Publications that use guest bloggers and contributors can now relax. Google’s doesn’t plan on penalizing you under its new “guest blogging equals spam” warning put out last week. The company says that guest blogging is only bad when its main target is to gain links and influence rankings on Google. The head of Google’s web spam and search engine team declared that “guest blogging is done: it’s just gotten too spammy.” This left some worried that having guest posts meant they could look forward to a future of Google penalisations.

Charles Stross, an award winning science fiction author, notably wrote on Hacker News:

I’m spending three weeks on the road in the next month, so I’ve got three hand-picked guest bloggers taking over the mike on my site, for the duration. Emphasis on hand-picked, i.e. invited because they’re interesting and I’m hoping my readers will enjoy what they’ve got to say.I get to take some time off, they get access to a new audience, and the audience get some new and thought-provoking material — because from my PoV it’s not about SEO, it’s all about the quality of the content. (Hint: I’m a novelist, one of the guests is a film-maker, the other two are other novelists. We all pretty much live or die by the quality of our writing.)

Guest Posts For More Than SEO Are OK

To deal with such concerns over blogs; Matt Cutts updated the title of his post to be more specific: ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO’

He also added more explanation to stress that not all guest blogging is bad:

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. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.

To clarify, this post from Cutts is just a continuation of what Google has long been asking for. They want to reward sites that have good, “earned” links, as opposed to sites that have gained links without any real effort, i.e: spamming guest blogs with links.