Guest blogging services today seem to be one of the safest options available for getting links whilst also remaining favourable with Google’s guidelines.
If done correctly, guest blogging can indeed be one of the best ways to serve a multitude of functions, such as brand building, link building and relationship building – all whilst offering true value to internet users in search of quality content.
However, SEO practitioners from some of the biggest names in the business – such as SEO Moz and Econsultancy – are now beginning to question the validity of guest blogging as a long-term strategy to build links. When considering the evidence, it’s really no wonder.
With regular updates from Google, such as this recent reminder warning webmasters against selling links, or “entire advertorial pages with embedded links” in order to pass PageRank, it seems like the guest blogging bubble could very well be about to burst.
In the same way that Google clamped down on directories, mass article farms and press releases with its Penguin update, it isn’t too difficult to foresee the same thing happening to guest blogging.
As mentioned in my last post, about Google’s future updates, we know that Penguin version 2.0 is on its way. This will further root out black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and duplicate content – issues that can affect the guest blogging space.
The company has also said that paid advertorials will be a target, as are link networks – which could apply to obviously interconnected blogging sites.
New quality control efforts
Other new quality control efforts include the development and implementation of Google Authorship in articles – a measure that it’s taken to whittle out fake authors and encourage the production of more quality, attributable content.
It’s even been mooted that Author Rank could have an impact on search rankings; positively lifting works by quality authors in the search engine results pages. In addition, social signals are likely to play a greater role in helping Google decide what content is of enough interest to the reader to be truly worthy of merit.
Tips for keeping your guest blogging viable
Google’s head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts, has made it clear that guest blogging in itself isn’t a bad practice. What he has said, however, is that it needs to be done for the right reasons and that the focus should always be on promoting high-quality before links.
A few top tips you can take on board today then to ensure your guest blogging efforts remain viable include:
- Producing high-quality articles – This means everything from writing inspiring posts that seek to provide guidance, educate or inspire, while always co-citing your references. Posts shouldn’t be duplicated, nor heavily spun off the back of already published material. Your spelling and grammar should also be top-notch.
- Use real, informed writers – If your chances of getting a blog placed (on a good site) ultimately come down to the quality of the work, then why not have an expert write it for you – or at very least someone who can write well? You might find your article performs better thanks to the profile of your writer and their connections.
- Avoid low-relevancy sites – There’s little point writing having a blog about your coffee shop hosted on a kids’ toys site. Keep your blog placements thematically relevant and avoid one-stop shops which appear to write about everything. It’s better for your blog to be recognised on a specialist site, rather than a generalist one.
- Chill out on the anchor text – Your blog should be easy to read and have plenty of relevant and useful links for users. Don’t over optimise a keyword and instead attempt to utilise longer-tail links. Long-tail links might have a greater chance of attracting hits and also look less spammy.
- Seek out social signals – Always post on sites where there is already a passionate community and readership. This way, it’s more likely that community will connect to your posts and share your article, therefore giving it even more credibility and visibility.
Finally, it’s also important to state that guest blogging is just one of the many, many ways in which you can build quality links to your website. There still remain a great deal other (more organic) ways of attracting hits and building authority for your domain, such as making the content on your site plentiful and that which people will naturally want to link to and reference.
Only time will tell whether guest blogging remains a viable way of building links, but providing you follow some of these tips, your efforts to date shouldn’t be too negatively impacted.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on what’s next for guest blogging and Google.