and they have said 'Yes! Our readers will be interested; I want to see your idea and I'll let you know'

This is surely 100% white hat 'editorial' link building.

Except it looks to me like now it's not.

'Guest posting for SEO' is a VERY wide brush stroke.

It's hard enough to reach people as it is without some of those people, who are switched on to what Google does, getting worried about their actions.

In the meantime, those that don't give a damn what Google say will continue to do what they've always done.

Spammers gonna spam matter what Google say. This sort of announcement only discourages people that CARE.

[edited by: FranticFish at 12:22 pm (utc) on Jan 30, 2014]

Dymero




msg:4641248
 3:29 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

FranticFish, sounds like you have the type of subject matter experts that should make for a good post that'll build authority and exposure, as Matt indicates in his update.

So long as the posts are high-quality and not using exact match anchor text, you should be fine.

EditorialGuy




msg:4641292
 6:03 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

The problem is that people who SHOULDN'T end up caring about their linking practices DO.


Ultimately, we're all responsible for our editorial decisions.

Search engines can provides guidelines for publishers who want free search traffic, but if a publisher draws the wrong conclusions from those guidelines, that's the publisher's problem, not the search engine's. It's unrealistic to expect a search engine to stop fighting spam (or to refrain from publishing "best practices" guidelines) for the convenience of publishers who aren't confident about their own judgment.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4641300
 7:02 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

How long till Matt cuts releases a video and says

"stick a fork in it, link building for SEO is dead, don't leave dofollow links yourself anywhere, dont pay an SEO to leave dofollow links anywhere, concentrate all your efforts on your websites user experience and gain editorial links only, no more paying/begging or working for dofollow links.

Far fetched or likely prediction?

Essentially he's already been saying this for a long time but without directly saying it!

Dymero




msg:4641325
 8:42 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not even indirectly. I think he's come out and said "only editorial links" multiple times.

But "get only editorial links" doesn't translate into "don't promote your work at all." You can still contact webmasters about your content or tools or service or whatever, and if they like it, then they might link to you. If they do, that is an editorial link.

EditorialGuy




msg:4641344
 9:44 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

What Dymero said. Think "public relations," not "link building."

CaptainSalad2




msg:4641477
 8:46 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

@dymero, editorialGuy. If you have to EARN backlinks not BUY backlinks can either of you explain the adds on this screen shot? [imageshack.com ]

Is Matts stance on link building G policy? I want to believe but I have to wonder based on their ads....

Why does G allows advertisers to advertise a service that痴 against their TOS?

How many innocent site owners see these ads, believe G is delivering TRUSTWORTHY ads, (why wouldn't they?) buy the services through G PPC only to be penalised by G organically?

To me its like the police bringing the smack down on drug buyers while letting the drug sellers operate directly from the police station itself.

Opinions guys?

netmeg




msg:4641534
 1:30 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well for one thing, there's more than one search engine. For another thing, Google doesn't specifically say "Don't build any links" (at least not to my recollection) they ban certain specific practices that pass pagerank and have been abused to death, and they say nofollow anything you paid for or can't vouch for.

That's not "don't build any links." So far. It's more like "build links for traffic, not for ranking."

CaptainSalad2




msg:4641536
 1:38 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

@netmeg im talking about paying for links, G says they want you to earn links not pay for them, by paying someone to build links through one of these adds you aren't earning links, your paying for links, isnt that against G TOS?

Bear in mind some of these sites, once clicked show G logo and reference G so are clearly implying they help people rank on G through link building services...

why not remove these adds and save a lot of webmaster who don't read these forums time and trouble down the road? I honestly cant get my head around this....

Dymero




msg:4641547
 2:15 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

That Google's organic hand doesn't seem to know where its advertising hand is has always been pretty clear to me. But in this case, I'm not sure these are against guidelines. They're just companies that go and do the job for you. How they do it is something I can't speak to.

If we're going to define what is "buying links" to be the people who are creating content and doing outreach, then by hiring me, or netmeg, or a lot of people on this site, a lot of companies are buying links. If you're building an in-house team, then hiring those employees would be buying links. But buying links isn't the person, but the tactic they use.

Also, in regards to Matt's stance, we often seem to think Matt Cutts is an all powerful mover and shaker at Google, but maybe he has no pull in what the Adwords division does. He's the head of webspam, not the CEO of Google. That he doubles as a spokeman for all things organic is only because he's good at it and presents a friendly face and voice.

FranticFish




msg:4641548
 2:23 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

that's the publisher's problem, not the search engine's

It's everyone's problem when the search engine isn't clear.

"Okay, I'm calling it: if you're using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop."

The examples further down may say to those who read between the lines 'Don't pay for guest posts' or 'Don't tell the editor what anchor text you want', but the statement reads to me as:

'Don't do it, because we can't tell what's paid and what's not, and what's spammy and what's not, so we're probably going to assume both for everyone.'

It's particular to autocracies that, when they can't police their system effectively, they try to make the system stricter instead. This never produces the desired end, because criminals always learn how to abuse the new system. But the system as a whole suffers, as does everyone using it.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4641553
 2:51 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Dymero, would you agree that, if "you" were head of the spam team you would want to clean house first and tackle the addwords branch who allow selling of backlinks?, say 500 for $5? Google "buy 500 backlinks" now!

500 for $5? We all know these are the type of links G gives penalties for, so on this one..... if we could say, "yea, G is getting this one wrong" id be happy :)

netmeg




msg:4641554
 2:56 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

@netmeg im talking about paying for links, G says they want you to earn links not pay for them, by paying someone to build links through one of these adds you aren't earning links, your paying for links, isnt that against G TOS?


They don't want you pay for links that pass juice.

Dymero, would you agree that, if "you" were head of the spam team you would want to clean house first and tackle the addwords branch who allow selling of backlinks?


Despite what a lot of people believe, there is (and needs to be) a pretty strong firewall between the organics and the ads. I'm pretty sure Matt doesn't get to "tackle the AdWords branch." even if he wanted to.

Dymero




msg:4641602
 6:36 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

I agree with netmeg. Matt probably doesn't have any pull on that side of things. Maybe he can indirectly affect things by penalizing sites that buy links, thereby eventually putting those guys out of business due to all their customers leaving, but that's probably about it.

EditorialGuy




msg:4641618
 8:49 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

You can always try the "But look at this AdWords ad!" defense if you're hit by Google's Piranha update three months from now.

Or you can heed Matt Cutts's warning.

I'm guessing that the second option will be more productive, but to each his own.

rish3




msg:4641636
 10:08 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google is increasingly leveraging it's ability to punish what it deems as unnatural, versus just devaluing it. Not sure what happened to rewarding what it deems as "good" either.

Most of their focus seems to be on pushing stuff down, either via penalties, algorithms, or just generally pushing all organic results down via more ads, widgets, onebox, etc.

I agree that complaining doesn't get much done. However, pretending like Google's motives are anything other than profit oriented is just as useless. You can "create great content" all day long, but big G isn't going to reward that the way they used to. Paid click percentages have increased by double digits in almost every quarterly report from G...clearly at the expense of organic referrals.

Or, in short, find other sources of traffic.

EditorialGuy




msg:4641787
 8:25 pm on Feb 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Paid click percentages have increased by double digits in almost every quarterly report from G...clearly at the expense of organic referrals.


Even if that were true, it would be true only for search queries (such as "transactional" or e-commerce queries) that lend themselves to advertising.

Fact is, many (most?) Web searches aren't purchase-related, and there are many queries that generate SERPs with few or even no ads.

Google is increasingly leveraging it's ability to punish what it deems as unnatural, versus just devaluing it. Not sure what happened to rewarding what it deems as "good" either.


It's possible that Google's definition of "good" isn't the same as your or my definition of "good." If testing and user-behavior data show that people are happy with the likes of Wikipedia, Amazon, and TripAdvisor, then those megasites--and megasites like them--are likely be regarded favorably by Google's algorithm.

Similarly, certain quirks that I see in the SERPs aren't necessarily about punishment. Case in point: Google seems to love location-based EMDs these days. I sometimes see awful sites ranking high in the SERPs because they have a domain name like [cityname].nu. This may push other sites down in the rankings, but it isn't an attempt to punish those other sites; it's just an overzealous weighting of geographic keywords in domain names.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4641857
 9:26 am on Feb 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

>>>user-behavior data<<

Bounce rate? I see bounce rate is talked about a lot on these forums as a metric G uses/should use to gage the quality of a user experience?

Many of us use AJAX to deliver content to improve the user experience on the site thus the bounce rate is higher than a site that doesn't use AJAX. Surely G takes this isn't account and doesn't weigh bounce rate anymore (if they did)?

EditorialGuy




msg:4641920
 4:15 pm on Feb 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Bounce rate? I see bounce rate is talked about a lot on these forums as a metric G uses/should use to gage the quality of a user experience?


Google has said that bounce rate is a "noisy" signal. After all, the user may have bounced off the page because it provided the information that he or she wanted. (Someone who just wants to know the capital of Albania or a definition of the word "zygote" isn't likely to stay on a site that provides the answer, no matter how good the site is.)

"Return to search" is likely to be a more useful metric, because a high rate of going back to search and clicking on other results may suggest that searchers didn't find what they wanted. Or maybe not: The searchers may simply have been looking for multiple answers, reviews, prices, alternatives, etc.

Getting back on topic, maybe user metrics can help Google to identify low-quality, SEO-driven "guest posts," in combination with other factors. (Note the italics. My guess would be that user metrics would come into play as a possible spam signal only when when a page or post had already scored badly on the "smell test.")

zeus




msg:4641926
 4:56 pm on Feb 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Bounce rate is not used in my opinion. I also had a site where the bounce rate was 85%, now 42% no change in rankings at all. I would also not say that the site is better now, changes was made be cause of google, you know these days we have to make a site for search engines.

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