Guest blogging for SEO value has been much debated since Matt Cutts pronounced it dead in his article The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO, back in 2014. However, guest blogging remains a common SEO strategy for many businesses, generating relevant backlinks and increasing their online traffic and domain authority as a result. So, what is the truth about guest blogging and SEO? Is it a strategy that needs to be adopted, or something that’s not essential? We discuss the relationship between guest blogging and SEO, highlighting the pros and cons of guest blogging, to help you decide.
What is guest blogging?
Let’s start by discussing what is meant by the term guest blogging; it’s when a post is written and then published on a third party website blog. The reason for posting could be to discuss a topic relevant to the industry or audience of the blog. Or, it could be to promote the company the blog has been written by to generate brand awareness or traffic to their website via backlinks.
Backlinks are considered very valuable in the SEO world, as Google still uses backlinks to determine ranking qualifications. If you are unfamiliar with any of the SEO terminology used in this post so far, then don’t worry, we have a full glossary you can check out if any other terms come up that you don’t recognise as we go along.
Guest blogging is a technique that can be mutually beneficial for both parties. The publishers can give their audience valuable, and quality content and the author gets to promote their brand or spread awareness of a topic close to their heart.
Guest blogging for SEO value
Guest blogging and SEO can work well together, but it needs to be within Google’s guidelines so that penalties are not given. Here are some tips for best practise for guesting blogging for SEO:
1. Don’t use too many links to your website in one post.
If too many links to the same site are included, it can look a little spammy, especially if you are doing multiple posts with lots of links in them to your website on numerous third-party websites.
2. Make sure the content is of good quality.
Regardless of links, the content needs to be valuable and of interest to the reader. Otherwise, the bounce rate on that page is going to be extremely high, which may mean the end of your working relationship with that publisher. Also, neither of you will gain much, if any, SEO value from the post as readers will leave your site straight away if the quality is bad.
3. The relevancy of the topic needs to be in line with the publisher’s website
Again, if the topic isn’t relevant to the publisher’s website, or of interest to readers, then there isn’t much to be gained. It may also look suspicious to Google and signal that the links in the post are not organic.
4. The link/anchor text you use has to be relevant to the content surrounding it
As well as the content needing to be valuable to the reader, so do the links in the post. Remember, the link needs to be useful to the reader and something they are going to want to read, see or buy if they click on it.
If these points aren’t taken into consideration when guest blogging, it could cause Google to give you a ranking penalty as it doesn’t believe that the links are organically provided. There is a way to show Google that a link provided isn’t an organic link, and that’s to make it a no-follow link. However, using no-follow links means that Google doesn’t give any value to the link and doesn’t consider it when determining a page’s ranking. These links are still beneficial as referral links and for getting people to your website, it just won’t be of any SEO value.
Benefits of guest blogging
If done correctly, there can be numerous benefits of guest blogging with a lot of SEO value provided, we’ve highlighted a few below for you:
1. Helps prove to Google you’re an authoritative source.
2. Increases your website domain authority.
3. Can increase high-quality organic traffic to your website.
4. Creates brand awareness.
5. Could lead to brand mentions on social media when posts are shared.
Are there any disadvantages to guest blogging?
As with anything, there are some disadvantages to guest blogging. We’ve already mentioned that if not done correctly, guest blogging can mean ranking penalties from Google and decrease Google’s trust in your website being of any authority. As well as this, many publishers will charge you for the privilege of creating a post that provides SEO value to your website through follow links. Of course, this goes against Google’s guidelines of using a no-follow link to highlight it has been paid for and can have penalties if Google suspects anything. However, sadly it’s become somewhat of an expectation that you need to pay for a follow link with everyone being all too aware of how valuable they are.
But still, there are people out there that will appreciate the value of the content you produce. It’s just another reason why you need to make sure the quality of the content and the links you choose are relevant and valuable to the publisher’s readers. When competing with those who are willing to pay, you have to make sure the publisher will benefit from the post as well as you.
Your SEO content strategy
It’s important to remember that guest blogging for SEO value should only be one piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating a solid and successful SEO content strategy. Although backlinks are considered highly creditable by Google in terms of SEO, there are other SEO best practises that are fundamentals and need to be included for your content and website to rank highly.
Devising a link strategy is just one of the content SEO strategies we can help you with at Zelst. You can find how we have helped clients improve their organic rankings over the years by taking a look at our case studies. Or, to find out more about how we can develop a bespoke strategy to help your business, then please contact us.