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How to secure the future of guest blogs

Do you rely heavily on guest blogs? Are you currently running for the hills? Stop

For a long time now, guest blogging has been a resourceful technique that bloggers have employed with a view to increasing their blog’s traffic by publishing other authors’ content on their own blog. They work in two ways – either another author can write a post that appears on your your blog, or you can write a post to appear on another person’s blog.

They’ve been calling it for a while, but this week the day finally came when Matt Cutts spoke out about guest blogging: “If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice”.

We’ve learnt over time to read between the lines when it comes to Cutts (even creating our very own Short Cutts… shameless plug!) and as bold (and scaremongering) as this statement may be, it’s not the be all and end all when it comes to guest blogs.

Blog owners & guest bloggers should work closely together, understand one another and generate unique, high quality content when they collaborate

There are some crucial lessons that we can learn. This update does not tell us to stop accepting guest blogs or not to write them; it tells us to be more savvy in the posts we accept, the authors and companies we partner with and to up our game when it comes to quality. It seems that the days of courting have long passed; instead the web is inundated with blanket template emails. Romantic hey? Stop and think about what your blog will look like from Google’s point of view, put on their shoes and reignite online relationships.

If you have become somewhat complacent about the quality of the guest blogs you write, now is the time to take a few minutes to address this. Go back to basics and remember why you started guest blogging in the first place. Blog owners & guest bloggers should work closely together, understand one another and generate unique, high quality content when they collaborate. Guest blogging purely as a link building tactic is dead in the water and when looking to work with bloggers we should be steering well clear of blogs that resemble blogging and link farms. But its not all doom and gloom. Guest posts do still work, like all web copy, if they are high quality… hear me out!

Guest blogs aren’t dead; they can still be a good source of links,  allowing you to publish content from a perspective that you may not be able to provide otherwise, and with guest posts also comes exposure and increased reach within your community. Engaging real people with great quality content will never die so it’s alien to me that people would be choosing to automate and/or outsource guest posts. Building genuine relationships with bloggers and key industry figures, and then outreaching to them on a one-to-one basis should be a crucial component in your overall content marketing campaign.

Cutts did later clarify that this announcement was not aimed at ‘multi-author blogs’ and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was left questioning how Google will tell the difference between good and bad guest blogging. I understand Google’s pursuit of spammy guest blogs after their Panda and Penguin updates but policing peoples motivations to guest blog won’t be straightforward; and I wonder what this will look like algorithmically? This is where the social media marketer in me starts kicking and screaming!

Google Authorship flies in the face of Cutt’s latest update, if anything, it has aided many in the practice of guest posting. Authorships allows us to measure the relevance of a guest post author, find out who is vouching for who and bios provide us with the perfect place to showcase who the authors are and the basis on which to lay the foundations of a community. Throw Google Plus into the mix, and hey presto, we’ve got social signals flying all over the place. OK, so it’s not necessarily that easy, but the principle stands. If your guest posts are relevant and compel your audience then the social media paper-trail won’t lie.

If your guest posts are relevant and compel your audience then the social media paper-trail won’t lie

So, the moral of the story? Guest blogging isn’t dead, poor quality content is!

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