I can understand why guest posting as an SEO tactic could become an issue for Google. Despite our business blog being relatively new, we got a guest blogging request in less than 3 months of blogging. We got excited. It means we were doing a good job and people are beginning to see how relevant we were and they wanted to be a part of it.
I hurriedly opened the email but found out that the person sent the email to an address not meant for that purpose. This made me pause. Did this person even take the time to read our four sentence guidelines for becoming a contributor to the blog? Immediately, I decline and thanked her for the email.
This obvious trend prompted Google to make a announcement on against guest posting for link building purposes alone on Jan 20th 2014. The pronouncement got me thinking. Is the SEO industry an industry of “One week, one trouble”. After all, 2013 was a very busy year. Are we starting the New Year on this note?
Here is the full link to the blog post by Matt Cutts but below is the excerpt in case you don’t want to read the full text though I strongly recommend that you do and this was the email that brought the roof down.
“My name is XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX and I work as a content marketer for a high end digital marketing agency in [a city halfway around the world]. I have been promoting high quality content in select niches for our clients.
We are always on the lookout for professional, high class sites to further promote our clients and when I came across your blog I was very impressed with the fan following that you have established. I [sic] would love to speak to you regarding the possibility of posting some guest articles on your blog.
Should you be open to the idea, we can consider making suitable contribution, befitting to high standard of services that your blog offers to larger audience.
On my part, I assure you a high quality article that is-
– 100% original
– Well written
– Relevant to your audience and
– Exclusive to you
We can also explore including internal links to related articles across your site to help keep your readers engaged with other content on your blog.
All I ask in return is a dofollow link or two in the article body that will be relevant to your audience and the article. We understand that you will want to approve the article, and I can assure you that we work with a team of highly talented writers, so we can guarantee that the article would be insightful and professionally written. We aim to write content that will benefit your loyal readers.
We are also happy to write on any topic, you suggest for us……” “
Immediately, Matt gave out a warning to everyone involved in guest posting as a SEO tactics to watch their back. Like every pronouncement, there was a furry of reactions and counter-opinions and the cry of guest posting being dead spread like wild-fire.
Guest posting is not dead but like every other SEO tactic, guest blogging has gotten so popular that it has become abused and misused. If you have been doing it right, you have no reason to worry. If not, let us recap and get our strategy right.
What is Guest Blogging?
Let us the analogy below:
I am into the Dog Food business or manage a blog where I rant about dog food. If I want to get more exposure for my business, I start thinking of building relationships with other websites owners or bloggers in the dog food industry or any other related industry where I can find audience interested in the type of dog food that I sell either half way around the world or near my locality. Once, I can find one or two such related webmaster, I get in touch with them and ask them if I can discuss my knowledge or share my experience in the form of a “post “with their own audience. A post could be any digital assets that I have.
That is the essence of a guest blogging; sharing your knowledge with a community that shares the same interest as you. Because you have produced such good content for the site owners and the audience can find it useful, you are rewarded with traffic and sometimes a link to your website.
Now that we have an understanding of what transpired and what guest posting is, here are 5 rules that makes you a better guest blogger. Note: This is what good SEO’s have been doing all along.
5 Guest Posting Rules
#1. Never ever depend solely on guest blogging as your means backlinks:
Relaying only on one SEO tactic is setting your ranking for failure. No matter how good your intent is, once a technique becomes popular, it sooner than later gets the hammer from Google. And then the thing you feared most happens. Your website get penalized and you lose ranking. The only way out is to build links using every available means of earning it. This way when one method get penalized, you can still retain your relevancy even if your ranking drops a bit.
#2. Vary your anchor text:
The only way to getting caught in Google’s net when you are actively seeking links is to keep using the same anchor text over and over again. This usually leaves a foot print for Google to follow. Even when you not involved in any spam act, using the same anchor over and over again is always considered as being manipulative. You would want to give different descriptions to yourself in your bio or point people to a different but related profile of yours.
#3.Large Scale Guest Posting:
If you are guest posting on a large scale, then you need to watch it. Like every other technique that can be done on a scale, it is prone to abuse. So what should you do? Take time to write your post. Instead of turning it out in bit and piece, consolidate it into one main spectacular write-up. And if you are an exceptional type and you can write 30,000 words in a week, turn it into an e-book. Quality posts are not those that are written in 15 minutes or 1 hour. This is the third time I am rinsing this post and I am still like “Is this good enough”. You get the drift?.
#4. Think Relationship not Links:
Guest blogging should be done as a result of relationship built with the community and the community manager. You need to spend time understanding what they are? Where they stand on certain issues and then start by making getting to know them. Your first means of contact could be by commenting on articles on the site which you find interesting. If you are the one who is always making meaningful statements, community mangers and other people starts to notice. From there, you can nurture your relationship.
#5. No-follow Links:
Despite what we have said , I know some people still want to guest post on a large scale or you already have a guest posting company and following this guidelines might take you out of business , then by all means no-follow all your links. By doing this, you are telling the grandmaster Google, to disregards the links and pass no page authority. In simple term, you are not “link building”. This is not a license to turn out trash. It simply means, you know your reasons for guest blogging and you don’t care about the links juice. This is the kind of attitude Google likes.
So if you must guest post, following the guidelines above can make the difference between getting penalized with Google or getting rewarded for your effort.
In the mean time, go get yourself a pen and write your next guest post based on the accepted guidelines.
1. Time for guest blogging : This post tells you what to do as a blogger and as a also when you have a platform
2. How to marry SEO and Guest Blogging: Neil Patel explains why guest blogging is still a match in heaven for SEO.
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