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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.