What is Guest Posting Good For Now that Matt Cutts Says No?

Digital publishing news for January 21, 2014

Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google, published a post on his personal blog that pretty much says if you’re using guest blogging for SEO purposes, you’re using black hat tactics. Scary, yes, but he’s not really talking about what you think he is.

Cutts writes, “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.” This shouldn’t be a huge surprise, Cutts has made it very clear in the past that unnatural links are no good.

In the comments section of the post, Cutts adds, “if you know the person writing the blog post well, or want to vouch for them, or if the author is happy to nofollow their links, then that changes the calculation–it’s much more likely that someone is looking for a new audience instead of a way to get keyword-rich links.”

So what is guest posting still good for?

Cutts writes, “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.”

We have a more robust follow up post coming next week.

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F+W Acquires New Media Track

FOLIO Mag is reporting that F+W has acquired New Media Track. Bill Mickey writes, “An enthusiast publisher in the crafts, woodworking and astronomy markets. The markets mostly match up with F+W’s existing verticals, as does New Track’s e-commerce initiatives. Terms of the deal were not released, but in all, it includes 8 e-commerce storefronts, 3 consumer catalog brands, 13 magazines, 45 special interest publications, 37 consumer events, 3 affinity clubs and 2 retail shops.”

Facebooks’ Users Are Getting Older

USA Today is reporting that teens are moving off of the social network while adults 55 and older  have been the fastest growing age demographic. Scott Martin writes, “Facebook has seen a massive downturn of teens as older audiences boom on the world’s largest social network. Teenage members in the U.S. have plummeted 25.3% in the past three years, according to marketing firm iStrategyLabs.” There has been an 80% increase in users 55 and older since 2011.

Sports Illustrated Names New Publisher

Ad Age is reporting that Brendan Ripp has been named Sports Illustrated’s new publisher. Michael Sebastian writes, “A 14-year veteran of Time Inc., Mr. Ripp was most recently VP-sales and marketing at Fortune magazine. Prior to that he was publisher of Money and previously served as publisher of Time. A successor for Mr. Ripp at Fortune is expected to be named soon, the company said.” Brendan is also the son of Joe Ripp, the CEO of Time Inc. which owns Sports Illustrated.

Radio Times Dives Into Digital

The Guardian has a new report on how the weekly British TV programming magazine Radio Times plans to go digital. Mark Sweney writes, “Radio Times recently invested heavily in Discover TV, an iPad app (soon on iPhone and Android) targeting 30- to 35-year-olds with Buzzfeed-style “best of” recommendation lists. It costs £2.99 a month, but the company is also offering a cut-down level of access with a “freemium” version.” The Times is in a position where its weekly print edition generates 60% of revenue for the publisher, Immediate Media. It should be interesting to see how they navigate the digital waters while still pleasing print subscribers.


    As a blogger who’s been following Matt’s suggestions here re:guest blogging since day 1, I’m happy to see this declaration of the death of so-called guest posting. I’m sick of my email box being clogged by just the sort of messages Matt reproduces in this post, and I’m sick of people thinking I’m so stupid that I don’t recognize their note for what it is: a clumsy subterfuge to obtain a link from my site to theirs. These requests are right up (or actually down) there with the Nigerian lottery scams in my book.


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