Have you being using guest blogging to enhance your clients’ rankings? If so, Matt Cutt’s recent declaration that the practice was rife with content spam must have been worrisome.
Guest blogging rose to popularity following a successions of Google updates that forced SEOs to clean up their acts. It was initially seen as a link building method that added value, and didn’t flood the net with worthless content just to get a link. Unfortunately, the system was abused, with certain SEO agencies churning out spam in hope of getting backlinks.
What Exactly is Content Spam?
In the beginning there was keyword spam, then came link spam, and there’s always been email spam. Google actively dealt with all them all. Content spam is shallow content with little or no added value. Its main purpose is to get backlinks and it comes in many forms such as thin affiliate pages, blog farms and rehashed text.
Google released an on page spam detection technique all the way back in January 2011. The target then was scraper content. Blackhats used bots to scrape content from around the web and mash it up to create new ‘unique’ content. It may have been unique but it had little or no value. Also impacted by the update were content farms and other sites with low quality content.
Then the Penguin algorithmic update in April 2012 was introduced to specifically target web spam.
It seems the more Google strives to make the web safe for searching and finding information, the harder spammers work to identify loopholes. With content being the buzzword of the day, it’s not surprising it should be the next area for spam.
The Lowdown on Guest Blogging
So is guest blogging still a valid traffic strategy? Probably yes, but only if done properly. Cutts specifically said that low quality guest posting solely or mainly for SEO purposes is spammy. Unfortunately, many reputable sites are now reluctant to accept guest posts. This makes guest blogging less valuable that before.
Matt Cutts offered some tips on how to avoid spammy guest blogging.
Firstly, he said that guest blogging should not be your only link building strategy as variety is part of a natural link profile. Secondly, avoid duplicate content by having the same guest post on more than one site. And finally, don’t be tempted to spin an article so it can be submitted to many locations.
In addition you need to follow the regular guidelines that pertain to links – varied anchor text, no follow attributes, and don’t have too many links pointing to one destination.
Last, but far from least, make sure the content of the guest post offers genuine value. That’s the kind of post that will have readers clicking through to your site eager to read more of what you have to offer.