In recent months guest posting has seen a dramatic increase in popularity. This is great to see. But how many of these guest posts are written for backlinks and how many really contain true value and meaning? It’s fair to say that most guest posts flying around out there are just excuses for backlinks and it’s only a matter of time until Google treats them as yet another link building strategy that needs culling.
While Matt Cutts has already stated that guest blogging is monitored carefully by Google, it is inevitable that Google will become stricter and better at distinguishing the junk posts from the posts that hold true value.
SEO Agencies Turn to Guest Posting as Alternatives Run Out
The death of SEO has been widely discussed, with Ken Krogue’s Forbes article predicting its death, and alternative ideas that SEO will live until search engines die. Both are perhaps true in their own ways.
It’s fair to say that SEO will always exist as long as search engines do. SEO services provided by SEO agencies are facing the real test however, and Google’s noose is really starting to tighten. While SEO agencies scrabble for link strategy they turn to guest posting which, on the face of things, appears reliable and hard to discredit. But it’s a gloomy outlook for these agencies as Google continues its chase and resolute dislike for SEO services and their artificial link strategy.
SEO Finds a New Road
This is a road which leads somewhere SEO agencies cannot follow. SEO has evolved and redefined itself, and this evolution only continues as Google update and redefine good practice. SEO exists in a subdued form that must comply closely with Google’s expectations; good practice, website maintenance, authenticity, meaningful content, community involvement and discussion on social media and other platforms. In other words: branding, trust, and PR.
This new road that Google is forcing is for real people with real content; something which an SEO agency finds it difficult to provide. Google are slowly tightening the noose, not on SEO, but on SEO agencies and their existence.
SEO Agencies: Old Road is Running Out
It’s been a long chase as SEO agencies service, Google updates, and SEO agencies service again accordingly. The fact is, everything Google pushes for slowly cuts off avenues and escape routes, backing SEO agencies into dark corners with little room for manoeuvre.
In recent years, the options SEO agencies can take have been severely reduced; paid links, link farms, article submission, press releases, duplicate content, anchor text, keyword stuffing, footer links and many more methods have been penalised, obsoleted, or severely impaired by Google.
It seems SEO agencies are rapidly running out of places to run while Google are determined to chase them down to the end.
Google’s on their Heels
The whole concept of Google’s ideology works against the mechanics of a client and a separate servicing SEO agency. Google reward something genuine, a website that’s natural, content that matters, and signs of involvement, both at a personal and a business level.
All around we see signs that Google is pushing for such trust signals; authorship, social media, branding; what space is left for SEO agencies and their artificial link building strategies? These concepts present problems that an SEO agency is not designed to deal with; the fact is the SEO agency is not the client it services, and so automatically, the genuineness is lost. The only website an SEO agency can win at is its own.
Google don’t want SEO agencies, they want real people and real involvement.
As the avenues of SEO agencies are being cut off, many have turned to guest blogging. Unfortunately Google knows this, and as guest posting becomes the new spam strategy, they will chase this strategy down just like all the rest.
What Gives Guest Posts True Value?
In the end the thing that gives guest posts true value is the people that write them and whether they write with sincerity, care, and continued involvement.
A guest post for the purpose of a backlink sticks out from a mile off. These posts are classically 300-500 words long, include dull recycled content that involves no passion or dynamism, and contain a blatant anchor text backlink which just puts the cherry on the cake.
Worst of all is when the guest poster can’t even be bothered sharing their own post on their social networks; they’re pretty much admitting ‘I don’t care about this post, and I don’t want to be associated with it’. In the end these guests posts are just another form of spam, but are perhaps more popular because they are harder to detect; it’s hard for a robot to decide how worthwhile a post is, but Google are not far behind.
Google become every bit more omnificent and all-seeing every day, with their vast data banks provided by their own systems like Google+ and authorship, as well as many other channels such as social shares and interactions, combining to create all-seeing algorithms. They become wiser by the day as to who is writing posts, why they’re writing them, how people react to them, and consequently just how these posts should be treated.
SEO agencies have turned to paying guest writers, who churn out hundreds of articles a week for publication on a network of vaguely related blogs. Some of these blogs even require a fee for the backlink. The fact of the matter is these are just paid links in a hidden form and we all know the consequences when we delve into the world of paid links. Google on principle cannot allow such articles to pass significant link juice because these articles are effectively spam.
The Death of Guest Posting
Guest posting as a link building strategy is likely to become ineffective before long. Guest posting as a genuine activity is something that should always be credible however. If true bloggers with true specialities include relevant links to relevant websites, then there’s no reason why these links shouldn’t pass link juice. However, finding these true bloggers and paying them for links is something that SEO agencies may find particularly difficult to afford both time-wise and cost-wise.
The Death of SEO Agencies
The feasibility of providing SEO services is becoming stretched; channels are dying out and alternatives are time consuming and expensive. Perhaps SEO consultancy may take the new lead; while it is becoming difficult to run SEO campaigns for a range of clients under Google’s regime, helping clients conform to best SEO practice is a legitimate alternative. The new agencies that we’ll see evolving in years to come may well be hybrids between SEO, PR, branding, and digital marketing as a whole.