Guest blogging has traditionally been a way to build quality links to your website, to help with Search Engine Optimisation. But this year there has been discussion around Google penalising blogs that allow guest posts. Read on for an overview.
What is a Guest Blog?
If you’re not familiar with the concept of Guest Blogging, the author writes an article which is published on someone else’s website. The topic should be relevant to the target audience of the host website.
Often the Guest Blog includes a Bio about the Author which can include a link back to their website.
Why Would Google Penalize Blogs that Allow Guest Posts?
I first read about this in a ProBlogger article in February
And more recently in this article by our Web Peep Caylie Price for the sassywebwords.com blog
If you want to learn more about the topic, I encourage you read both articles above and watch the video below.
My key take-aways from what Matt Cutts of Google said in the video above are:
When you’re just doing it as a way to turn the crank and get a massive number of links, that’s something where we’re less likely to want to count those links….
There’s definitely a case for the kinds of things where you really think hard about what you want to say, you have a message… you sweat over it, you have some perspective that you really want to get out there….
The sorts of links that we’d like be counting more would be the higher quality articles where somebody really put some work into it and they have something original to say.
I think it’s worth noting that, as per the first line of the quote above, he doesn’t say Google will penalize the owner of the blog, they say “we’re less likely to want to count those links…”
So, quality is everything.
Write a unique article for each website on a topic that you have expert knowledge of. This aligns with the type of content that you should be adding to your own website.
Don’t write the article to get a link, write it because you have something important to say to the audience of the host website. And make sure that links that are included fit naturally, rather than being forced in to the content.
Guest Blogs Have Value Beyond the Links
I’ve created a number of guest blogs this year (both written and video blogs). Although admittedly I did like the fact that included links for SEO, I’ve found the articles to be a valuable marketing tool in other ways.
Expanding your Social Media Network
When you write a guest blog, the person hosting the article will share it on Social Media. And they’ll (hopefully!) tag you in each share on Twitter, Google +, Facebook or wherever else you are both active. In this way you’ll be able to make new contacts when people give you feedback on the article, or in turn share it with their audience.
Likewise for the person who published your article, you’ll share it with your network which will most likely introduce some new readers to their blog.
Increasing your Website Sign-Ups and Enquiries
Also, aside from the SEO value of the link, I’ve had people click through to visit my website and then sign up to my e-Newsletter and, in a few cases, enquire about my services.
Choose your Guest Bloggers Carefully
On this website, we love our Web Peeps who write articles for us regularly. Each and every Web Peep is someone that we know and trust. We’ve read their own blogs and know that they are experts in their field who create articles to align with the high quality standards that Google is looking for. We also have an Author Bio box set up for each Peep, which was recommended in the ProBlogger article. The Bio Box appears at the end of the article and includes a Website Link plus Social Media Links.
When I’ve written Guest Blogs for others I’ve written them for people I know, either personally or via social media, who have blogs that I regularly enjoy reading. We both agree on the topic before the guest blog is created, ensuring that it will be a good fit for their readers.
Every day I get emails from people asking if they can write an article for one of my websites, including this one. Often they are cut and paste emails that don’t even specifically mention the topic of my blog. My new policy is never to accept articles from sources I’m not familiar with.
What do you think? Have you had success with guest blogs in the past? And will you keep writing them now?
Please let us know in the comments below.
Thanks again to Caylie and Shae for publishing their article recently, which inspired me to share my opinion here.
Image courtesy of [image creator name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net