Spammy Guest Blogging: A Continuation on Matt Cutts’ Latest Video

Spammy Guest Blogging A Continuation on Matt Cutts Latest Video

Matt Cutts, Google’s destroyer of webspam recently answered the question: “Does Google take action on spammy guest blogging activities” in the below video.

In it, he explains that when you use article spinning as a means of placing content on other websites, or if you are a website that allows spun content, then yes, there are clear indicators that either the links won’t provide much value, or you could actually hurt your sites’ reputation.

Leave it up to spammers to tarnish a perfectly good link building method. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with select directory submissions, bookmark links, reciprocal linking, comment linking and especially guest blogging. It’s how you’re using the tools that matters. It’s kind of like the saying “guns kill people”, which is incorrect. It’s just a tool that’s being used improperly.

A fresh reminder of what guest blogging truly is will help clear any confusion. Guest blogging is a relationship building tool that involves providing unique content to a webmaster for the purpose of being read, shared and interacted with. Like all good pieces of content, credit is given where credit is due, and this can come in the form of publicity, advertising, a potential partnership and/or backlink.

Spinning articles or approaching sites that are borderline article networks is not guest blogging and you should never confuse the two. It’s glorified article submitting that just takes more time. Be careful, even some online services can take this route, that’s why doing your research on a legitimate guest posting service is so important. For some SEO’s it might still work, but you’re making enemies, ruining your reputation and you’re one more algorithm update away from needing to return the leased BMW in your garage.

Lazy SEO is dead and Google rightfully killed it. Even though their algorithm and relevancy factor didn’t exactly improve, it’s a step in the right direction and it separated the good SEO’s from the bad. To get the most out of your guest blogging while still keeping your methods legitimate, try and follow a few simple rules:

Is This Blog Legitimate?

There are several things you can look for to gauge the legitimacy of a blog. Are they an actual company? Do they have contact information? Are the published posts unique content? Do they have pictures? Do the posts appear to be quality, or are they just a glorified blog network? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these, it could be an indicator that it’s not a quality website.

What Is The Authority Of The Website?

Domain authority or MozTrust is a fantastic indicator of quality. SEOMoz has done a fantastic job of looking at certain metrics to determine what is spam and what is not. It’s not the end all, be all, but it’s fantastic for quick glances.

Where Did I Find This Blog?

There are so many excellent tools out there to find legitimate guest bloggers or publishers. If you found your opportunity on one of the below sites, (still do your research) but it’s a good chance you’re in the clear:

If you signed up for a service and you’re picking a website out of their selection, it’s a good chance they own all those websites and you’re just in an article network. Research is key!

Why Am I Offering My Content?

If your answer is “to get the backlink”, you better be offering some solid content or are being very picky about a website. If you’re just out to chase a link, there are still article networks out there with decent PR that would love to have you. If you’re offering content for the credit, publicity, to network and potentially grow a partnership with the blogger, then you are guest blogging for the right reasons.

Not all websites are going to have the above mentioned qualities. For example, if you come across a website with a Domain Authority of 9, don’t count it out just yet. New websites aren’t a bad thing, they’re just new, or they haven’t been updated by SEOmoz. Before counting a “low authority” website out, make sure they have other redeeming qualities like fresh content, a great design, readership and social engagement.

To summarize, it is extremely surprising that Cutts has to come out in a video and answer this question. Did we learn nothing from Penguin? Did the endless articles about why content spinning is bad not get through to spammers? I’m not sure where the disconnect is, but I would like to hear your thoughts!

Why do you think some SEO’s continue to spam? Is it because:

  1. Illegitimate SEO agencies can’t or won’t invest resources into quality fulfillment work?
  2. SEO’s just continue the “lazy SEO” method hoping it will still work?
  3. Google still has a lot of work to do, and to a point, these spammy methods still DO work?
  4. All of the above.

Comment below with either A, B, C, D or your own idea of why spammers are giving guest blogging and other link/brand building techniques a bad name.

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8 Comments

  1. Eric Scism says

    I love guest blogging. I don’t really do it for the backlinks. I do it to gain attention from a new audience. Certain blogs have more traffic than I do in my niche so I try and reach a different segment of my target audience via guest blogging and then get them hooked on my content!… And the backlink is nice too :)

  2. Dionne Baldwin says

    This is a great way to explain why it’s mandatory to provide quality content and work to build your web presence instead of trying to take the easy way. It’s a shame because I do like to find posts like this one and link back while writing my point of view and why I think the article is so important. I have to limit that and watch how I present it because of all the spam. (Siiiiigh…)

    But quality will win over quantity. :) The time it takes to build a brand should be what makes it popular not taking shortcuts and providing basically no usable content. At that point, what’s the whole reason behind having a site anyway if it’s not actually giving the readers a reason to be there?

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Kevin W. Phelps says

      Dionne, you’re very welcome. Without quality content, it’s just not guest blogging, it’s spammy link building. That’s the message I’m trying to get across to maintain the reputable name of guest posting. I hate when spammers have their way with legitimate link/brand building techniques!

  3. Steven TRACY says

    Spammer seo’s make me think of lazy salesmen searching for easy ways to sell.

    They d’on’t provide any value for a company’s marketing campagne.

    • Kevin W. Phelps says

      Steven, great comparison! I just can’t wait till Google can differentiate the two. Unfortunately, their SERP’s are still justifying and motivating spammers, IMO.

  4. Steven TRACY says

    Thanks Kevin :)

    Sure, spammers just want to get their clients positionned in the SERPS. They don’t care about what happens ounce a person clics on the site (conversions etc…) They just consider it’s not their problem. They don’t even care about the futur of a client’s website being hit by an algo update. “just get the site positionned and take their money” that’s it.

    Ounce again, like a salesman talking nonsense about how the product is so fantastic just to make the sale. But what happens afterwards ? How does a company deal with bad sales and reputation ?

    What’s the point of having a business take the risk to fail just because their website get’s hit by an algo update.

    Further on, if you don’t produce compelling content for the user, your not going to build a brand that will get shared by others, meaning that you only rely on SERPS positions wich is a bit risky.

    A nice clear friendly website + a quality content blog showing you know what your talking about and exchanging with others through comments and social media is the sound way to develop a business through word of mouth and gives Google the signals that the search engine is looking for to trust your site. Yes, Google now needs to trust you before they decide to rank your website. that’s where they’re going. Authorship combined with google+ proves it.

    But, of course, that’s a lot of hard work :) wich doesn’t make life interesting for lazy bums just interested in taking it easy.

    When I hear all the cussing about the last Google update that have affected cheat websites, it reminds me of those salesmen that talk nonsense just for the sake of making the sale, not caring about what happens after.

    Caring about what happens after, is caring about your customers and the future of your business.

    Good quality content marketing is the only way to develop a brand. And I love inbound marketing for that purpose. It challenges us to keep up to date and show that we know what we’re talking about.
    Wether it’s fishing, playing drums or doing online marketing.

    In one word “passion”. I’ve seen clients develop a business just for the sake of making money because that’s the thing to do nowadays. They usually don’t succeed very well for lack of passion for what they’re doing.

    If you have passion, love and emotion about your business, not only will you transfer the passion of your brand to others, but you’ll live a far better and more interesting lifestyle.

    So Google, keep on filtering out the lazy bums, cheaters and low quality sites to make the web a qualified and usefull place to be :)

    • Ofir Dankner says

      I definitely agree with you, specially about the attitude of spammers to their client’s.
      since algo update new client’s come to me after thier site hase ben hit due to wrong activity of spammers that supposed to promote the costumer website.
      i really hope that Google will eventually prevent the spam phenomenon, which often makes bad name in the SEO niche.

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