Is Guest Posting Still an SEO Best Practice?
Matt Cutts, who is in charge of Google’s spam team, recently made a statement on his blog warning marketers against the practice of guest blogging for the sole purpose of SEO.
A message like this from the person who is closest to the source of Google’s mysterious new algorithm definitely put content marketers on high alert, however, Joshua Steimle’s article on Entrepreneur.com claims that “Guest Blog Posting is Still a Viable SEO Tactic.”
Guest blogging has long been a favorite SEO tool—if you post content as a guest on a well-established website, when people click to your site from there, it has a beneficial effect on your ranking. “Your website will rank more often and higher up than a competing website that doesn’t have many high-quality inbound links,” Steimle says.
What Google is cracking down on is the opportunistic practice of guest posting on totally unrelated sites just to game the system.
When Google detects that you are doing guest blogging strictly for SEO—for example a hotel in Salt Lake City is guest posting on a NYC self-storage facility’s blog—Google will put that behavior the same category as other unethical SEO attempts “such as directory links, blog comment spam, etc.”
Google will either nullify the positive impact that post was having on your ranking, or in truly egregious cases, they may penalize your site by driving your ranking down even further.
“What Google likes is natural links. A hotel in Salt Lake City should have incoming links from websites that cover travel, tourism in Utah and perhaps the hotel industry,” Steimle points out.
So to make a long story short, Steimle says don’t stop guest posting altogether, just know that abusing it to manipulate SEO will backfire.
If you do choose to guest blog, he says follow these three rules of thumb:
- Evaluate the quality of the website where your post will appear.
Request regular reports that identify exactly where your content appears so you can monitor the quality of the placement.
- Don’t duplicate content.
“Each piece of content should be posted on one website, and one website only, with rare exceptions.”
- Write for people, not search engines.
The more value your content provides to real people, the more it will be shared and it will rise in the ranks.
As a general rule, the trend is that Google is trying to make their ranking “more human.” If an SEO consultant urges you to orient your content primarily towards cracking Google’s algorithm, this is opposed to the direction that SEO is going.
To read the original article in its entirety, please visit Entrepreneur.com.