So the latest threat has come out from Matt Cutts stating that he’d “expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward”. Apparently they are “done” and it’s the latest SEO incarnation of the devil according to Google.
I’d expect this to spark quite a debate in the SEO, Social and Online PR industries as some may argue that all guest blogging shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush.
Once again it will be those who guest blog in a high volume, low quality and in an over optimised way that spoil it for those who aren’t just reaching out to blogs and bloggers for a link, (just like what happened with online advertorials).
If Google focuses on low quality posts, on low quality websites using over optimised anchor links then this will be a good thing for SEO and for websites putting users first rather than links. Metrics such as this will be easier to identify algorithmically and hopefully Google won’t take “a dim view” on guest posts that are genuine attempts to promote products where Google can help small entrepreneurs to promote their business online similar to say what a satchel company did that Google is quite familiar with!
Whilst Google has a job to do is policing guest posts it needs to find a way to determine what is a genuine guest post and what is a guest post for SEO purposes. This will become very difficult as SEOs become more aligned to social and PR objectives and guest posts will be sourced as part of an SEO campaign with a brand PR motive at the forefront. Brand links will also be the main links used going forward meaning it will make it harder to figure out which guest posts are primarily for SEO.
Concerns that may start to fly around the industry may be, can Google devalue the links of all blog posts? Will the good blog posts still gain a number of natural links anyway and therefore boost page authority on websites? Will the social value gained from genuinely good guest post themes have indirect SEO value in the future? These may be some questions that get further debate in light of Matt Cutts’ recent statement.
Perhaps before going after guest posts Google should look to walk before they can run and focus their efforts cleaning up link spam from other areas. Perhaps decreasing the lead time it takes to penalise a major Adwords spending global travel provider for example.