In December of 2012 and then again in January of 2013, Matt Cutts, the director of Webspam at Google and one of the most respected SEO experts on the planet, released a video answering a couple of questions from his followers. These questions both pertained to guest blogs including how Google sees them and how they affect a website.

Since those videos were released, many websites have actually stopped accepting guest blogs, but is this really necessary? Well it is important to take a look at what Matt Cutts really said, rather than the rumours and how it actually affects your guest blog.

The Blog Post

The first place to start is the blog post. According to Matt Cutts, an average guest blog is perfectly fine and can even benefit your site in terms of free content and SEO (if it is optimised). This holds true for high quality blog posts written with good English and grammar. On the other hand if the post includes poor grammar, misspellings or even the misuse of terms and over SEO stuffing, the content could actually hurt your blog because Google sees it as poor quality content.

The Links

The next thing to look at is the links. If the links lead to high quality sites such as those with a good PR, high quality content and good services, then Google sees them as natural good links. It is vitally important that the links should always be related to the content being linked; otherwise the links will not appear to be natural. Checking the links for spam, running a quick check on the sites linking in to the site and checking for any malware that might attach itself to the link is also important. One of Google’s algorithms uses ‘link neighbourhoods’ which ranks sites alongside other sites with the same links. If you’re linking out to spam sites, it could really hurt your ranking and vice versa.

The Author

One major concern regarding many guest bloggers is the author. Some will check up on the author to see if they have any social followers to try to determine their ‘author rank’ but for the most part this does not affect the site, or the quality of the content. Many guest bloggers actually use pen names that change regarding the type of content, whilst others simply don’t have time to create social awareness. Avoiding a blogger simply because they have no or poor social following is not at all necessary. This rumour was started after the launch of Google Authorship but holds no real credence on SEO, or how Google sees a blog.

So what is the Deal with Guest Blogs?

Despite the rumours that ‘all guest blogs’ are bad, all Matt Cutts was really saying is that ‘all poor quality guest blogs are bad’. If you link to spam websites, allow a lot of spam websites to link to you, or even use poor quality writing, then it can affect your ranking.

For anyone who uses quality writing techniques, good links and posts on good blogs, guest blogging is still one of the most powerful SEO tools. Backlinks can raise Page Rank, send traffic your way and even help to improve the natural SEO of the keywords on a site. Ignoring guest posting because of a few rumours can be a costly mistake. However, it is very important that posts, content and links are all of a high standard regarding the quality of the material and that they are as useful and informative as possible.

You can check Matt Cutts original videos on his YouTube ‘GoogleWebmasterHelp’. Each one is only a few minutes long so you shouldn’t have too much trouble watching and seeing for yourself what he really had to say.

Ian Phillips is a writer who agrees with Matt Cutts when he suggests that poor quality content when Guest Blogging is unacceptable and will become a hindrance to you. Instead Ian believes that you should use only high standard material to improve your online strategy.

Is Guest Blogging Still A Viable SEO Technique?