Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough Today

Hornets nest

I promised myself that I would stay away from this topic… that there were already enough regurgitated posts about guest blogging. But it proves to provide a perfect segue to a mini-rant. And those that know me are well aware of my weakness for such opportunities.


Hornets nestMatt Cutts seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest the other day, when he blogged about The decay and fall of guest blogging. As someone that has stirred his share of hornet’s nests over the years, I can imagine him muttering as he did a classic facepalm and shook his head in dismay. Been there, done that, Matt!

One couldn’t help but get the impression that Matt may have been a little fed up when he penned that post. I’ve been following pretty much every word out his avatar’s mouth for several years, and he’s rarely been quite so explicit in his statements. The ‘tude was showing, man.

But then, if I was tasked with running Google’s spam team, I’m betting I’d totally redefine the term jaded.  And I’ve got a ‘tude on, even when I’m in good mood!

His blog,, hasn’t been starved for either views or comments for quite a while, but the velocity at which comments piled up in the wake of his statement was still notable. Some applauded his announcement that guest blogging would be getting some “special” attention (I’m in that camp). Some just jumped in to spew hate and others were wont to defend guest blogging.

As the comments kept rolling, Matt eventually made a small change to the title, clarifying the fact that he was talking about guest blogging for links. That’s when I did a facepalm! Should that clarification have even been necessary? How deep in the Congo must someone live, to have been unable to figure out that guest blogging solely for links isn’t a recipe for long-term success?

It seems that there are a lot of people out there that just don’t think… they wait until something bad happens, then scream blue murder. It seems to me that a lot of those bad things could be avoided with a little bit of thought, beforehand.

Some common sense

So I thought I’d share a few tidbits of common sense (Okay, granted… common sense used to be common… not so much, these days). Do with these as you wish:

  • Guest blogging has to do with value, like so many things that Google evaluates. If you’re posting 350 word packets of senseless word-vomit on blogs that have no topical focus, with tonnes of keyword rich anchor text, you needn’t act shocked if they bring you grief, rather than PageRank.
  • If a significant portion of your link profile is comprised of links from any single type of link, you may be an accident waiting to happen. That means blog comments, forum posts, forum signature links or author bio links. Diversify the types of links you gather, folks.
  • If you want to build your personal brand, decide what you want your brand to be identified as, and focus on that. If what you’re doing isn’t going to take you closer to your goal, then it’s taking you further away from it! Stay focused!
  • Treat your online business like a business! That means, among other things, that you have to treat your online customers like you’d treat a customer in your brick & mortar shop. Courteous, helpful and attentive are just three attributes that come to mind.
  • Spend less time talking and more time listening. A success strategy involves knowing your customers… what they want and need, what bothers them, what they like and dislike about your company or its product. If you spend all your time broadcasting, you’re not going to hear what they have to say. Instead, pay attention to what they’re saying. Then do something about it.
  • Stop building links! In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Spam Team at Google, arguably a very efficient group, spends a lot of their considerable talent chasing down and punishing sites that try to manipulate rankings. The primary way to manipulate them, naturally, is via links. So try attracting links, instead… they’ll stand up to scrutiny a lot better that anything that XRumer or SENuke will give you.

Thinking can set you free

The idea, of course, is to think. Google changes every day. So the things that worked last year, or even last month, may not be as effective today. In fact, they may get your site penalised. So we have to think about what we’re doing, what the possible ramifications are and evaluate the risk.

In short, we have to do what we should have been doing all along. Let’s try to restore the common to common sense .

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