Wow! If you thought Seahawks’ Richard Sherman got attention this week, Google’s Matt Cutts up-ended commentators with a inflammatory video SWAT of his own. Cutts’ move was called “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO,” and it was frantically tossed back and forth around the SEO blogs and social media. “Guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy,” writes Cutts. “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well.” Note that critical prepositional phrase on the end: “for SEO.” I like this reaction from Chris Penn:
If you’ve been relying on spammy guest blogging practices for SEO purposes, then it’s time to move on. If you’re still bringing in guest bloggers who you know, trust and vouch for personally, then chances are Google isn’t going to hurt you.
I agree with Penn that much guest blogging is “automated, low-quality, easy-to-outsource.” If you think a certain post will add to your clients’ lives in your space, however, there’s no reason not to use it. Solid, strategic reasons people guest blog beyond SEO or “link-juice” include:
- for exposure
- to build the brand
- to boost client perception as the authority in the space
- to build relationships with complementary businesses
What to Do . . . What to Do . . .
It seems my dad’s common phrase, “the truth is always best,” is Google’s guiding principal in the content sphere. Truth or authenticity can be harder, but it wins more fans, followers and customers in the long-term. If you read to the end of this post, you’ll see I eat my own dog food. Just write quality, useful blog posts enriching the space where your products and/or services live. Everything you write should either:
- Inform & Educate more on the blog, email newsletter and web product/services pages where you have room to convince and convert.
- Entertain, Amaze, Reassure, Shock, Amuse on social; going for these emotions on social gives the cubical workers a quick chance to FEEL throughout their long day! How kind of you to provide that opportunity. Remember American literary great Maya Angelou’s quote:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
2 Tips to Keep Your Small Business Content & Guest Blogs Honest & High Quality
- For yourself and your guest bloggers, the editorial calendar provides the time and planning you need to contribute to the conversation in your space in an authentic, meaningful—rather than panicked—way. Get started with a calendar. The post I wrote yesterday covers just what it does for you: Must-Have, Small Business Content Marketing Resoultion for 2014: The Calendar. Please read it.
- Small business should focus on very specific subjects in their blog posts. Large competitors pay $50,000 per year for SEO services to win the first spot on Google for very broad SEO terms like “Los Angeles Tax Accountant.” There’s no competing against that budget! The smaller firm can win, however, by writing several pages on more specific, longer keyword phrases that fewer people type into the search engines. “Hospitality Tax Accountant Glendale” or “Small Business Quarterly Tax Filing Service Burbank.” Vowing to write one new page a week on a specific topic won’t overwhelm you (or your budget if you’re outsourcing content) or your guest blogger. Read more in my article: Using SEO Content Marketing to Outmaneuver Larger Competitors
Bottom Line: Quality Guest posts will help; spammy, spun guest posts (where link juice is the primary goal) will hurt. Wordstream’s Elisa Gabbert agrees: “Google has always stressed that quality, unique, user-friendly content is the key to search engine rankings,” writes Gabbert, “My guess is, sites that publish content that meets all those criteria won’t be penalized, whether or not some of those content pieces are guest posts.” While Google has plenty of detractors, I will reiterate that, when it comes to site content, Google is going with a “truth is always best” approach. That’s actually a refreshing stance in my little content marketing space when it comes to anything corporate.
The “Thug” Thing
The idiot commentator who called Sherman a “thug” got roasted and toasted to a deep crimson online and off, much to my delight. Yes, I’m using the “thug” thing to get attention, and to show how dippy it is to use that term for anyone other than the Bernie Madoffs, Gov. Chris Christies or Enron Abomination, Jeff Skillings of the world. And . . . was it funny to put dreads on Matt Cutts. You betcha!
Need Help Fashioning Your Content or Social Marketing?
Informed Web Content offers quite a few options for content and social media marketing for small and medium sized businesses. Some just need a few hours of consultation to get rolling on their own. In our Social Media Springboard program, my assistant and I set up your social media channels soup to nuts (tech to art to concepts to posts), write the first 3 months of content so you can see how it’s done and then turn it all over to you or your staff. Don’t want to deal with it ever? We can do a reasonably priced monthly content marketing program for you that includes all of the above on a long term basis. And did I mention that we track all efforts using Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and the Email Newsletter provider’s reports. Marketing is much less about guess work these days than when I started 20 years ago. Feel free to call us at (858) 248-0667 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. A web presence (website, social, email, local search) audit is always free! Get the Free Web Presence Audit here!