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What’s Guest Blogging?

Briefly, guest blogging means publishing articles on other sites.   It’s a frequent practice in online advertising and it can work really well as a tool for search engine optimisation because, sometimes you may have a link back to your site. Then, this can have a positive effect on your search engine positions.

What is wrong with Guest Blogging?

Within Google’s guidelines, there is nothing wrong with guest blogging. In accordance with HubSpot, fifty three percent of marketers say website creation is their best inbound marketing priority. Therefore it would take a fairly blunt statement from Google before we can safely say guest blogging is a no-go.

The issues stem from very poor practice and abuse. Due to the potential search engine optimisation benefit of guest sites, people have utilized the technique. This means that Google has voiced their concerns to the community on more than one event to make it clear on what they believe to be good practice.

In his statement back in 2014, Matt Cutts said that guest blogging had become “overused by a whole lot of low-quality, spammy sites”. He clearly criticised guest articles that are written only for quick links to manipulate Google’s algorithm to push positions, rather than for writing for individuals and adding value.

Meanwhile, Google’s warning in 2017 did not suggest stopping writing guest articles altogether. You may benefit significantly from publishing high quality articles which reaches out to readers, not just search engines. It’s critical to follow Google’s webmaster guidelines on link schemes rather than abuse the system.

How to Ethically Approach Guest Blogging

The main point to remember when creating content for different sites is that you’re doing it for at least a link. You’re planning to educate and add value to your target audience.   That ought to be the principal objective of guest blogging. A link and any clicks in the blog to your website ought to be secondary. Taking this approach will help keep you in the realms of ethical practice and within Google’s guidelines. I mean, why do you want to contribute an excellent guest site to some terrible site that does not get any traffic?

Here are some hints to help keep you on the straight and narrow with guest blogging.

1.) Write for Trustworthy and Relevant Sites

On the surface, start looking for sites that are user friendly, with a great deal of well-written content already on them. Additionally, it is important to check under the hood prior to submitting a guest article: think visitors, links, and visibility.

Utilize SEMrush to find a good estimate of how much traffic a guest blogging site receives. Good websites get a great deal of traffic. While you’re there, examine the backlink profile. Moz’s Domain Authority metric can be misleading, so don’t solely rely on it to ascertain whether the guest posting website website is quality. So, check out the backlink profile using Ahrefs or Moz’s Open Site Explorer. Finally, is your guest blogging site visible in Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages)? Use search operator site:domain.com in Google to find out for yourself. If Google has not indexed the site, there is a reason for this; so avoid them.

In addition to the above, be certain the websites you compose for focus on a similar subject or business to yours. This will ensure relevance and ensures that you are also reaching the right audience with your content.

So, where can you find superior guest blogging opportunities? The first point of call is the page one competitors. Use backlink auditor tools such as Ahrefs to identify hyperlinks from guest sites which have led to helping them grow to page one of Google. From there, use Google search operators such as key word “contribute” and utilize  Buzzstream’s prospecting tool to scan for opportunities.

Take the opportunity to check at this definitive guide to guest blogging from Backlinko!

2.) Do not Abuse Anchor Text

Avoid using exact match keywords as your anchor text for each link you receive from guest posts. While anchor text still has a direct influence on rankings, it is important to keep a diverse and natural anchor text profile from outside links.

For instance, if you have relied on guest blogging too much and this has led to a high percentage of exact match anchor text such as “paint providers”, you may be in trouble. Use tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to get a handle on your anchor text and keep a balanced anchor text ratio of a mixture of commercial and branded.

3.) Only Write for Websites Where Content Is Curated

This may fall under the stage above, but it is significant enough to warrant its own. Much like adding listings to online directories, ensure humans moderate guest blog articles. If websites permit you to upload articles without any questions asked, that is a large red flag. Only write for sites where you understand content is carefully reviewed before publication, so it is quality. Keep an eye out for clearly exhibited contact details also, since this is a good sign that the company is legitimate.

4.) Do not Mass Produce, and Repurpose Content with Caution

Google’s warning in 2017 specifically targeted large-scale post campaigns. This ties in with a snowball strategy called article spinning. This procedure involves tweaking and editing parts of a post in an attempt to get it published on multiple websites. While repurposing content you’ve written previously for another audience is fine, it is not to take that piece of content and rewrite it over, and over again. It is safer and more likely to get you sustainable results if you write first guest blog content which adds value to your target audience.

5.) Do not Keyword Stuff and Maintain Your Audience in Mind

Compose for people, not search engine spiders! Set out to provide genuinely helpful information to readers. This also means Google will not see your articles as unnatural and composed especially to dodge their guidelines.

6.) Use Guest Blogging as one a small piece your link building strategy

link buildingGoogle looks at the quality of links you have pointing to your website as an indicator of confidence. Your link profile could wind up looking unnatural in the eyes of Google if all your links are from guest sites. So, be certain to bring a diverse approach to building links. There are innumerable link building techniques it is possible to take up, along with guest editorial and blogging, including:-

    • Make your links using rich content bits such as info graphics, interactive tools, guides, eBooks, whitepapers, quizzes, calendars
    • Provide discounts and offers
    • Run a contest/competition
    • Providers and partners
    • Contribute to charities
    • Link reclamation through indigenous and competitor broken connections, and manufacturer mentions
    • Research your opponents: where have they got quality links?
    • Sponsor local sports teams
    • Attend events
    • High-quality online directories: both national and industry-specific

Broaden your horizons and do not allow guest blogging become the start and the ending of your link building action.

So, Is Guest Blogging Still Great for SEO?

In summary, the answer is yes. Guest blogging within Google’s guidelines remains great for search engine optimisation. Publishing useful content on high quality, relevant sites can benefit your search engine rankings greatly, and finally bring more visitors to your website.

However like any other search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy; it may be abused, and it’ll go very wrong for you if your strategies fall out of Google’s webmaster guidelines. The best bit of advice you can take from this, is do not rely on guest blogging to construct links. Certainly do not link back a single poor excellent guest site to you on a big scale either. This is what ultimately triggered Google’s warning in 2017. We know it won’t be there last.