It's been a big week in the world of Internet marketing: Google's SEO spokesperson Matt Cutts recently announced the "demise" of spam-oriented guest blogging as an acceptable and effective SEO practice. This pronouncement provides insights into how Google's view of guest-blogging tactics has evolved and how the search giant intends to interpret such practices in the future.

A brief history of guest-blog posting

Since the beginning of this practice, the purpose of a genuine guest-blog post has not changed. The goal is to contribute relevant and high-quality content to an equally relevant and high-quality blog. When done with the right intentions, the process is a win-win situation: The blog gets fresh, relevant content for its readers, while the writer gets to demonstrate thought leadership and increase brand exposure.

However, some digital marketers have turned to spammy practices to scale guest-blog posting by automating outreach through bots and publishing low-quality content. If you blog, you have undoubtedly received emails offering content for your blog in return for do-follow SEO links. This practice has pushed the Google Spam Team to its boiling point, which has culminated in Cutts's declaration that the spam-oriented method of guest-blog posting is dead.

Google's latest position

The Google team does maintain that guest-blog posting in a genuine sense is very much still alive and useful for brands to increase awareness, contribute to their target audience communities, and drive this audience back to their brand.

"There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.)," Cutts writes. "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."

Where to go from here

The reality today is that there has never been a better time to be a digital marketer. There are many opportunities to earn traffic to your brand's website from referral sites as well as search engines if you use the right approach. I call this approach "link earning" rather than "link building."

Earning links--rather than building them--means that more people discover your content naturally, which leads to discussions that scale mentions and links to your brand without your marketing team asking for them. This process involves the development and distribution of high-quality content, which is what search engines and your target audience members want.

I have co-authored an e-book titled The Future-Proof Link Earning Strategy, which provides a high-level overview of how your brand can begin earning links and mentions to drive traffic to your website from a specific audience via referral websites and search engines. This strategy is truly future-proof, because it breaks away from traditional SEO tactics and employs genuine marketing strategies.

Deploying this strategy will help your brand:

-       Understand your target audience through a comprehensive research process.

-       Turn trending topics and needs into high-quality content assets such as e-books, white papers, guides, infographics, and even videos.

-       Earn market attention by connecting with publishers your audience trusts and visits on a regular basis.

-       Build your brand community and drive conversions by connecting publisher audiences with your brand's content assets.

Download a copy of my free e-book today to start building value for your brand on relevant third-party websites and search engines.