- What is Guest posting?
- What went wrong?
- Should we continue guest blogging? 6 reasons which says you should
It’s the year 2022. Driverless cars are a thing, coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we work, hyperloops are being worked upon, AI chatbots are in action, omnichannel marketing is compulsory, people are following memes to catch up with world news!
And here you are, in a fix and unsure whether guest posting still works or not?
Also, before reaching this blog, if you’ve read this statement, “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done”, then a consoling hug for you!
I am assuming that you’ve already read Matt Cutts’s blog about guest posting being completely dusted. About that, the digital world is already in a lot of chaos and his blog just fueled the fire. Digital marketers, online publishers and content writers started opposing guest posts on their blogs and even deleted older guest posts and completely went berserk after that fearing heavy penalty from Google.
Matt Cutts himself mentioned in his blog that “Guest posting used to be a respectable thing” and I agree to that. Rather, I would also refer to guest posting as the online version of ‘word-of-mouth’.
But, did you observe the “used to be” from the above statement?
So, is it no more?
Before we conclude anything, let’s go through a layman explanation of what guest posting is.
What is Guest posting?
It is a content driven strategy of either writing blogs to be uploaded on somebody else’s website or inviting other bloggers and content writers to write for your website. In both the cases, the blog or the written content is not written by the website owners, hence, guest posts.
It is supposed to be a very organic and authentic way of reaching out to a wider audience who share similar interest in the industry or niche that the original website deals with.
What went wrong?
Primary factors associated with guest posting that created the turbidity are as follows:
- Poor quality (wrong grammar, misspellings, irrelevant content)
- Length of content (<700 words, a poor strategy of ‘multiple shallow posts-multiple sites-multiple backlinks’)
A study (ref #16) by backlinko stated that content with a word count around 2000 words are seen to rank higher.
- Plagiarized content written by self-proclaimed guest posters (read imposters!)
- Links from sites with poor domain authority
- Article spinning (create a spinoff of the same post just for placing it in numerous websites to get more and more backlinks)
- Posts with heavy keyword stuffing
However, most importantly, we shall be discussing in-depth on ‘backlinking’.
In the initial days, guest posting and guest blogging benefitted numerous websites to achieve their dream ranks in Google search page. Specifically, backlinking gained serious popularity and contributed to higher ranking on the SERP as well.
Backlinking was then a method to direct the readers to another website or another blog which had relevant content of similar nature that the user might like reading about. Linking relevant content that might add value to the users was the honest intent of backlinking. In addition, authors of those content could gain visibility themselves and help other genuine authors to get a piece of the pie as well.
With time, backlinking became one of the prime reasons to rank high in the SERP and this is where people started creating a business outta this.
Heard about bartering?
It is as simple as someone asking me to place their content on my blog and in return they want backlinks from my blog to their website. Here, I get new content (which is one of the many requirements for Google ranking) and in return I place a link to that other website on my user’s screen.
Where is the problem then? Well, we are after all humans and we are best at exploiting. Aren’t we?
As if pizza wasn’t enough, now we want pineapple on top of it!
So, people started trading backlinks and started linking random sites without even scrutinizing those websites in terms of content quality, relevance, context, domain authority etc.
Do you remember the 7 sins? “Gluttony” is one of those and it states that, ‘too much of nothing is good’.
Businesses were introduced in the name of ‘pay-per-post’ which incentivize people to browse the internet and post content on their behalf to gain more and more backlinks!
In 2012, Google even penalized its Chrome browser for manipulating the pageRank of its own homepage. As a result, the overall pageRank for the Chrome browser homepage was demoted for 60 days and the rank went from 9 to 7 which made it disappear from the first page of the SERP for certain keywords.
In another incident, New York Times conducted an SEO investigation on popular retailing firm J.C.Penney on the grounds of manipulating page ranking by misusing backlinks. As a result, they had to start rigorous cleaning of such links and also had to fire their SEO firm SearchDex.
This couldn’t go unnoticed for long and Google introduced their Panda and Penguin algorithms and ranked sites with genuinely good content and slammed sites involved in link farming. Also, it marked the end of pay-per-post.
Should we continue guest blogging? 6 reasons which says you should
Guest posting has been a very effective and proven method to spread brand awareness for several years. If you believe that TV ads or Radio ads work, then you should also have faith in guest posts as it can help your blog gain the required exposure and publicity. Being able to post even one blog on a website with high domain authority could lead you to a bigger relevant audience.
Authentic guest post can’t go wrong
Ingenuity will always be held at a high position in every industry. Writing original, relevant and valuable content on other websites or placing such posts on your own website will always be a value add for the readers. No matter what Google might have in their algorithmic pipeline, authentic contents would never be attacked.
How do you react to a close friend who is stating his experience with a product he just bought? I would have believed him and might give that product a shot. That’s a ‘word-of-mouth’ way of advocating a product and it still works, provided it comes from an authentic source.
Popular blogs fueled by guest posts
Most of the popular blogs available to us with superior domain authority and web rank are powered by guest posts. For example, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, WikiHow, How Stuff Works etc.
Such sites maintain a steady flow of fresh and frequent posts by leveraging guest posts which is also necessary for high SEO rankings.
Contributing to such websites is tad difficult as every post must go through multifold screenings and match certain criteria. Genuine guest post is a viable strategy to arrange fresh content for any website. These sites are also known to link contents and redirect users among other websites of the same stature containing similar posts.
A recent Hubspot post stated that companies receive 97% more backlinks to their websites with the help of blogging.
Increased web traffic volume
Another salient feature of guest posts is that it can bring in more visitors to the websites and increase the overall volume of web traffic. This means, more the number of traffic, better is the probability of conversion and obviously a bigger customer base. However, the sole condition remains the same i.e. Zero spam.
Quality content even in the form of guest posting can help in increasing your website’s domain authority. It increases your visibility and can make you famous in the vertical/niche that you deal with.
Having a good domain authority is one of the many factors that Google uses to place any website at a higher rank and here is a study (ref #52) by backlinko which verifies the same.
That’s right. Here we meet again! Did we come full circle? Not exactly. Like we already discussed, getting backlinks to your website is a good thing in terms of SEO provided the links are from a higher domain authority website. Also, providing backlinks from your content to other websites is a good thing in terms of SEO, collaboration and importantly, providing value and quality to your users. While you do so, please ensure that those sites provide genuine, relevant and spam free content whom you’re providing backlinks to. Whatever you do, please don’t buy or sell backlinks, ever!
Key takeaways from here are as follows:
- Never spam and do not allow backlinks to irrelevant sites with poor content to be placed within your site.
- Try to contribute to higher domain authority sites through guest posting with genuine valuable content
- Be specific with your expertise and choose your niche strategically to generate quality content. And if you find someone who claims to be an expert in all fields, simply ignore! You’ve met ‘Jack’, of all trades. So, just avoid it.
Hence, guest posting has benefitted many in the previous years and will continue to benefit genuine people. It's true when Mr. Cutts said that guest posting has gotten too spammy but now I hope you know how you can make it work.
So, don’t stick a fork in it! At least not today!