Using guest blogging as method to build links and push up your rankings is on Google’s spam radar, and with good reason. It was being abused.
How not to guest blog
I have experienced this myself working as the Content Manager for Wordtracker Blog. I get emails from well meaning writers and experts asking to contribute to our blog. But when the article is sent through the quality is not up to scratch. The content is thin and unengaged and without real insight that would inform our readers.
Or sometimes it’s clear before I see the article. As soon as I get the query -”...can I add 2 links, is it ok to put another link in my bio…”. I know they’re in it for the wrong reason.
Publishing this content wouldn’t reflect well on us as the publisher, or the author.
Don't approach guest blogging from a purely link building perspective, approach it from a networking and educational perspective. The link building benefit will naturally follow.
Guest blogging post penguin
Low quality articles with targeted backlinks used to get widely published. Mostly on guest blog farms and sites set up to manufacture backlinking opportunities. Until our good mate Penguin came along and penalties were dished out.
And in the hullabaloo to tidy up backlinking profiles guest blogging as a whole got a bad name. For guidance, we look to Google, and helpfully Matt Cutts clarified on his blog:
"I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”
Most blogs, Wordtracker’s included, are made up of articles from a range of experts and writers who are sharing ideas and experiences. The benefits go way beyond a backlink.
Our most engaging articles provide quality insight, valuable experiences and lots of good examples. For example (see what I did there) Jenn Horowitz cleverly intertwines a trending topic with real world experiences. And Joe Williams leads by example, showing us how to make great urls that help people and search engines.
Post penguin there is little benefit in harvesting backlinks through poor content, so make it good, make it interesting, and make it work for both you as the author and the publisher.
Here are some pointers:
- write about what you know and come from a position of knowledge
- explore preconceptions and bust myths, don't just regurgitate a popular topic
- include examples that illustrate the point
- put a twist on a common theme with trending topics
- make it fun to read and jam packed with tips and insight
Get their attention
If you're reaching out to content managers I would recommend the following:
1. Research the blog so you understanding the topics, style and message that appeals to their audience
2. Find a topic that's missing from their blog
3. Reach out with a unique message, don't just copy and paste
4. Tell them why you want to write for their blog
5. Tell them why they would want you!
6. Include examples of your work
7. Suggest some topics or headlines that might work for their blog
8. Follow up after 4 -7 days
Write for us
While we’re on the topic, Wordtracker Blog is always looking to make contact with experts working in SEO, Digital Marketing, eCommerce, PPC, Content Marketing (and everything else in between) who are passionate and want to write about their experiences.
If this sounds like you why not get in touch and pitch an article idea? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
And if you’re still left wondering how you can guest blog in 2015 without upsetting Google, here's a short infographic (a bit more info that graphic) highlighting 5 expert options on the matter.
The quotes have been appropriated from our previous blog post 33 SEO experts to share their most effective link building strategies.
So is guest blogging still considered a link building strategy, you’re asking? Well let’s see: