Fear is a natural thing. It often keeps you safe. However, unnecessary fear can be stifling – which is sad, because it is unnecessary. And in today’s very interesting SEO landscape, fear is making decisions for many people every day.
It is not their fault – fear is coming from above. FUD – fear uncertainty and doubt – are tools used by leaders to manipulate the masses. I can think of few such fine examples of FUD as the effect of one blog post last week, from Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam crusaders.
Mr. Cutts says if you are using guest posts as an SEO strategy, stop it. Which is what he should say, given his position. He says:
“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.”
Is he saying it doesn’t work? Or are we filling in that blank for him, using all the fear uncertainty and doubt caused by the implications of his statement?
And if we are doing the latter, how many times has it been the case over the last few years of incredible changes from Google?
Don’t Get all FUD’d Up Over Nothing/Everything
This reminds me a lot of the meaningless question of whether you wear a white or black hat, whether you are a good witch or a bad one. Which is another distinction that has little to no bearing on whether or not you are actually being successful online.
It also reminds me of witch hunts, of pure panic, and of babies in pure crytsalline bathwater sailing over white picket fences. Nothing good.
Personally, Matt’s edict does little to nothing to anything I will do for any one of my clients- I will still use guest posts as often as I ever have in the strategy of promoting a site. I am not blasting guest posts out of a firehose – that is not a strategy my clients have ever had in place. So the edict from on high does not affect me, that way.
What I do see happening though, is it will be increasingly more difficult for guest posts to be accepted. FUD will make webmasters scared that accepting a guest post is gonna anchor them down – or worse. That is, if they care, and are listening to what Google is dictating these days. Many webmasters don’t pay any attention at all to the statements from the ‘Plex – they are too busy, or don’t depend on organic to support them.
And bulk work will be a thing of the past.
Mostly is, and has been anyway: but this FUD should twist the knife just enough to stop the twitching.
What Is Really Happening?
Google just can’t keep up.
The web is growing so quickly, it seems sometimes like they are much stronger at the ‘Plex than they really are. Maybe a lot more than sometimes.
The whole thing with disavow and that nonsense, is you are helping Google sort out what they alone, caused. So each time you do this, you are kneeling to Google and helping them to clean up a mess that they continue to earn from…while they simultaneously make it increasingly harder for you to do likewise.
And so, just stop it.
But don’t take my word for it- 2 of my favorite bloggers ever have chimed in, and say it really well. Rae Hoffman, in a Rant from Bitchland, has a brilliant take on Google Propaganda – and my good buddy Aaron Wall had a blisteringly complete article on disavow and what it truly means. As long as you are on SEOBook, stop over and read Peter DaVanzo’s great post too, on properly measuring business benefits. (I swear, I wrote this before reading those!)
The Algorithm Is Fallible: Google Gets Lots of Things Completely Wrong
But case in point? Let’s say you are a business owner, pretty ignorant of anything of this nature, but are looking for some good web writing to add to your efforts. You want to follow best practices, so want to find a professional to help you (you are a business owner, not a copywriter, right?). You go to Google, type in “Web writing services” and look what Google says is the most important site on the web for that phrase – Fiverr, where you can be assured your $5 is buying only the finest web writing:
So before you go flying off into Webmaster Tools, and start maniacally disconnecting your site from everything on the web, maybe you should ask yourself: isn’t there something more productive you can be doing? Like writing a great guest post to increase visibility in your industry?