Since the Google Penguin update hit earlier this year, online marketers have been faced with a simple choice: go ethical, go high-quality, or go home.
Black-hat techniques such as keyword stuffing, duplicated content and link bombing were heavily penalised by Panda and Penguin – with many search queries affected. What this means today is that it’s more important than ever for a website to feature good quality, regularly-updated content and links from reputable, relevant sources.
These algorithm updates have seen guest blogging – once the time-consuming, rarely used side of link building – become a key feature of campaigns as SEOs realise they must chase quality over quantity.
But how exactly can guest blogging help a brand?
At the very basic level, guest blogging opportunities will provide you with a relevant link or two back to your website. What’s more, the blog on which you’re guesting on is likely to enjoy a higher page rank than standard article sites, which will give your link much greater weight.
However, limit your backlinks to around 2 per article; any more than that and your great quality blog may start to look spammy to search engine spiders and, more importantly, to anyone reading it.
New, relevant traffic
When writing a guest blog, you’re also introducing your website and its services to a new, receptive audience of hundreds, maybe thousands of people – generating traffic for your website and potential customers for your business.
This is about more than links. This is about people.
What’s more, by talking about aspects of your business in an authoritative way, you’re establishing your brand as an expert voice in the industry: a trusted, familiar face amongst the faceless millions of the internet!
Social media-savvy bloggers
Recent Google algorithm updates have given greater authority than ever before to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
These social factors are now crucial in determining a website’s popularity and its competitiveness, and bloggers are some of the most active groups on social media. By submitting a guest blog, you’re building a relationship with users who could retweet, share and blog about you now and in the future.
But be careful…
However, it’s important to be wary. Many blog owners are seeking to capitalise on the popularity of guest blogging and their blog’s respectable page rank by charging for links from guest blogs.
This black-hat process can’t be condoned; while it may result in a short-term boost up the rankings, if Google finds out (and they often do) your site could be heavily penalised.
And unfortunately, as the practice becomes more popular, the fact is that your competitors may step up their guest blogging activities – making it harder to find truly valuable, unique guest blogs.
Expert link builders will still find traction in the area, but you’ll need truly innovative, well-written and interesting articles to get featured.