Google — and Matt Cutts, in particular — has made a number of statements about guest blogging over the past year as the tactic has grown as a link building tactic.
None of those statements are as clear as the one Cutts wrote today on his personal blog.
Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, says that he’d “expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward.”
He begins the post with a very clear message:
Okay, I’m calling it: 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.
After sharing an example of a guest blogging solicitation he received that would violate Google’s quality guidelines, Cutts says guest blogging is dead as a linkbuilding tactic:
So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.
As I said above, this isn’t the first time Google or Cutts has discussed the risks of guest blogging. It’s just the most clear and definitive statement of all. You can see how Google’s stance toward the tactic has changed over time:
You can plainly see how the messaging has progressed from “better nofollow the links” to “use moderation” to “guest blog spam is getting bad” and now to today’s “stick a fork in it” post.
The question now becomes: Is Google planning an algorithmic update that would impact guest blogging to coincide with today’s warning?
Postscript: In response to a couple hundred comments on his post, and perhaps to the discussion on social media, Cutts has added some extra information clarifying the intent of his post. He says he’s not referring to “high-quality multi-author blogs” and that he added “for SEO” to the title of his post:
There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.