For the longest time, guest blogging was touted as a great way to improve visibility for your brand. You could guest blog for others to increase your audience share, drive traffic to your own content, and boost your thought leadership. If you could entice important influencers to blog on your site, their audience could then become yours as well. The increased engagement and traffic was sure to improve SEO for all involved.
Then, people started dismissing the idea of guest blogging. It’s ineffective they claimed. You’re likely to be penalized for guest blogging, not rewarded, they said. These claims weren’t wrong, but they were incomplete. Yes, Google did take a stand against guest blogging solely for the purpose of SEO. However that doesn’t mean that guest posting is verboten, or that it cannot help SEO. It isn’t, and it absolutely can. Google is simply taking action against spammy, blackhat techniques such as spinning content and indiscriminately posting it across irrelevant sites. Guest posting is a great technique! Keep reading to learn more about using guest posts as a means to improve your search results.
Work With Sites of Equal Quality to Yours
Never guest blog down, or allow bloggers from lesser sites to post on your blog. How do you determine this? It isn’t audience numbers or traffic. A niche site might have a very small, but dedicated audience. Instead, you want to consider factors such as content quality, engagement, and overall website quality. Here are some things you can do to ensure that you work with sites that are worthy:
- Spend time reading posts. Are they relevant, educational, and well-written?
- Are people sharing and commenting? Are the site owners responsive?
- Gauge whether or not they post frequently.
- Follow them on social media and get an idea of their following and presence.
- Check out their other guest bloggers.
Guest blogging should be a largely symbiotic relationship. If one party stands to gain significantly more than the other, proceed carefully.
Make Guest Bloggers Earn Their Spot
Not long ago, there were websites that allowed people to post any article, on any topic, with absolutely no quality control. Before long, these article directories were full of spammy posts, spun content, and articles that were nearly unreadable. Low quality websites used article directories to pump posts full of keywords in an attempt to drive traffic to their websites. Fortunately, Google and other search engines changed their search algorithms to catch and penalize this behavior.
Unfortunately, a lack of quality control has left guest blogging in a similar state. This is why Google has taken a bit of a stand against it. To work around this, you have to establish your own editorial standards. Don’t allow open guest posting on your blog or website. Instead, establish guidelines, and read posts before you approve them. Likewise, be wary of posting your content on sites that don’t have equally stringent standards. If they don’t hold you to high standards, they won’t hold anyone else to high standards.
Use Relevant Links
It’s tempting to link back to your own content as much as you can. In fact, you should do that when you have content that is relevant to your post. However, for the sake of credibility, you should mix one or two of your own links with links to other, data-heavy, fact based content.
Here’s a good rule of thumb. Your main points should be backed by data. Look for articles and other content that contain trustworthy statistics, case studies, and working examples. This makes your posts more believable.
Consider Branching Out Internationally
Depending on the nature of your products and services, you might consider reaching out to international audiences. If you can find a website that is international in scope guest posting on that site could be a great opportunity for you. Just keep in mind that you should not entrust content translation to just anyone. Instead, work on your own to identify translation companies you can trust to localize and translate your posts.
Write Top Quality Content
Of course, you should never publish content anywhere that isn’t high quality. Still, the content you post on other sites should go above and beyond. Remember that when someone allows you to post content on their site, they are trusting you with their audience and platform. One post that’s ‘phoned in’ and you might not get a second chance. Worse, other bloggers in your niche may see this and cross you off their own lists of potential guest bloggers.
To make your content really pop:
- Use plenty of high quality visuals.
- Make sure your content has the potential to go viral. Focus on trending topics
- Know what evergreen content is. Consider ‘how to’ content and other educational posts.
- Write for readers using mobile devices.
- Remember that the acceptable level of spelling and grammatical errors is zero.
Engage Beyond a Single Post
Don’t just blog. Stick around. The best part comes in the days and weeks after your content is published. This is the time when people will begin commenting and otherwise engaging with your content. This is your chance to connect with potential, new audience members. Make sure you are available to respond to questions and comments. You’ve gotten people’s attention. Now, show your insights.
Don’t forget to do some leg work on your own to create engagement. Use your own social media to promote guest posts that you have published on other sites. If you are hosting a guest blogger, give them a boost by promoting their posts as well.
Write a Great Author Bio
Some sites do not allow backlinks to your site at all. Don’t cross these off your list. If a site has an audience that fits your target and plenty of traffic, they are still a viable target for guest posting. Just be sure they allow you to include an author bio. There you should be allowed to link back to your own website, and describe your qualifications.
Guest posting can absolutely lead to better search results. It can help drive traffic to your site, increase social engagement, and bring you quality backlinks. All you have to do is follow a few best practices to stay in the good graces of Google and other search engines.