In the past, guest blogging was used heavily as a method of building links. Nowadays, it is recommended that you do not do it. Guest blogs are by no means a bad thing, but they should not form the center of your link building campaign. They will do no good on that front, and it may cost you money in the long run.
What is guest blogging?
With guest blogging, you will be writing for other blogs. You give them some content, and they give you a link back to your site. For many people, this was a great situation. The site owner gets some free content, and you get a link back to your site. Remember; the more relevant links you have back to your website, the higher you will creep up the searches, which is great!
Why is Guest Blogging for Link Building a Bad Idea?
However, the problem was, as brilliant as guest blogging was, a lot of people used it for spamming. They began to develop their own blogging networks. Content was terribly poor as people did not care about sharing content with other people. They just wanted to get a link out there. It was not uncommon to see dozens of blogs have exactly the same content on them. This is not what guest blogging was developed for.
This is not even the worst part when it comes to current trends in link building. Those blogs were not only poorly written, but they were packed to the brim with keywords. This is a bad thing. Obviously; packing a post with keywords is not going to read all that well to begin with. It does not look good for the search engines either. It comes across as spam. Remember; they do not want to promote spam because, in more cases than not, this will come across as terrible content. People do not want to read terrible content.
The bad part about stuffing a guest blog with links is that appears to be a link farm. It is also clear that the content was ‘bought’. This is stuff that Google does not really like. They have been very active in ensuring that it does not happen, and their search algorithms are now at the point where the chances of it happening are minimal. The problem is; if you are guest blogging for link building, then you are going to need to have a ton of links in there. Well, if you want to be ‘effective’. However; since you now can’t have as many links in there as you want, it completely eliminates the purpose of it.
So, what now?
Well, Matt Cutts (he is behind the whole Google search team) states that link building this way is dead. Google is now smart enough to realize when link building is the main reason behind a post, so it is not taken into account when it comes to ranking. Basically, you are going to be spending money on the guest post, and you are getting no benefit from it (or your time if you are writing it on your own!)
However, this does not mean that guest blogging is dead completely. It is not. You just can’t fill up those posts with links. Google has absolutely no issues with somebody producing a quality post for a website. They want to see quality content, after all. They don’t even mind if there are a couple of links within the guest post. All that they care about is that the content is as natural as possible. As mentioned before; Google is now smart enough to know what a person’s intentions are when they produce content.
Where should you blog?
When you are guest blogging (which is totally fine if you are not just doing it for links), you will need to think long and hard about where the post is actually relevant to what you are talking about. So, if you are writing a post about knitting, you are probably not going to want to stick your guest post up on a blog that is dedicated to music. It is not going to work.
What happens if you guest blog for link building?
There are a number of different penalties in place for websites which put spam links out there i.e. in the form of guest posts:
- Link quality: if you have a ton of poor quality links pointed towards your website and barely any ‘good’ ones, then you are going to be penalized. In the eyes of the search engines, it is clear that you have engaged in link building and you should be penalized for it. Good quality gets shared anyway, which means tons of quality links.
- Author box links: there is some indication that Google is penalizing author box links on websites as it is likely that this person is link building through the idea of guest posts.
- Posts which are duplicated over many sites will be heavily penalized and the link you get will not count for much, if anything at all.
What can you do?
If you really want to guest post, and you should because it is a great way to get traffic towards your website, then it is important that you do it right. Here are a couple of tips that you can use:
- If you can, try to produce all your own content. Each website that you post to will need to have unique content on it.
- You will want to ensure that there are one or two links maximum in the guest post. Any more than that, the search engines will become suspicious. Make sure that these are natural links too!
- Do not put a ton of keywords in the guest post. It is fine to have a couple of them here and there, but if they are not natural, then you are going to get caught out.