Last month, Google’s Matt Cutts, who heads up the search engine giant’s webspam team, wrote this on the Google Webmaster blog:

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 link building strategy.

So should you halt your guest blogging efforts?  Well, in a word, no.  Because SEO is not the only reason you guest blog – either on other blogs, or hosting guests on your own blog.  Which is why Cutts later updated his original post to say this:

It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. 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.

Guest blogging used to be ONE way to develop quality links back to your own website or blog. Unfortunately, those trying to game the system with low quality content have made it – as Cutts says – a spammy practice.  Those that use guest blogging as their sole source of link building will now be out of luck and may even be penalized. 

But I would still recommend guest blogging as a way for attorneys to spread their authority to other audiences that may not have otherwise been engaged by your own blog or website.  It can also still be a great way for you to improve the visibility of your firm and, when shared on social media, can help your SEO efforts from that standpoint.

As this blog post and other recent developments at Google demonstrate, you can’t go wrong when it comes to SEO if you pay attention to these 3 things:

1.  Designing a website that provides users with a superb experience – from the way they navigate the site to the information they find there.

2.  Developing high quality, relevant content for your area of practice that people want to read to help them solve the problems they would hire you for, populated with relevant keywords.

3.  Being an active participant on social media networks that your prospects and clients frequent, sharing all that great content you’ve developed for your website and your blog and engaging online with your target market.

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