Learning is good. Variety is good. Sharing is good.

These are all things we believe in at Amplitude Digital. And here at the official blog of Amplitude Digital, we enjoy featuring and sharing guest blog posts from a variety of innovators, observers and contributors in the wild world of digital marketing and advertising. Not to mention some serious SEO standouts and PPC pioneers.

We’re also unabashed admirers of Google Webspam Head Matt Cutts, having “penned” more than a few posts related to the various edicts, insights, penalties and opinions offered up and handed down by Cutts over the past few years.

Consider this post a homage to both Cutts and our valued and valuable guest bloggers.

Cutts once again made news and waves among the digital marketing and SEO communities, this time with a Jan. 20 blog post of his own entitled, “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.”

In his post, first seen on the blog portion of his own site, Cutts cuts right to the core and heart of the matter, as he is known to do. The blog begins:

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”

After getting his customary clever quip and thinly-veiled shot in right out of the gate, Cutts goes on to lament the current state of guest blogging as he sees it:

“Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way any more.”

To vividly illustrate this bold contention, Cutts lays out a poorly written, ethically questionable email that he recently received. After citing the email he dubs an “unsolicited, spam email,” Cutts goes on to also declare it “a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines,” in that it is ultimately “offering money to get links that pass PageRank.”

Cutts, who recently made news by wielding his Google Hammer to smack down Black Hat Bad Boys of SEO like Anglo Rank and Backlinks.com, then goes on to deliver what sure sounds like an “ultimatum.”

“Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

As per usual, Cutts is right on the money with his blog, which also includes video explanations. Because guest blog posting is about so much more than just “getting money.” Or “getting links.”

Posting or writing guest blog posts purely “for the links” misses the entire point of the exercise. The real point of a guest blog post is to add quality content to your site or the site you are guest writing for. Getting a link or any other SEO-centric benefits back in return is merely a bonus. The proverbial cherry on top, if you will.

Guest posting, like many other SEO activities, is a digital marketing effort. You’re sharing your knowledge and experience with others, thereby demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about – and what you’re likely also getting paid to write about. All this sharing has some SEO value, sure. But you’re not doing it exclusively nor primarily “for SEO.” You’re doing it to help market yourself, your business, your site – or the business and site you’re crafting content for as a guest blogger. In some cases, you’re even doing it to promote your industry – or a segment of your industry.

At least…this is why you SHOULD BE writing or running guest blog posts. That’s all that Cutts is saying. And, once again, he’s entirely correct in his sentiments and statements.

The good folks over at Search Engine Watch and Moz also had strong, smart reactions to and explanations of the meaning behind Cutts’ message.

The remarkably detailed Search Engine Watch post by Marketing Consultant Jennifer Slegg (aka “JenSense” and “Jenstar”) even addresses the history of guest blogging, including when the Spam began to hit the fan, so to speak. The Moz post by Community Director Jen Lopez, aka “Jennita” (not to be confused with “JenSense” or “Jenstar”) is entitled “Time for Guest Blogging With a Purpose,” and also ranks as an excellent and rich read.

What are YOUR thoughts on Cutts’ newest SEO stand? Will it effect the way you and your business author or publish guest blog posts? Or have you always pretty much been kosher when it comes to this practice?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot topic. Let us know in the comments section below this blog post.

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