If you are at all interested in guest blogging and you haven’t yet read the post from the end of January by Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, then you must do so now.

In his post, Cutts declares ‘dead’ guest blogging for SEO purposes. And he’s right.

The low-quality, poorly considered, and out of the blue guest posts that have crept into the search engine results are basically link spam.

Why is this so?

Well, Cutts explains it that, as happens in so many online areas, what began as a desire to contribute and share ideas and high value content has now been hijacked by a bunch of low-quality, spamsters.

Low value, low quality

What Matt Cutts is really saying is that those low-quality, spammy, automated ‘guest blogging’ services out there are snake oil salesmen. They are selling something that the search engines and most sensible people don’t want.

They are trying to game a system that should be about helping people find legitimate, informative and useful information from the experts in that field.

If someone offers to pay you to put their spam on your site, or if they are telling you that guest blogging is the way to do SEO, then you need to be smart and turn the other way.

But in saying that, we also believe that authentic guest blogging is possible. Even Cutts acknowledges this in his post.

What does authentic guest blogging look like?

Again, we can turn to the head of web spam at Google for an answer. Cutts amended his post near the end with a clarification:

I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. 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.

This is the sort of guest blogging that we have been talking about in our previous posts. High quality content that is of value to the reader and publication (website). Link building is a secondary consideration, and in the wake of Cutts’ post, it is something to drop from your strategy altogether.

In fact, we could speculate that this year might see content marketing (finally) unhitching itself from SEO.

With legitimate sites being more selective in their acceptance of guest blog posts and articles, anyone looking to use this authentic way of reaching a new audience will need to consider something we have written about previously.

That is, the key element in authentic guest blogging is relationship building.

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