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Walk into a bar full of respectable SEOs and try and bring up a conversation about “guest posting” or “link building” and they will look at you like you just canonicalised a page about Matt Cutts best practice to your other page about Blackhatworld link building strategies.

Lets look at it from a fresh angle, like we just heard this technique for the first time.

  • You know quality backlinks that are relevant to the content they link to
  • You know trusted links from trusted sites are great links
  • You know editorial links are good
  • You know you should be trying to get influencers to notice you

On paper, seems like a good guest blog could be good for your overall SEO right?

Wrong…. this is where the problems begin.

My recent post about SEO being dead talks about how “linkbuilding” pretty much ruins the SEO industry, because all SEOs are scrambling to get links, it makes sense that over time we are going to get better, and better at getting them, and if possible if we can make some of this process automatic, that would save us a bunch of time.

Lets take a look at the evolution of guest posting. Matt Cutts has talked about guest posting several times over the years:

October 2012:

In a nutshell, Matt is essentially advocating high quality guest posting. “Behave Children, and you will be rewarded, lets make the internet a better place for all”

Guest posting inherently has some problems. On a basic level, it rewards people for pestering blog owners with “quality content” with links in. They don’t care about the content, they only want the links.

Nov 2012:

His opinion hasn’t changed, but clearly he has had a lot of issues since his previous statement, and getting SEOs to behave, wasn’t as easy as he thought. He has had to extend his advice to include “Accepting any articles with hyperlinks stuffed in could hurt your sites rankings”(non Sic)

You can already see major concerns growing with the future of guest posting.

Oct 2013:

In this video, he was responding to a user who is doing some high quality guest blogging, who is asking how they should do it safely. But unfortunately (and rightly so) he spends most of his time talking about how people are abusing guest posting as a means to link building.

(Eds Observation: Also he is wearing a Mozilla Firefox T-Shirt…?!?!)

Dec 2013:

In this video, he is genuinely giggling when reading “google will penalizes guest blogging sites” – I would he was thinking of the thousands of sites Google have recently “slapped” or were planning to slap, or perhaps he was just laughing at the sheer volume of crap thats put out there by marketers.

I’m just going to say it. Matt Cutts is playing safe. Its not like guest posting was ever dead, it was just abused. But he’s had to call it, there was no other solution.

Google are in a tricky situation. On the one hand, they want to reward sites that have great high quality backlinks to them as this is still one of the major ranking factors, even in 2016 but on the other hand they have to sort out the bad links, from the good.

So how should we be guest posting in 2016?

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I'm Steve Mills. Honest SEO. I can show you how to increase your organic traffic. I have worked with multiple digital marketing agencies, hundreds of freelancers, and many company owners, so I know the pitfalls of growing a business online. If you like what I write, that's awesome. If not, let me know.