Is Guest Blogging OK?
You may have heard that guest blogging is a bad SEO practice, but that's only partially true. While teaching and consulting, I run across a lot of folks who think it should never be done, because they heard that Google now considers this a black hat SEO tactic.
Again, that's sort of true. Let's go over what guest blogging is, and how you can safely do it, because you still can...within limits.
Guest authors, guest posts - whatever what you want to call them are where you have someone outside of your organization create a short article or post that gets published on your site. The topic is related to your business products or services, and the guest writer is usually a subject matter expert or even a "thought leader."
A long while back, someone could create a highly optimized blog post and publish it on multiple sites to get links back to her site. Guest blogging was a linking strategy, and like so many things online, it got out of control.
Google saw a couple problems with this strategy. First, the same article would get published word for word, on many, many sites. So we have a duplicate content issue, because if I'm looking for information on "how long are cats pregnant," or "cat repellent," I don't want to read the same exact information on more than one web site.
Next, Google takes a dim view of publishing content on multiple sites just to get links back to a site. Linking should be done to connect sites that genuinely offer useful, unique, valuable information across domains.
Finally, guest posting got completely out of hand because spammers were publishing low-quality, low-value articles that were keyword-stuffed, or contained keyword-rich links with phrases that had absolutely nothing to do with the article content, but were inserted to get the article to rank higher and faster than it deserved.
What we SEOers thought was the death blow came back in January 2014 on Googler Matt Cutt's blog. He declared that guest blogging was dead.
This blanket statement did not go over well with online publishers, particularly those whose business model relies on guest authors to provide content for their readers. Think Huffington Post, amongst others.
Well, Google had to walk that statement back with qualifiers, so now it's sort of, kind of OK to get others to contribute content to your site with some limitations. Let's go over those now.
Guest Blogging The Right Way
It's fine to have an outside writer contribute an article for publishing on your site as long as the article is only posted in its entirety on your site. Give the author a link back to her site in her signature line. Educate her on why it's so important for her to not reproduce it word for word on her site as well as yours due to duplicate content issues.
Go easy on the number of links in the guest article. A couple are fine; a link every other sentence is going to be distracting and annoying to your readers, and honestly, if someone wants that many damn links, they should hire a link building agency to get more traffic to their site.
Unless this is your business model, be sure to write your own blog posts and articles as well. Don't rely on guest authors solely to communicate your industry's benefits and features.
Give your guest writer a keyword phrase or topic to develop the content. If you have a minimum word count in mind, be sure to let her know what that is.
Make sure all associated images and pictures have been cleared for copyright and attribution purposes. Credit the artist or photographer or site.
Read the final draft carefully, and be sure it conveys the message you want published. Do the SEO yourself - write good, optimized meta title and description tags. Use keyword prominence and proximity, and be sure to optimize any images, pictures, charts, graphs, etc., with your chosen keyword phrase.
Then, set the publishing date. Let your guest author know the date and time, so she can distribute your link through her social media channels. Don't forget to do your own social media distribution as well!
And there you have it - guest blogging done safely. Read this article if you want to start your own successful blog!
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Until we meet again, keep it safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,
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