The big news in the SEO world this past week is that Google penalized MyBlogGuest’s network of guest bloggers. If you aren’t familiar with MyBlogGuest, it is a means of connecting websites looking for content and those willing to write it. Guest Blogging was once proclaimed as the SEO strategy because you usually could get links in the text of the article, if not in the author bio at least.

Over the past few months Google has been cracking down on guest blogging – spammy guest blogging that is. This is the type where the article isn’t user-friendly because it’s riddled with spelling errors, run-on sentences, and exact match anchor text links.  What used to be a great strategy, has been misused and destroyed by massive spammy schemes. Now Google demands that links be “no-followed” in guest blog articles. While this still gives brand exposure and PR, it reduces (and sometimes) eliminates SEO value – particularly for small websites and companies.

Here’s an example of a low-quality article I found. It looks like the article was haphazardly created to get a link for this company – exact match anchor text no less. Unfortunately, the actual content is lacking as well, with multiple grammatical errors and bad formatting present. It’s only a matter of time before websites that host this content, receive their own Google penalty.

spam guest post clipHere’s another one. This 300 word article was essentially a sales brochure for the company in question.

spammy guest post exampleFor many SEOs, guest blogging has been a standard tactic – it provided great brand exposure and link opportunities. However, in the last six months, opportunities have significantly dropped off. Fewer bloggers will accept guest posts, as Google is warning users about the risks involved in accepting them. Even when businesses have the best of intentions, their pitches rarely get a response as journalists and bloggers are inundated with emails.

And even though Ann Smarty and her team have denounced spammy guest posting and have always set guidelines for good guest posting, they’ve become a target of Google’s crackdown.  Tactics used in the past are no longer safe (even when done with good intentions) and it’s important to move forward with a new strategy and standards.

So what does guest posting look like in the future?

  1. More client involvement and more PR strategy between agencies and brands.
  2. Fewer links and more brand mentions (equally building brand awareness).
  3. Building relationships (as it always should have been) and using those to build your brand.
  4. Leveraging offline methodologies for SEO value.

Here are some examples of guest blogging that I think will continue to do well.

This blog for Country Chic Paint is dedicated to DIY projects from guest bloggers using their products. Each gets a link to their personal blog in the headline and the author bio at the bottom… but more importantly, they get to share awesome content to a new set of eyes!

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This article on TheKitchn is a guest post from a cookbook author/photographer/food blogger. He gets great coverage on a really fabulous website in his industry, and an added bonus: a few links to his own recipes that he’s featured on TheKitchn.

goodguestpost2goodguestpost3In a slightly less creative industry: divorce law, author Jeff Landers writes for Forbes.com on a regular basis about the financial aspects of divorce for women. He gets a link to his website and his book in every single article he writes. His articles are all very informative and I’m sure sells many, many books to his Forbes readers.

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SEO is changing and becoming less of a “stand alone” aspect of marketing. More than ever before it needs to be integrated into all your marketing channels: PR, offline, traditional, social, etc. Gone are the days of exact-match anchor text keywords that helped you rank. Gone are the days of websites allowing you to simply upload your article and publish. Easy links are nowhere to be found, and guest blogging is now absorbed into a larger “PR” and “editorial” umbrella.

In the long run, I believe it’s for the better. It just requires an adjustment.