A video by Matt Cutts in 2014 seemingly suggesting guest blogging was dead caused a bit of a stir in SEO and offsite communities, as did more recent statements from Google echoing the same sentiment. However, context is key, and all of these warnings were aimed at guest blogging done badly. By badly I mean spamming the exact same, badly written content out to hundreds of unvetted sites. Done right, guest blogging can be a very valuable aspect of any business’s offsite campaign.
What does good guest blogging look like in 2018? I’ve listed six recommendations below for running a valuable and successful guest blogging campaign for your business.
So, where do you start?
Choose sites you’d be happy to feature on with no link
If you are guest blogging with the sole purpose of obtaining links, the chances are your content will be low quality. Embrace the multiple other benefits of guest blogging, such as exposure to a new audience, building brand, and establishing yourself as an expert in your field — see a followed link as a bonus, but not the whole motivation behind your campaign. If you find yourself submitting a guest post to a website you wouldn’t be happy to feature on if it wasn’t for the link factor, stop! Instead choose higher quality, relevant sites. The best way to control this is to create a website wish list before you begin your campaign.
Create a placement wish list
When looking for authoritative sites to feature on, keep an eye out for those with:
- Quality, long-form content
- Few ads
- A high standard of spelling and grammar
- Lots of content
- A fast loading speed
- Content that works across all devices
- High levels of social sharing/engagement
Set a high benchmark and don’t fall into the trap of saying yes to anyone who asks you to write for them — be fussy and spend time on those blogs that count. Before you start your campaign, compile a website wish list. To find websites to add to your wish list, consider including the following:
- Websites you personally enjoy reading
- Award-winning websites, such as magazines
- Trusted resources in your industry
- Relevant domains
- Recommendations from others for go-to sites in your industry
Create quality content
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it really needs to be reiterated as if you’re going to run a guest blogging campaign with low quality or spammy content, there really is no point. Quality content is well-researched, well-written, opinionated copy that is engaging and informative for the reader. It is also unique for each blog you feature on. Don’t be afraid to spend time on your content — the more time you spend on it, the better it will be and the more the audience and Google will favour it.
Only link to quality content
Once you have created a quality piece of content, it is important to only link to relevant and trusted sources from it. All links need to make sense, but also they need to take the reader to a website that will offer them value. Trying to boost a rubbish blog post of yours by linking to it in a guest blog post on a quality website is a terrible idea, which won’t help the rubbish post and could negatively effect the website you’re posting on, too!
Link to sites other than your own
It could be tempting to pack as many backlinks into each article as possible, however this will go against you in the long term and I therefore don’t recommend it — the readers and the site hosting your blog post certainly won’t appreciate it. Instead, add relevant backlinks sparingly, alongside links to other relevant, authoritative sites, and top it all off with an internal link or two (depending on the length of your article) to show respect to the blog host.
Use the right person
When contacting websites, think about who would be best to reach out to them — gain leverage with the media by using key individuals in your company.
Utilise the tips above and create engaging content containing relevant links. People will want to read it, and Google will like it, too. Guest blogging is one of many PR and offsite opportunities for your business. Other tactics include surveys, product reviews, interviews and business news. More details of other offsite tactics can be found here. To learn more about how offsite campaigns support SEO, click here.