Google is perhaps the closest thing that the internet has to a governing body, at least for the time being.
Because of their size, influence and relevance, they’re setting the standards when it comes to online content and the quality thereof.
This means that those of us whose job it is to create that content, need to pay attention when Matt Cutts makes an announcement like the one in this write-up about guest blogging.
“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.“
Couple this with the recent release of Google Panda, which is a move to a more conversational search model and you’ve two good reasons to make quality content your primary and possibly even your only focus moving forward.
Links are Starting to Matter Less
Inbound links have long been one of the few ways that we, the “outsiders” who have limited understanding of Google’s inner-workings, have been able to concretely understand how to improve our sites in the eyes of Google’s complex search algorithms.
Sure we’ve know that quality content matters, but that’s far from an exact science and looms larger in our minds as the less reliable and less concrete method to get Google to notice our site.
Not so with inbound links.
In the mind of many internet marketers and content creators, getting as many inbound links as possible and then moving up in pagerank was the best, measurable way to improve their chances of making a lot of money.
As human beings we crave certainty and an equation that tells us, “If you do X, then Y will happen.”
The problem is that Google (and life in general) provides no such certainly.
The result is that the art of “link building” has made guest blogging a spammy and gimmicky practice that provides low-quality and incredibly generic information to sites that don’t seem to care.
In Google’s eyes, those links are becoming a mute point, because of the low quality of the content used to get them.
What Matt Cutts is Not Saying
The message from Cutts then is simple: Stop guest blogging this way.
It’s not creating value and it’s clear that if your goal is to simply find a loophole in Google’s system for the purpose of exploitation, that puts you on their bad side.
It should be obvious that Google’s bad side is not a place you want to be if you’re trying to make money online.
What Cutts isn’t saying is that all guest blogging is bad all the time. Sites that provide valuable information with multiple authors, or guest bloggers who are providing real substance and insight with their writing while showing a genuine interest in the subject matter, should keep doing what they’re doing.
That’s never going to change and those who know the importance of publishing quality, are well aware of that.
The Conclusion: Treat your Blog Like a Real Business
In the business world, people don’t try to make money this way. They don’t simply put directions to their location on a bunch of other businesses and then stand by with a terrible product hoping people will show up.
Instead, they focus on having a great product.
At that point, advertising in other places becomes a side item and an afterthought, while the primary business model is centered around the product itself.
If you’re a guest blogger or a site owner worried about what Cutts said, chances are you’ve been guest blogging the wrong way and you know it. By the same token, those who have been creating genuine and valuable material all along should be encouraged by Cutts’ comments.
Because you’re the ones who stand to benefit.
Jason Bayless is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. He writes for BestSEOCompanies.com, a nationally recognized comparison website of the best SEO companies in the United States.