Guest posting is dead, you should no longer do it. Is that true?
Have you read all the talk about how Google doesn’t like people guest posting on other blogs any more? Matt Cutts, who is the head of spam at Google, had a little rant about guest posting recently (the decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO). The reason he did this was because too many people guest post just for link building and are not actually providing value.
In fact, there was so much talk about this you might be inclined to think that it is not valuable to guest post any more.
But that is not the case.
When you want to get your name out there, writing content on a blog site that has good reputation and a ton more traffic than you in your target industry is still, and will continue to be, a very important way to build your reputation and build traffic.
What this latest change does mean, though, is that you need to be more careful about who you guest post for and the content you deliver. Here are 7 ways to maximize the value of guest posting and to ensure that you get benefit from it.
1. Post on high authority sites within your niche
Google likes to see that you hang out with good company.
Good company is not sites that are considered low in authority and are not relevant to your niche. Relevance to your niche is even more important than the authority of your site, because Google does also like to see that you are getting links from a wide variety of sites. Some will be high authority and some will be low.
But if you’re investing time in guest posting you should at least know the authority of the site and try to focus your efforts on sites with a reasonably high domain authority.
To find out if a site is of high authority, the best thing to do is go to Open Site Explorer and type in the name of the site. This tool gives you a rating of a website out of 100. It’s a proprietary ranking system developed by a company call Moz. They rate millions of websites around the world and use many different factors to calculate that ranking.
So, type in the website URL and check the domain authority. The authority doesn’t have to be really high but you ideally want it to be close to 50 or above.
2. Get links within the content
When you guest post on someone’s site, you generally get a chance to share your ‘bio’. This is a short description, and possibly a picture, which is displayed at the end of a post. When people get to the end of the post they get to see who the author is and, if you’ve written a great post, they may check out your site.
But if you can get a link to your website within the content of the blog post then this is even more valuable to you. Google may start ignoring links within a bio but you will still benefit from a link within the content.
Think about the content you are going to write. Make sure there is a really good, valid reason to link back to your content within the guest post.
3. Help with optimizing the content
If you optimize your content for your site, it could do really well on Google. But what about sites you guest post on, do they optimize the content correctly?
You might be wondering why you would want an article on their site ranking in Google when you could get that traffic on your own blog instead.
Well, if you’re writing an article about a topic that you would never rank for on your own site, then ranking for it on somebody else’s site, under your name, can be useful. So you write it on a site with a really high domain authority and if you optimize the post correctly they may rank highly for this content.
For example, Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media wanted to rank on ‘Google Authorship’ but he knew that because this term was so competitive he wouldn’t rank on his own site. So he wrote the article on Kissmetrics which is a really highly ranked site.
If you write an article for a site and you really want to rank for a particular term, you should provide them with additional SEO-related information along with the article so they don’t have to think about it.
For example, give them a suggested ‘title’ and ‘description’. This is what appears in search results and the title is what Google uses to help it index the content correctly.
If you check out the article you’ll also see that Andy links to a post on his site within this article (i.e. refer to tip number 2).
This link is good for link building and it will also drive traffic back to Andy’s site. On top of that, it’s a smart link because it’s a useful and relevant guide.
Note: Andy is a really smart guy and it is well worth following his blog.
4. Promote your guest post
If you commit to writing a guest post and you’ve done your research, and if the post is going to be on a good site, then it’s important that it does really well. If it does well, and if it’s so good that lots of other sites link to it, this increases the value of any links you have within the post.
We mentioned Domain Authority earlier (click here to read more on domain authority) on but there’s also Page Authority to consider. This is the ranking of an individual page on a website. When a post is first published, it starts off with zero Page Authority and then it moves up, mainly based on the links to the content. So if you have a link from the post to your content, the value of this link will go up if the page authority goes up.
Make sure you promote your guest posts as much as possible so your chances of backlinks goes up!
5. Don’t overdo it on anchor text in your bio or content
‘Anchor text’ is a name for the keywords you use to link to other content.
Years ago, anchor text was really important and it was a great signal for Google to help it index your content correctly. If you got lots of links back with the same anchor text then it’s more likely you will do well in search for results for that article using that ‘anchor text’.
But too many people knew this and used it to get their content ranked. Google now doesn’t pay nearly as much attention to anchor text as it used to and, over time, it will probably ignore it completely.
Google is more likely to scan through the content to figure out what it is about, and then look at the paragraph where the link is and use this to work out what the link is related to.
So, you have to be careful with anchor text.
When someone guest posts on a site, they sometimes think this is a great opportunity to get some valuable links back to your site. But it isn’t!
In the example below you have some keyword rich anchor text and you have 3 links back to Razorsocial. This is called ‘trying too hard’!!!
Google will take one look at this and think you’re just trying to get backlinks. It’s not normal to have 3 links like this all in one sentence, especially if they all link back to the same website.
So, within your bio and within the content of the post, be careful about using too much anchor text. Use it only if it makes sense, and don’t try too hard. Think more about the sentence and help Google understand what the sentence is related to. Then, Google will figure out what the link is for!
6. Link out to other sites of authority
It looks very suspicious if you write a guest post and the only links within the guest post point to your site. In any blog post you write, you should always link out to other authoritative websites; the same applies for guest posting.
Include a link to your content, but also include a couple of links to other sites of authority. You don’t want your post to look suspicious.
7. Write great, detailed content
Finally, you need to write good, detailed content. Neil Patel wrote a post last year about content length and search rankings. He researched rankings and content length and found that, generally, the top 10 results in Google were posts that had, on average, over 2,000 words.
I seldom write a post that is shorter than 1,500 words. Longer articles get more links, get shared more, and get talked about more. The more effort you put into your content, the more results you will get. I have written posts that are over 5,000 words before and they do much better than any other post!
So, don’t take shortcuts with guest posts.
Don’t be frightened off by what Matt Cutts said about guest posting. He wants Google to filter out out all the spammy content and wipe out all the dodgy SEO link builders. That is what Matt Cutts wants, and it is what you should want too!
So, don’t write poor quality content or just write for links. Write high quality content on good, relevant websites and provide a ton of value. Link out where it makes sense and don’t overdo it on anchor text.
Guest posting is still very valuable so do continue doing it. As well as links you build up awareness, your personal authority goes up and you build relationships with more bloggers.
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