The guest blogging party is over when it comes to your link-building strategy for SEO – at least if you care what Google thinks.

What Is Guest Blogging for SEO?

If you’re asking this question, then it probably doesn’t concern you, but just in case:

If you are publishing posts on blogs other than your own, or are allowing other bloggers to post on your blog, you are engaging in guest blogging.  You may have been told that guest blogging, outgoing or incoming, is good for SEO because it increases traffic to your blog via links.  That actually has been the case until recently.  If you’re currently blogging for SEO purposes you will want to put a pause on your efforts.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, warned that guest blogging for SEO link-building should cease back in January via his own blog post titled “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.”

Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

“…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, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company…”

As the top guy in weeding out spam in Google, it’s important to listen to what Mr. Cutts has to say and heed his advice.  Sure enough, on March 18, Cutts tweeted the following:

“Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging…”

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 18, 2014

Shortly after that announcement, Ann Smarty, owner of the blogging network confirmed via Twitter that Google had applied its its spam penalty to her guest blogging network.

One of the first questions to follow was “Will Google also penalize the publishers of content appearing on blog networks?”  It appears that penalties will be given to partcipating publishers, as Matt Cutts also tweeted:

@n2tech when we take action on a spammy link network, it can include blogs hosting guest posts, sites benefiting from the links, etc.— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 20, 2014

On April 18, Google again applied its penalty to guest blog network PostJoint.  I expect the axe will continue to fall on guest blogging networks and publishers who meet Google’s webspam criteria.  This follows similar trends at Google to weed out other webspam such as link networks.  Owners of these networks and their participants should be tracking and responding appropriately to “unnatural links” notifications in their Google Webmaster Tools.

What Should You Do?

Well, the first thing to do is pause submitting posts to guest blogging sites and stop allowing guest bloggers free reign on your own blog for building links to their own content.  If you have a third party blog writer blogging for you, it’s OK for them to continue publishing posts so long as they are building content for your blog and are linking to non-blogging-network sources of information about the topic.

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