Guest Blogging as a Great Link Building Strategy: How-To Guide
Written by Lucy Benton
19 July 2018
“Guest blogging is done.” This message was issued by Matt Cutts, former head of web spam at Google. Cutts claims that guest blogging is considered a “spammy practice”, which immediately puts your SEO in jeopardy and undermines your brand image as a serious company presenting itself on the Internet.
However, guest blogging is still among the most necessary and effective strategies in marketing for 2018. Its benefits include:
- generating backlinks from authoritative websites to your own website;
- publicizing and exposing your brand to wider audiences;
- increasing traffic;
- providing a way to build a relationship with your target audience.
Besides, guest blogging is still one of the most effective ways to include keywords for ranking organically, so your website could top the list in search engines.
So it’s a misunderstanding that guest blogging is dead, despite a range of critical viewpoints. When executed wisely, guest blogging is a powerful link building strategy.
But let’s dive deeper and try to understand the controversy about guest blogging.
Debunking the Myth
Let’s take a close look at what Matt Cutts initially had against guest blogging. He’s written his above-mentioned article on guest blogging in 2014, which was quite a while ago. However, such popular blogging platforms as Problogger and many others still use guest blogging as an effective link building strategy.
In his article, Matt Cutts posts a letter from a guest blogger, who offers exclusive, 100% original content in return for a couple of links to their own website, which will be relevant to the audience that follows Cutts’ blog.
However, what Mr. Cutts failed to explain is why he was unable to identify this message as a spam. Professional bloggers get similar emails every day, and they are usually not personalized and are obviously received by hundreds of other bloggers like us.
Luckily, such spams can be easily identified. The articles offered by such companies often lack insight and originality, contain common web content mistakes and are rarely related to the type of content you want to see on your website.
The above-mentioned characteristics also explain why guest blogging can be viewed as problematic by Google. This search engine is always looking for original content and organic use of keywords for search engine optimization. But unfortunately, guest blogger articles are often mass-produced, so there’s no point in talking about originality.
What is the solution?
When hunting for more links and more Internet exposure, try to stop and think - what do you value most: posting original content which your audience will enjoy, or stuffing your articles with numerous links that don’t even fit there?
In search for originality, many website owners have backed out of mass guest blogging because of its lack of ingenuity and insight. So it’s possible to say that mass guest blogging is dead. But can we say it about guest blogging in general? Definitely no.
If you’re serious about your website, of course, you’ll go with posting original content and including organic links. With a smart approach, guest blogging is a great link building strategy.
So to use guest blogging correctly and exercise it as an effective strategy for link building, here’s a practical how-to guide.
But first… How should you approach guest blogging?
When we talk about building a guest blogging strategy, it’s important to remember these three rules:
#1 Never view guest blogging as a sole purpose to build backlinks
When we talk about blogging, the first thing we have in mind is not building links, but creating original content. When you use guest blogging only for backlinks, you’re risking to compromise the quality of your content and to stuff your articles with low-quality links. Guest blogging is not about link building. It’s about saturating your website with a diversity of original ideas.
#2 Embrace your brand
As mentioned, guest bloggers always ask you to allow them to insert their own link into the content they’re writing. But before you agree, take a look at the link itself. Would you trust this website if you were a common reader? Would this link fit organically in the content? Respect your brand and don’t allow to undermine your reputation.
#3 Be prepared to negotiate.
When negotiating the terms of guest posting for your blog, lay out your requirements and let the guest blogger know that you are serious about your content. Discuss all the links that will be inserted in the content, as well as other requirements like originality and personal insight. Let them know that you’re interested in an original opinion based on their own experience, rather than a rewrite of another Internet article.
If you want high-quality guest blogging articles, we highly recommend you to do a little research as a next step in building your guest blogging strategy.
How to find guest blogging options?
If you aren’t interested in any offers sent by email, but still want to give guest blogging a shot, you may be interested in the following strategies when looking for guest blogging opportunities:
Type in the keywords related to the niche you’re interested in, like “social networking” and add a phrase “write for us” or “guest writing”, and you’ll get guest writing options offered by Google.
This method is quite effective, however, Google won’t indicate the candidates who deliver poor quality. This search option provides no reviews, but it’s still a good shot.
There are many ways how brands can effectively use influencers, and inviting them to write a blog article is one of them. It’s quite popular to ask influencers, who have huge numbers of followers, to share the opinion on a certain topic. You can also use Google search by typing “guest blog article + influencer’s name” to find other articles written by a certain influencer before you make up your mind to invite this person to write for you.
When you’ve made up your mind and decided on collaborating with a certain guest writer, it’s time to:
- Think about the content
Before your guest writer starts working on the content, you should dwell upon:
- The topic of the article.
“The topic is a pivotal point of creating written content”, says Sarah Angius, senior content manager at Assignment Helper. “When guest blogging, it is crucial not to copy someone else’s ideas, but rather provide your own insights. This will add up to the originality of the content.”
- Links to be inserted in the article.
Make it clear, what kinds of links you want to be included in the article. Too many links will spoil your SEO while using resources that are not credible will instantly ruin your brand image. All these points should be negotiated with the guest writer. You should point out your demands in a clear way. Guest blogging is still a link building strategy, but it needs to be executed in a proper way.
When content is done and ready to be published, give it a thorough scan. Check it for:
- Originality. No plagiarism should be allowed. It’s also recommended to search for the articles with the similar topics and scan them to see whether they’ve been rewritten and whether any ideas were ripped off.
- Organically inserted links. All backlinks should fit and be appropriate.
- Absence of mistakes. It goes without saying that high-quality content shouldn’t contain any inconsistencies, grammatical, spelling or punctuation mistakes. So it’s absolutely necessary to give the content a couple of additional checks.
After the content has been published, it’s also necessary to:
- Measure the results of how the link building strategy works
Do an analysis of how the backlinks in the article work using one of the online website analytics tools, like Google Analytics etc. It would also be highly effective if you share your posts on social media. No doubt that many of your followers will see the content on social media before they even have a chance to go and visit your website.
Through posting content preview on social media you’ll be able to track how many likes and shares it gets, and how many visits are redirected from social media to your blog. Besides, social media is also a great opportunity to spread your name and gain more exposure on the Internet.
So will you benefit from guest blogging?
Definitely. Guest blogging is a great link building strategy that will bring you a number of benefits, including:
- great Internet exposure;
- increased traffic;
- opportunity to post original content with provided personal insights.
Guest blogging is a very effective SEO strategy. When used appropriately, it will definitely benefit you. However, you should be very cautious when inserting links: the more links you put in your article, the more unoriginal your content becomes. Thus, it drives away visitors and puts you to the bottom of the search engine rankings.
Experts started questioning the effectiveness of guest blogging because its benefits were frequently abused. It’s an effective way to put your content on the top of the search engine rankings, but it will keep you there only if you use it wisely.
Author Bio: Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist, business consultant and helps people to turn their dreams into the profitable business and currently works at A-writer.com. Now she is writing for marketing and business resources. If you’re interested in working with Lucy , you can find her on Twitter.