A few years ago, guest blogging shot high on the list of ways for people to improve their websites’ SEO. What followed was a mass exchange of webmasters looking for endless guest blogging opportunities, many pursuing it with the wrong purpose in mind. Google caught on and earlier this year Matt Cutts finally declared people “should probably stop” guest blogging.
Thus, confusion ensued and six months later people continue to ask: does guest blogging still matter? The answer: it depends.
Guest blogging is not about SEO.
The answer is “no” if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. If you’re attempting to write guest blogs to boost your SEO links and ranking, then you’re falling into the trap that Matt Cutts was trying to avoid. The problem is that guest blogging became a way for people to manipulate search engines and these same people established a long trail of spammy, low-quality links along the way. If it sounds like borderline ‘black hat’ SEO, then you’re absolutely right.
Guest blogging is ALL about customers.
The answer is “yes” if you’re doing it for the right reasons. Think about a guest speaker at a corporate event. Would you want someone who just shows up, leaves a brochure and walks away? Or would you want someone who speaks well, offers valuable information and leaves a lasting impression? You want the latter. Guest blogging is essentially an online version of the guest speaker, so if you’re going to do it, it’s important to think about the audience at all times.
Treat guest blogging in a natural way
Let’s look at it other SEO tactics that experienced the same fate. Consider reciprocal links, forum comments, and press releases. All of these tactics have been so abused that they now often negatively impact your SEO. However, these tactics are not inherently bad, it’s just that most people aren’t doing it right.
Anytime you do anything for your website, it has to be done in a natural way. Reciprocal links are okay if you’re an agency promoting a story about a client you recently worked with, and vice versa. Forums are okay too if you comment on a regular basis because you enjoy doing it, not because you’re trying to sneak in links.
The same can be said about press releases. Far too many small and mid-size businesses are doing press releases simply for an SEO boost, but Google has caught on and is penalizing press releases that are poorly managed and filled with unnecessary links. If you’re doing a press release, it has to be done because there is something truly worthwhile to announce.
That brings us back to guest blogging. If you’re desperately seeking out guest blog opportunities to improve your website’s SEO, knock it off! You’re only asking for trouble. Guest blogging should only be done for the right reasons in a natural way and here are some of the reasons:
Build better relationships – many online businesses are complementary to others, for example a business selling balloons and a party planning business. Offering to guest blog is a way to prove you’re a reputable company and are willing to work together. It also helps you become a stronger part of the online community for your industry.
Reach a new audience – related to the above point, many complementary businesses have different audiences – subscribers, readers or visitors – who may not be aware of your company. Doing a guest blog is a great way to advertise your business without being obtrusive.
Increase digital footprint and brand – this is particularly important if you’re a new business or are looking to grow your business. Guest blogging can be a completely legitimate way to get your name out there and gain exposure in your industry.
Learn how to properly pursue guest blogging
Now that you know why guest blogging can still matter, the next step is learning how to make it happen. Here are four useful tips:
Identify good candidates – seek out reputable, complementary online businesses that not only appreciate guest blogs, but understand the value in them
Know what can benefit their audience – if you’re going to do a guest blog, make sure it’s properly targeted to the audience. Always have a goal in mind so you can develop a blog message that is in tune with the audience’s wants and needs
Reach out with topics and specific information – when you reach out about a guest blog opportunity, don’t just say, “hey, I want to guest post”. Instead lead with, “hey, I’ve been reading your blog, and I think your readers would benefit from abc… I would enjoy writing a guest post titled xyz”. By providing detailed info and topic options, you’re showing how dedicated you are to this idea.
Be personal in your email – nobody wants an impersonal email that looks like it could go to anyone. People aren’t stupid and they’ll know when you’re sending a mass email and just trying to boost SEO. Make sure when you reach out that the email is personal and you show how much you understand their business.
Just like every other piece of content you create, guest blogging needs to be done in a natural context. Hopefully you’ve mastered this concept by now, but if you need any assistance, our professional blog writing team is more than happy to work with you.
Do you have any other tips or comments about guest blogging? We’d love to hear your advice below!