Top 10 Google friendly guest blog posting tips
After Matt Cutts angry rant about guest blogging yesterday (January 20th 2014) that sent shock-waves through the industry, the question that all SEO’s, online marketers, inbound marketers and webmasters must ask themselves is ’How do I perform Google friendly guest blog posting?’.
Here are my top 10 tips to ensure your blog posts are “Google friendly”:
- Only write and publish quality guest posts that add value to the reader
- No duplicate content
- The post must be on a relevant blog with the same theme/topic/industry as the site that is getting the backlink
- Don’t label your post as a guest post
- Guest post in moderation – don’t use guest posting as your only link source to your website
- Use blogs who don’t ‘sell links’ – this is easily noticed by looking at the side bar or footer and checking if there are irrelevant keyword rich anchor text links on the homepage. Another trick is to ask the webmaster to buy a paid link and if they make you an offer – don’t upload your guest post there
- Check for real social activity (and engagement in that activity) from real people on places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ for a start. This is also a great way to get your guest post published if you can reach out to the webmaster via some of their active social media and engage them personally
- Ensure the site has visitor engagement – check comments on blog posts
- Check the quality of writing in other posts on the blog to and ensure that new posts are uploaded frequently
- Make the single link to your website from the author bio area and with non-spammy anchor text and have other links (both internal and external) come from within the body of the post
I see guest blog posts as being in the grey area of SEO. It can be performed as a white-hat SEO method by simply putting up quality content with no intention to gain link juice from a certain blog, or it can be done in a very spammy way by paying for blogs to be uploaded with low quality content using anchor text rich hyperlinks so as to pass page rank from one irrelevant site to the destination site. The grey area is where most SEO’s find themselves, where the guest posts written are high quality and relevant to the blog but are still written with the explicit intention of passing page rank which is not allowed according to Google’s user guidelines. Google’s ridiculous rules (aka Google’s guidelines) have made it clear that guest blogging is not 100% clean SEO because SEO’s do utilize them for link juice and sometimes pay for posts. I believe that if you only use high quality relevant blogs and not pay for posts, then you are walking a fine line of doing guest posting clean enough and hence you fall within the grey area I am speaking about. Being within the grey area means that currently, Google will not punish your website.
In the end, Google eventually succeeds in punishing the grey area and brings everyone back to the white or extreme black hat SEO techniques. Those are really the only two options. This is what Google has successfully done time and time again with its algorithm changes.
A point of interest is that, in my opinion, Google can’t algorithmically punish guest blog posts that are created to ‘pass pagerank’ or ‘link juice’ that are placed on relevant and non spammy blogs. An algorithm won’t be able to tell if a blog post is quality and has no intention of passing pagerank if a few basic rules are followed. It is also important that the post was authored by a real (or fictitious) person that has an active Google+ profile since this is Google’s social layer which it uses to ‘know’ if people exist. This only leaves Google with the option to use manual actions to police and then dish out punishments for abuse of guest blog posting which would be performed by Matt Cutts own web spam team. Using a lot of employees to manually police the web isn’t financially viable for Google hence only extreme cases would get a manual punishment.
I suggest for all SEOs perform quality control and to be picky before guest blogging. Plus don’t over use this linking option, it should be just one of the plethora of sources of links – which is what Google says is important. I know in the future guest blog posting may not be considered acceptable by Google, but it is still useful right now. I think Matt Cutts just got really, really pissed off at the email he got and hence vented on his blog sending shockwaves through the industry.
Don’t jeopardize your results by being too clean when there is no need to be. The grey at the moment is fine and ensure you are not over using this technique in my opinion.