Whenever Google comes up with algo updates, there is a huge speculation in the SEO community and a huge list of Do’s and Don’t come out.
On December 10, 2013, Matt Cutts released a video which scared all webmasters. And suddenly there is this whole notion that emerged that states Google does not like Guest Blogging.
Today, I am going to debunk the myths around Guest Blogging and why you should not be scared of it.
What is guest blogging?
Guest Blogging is a way to contribute knowledge driven interesting content on another blog, which you do not own. And it has shown to increase credibility of the guest blogger, leading to more followers and potential customers. And this has been the practiced followed by internet marketers worldwide to achieve moderate to great success.
So guest blogging essentially means, if you are in the business of selling handmade toys for 3-8 year olds, you can write a guest blog on how toys can help in the mental development of children in a blog which is read by young mothers. The objective of guest blogging is to write on a topic that is interesting, informative, is reaching the right target audience and people will naturally visit your website after reading your guest blog.
Guest blogging has been around since the advent of internet. Earlier, before blogging was mainstream, popular magazines used to interview niche businesses which used to be read and well received by the audience.
Guest Blogging for SEO
Spun content on article directories
As with anything in SEO, any strategy that seems to work is misused by people. A lot of SEOs love to beat Google at its own game and that is where the game of cat and mouse starts. So when guest blogging became a tried and tested “legitimate” formula to earn backlinks, a lot of SEO experts started to guest blog on every possible article directory site.
The objective for such articles was simple; get more backlinks for Google. The target for such articles was search engines and not humans. Therefore, this became a numbers game as opposed to a game of quality.
So instead of focussing on one good quality article on a popular and relevant magazine, SEO practitioners focused on creating article submissions in 10 different article directories, with each submission being spun out from the other.
So essentially, if you have 1 piece of content, an SEO expert will create 10 variations of the same content, using some automated tool such as Spinwriter and put it across all article directories. Moreover, these directories were not targeted to a niche and had articles from every genre.
Over a period of time, the quality of these directories deteriorated. With more and more spun content, the quality and relevancy of each article went down.
Rich Anchor text backlinking
Once SEOs starting submitting articles in directories, they next exploited the search engine algorithm loophole by putting their “money” keywords as rich anchor text backlinks.
So for example, if you are a handmade toys manufacturer in New Jersey, the Rich Anchor text money keyword would be Best handmade toys New Jersey. And the SEO practitioner would create a hyperlink using this anchor text to his/her client’s website. When this is not done in moderation, it flags a warning to Google.
Too many backlinks from one article
Often when you are guest blogging from a site just for the sake of SEO, you would want to maximise the benefits. Then a natural tendency would be to stuff as many anchor text hyperlinks for all your keywords. This would make the entire post look unnatural.
And as we all know, any strategy that is based on finding Google’s algorithmic loopholes is short lived. And any grey hat strategy that leaves footprints, is likely to get caught up with Google very soon. And when this happens, sites tumble fast and disappear from rankings.
This is what happened when Google update hit several famous article directories earlier in 2014. The entire Article Directory was deindexed from Google. This sent shockwaves in the SEO world. And it is then that the whole notion of Guest Blogging is bad for your website appeared.
Other challenges with Guest Blogging
If you are blogging on article directories, there is a chance that other posts on the directory are spammy, thin or having duplicate content. Because some other SEO practitioner might have misused the article directory for quick gains. This will hurt the credibility of the directory in Google’s algorithm. Adding your blog to the directory and backlinking from there will only add to the woes.
What is the correct way to Guest Blog? Guest Blogging Guidelines
Guest blogging should be treated the same way it was originally meant for. Nothing has changed in the basic ethos behind guest blogging. If we remove all the noise that has been created over the last few years, the fundamentals of guest blogging still remain the same.
Guest blogging should be used as a way to connect to humans and not search engines. Focus on relevancy of the site you should blog on. Develop a relationship with popular bloggers in your niche. Focus on creating great content. Keep the content interesting for your target market to consume, like and share. Get people to naturally like your article. Use Guest blogging as the tool to do content marketing. For example, you can guest blog on Forbes, you will gain lots of trust from Google.
With the growth and boom of content marketing and the fact that every business is trying to establish itself as a media house, guest blogging has become more important than ever. The overall benefits of guest blogging is paramount if done the right way. Focus on quality and relevancy and developing relationship with bloggers and you should be on the right path.
What has been your experience with guest blogging? Do share with us below.