Before TV and the internet, there was really only one way to get your story heard: proposition a journalist. If your story or product was good enough, they might help you get it in the paper. It is a networking tradition that has managed to evolve for modern times. These days, marketers and SEOs use a very similar tactic to get their content on pages with authority to build their website’s link profile: guest blogging.

In the early days of SEO (ie. two years ago), guest blogging was the popular method for getting backlinks to a page. However, as with most things that gain extraordinary popularity, the guest blogging trend became corrupted. SEOs were treating guest blogs as a quick and dirty way to gain lots of links for minimal quality and higher page rankings—in other words, they are becoming more about generating spam and less about creating authentic content.

In January of 2014, Matt Cutt of Google’s spam department officially put the axe to the guest blog dragon. It’s not that guest blogging became irrelevant or useless to the goal of generating increased sales, but as Matt put it  “…if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.” The problem was, too many people were buying space on websites to fill the page with spammy links that passed PageRank. You end up with a whole lot of low quality blogs containing a whole lot of useless links.

However, as Matt put it, you need not “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Guest Blogging is still a viable part of a sound SEO strategy, but not necessarily for building a link profile for PageRank. The reality is that there is good guest blogging, and there is bad guest blogging.  Bad guest blogging involves spamming, buying links, and trying to game Google.

Effective guest blogging is really relationship building meets content creation. When you cultivate relationships with other bloggers and sites that carry authority, content that you submit to those pages can only help you gain the exposure and credibility that is going to drive conversions. A good guest spot can promote you to an established, engaged audience you may never have reached otherwise.

For guest blogging to be a relevant part of your strategy, you should look for opportunities based on the relevance to, and receptiveness of, the target audience. With the new perspective on guest blogs, backlinks are no longer the measuring stick used to judge their effectiveness. Rather, an increase in traffic, conversations, social shares, and social following will show you the success or failure of your post.

When discussing if Applied Interactive would continue to use guest blogging, Joshua Rothschild, Chief Technology Officer and President stated: “What used to be PR (public relations) should probably be renamed BR (blogger relations). It is no joke and can be one of the most important things we do.”