Following one of the most wide sweeping Google algorithm updates, many webmasters and search engine optimization pros are wondering how they can build links that provide value yet do not result in a Google penalty.
If you’ve been involved in building links to your site, you know that it’s an arduous task to begin with. But as Google takes a sharper look at sites’ linking patterns, this all-important task is becoming much harder.
In the past, article marketing, directories, affiliate sites, sponsor or footer links and forum signatures provided great links to your site that really helped beef up your position in the search engines. In our post-Penguin world though, these link building methods have either been completely discredited (…and result in a penalty) or provide so little value, they’re not worth pursuing.
So what’s an SEO or link-builder to do?
While there are still many legitimate link building practices out there to consider, guest posting has shown to be one of the best. First of all, it’s completely free (…meaning there shouldn’t be any financial cost. Time on the other hand is a different story). Secondly, Google gives rich reward to sites who publish content on other blogs, etc.
Guest posting can be defined as a process of creating a blog post specifically for another blog owner. For each post you create that’s published on another site, you receive a “byline” that describes who you are along with a nice link back to your site.
For the best results, you should target blogs that are closely related to your own blog. Publishing content on an unrelated site won’t be to your best advantage.
Guest posting on blogs provides 3 major, noticeable benefits, including:
LINKS – Not only do you receive a valuable backlink from a closely related site, it’s also possible to generate links from other bloggers in the form of talkbacks or post rebuttals
TRAFFIC – If you start guest posting, you may start noticing more traffic to your own blog. Readers of the host blog may want to learn more about who you are and what other information you offer. It’s certainly possible for this additional traffic to lead to new subscribers and followers
PUBLICITY – With guest post content, your name may become associated with the niche content you’re producing. In turn, this can lead to increased recognition from other bloggers and perhaps lead to more guest posting opportunities.
You’ve got my attention with the additional traffic…but what I can do to ensure I get the additional traffic, links and mentions?
As with anything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do guest posting.
The first thing you need to do is to be sure you write to the host blog’s audience. Don’t skimp on your effort here…be sure the posts you deliver to the host blog are the absolute best work you can do.
Next, can any self-promotion. Only provide content that’s original and informative. Don’t use guest posting as an opportunity to directly promote your site. The byline and the quality of your posts will do the talking.
Finally, take some time to look at other posts in the host blog. See which ones got the most likes, shares and comments and try to emulate those posts.
I see the opportunity but don’t know how to get started
Just like any other link-building activity, guest posting takes time. It requires networking and careful analysis of the host site to ensure they’re legitimate. There’s nothing worse than being penalized because you’re linked up with a site engaging in what Google considers “black-hat” SEO practices.
One way you can get started quickly is to post content on MyBlogGuest.com, which is a site that brings blog owners and guest posters together. Not only can you develop content for another site to use, you can sometimes find great content for your own site. And not only can you find great content and/or get good backlinks to your site, you can also connect with other bloggers out there for future guest posting opportunities.
Absent a service like MyBlogGuest, guest posting can still be done, albeit with some additional effort.
The embedded video below from SEOMoz provides some great insight into how to go about finding good guest blogging opportunities. This “high-end” approach has been shown to work time and again without yielding damaging penalties from Google, Bing, etc.
Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting provides some great tips to get you started, including:
1. Brainstorm with your team and build a list of target sites. Check those sites directly for any policies on guest posting, if any. To see if the site has specific information on guest posting, go to Google and type “site:targetsite.com ‘guest post’” in the search bar
2. Go to Google and/or Twitter and do searches for terms common in your industry. Include “guest post” in your search to find sites who accept content from other writers. While this method can help you find target sites, you’ll likely spend some time sifting through a lot of “noise”
3. Once you’ve located some target sites, evaluate the author(s) and overall quality of the site by looking at such criteria as readership and social activity
4. Be sure you understand the types of links allowed. If the site allows outbound links in the body of the article, that’s fine. But if they allow you to stuff anchor-text link to your site in the body, you’ll want to look elsewhere for guest posting opportunities
MyBlogGuest.com though can provide some great opportunities for you to get started.
Regardless of your approach, be sure you have realistic opportunities. Guest posting is just one of many methods of building inbound links to your site. In the end, there are no shortcuts. But with consistent effort, good networking and above all, quality content, guest posting can provide a sustainable way to build a consistent flow of inbound links to your site.
Have you done much guest posting?
If so, did you find site(s) on your own or did you use a service like MyBlogGuest?
Do you feel material you put on your site from another writer or content you posted on another blog benefitted your site?
Let us know your experiences and insights with guest posting below in our new Facebook comment plugin today!
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