To guest blog or not to guest blog, that is the question

Posted by Mik

Last week, Matt Cutts head of Google’s webspam team, published a post on his personal blog which outlines his opinions on guest blogging stating that: “if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”

Supporting Graphic

photo credit: laffy4k via photopin cc

This poses an interesting question for the SEO industry, as the belief has always been that if you have links from “relevant websites”, then this should help your site rank well in search engines.

Cutts post comes in the wake of him receiving an outreach email from a website owner requesting if they could post a guest post on Matt Cutts’s blog and in return they would "consider making suitable contribution".

The post drew a wide reaction from many prominent sites in the SEO industry with Search Engine Land posing the question “Is Google planning an algorithmic update that would impact guest blogging to coincide with today’s warning?”

Google has always looked to cut down on the volume of low quality content on the web and paid links are a violation of Google’s Webmaster guidelines, so this statement from Cutts represents nothing new for the SEO industry. Google is just trying to cut down on the volume of irrelevant blog posts that have been appearing over the last few years.

Well written relevant content will always serve a better purpose than badly written spammy content, which only serves the purpose of securing a low quality link from an external domain.

If the content is targeted to the blog's audience and it makes sense to have the content on the blog, then this should be seen as a good thing. However, if you are in the oil and gas sector and have a guest blog post on a fashion blog, then this doesn’t make any sense, as the content is not contextual.

How to use guest blogging effectively

We always look to place useful and interesting content on relevant blogs that readers will find appealing and have found that using the tactic correctly can really benefit a site.

We have recently contributed to blogs on behalf of a client in the fashion sector and since posting on some high profile blogs, these posts have sent almost 1000 visits to the client’s website. As the content was relevant to the reader’s audience, they engaged with the content and clicked through to the client’s site, which shows that they found the content both relevant and appealing.

The posts are also helping to bring the brand to a new audience as well as sending new visitors to the site.

The blog also helped to secure a link from a relevant domain that is in line with the target audience our client is trying to reach.

This shows that having a guest post on a relevant blog can:

  • Send traffic to your site
  • Raise awareness of your brand
  • Help to increase the authority of a site by securing a link from a relevant blog

Guest blogging can be an effective way of raising the profile of a brand and also help to build the authority of a site.

As with all of the tactics used within SEO, it is a question of quality and relevance. Is the content of a high quality and is it relevant to the people who are reading it. If you can’t say yes to both of these questions, then you may find that if you rely on guest blogging as a tactic then your site might be penalised in the near future.

When using guest blogging as a tactic you should look to:

  • Ensure that the blog you are writing for is of a high quality and relevant
  • Focus on the readership of the blog, they will find the content much more appealing if the content is targeted to them
  • Write high quality content that is both relevant and appealing to the blog’s audience

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