Hummingbird Takes Down Yet Another Ancient SEO Practice
As a business blogger, you’re probably no stranger to guest blogging, whether you welcome them to your page or seek out other blogs on which to appear. The reasons for this action have historically been to spread your website links far and wide, because Google rewarded companies with many links a higher spot in the search results. Of course, as with all wonderful things, someone had to go and abuse the practice. Guest blogging strategies truly ran the gamut, from pure spam to quality content sharing.
Scamming the System
Who hasn’t received one of those spammy emails asking for a spot on their blog? The wording is always careful so as not to give away the true reason for submitting content. There’s the “100% original” promise, the “well-written and relevant” commitment, and then the phrase that gives those motives away immediately: “allow us to place one or two links in the article body.” Bingo!
Guest blogging for linkbuilding certainly wasn’t the only technique companies abused. We may never know exactly how many blogs and article publishing sites popped up with keywords crammed into poorly written fluff in an effort to reach higher rankings in searches. The end result, however, is that the very mention of keywords and guest blogs bring to mind spam, and that’s not a good reputation to gain.
Hummingbird Saves the Day
The beauty of Google’s new search algorithm, Hummingbird, is that these shady SEO tactics are no longer viable. Keyword stuffing has been made obsolete by it's semantic (conversational) search algorithm, which now works more to answer specific questions and uses geotargeting to provide results more relevant to individual Google users. Content is also subject to Google’s quality guidelines, which means those articles in existence solely for the keywords and links no longer receive favor with the search engine.
That same algorithm also covers the quality of content for guest posts, as you might imagine. If you do publish extremely low-quality guest blogs that are riddled with links, you can be certain they’ll rank poorly in Internet searches, and may hurt your site’s credibility overall.
Is Guest Blogging Always Bad?
Well, no. Of course, this isn’t the case if you’re sharing posts from authors you personally know and trust. These bloggers who share relevant information that adds to the value of your blog can still help you, as long as they pass the quality guidelines.
Matt Cutts Speaks
The be-all, end-all of Google has spoken. If you're using guest blogging as your site's SOLE SEO TACTIC, you may be in a bit of trouble. Or at least be pretty dissatisfied with your results. However, you can still benefit immensely from the practice if you're careful. Cutts himself wrote in the blog that "there are still many good reasons to do guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community)...And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there."
So there you have it. Guest blogging by offering (or accepting) low-quality content is over. Building relationships with other companies in your niche and sharing content to add value isn't going anywhere quickly.