Matt Cutts has been keeping us busy lately.
As he frequently does, Google’s head of search spam has come out with a number of statements lately that answer questions about what the search engine values, now and in the future.
Guest Blogging for SEO
Last week, Cutts posted on his personal blog, advising webmasters (does anyone actually have that title anymore?) to no longer use guest blogging as a way to gain links. We thought this was common sense, but it’s clear that marketers are still submitting crappy, low-quality content to crappy, low-quality sites (or high-authority sites with seemingly low standards) to simply to get that link back to their site, otherwise the announcement wouldn’t have to be made.
But here’s the thing: we’d argue that guest blogging is still incredibly valuable. We’re not saying Matt Cutts disagrees – in fact, he clarifies toward the end of his post he does still see value in guest blogging – but it seems that his big statement overshadowed the fact that contributing content to other sites is done for a number of reasons.
Contributed content is still valuable, just not for link juice.
Contributed Content for Brand Awareness & Thought Leadership
Public relations professionals have long used bylines as a way of getting exposure for their clients, particularly in high-profile publications that have strong, targeted readership. Positioning executives as thought leaders (as long as the contributed piece is written thoughtfully, intelligently) builds clout for that client, builds exposure for the brand, and extends a brand’s reach by puts your ideas and products in front of a new, captivated audience.
Contributed Content to Drive Traffic
When done right, contributed posts can also be a good source of traffic. The formula for traffic from a contributed blog post is this:
3 parts insightful, funny, educational, inspiring content + 3 parts targeted, relevant (and fairly sizeable) audience + 1 part kick ass call to action = quality traffic back to your site.
Ok, that’s not a scientific statement or a slam-dunk approach, but you get what we’re saying. In general, having all three of those items SHOULD send some quality traffic your way.
Guest blogging is something that we will still build into our process for clients because there are still tangible benefits to spending the time doing it. We don’t view it as just a tactic, but rather a viable way to help clients get found online.
What’s your take? How does contributed content fit into your strategy in light of Cutts’ latest recommendations?