Original Content Writing Still King for SEO, While Google Punishes Guest Blogging
Whether he intended to or not, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, ruffled the feathers of many in the SEO community at the start of the new year after declaring that guest blogging is dead.
Let’s be real. The whole concept of guest blogging has been abused for far too long. Google’s engineers haven’t been oblivious to that. Cutts’ declaration against guest blogging wasn’t a surprise to anyone having a true grasp on SEO and web development.
For years, guest blogging was considered a viable search engine optimization practice, and for good reason. Websites recruited experts from a relevant subject area to compose high quality content that was original and informational. In return, authors gained notoriety for their expertise and, when applicable, potential leads for his or her own business or endeavor via the highly valuable backlink. Overtime, the quality of such content writing diminished. Suddenly, your “Joe Schmoe” SEO consultant was an expert plumber, composing an article on how to fix a leaking faucet for a DIY project informational website, on behalf of his plumber client.
Again, those in the SEO community should not have been surprised by what Cutts’ anti-guest blogging declaration. Google made it clear long ago that as their algorithms evolved, so would the way they evaluate a website’s content. Their goal is for their users to find the information relevant to them as quickly as possible, with as few clicks as possible.
However, I don’t believe that Cutt’s stance is all black and white. There will be plenty of gray, especially considering how smart Google’s algorithms are. There still has to be value for experts to guest author contributions to websites that’s both original and informational — it just has to be done for sincere reasons as opposed to trying to manipulate Google’s algorithms. The days of blatantly collecting a handful of sub-par written content worth little to no value to its target audience appear to be over. What this means for the smaller and less established websites is that editors will have to work harder to ensure that the content they are building truly is of high value.
To demonstrate how serious Google is, Cutts tweeted this morning that Google has taken action against a large guest blogging network. The alleged website, MyBlogGuest.com, is in fact a large-scale facilitator of guest blogging — exactly what Cutts previously warned against in January.
How much further is Google willing to flex its muscles? Beneath guest blogging, you have the all-purpose article “informational” article directory websites featuring a variety of articles revolving around numerous topic categories, all from guest authors. While these types of websites — EzineArticles.com being one of the most popular ones — has a very strict editorial process to ensure submitted content is indeed original, that doesn’t necessarily mean the content is fully accurate and/or objective. The more niche oriented websites, such as Investopedia.com and ConcreteNetwork.com are also carefully edited. However, because such websites do focus on a niche topic, human editors are more likely to only accept content that mostly accurate.
Speaking of article writing, just last month LinkedIn announced it would allow all users the ability to share their own original articles with other members — a feature that had previously been exclusive to select members of an established prominence. While LinkedIn hopes this reverses current trends of decreased page views, I think it will ultimately further dilute the usefulness of LinkedIn itself (encouraging users to aimlessly endorse different skills that their connections are supposedly qualified for is, in my opinion, borderline reckless).
I don’t mean to be all gloom-and-doom. While Google is getting better at how it evaluates the quality of website content, it doesn’t diminish the value of original, high quality content. As a matter of fact, I argue that original, high quality content has never been more important. The only difference now is, Google is striving to reward such content that is in fact original and of high quality.