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Guest Blogging for SEO. How to Build Traffic and Not Overdo It?

Guest blogging has long been an effective tactic for building a community, a way of growing visibility for both your website and your byline, a means of driving traffic, increasing the exchange of ideas and a method of building inbound links to a website. Recently, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, released an article and a video about the decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO on his website that’s been widely discussed across the industry.

Many have chimed in with their perspective on the topic, some explaining why some guest bloggers are turning black hat, which has help spurred this memo and action by Google, and how this approach to guest blogging can be avoided all together. Guest blogging is still a viable tactic to build traffic and notoriety as long as you’re committed to focusing on quality.

How is Guest Blogging Still Valuable for SEO

Despite Google’s memo about how guest blogging will no longer be a viable tactic for growing your SEO, it must be taken within the right context. This was one of the final warnings of many from Google about making sure not to post your content on low quality websites to gain spammy links, which many spammers have been continually doing at scale to rank their websites. In many cases it worked, but defeats the purpose of guest blogging entirely by not delivering quality content to a new audience. This spammy tactic will no longer work to game the search engines.

Guest blogging is still a match made in heaven in term of SEO as long as the website where your guest post is shared is of quality and the links being included in your content are of quality as well. Inbound links from quality sources will help continue to associate your website with the correct keywords, as well as help grow your authority once these links are shared across social media. Links to your guest blog posts on social media play a huge factor in what websites are ranked for what keyword phrases in the search engines. Growing your audience with guest blogging will impact your SEO through increased social media growth, stronger industry visibility, more networking opportunities and growing brand recognition. The goal of the search engines is to match quality content online with the people looking for this information, hence why quality guest blogging on the right websites with the right content will continue to positively impact your efforts of growing your business online.

Four Strategies for Guest Blogging Success, Despite Google’s Warning

Follow these steps to ensue your guest blogging efforts are well-received by the search engines:

1. Only Post on High Quality and Relevant Websites

Only pitch content and contribute to websites that are high quality, experts in your industry and relevant to the typical readers of your content. When referring to a quality website, this is a website like Mashable, Social Mouths, Entrepreneur or Marketing Profs. All four of those websites allow guest contributors of various levels, whom they vet to ensure the content they’re going to be able to contributing is high quality and relevant to their audience.

These are the types of websites you’d like to guest blog with, but again it depends on the industry when it comes to the specific websites. The only thing that should never change when searching for websites to contribute to is the quality of those websites you’re choosing to partner with.

2. Contribute Original, Quality Content

Some reputable publications and blogs allow for syndication of your content across their website, which is when your existing content is republished with your permission on another website with a similar audience. However, the best content to publish on other websites, as a guest blog is original content.

Ensure that your guest blogs are quality, original content that is valuable to the audience of the blog you’re writing for as well as your own audience. If the guest post is quality and relevant to your audience, then it will resonate well with the search engines as a credible piece of content. Here is an example of a quality guest blog post from writer and marketer Herbert Lui on Hypebeast and another quality article from Ryan Holmes, the CEO of HootSuite, on Fast Company.

3. Link with Value in Mind

Include valuable resource and reference links through out the article to give readers further insights on a topic, but when it comes to linking to your website only do so when it is natural and as a part of your bio as a guest blogger. Mix using anchor-rich links with regular links to your website, be mindful not to link to back to your own website too much.

Three to five links to your website is an effective way to drive value from those links without coming across as spammy to the search engines. One of the reasons Google is cracking down on link usage in guest posts is because some companies automated the guest blogging process by hiring writers overseas to submit tons of low-quality articles to equally spammy websites willing to submit any content sent to them in order to exchange links. Link automation in guest blog posts is what you want to steer clear of, since these operations are exactly what Google is cracking down on.

4. Build Engaging, Long-Term Relationships

Become part of the guest blogging community to establish yourself as a credible guest blogger amongst the other bloggers in the industry. Join communities like MyBlogGuest to meet other bloggers, discover quality guest blogging opportunities and to learn from others in the industry. Instead of relying on creating many guest posts on different websites, try focusing on building long-term relationships by publishing consistently on a few of the same websites in your industry to help increase your visibility as an expert and retain the SEO value of your guest posts.

Respond to comments on your articles, share your content across your social media channels and react to feedback to your content in real-time to build relationships with your readers and editors where ever you’re contributing.

Have you seen results from guest blogging? What success would you like to see from guest blogging when it comes to SEO? What else are you doing to boost your SEO strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.