If you’re working on link building for your website, chances are you’ve thought about guest blogging. Moz reports that guest blogging has seen a “meteoric” increase in 2012 and 2013, and is expected to continue on as a heavy-use tactic over the next year.
But some wonder whether guest blogging is an effective tactic, and if it is now, how long it will remain one. The same Moz survey I just mentioned found that there is a lot of uncertainty in the SEO community about which link building tactics are helpful, and which are harmful. As anyone who’s spent even five minutes following Matt Cutts probably knows, Google’s typical stance for any SEO tactic is that website owners should create high-quality content, provide an excellent user experience, and avoid trying to manipulate links for ranks. Guest blogging often falls outside of those parameters, and in fact Search Engine Land points out that Google’s advice to guest bloggers is to nofollow links when the goal of guest blogging is to build links.
We think guest blogging can benefit your site in terms of driving targeted traffic, improving search visibility for your brand, and if you’re careful to stay out of questionable territory, may even benefit your site’s ranks.
Here are some pointers for your guest blogging efforts:
- Write guest posts for high-quality sites that are relevant to your industry and website content. It’s better to write guest posts for a variety of sites rather than writing multiple guest posts on the same site.
- Google looks for quality signals, so the article should not be terribly short, keyword stuffed, or very similar in content to another post you’ve published elsewhere.
- If possible, get a link back to your site. Whether you work in a link to your home page or deeper pages depends on the content of the blog post – go by what is most useful for your reader. It is not necessary to focus too much on keywords in your links, and it is not advisable to link to your site using the same keyword in the anchor text multiple times – this can be perceived as spammy.
- You should not accept payment for guest blog posts, or submit a post to a site that is known for paying for guest posts. (Or, if you do, make sure the payment is disclosed and the link is tagged with “nofollow.”) Google does not want to reward the practice of paying for guest blog posts, so any paid guest blog post that links back to your site probably won’t help your ranks and – without appropriate disclosure and tagging – could even have negative ramifications.
- If you can, set up Google+ authorship for every guest blog post (this will cause the author’s photo to be seen in the search results, and can provide other SEO benefits). Here’s an excerpt from The Ultimate Guest Blogger’s Guide for 2013: “More blogs are beginning to support authorship markup, so in many cases, you just need to provide your Google+ profile link to them, or link to it from your byline and list their root domain in the ‘Contributor to’ section of your [Google+] profile.”
Feel free to add your favorite guest blogging tips in the comments!