Publishing an article by a guest author hadn’t been invented by bloggers. It has subsisted a long time ago, way before the Internet was even some special experimental military project or something. In fact, old media publications like newspapers and magazines have been featuring guest articles since the dawn of paper.
For those publications, there were (and still are) many great advantages for posting a guest article from time to time- a different perspective about some topic, inflammation of a debate, sometimes an article by a high-profile writer and more. The guest authors themselves benefits from an increased exposure, an opportunity to reach more audiences with their words.
And then came the Web and blogs and bloggers and search engines and SEO and the linking game. Suddenly some “experts” have begun to opine that the guest posting practice, which was common and acceptable for ages, is now all at once malfunction.
In a way, they are not wrong. Through all the crap people are pulling to improve their search rankings, guest blogging is often classified as spam. However, for the most part calling this practice spammy is like calling all marketers scammers. Sure, there are some rotten apples in the barrel but it would be a colossal error to assort it entirely as such.
And Google’s anti-spam boss Matt Cutts knows that too…
And it wasn’t the first time sweet ol’ Matt has discussed about the guest blogging practice recently…
What the counter-spam fierce honcho essentially says in both videos (and in other numerous occasions over the years) is that guest blogging is more than okay… if you aren’t abusing it. Meaning that it will be perfectly fine and contributing if you write yourself or publish a quality post from a guest author.
How can it be wrong if you publish on your blog an article that can offer your readers additional point-of-view and enrich the site’s discussion? It simply doesn’t make any sense to deem this kind of article as spam beforehand!
But on the other hand (or “flip side” as Cutts refers it) misusing this practice can bring some algorithmic troubles. If the article was merely created for linking purposes while it doesn’t clench any real substance, has been spun on many other sources or just been exorbitantly stuffed with keywords, that’s not helpful to anybody. Those are the sorts of things Google targets.
I don’t know if Google is capable of identifying what a guest blog post is. I don’t think they even care about that. All the engine seeks is quality pieces of content with value to the readers. Feed it that and it will be satisfied no matter whose article it belongs to.