I’ve been writing guest posts for other blogs for several years and benefited from this strategy by getting exposed to a larger audience than if I just posted to my own blog.
Therefore I was surprised to read a blog post from Matt Cutts
(head of Google’s Webspam team) who recently declared ..
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done;
it’s just gotten too spammy…”
My immediate reaction was to just accept this point of view from an expert from Google however guest blogging deserves a deeper look to instead of reacting emotional and giving up on it.
Let’s look at the benefits of guest blogging:
1. Reach a larger audience
Posting to your own blog may attract some visitors (particularly if it gets first page rankings) however getting published on an active blog containing 1000s of loyal readers will expose your content to a much larger audience.
2. Build your brand
The purpose of building your brand is that it gets well known and stands out from your competitors. The more popular your brand the less marketing you’ll need to do.
When people think of running shoes, the “Nike” brand immediately pops into their heads. When people think of a popular soda to drink “Coca Cola” springs to mind.
3. Improves rankings in the search engines
Although some content marketers just use guest blogging to improve rankings this should not be the central focus but an indirect result of writing content that offers great value to readers.
4. Build a community
It’s easy to become a one person island on the Net, however to counteract that you need to expose your content to a variety of sources. One of the best ways to do this is to build relationships with other people in your niche. This helps grow your own as well as other people’s businesses. As your community expands so will the exposure to your content.
If your guest post is published on an authority website (ie CNN) it will automatically receive high rankings because CNN has built up its authority over time.
Guest Blogging Mistakes
The main reason Matt Cutts said “Guest Blogging Is Done”
is because of spammy content…
“I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging.”
So how is spammy content generated?
Article spinning software
This refers to articles being spun 1000s of times to generate 1000s of similar articles which are then automatically submitted to 1000s of directory sites. Google really frowns on this practice because it clogs up the search engines with crappy content.
Google wants to return the most accurate results for searches so people won’t waste time scrolling through spammy articles to find the most relevant information.
I sometimes receive guest articles from writers that obviously don’t use English as their first language, don’t know how to spell, use incorrect grammar or are obviously not an expert on the subject.
Here’s a warning from Matt Cutts…
“Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t seem to hear me say to steer away from low-quality guest blog posting, so I did a follow-up video to warn folks away from spammy guest articles.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMxC3wQZOyc#t=38
Here are 7 ways to become a high quality guest blogger:
1. Know your stuff
If you’re an expert on the topic then it’s much easier to write without doing much research. There’s also a better chance your article will be received because your bio will reflect your expert status.
2. Research your material
Searching the Net on what others have to say about your subject not only stimulates new ideas but helps you add relevant content such as up to date statistics, case studies, the latest research, etc. It adds more substance to your content.
3. Create relevant content
Make sure the content is relevant to your title so readers won’t get distracted while reading it and go elsewhere. Each paragraph should build on the previous one so you’ll keep the reader’s attention throughout the content.
From Matt Cutts…
“In fact, I would argue that a large part of Google’s success as a search engine is due to our continual efforts to provide the most relevant web search results we can while minimizing the spam and low-quality results that our users encounter.”
4. Optimize your bio
Readers will often read the bio of the author to find out who wrote the content so make sure your bio reads well and is up to date. Revise the about page on your blog especially if you’re include a link to it.
5. Avoid too much anchor text
Linking multiple keywords in the content to your web properties gives the impression that the purpose of your article is just for building links and/or getting rankings. Google penalizes sites with spammy links so don’t be surprised if your article won’t be accepted by other bloggers if you use this method.
6. Write unique content
When you find several listings in the search engines that contain the same result it leaves you frustrated. Google penalizes duplicate by not indexing your content or lowering your rankings. Avoid the temptation of copying content from another author.
People are attracted to your own unique writing style. Therefore instill your own unique point of view into every article so people will want to read it.
7. Do guest blogging in moderation
Avoid using guest blogging as your only method of reaching a larger audience than your own blog. Get your message out using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and join the conversations about your topic on forums and other communities.
So spammy guest blogging maybe dead however high quality guest blogging is very much alive and is a great method for expanding your audience, building your brand and being part of a larger community.
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