Be Careful With Guest Blogging Efforts

Written by Nick Stamoulis

While content has always been a part of an SEO campaign in one-way or another, it now plays an increasingly important role. Content is what gets ranked in the search engines and shared in order to help generate natural inbound links back to a website. One popular content marketing option is to submit guest blog posts to be published on third party sites. While this is still a viable strategy, it may need some tweaking in light of recent changes that Google has made to its Webmaster Guidelines.

Like so many other (now) outdated SEO tactics that have come before, Google is cracking down on site owners that it believes are taking the wrong approach to guest blogging- mainly the ones that are obviously doing it for the link and nothing else.

Here is the correct way to approach guest blogging after the updates to Google’s Webmaster Tools:

Find niche sites

The only sites that are really worth submitting content to are the ones that are in some way related to your business and the products or services that you provide. General article sites aren’t going to do anything for link building, mostly because that’s not where your target audience spends time therefore they aren’t likely to see it and share it.

No follow the links

To prove to the search engines that you are guest blogging to gain visibility and traffic back to your site, and are not just doing it to boost your inbound link portfolio, your best bet today is to add the “no follow” tag to any link that you include, whether it be in the body of the post or in an “About the Author” section. This means that the link isn’t passing on any trust or “link juice” from the site. In addition, keyword anchor text linking can be eliminated altogether.

Write substantial content

A guest post that runs around 200-300 words really isn’t going to cut it today because it could be perceived as “thin content”. Take the same approach as you would if you were writing on your own blog. You would want the content to be worth the readers’ time, correct? A guest blog post requires ample time for research, writing, editing, publishing, etc.

Carefully consider who posts on your blog

Guest posting can work both ways. Make sure that if you are allowing guest posts on your blog that they are high quality and relevant to the needs of your target audience. You don’t want guest posts to be viewed as just another “link exchange” deal that you have going with another site owner.

Focus on sites that deliver traffic

Now that Google is even stricter, it’s apparent that guest blogging isn’t really a primary SEO tactic. Instead, it’s a brand building and visibility-generating tactic. The links aren’t helping SEO, so they better be doing something. Check in Analytics to see if the post is actually driving visitors back to your site. If not, it might be worth re-evaluating whether it is worth the time.

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