Guest Blogging: The Risks & Rewards
Today’s post is, ironically a guest blog on the topic of Guest Blogging…! Thanks to Phil Singleton of Kansas City Web Design® for a great explanation of the concept and why it’s a good idea, especially in today’s environment. If you’d be interested in Guest Blogging – let me know.
This year content finally became ‘King’ – and we mean it this time. For years, Google had been telling us that search engine optimization was all about great content, yet all along they were rewarding websites that accumulated a high volume of backlinks. That all changed in 2012 when we experienced a Google search algorithm update called “Penguin” with the four subsequent Penguin updates since then. The last major update on October 4th 2013 (called Penguin 2.1 or Penguin 5) put the final nail in the coffin for offshore and black-hat link building services. In 2013 we’ve seen first-hand how small business websites with active blogs and social media channels have handily outperformed competing websites with passive SEO strategies.
These days, most legitimate SEO agencies are focusing almost exclusively on social media and content marketing – because these are gaining the most SEO points. Guest blogging has become one of the most effective methods of content marketing.
Just what is ‘Guest Blogging’?
Guest blogging is a method used by bloggers and businesses to enhance website content and increase online visibility whereby third party writers and authors write articles to be published on other companies’ blogs. Guest blogging works in two ways:
• You write a blog post to appear on another company’s website
• Another person writes a post to appear on your company’s website.
But, why would you want to post someone else’s article on your website?
1. Free Exclusive Content: As business owners, we wear many hats. Let’s face it, most of us know blogging is important and despite good intentions most owners almost never blog. With guest blogging, other knowledgeable professionals write custom content for your website. How awesome is that?
2. SEO Boost: Search engines love high quality, unique and relevant content – AND, they like to see this kind of content being published on your website on a regular basis.
3. Social Media Exposure: When guest bloggers get published on third party websites, most will ‘amplify’ their post for you. That’s right – they will go out and blast your website through their social media channels. They get bragging rights and your site gets exposure to a new audience.
4. Social Media Signals: when a guest blog post gets shared, tweeted, liked and +’d, these actions send powerful signals to the search engines regarding the importance, quality, relevance and trustworthiness of your site. These are now major SEO ranking factors.
5. Raises Your Profile: When a credible third party author writes an interesting post on your site, this sends a powerful message to your readers: your website is so important to your niche, that a third party professional wanted to be published on it.
And why would you spend time writing a blog post for another website?
1. New Audience: Your content gets to be published to their audience.
2. SEO Boost: It’s common practice to provide the writer with an author profile with 2-3 links to their site(s) or social media profiles. This is the type of selective and high quality link building that still provides SEO benefit to the guest poster.
3. Social Media Exposure: Just like above, in most cases if a company publishes your website because it adds value to their site and audience, they will typically promote your post on their social media channels and newsletters as well.
CAUTION (NOTE THE ALL CAPS)
Guest blogging works really well and creates a cascade of win-wins. Yet, because it’s so effective, many people are trying to use guest blogging to game the search engines. They are trying to use the old ‘spray and pray’ approach just like they did with mass link building. Google is very good as filtering out copied, poor quality and outright spammy content. Not only is poor quality content ineffective for SEO, it may result in a search engine ranking penalty.
Some General Guidelines & Tips on Guest Blog Posting:
1. Only post guest blog articles that are well-written and would be valued by your readers. In other words, DO NOT post filler blog content just for the search engines. If your readers don’t like the post, chances are the search engines won’t like it either.
2. Only post articles that are relevant to your business and audience.
3. Do not rely on guest blog posting for all of your blog content. Most of your blog content should be written by you, your staff or your writers. There is no guideline but the old 80/20 rule should be pretty good in terms of the upper range. Moderation is key.
4. The ideal guest blog post should be around 500-1000 words.
5. It can be helpful to have a few high authority outbound links within the post, but only if they truly add value to the post.
6. Do not copy or reuse content or send blog post to multiple websites. This method only works if your post is unique.
Google’s head of webspam and essentially the defacto spokesman for their search engine posted two videos on guest blogging in the last two months:
In summary, guest blogging should be a permanent part of every small businesses online strategy. It has to be done in moderation, be of the highest quality and should be used as a part of an overall SEO / Internet marketing strategy.
Phil Singleton is the owner of Kansas City Web Design®, a web development firm specializing in SEO-friendly WordPress websites and custom website applications, and Kansas City SEO®, a full-service Internet marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other online marketing services. Contact Phil on his Google+ page.
Thanks again Phil!
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach