A lot of people still rely on guest blogging as an ongoing part of their link-building strategy.
If you think about it, getting links through guest blogging is much easier than getting links through some other channel.
So it’s no wonder that a lot of bloggers and SEO experts still favor this method. The main question is, are these guest post links still safe and viable?
The answer is yes.
It is still possible to build our link portfolio by contributing on authoritative websites. However, there are certain rules that we need to follow in order to avoid any issues with Google.
Guest blogging 101
One of the beautiful things about guest blogging is that it gives us the opportunity to score some great links from high-tier websites.
To be honest, we probably couldn’t have gotten those links with any other method. This is why guest blogging is always worth bearing in mind as a link-building strategy.
But, we need to be very selective when choosing the websites we guest post for.
Although guest blogging can be carried out on a large scale, you should probably avoid it. This method is optimal in small dosages while cooperating with the biggest domains.
Google trusts authoritative domains. If they notice that your links are coming only from reputable sources, they will not impose a penalty. However…
1) Careful not to overdo it!
The biggest problem with guest blogging is that people tend to overdo it.
Your articles should be coming from various sources, with different anchors. If your only source of inbound links is from guest articles, Google will notice this pattern and you will soon get into trouble.
Instead, you should choose your battles carefully. You need to diversify your link profile.
If you already decide to do some guest posting, make sure it counts. Otherwise you’ll waste all that time you spent building up relationships and writing your posts – with only a Google penalty to show for it.
2) Focus on quality
This is where most people go wrong.
Google assesses the articles from which you are getting links. If the article is of high quality, your link will also be regarded as a quality one.
This makes sense, right? After all, why would anyone bother creating a great piece only to place crappy links throughout?
So when you put together a guest post, make sure it’s a good one.
After creating their own article, people try to promote it by writing guest posts. These guest posts will usually be of much lower quality and they will have the same regurgitated content which you published on your own blog.
By doing this, not only are you getting a devalued link, but you are also endangering your original piece. Google will flag up the regurgitated versions of your article as possible duplicate content. And because there are any number of similar, low-quality pieces out there online, it may conclude that your article is low-quality as well.
Everything you create has to be unique and to provide value to the reader. When you write a guest post, ask yourself: would I link to this piece?
If the answer is yes, you are in the clear.
3) Add images, links and formatting
As I mentioned, each guest post you make needs to be distinctive. Even if you are employing this strategy on a larger scale, at least make sure that everything you create is a separate entity.
One of the best ways to differentiate articles is by using varied formatting.
Blogs always have use different fonts and that is something you have no control over. But you have the ability to break up paragraphs and add things like bullet points, subheadings, block quotes and more. These increase the readability of your piece, and also make it easier for search engines to crawl it and interpret the content.
Another way to improve the look and layout of your text is to add images and other media.
Do not be shy and don’t wait for the website editor to insert them for you. Instead, be proactive and use your own images. Add a couple of them if necessary. If they make sense and the text looks better because of it, the editor will be more inclined to ask you for additional guest posts.
You can even go the extra mile and write titles and alt text to optimize the images for SEO – the editor will thank you, as it will save them the effort, and it will improve the overall SEO value of your piece.
Lastly, we come to links.
Now, editors usually allow one link in your bio, or one link within the article. Most of them do not like it when an author writes a piece with a lots of links pointing to different websites.
However, if the editor allows it, make sure to add some highly relevant links that will make the article even more authoritative.
4) Vary your anchor text
You are trying to rank for a certain keyword. In an attempt to rank, you try to spam the same anchor text over and over.
This strategy is pretty much obsolete. Instead, just as with everything else that we’ve mentioned so far, make sure to diversify things.
Anchor text should vary.
When people place links with purely editorial value, without trying to cynically rank for a specific keyword, they will rarely link with the exact same phrase every time. This is highly unnatural behavior and can get you in trouble.
Instead, make sure to use different phrases. Place links in different sentences, with different anchors. Focus on writing naturally and place your link accordingly.
Guest blogging is NOT dead. As far as we know, there is no Google system or algorithm that will penalize the creation of such articles.
Nevertheless, it is better to be conservative. Like always, it comes down to whether your link profile looks natural. There should be no indication that you are purposely trying to push a keyword (even if you are).
People usually think about guest blogging in terms of links. However, you should observe it from a different perspective. By using this strategy, not only should you get links, you should also get some good exposure.
Your articles should promote your skills well as your blog.
By placing emphasis on this, you will be able to accomplish much more with guest posts and as a result, links will start coming from various sources without you forcing them.
How often do you guest post? Have you ever had problems due to it? Share it in the comment section below!