Guest blogging takes time, money and resources. At worst, it could damage search engine rankings if you do it incorrectly.
No one wants to be penalized by Google. All the work you put into your website could crumble when Google completely or partially removes your site ranking from the Google index, or significantly drops your rankings. Amid all the latest Google updates, a question marketers might have in 2018 is: does guest blogging even matter any more?
The demise of guest blogging was proclaimed by former Google webspam team head Matt Cutts back in 2014 on his blog. Google addressed the topic on its own blog last year, outlining large-scale article campaigns to avoid. No matter what any former Google head honcho says, guest blogging is not something to stick a fork in anytime soon. However, there may be some tactics you’re using that should be killed, pronto.
Stop: Guest Blogging for as Many Sites as Possible
When your content and a link back to your website is housed on a non-credible site, the credibility of your business website also suffers. If you’re blogging for a site that has been flagged by Google or is on their no-no radar, you’re perceived as guilty by association.
The site owner may stuff your blog with keywords and suspicious links, or alter your content so that it’s perceived as spammy by the search engine. Not only will the article you spent time writing or paying someone on your staff to write not get ranked well on the search engine, the link back to your business website may suffer, as well.
Do this instead
Conduct thorough research on any website your business is considering contributing to. Make sure the articles are well-written (grammar and punctuation errors are a sign you may be dealing with spam), make sure the authors are knowledgeable about what they’re writing about, and check to see that the articles are providing value to readers.
It’d be better to be a less frequent contributor to a few respected sites whose readers are engaged with the content, than to write 10 times the amount of articles to get your link on more sites that aren’t as high-quality.
Stop: Soliciting Guest Blogs from Anyone with a Computer
If you have a business blog, you know that producing blogs regularly for your site can get you more traffic. Inbound marketing software HubSpot reports B2B companies that blog at least 11 times a month get three times the amount of traffic than those that blog one time or less per month. B2C businesses that blog at least 11 times monthly get four times as many leads than those that blog four to five times a month.
You may be limited on resources, so you think sending off an email to everyone in your favorite Facebook group to contribute to your blog can help. You might get more content, but the value you provide to your blog visitors quickly tanks when you don’t properly vet your writers. High-quality content creators will steer clear of contributing to your blog, because they don’t want their reputation to suffer.
Do this instead
Focus on quality, quality, quality when looking for guest bloggers. Treat your blog similarly to operations like traditional newspaper or magazine publications. Approach writers and blog content creators who have experience in blog publishing, who research and know what they’re talking about, and whose content will be able to connect with your current and target consumers. You can message blog authors whose content you read yourself, or ask your professional contacts for referrals.
If you’re short on funds and can’t afford to pay authors who demand pay, offering a link back to an author’s website of choice may suffice for some great content creators – as long as your blog is focused on high-quality content.
Stop: Sending the Same Blog to Multiple Publishers
You’ve spent hours researching, writing and sourcing images and videos for an amazing blog you think everyone just has to read. So you send it to 20 publishers and think, well, if it’s published 20 times, that’s 20 great backlinks to my site. Wrong.
Google explicitly states that publishing articles across many different sites is a clear violation of Google’s guidelines on link schemes. The same content on multiple sites is part of what, in Google’s view, causes the quality of web content overall to suffer and become watered down.
Do this instead
Put your publisher hat back on and build relationships with websites, just as you would if you were a freelance journalist. Pitch a unique idea to a unique web publication, that directly speaks to their audience and provides value to them.
Be wary when you’re approached by someone who is asking to provide your business blog with free content, as well. They could be schilling the same stuff to multiple publishers, which could get your site in trouble.
Don’t Stop Guest Blogging, But Make Quality and Value the Stars
Considering it can take about six to eight touchpoints with a brand before a customer makes a purchase, guest blogging makes sense for so many reasons:
- Your expertise builds trust with readers on other blogs
- You can gain a high-quality backlink, which is a great signal to Google and other search engines that your content and website it points back to should rank well
- You can feature engaging content from a wide variety of credible sources on your own blog, which makes your blog a destination publisher
- Blogging is an effective form of inbound marketing that starts with providing value to consumers, who then build trust in your brand, and ultimately purchase from your business
Guest blogging should be a part of your business strategy, but taking shortcuts is not an option. Remember:
- Only work with high-quality publishers and content creators
- Only feature content on your blog that benefits your readers
- Only contribute when you can provide value to that blog’s readers
More Americans than ever are getting their news online, just 7 percentage points behind TV at 43 percent and already much higher than radio and print, reports Pew Research Center. As the web continues its climb toward becoming the top news consumption site, inevitably, Google will continue to refine its standards and search engine algorithm to deliver the highest quality blog content to web searchers. Don’t game the system so you don’t get penalized when guest blogging.