I’m writing this post because recently, content marketing in the form of ‘guest blogging’, has had a spate of negative press (at least Econsultancy still has something good to say about it. This is not because it’s a bad form of marketing but because many people do not understand how to use it in the first place. If you’re guest blogging in order to simply generate links, then I certainly do think you should avoid doing it at all. Remember all those websites that were penalised by Google Panda for ‘content farming’? However, if your reasons are ‘pure’ and you’re accepting guest blog posts or writing them for another site for the right reasons (see the end of this post), then by all means do it!
Guest blogging, or rather the rise of it, is in part a consequence of the changes Google made to its search ranking algorithm when it released Google Penguin. Penguin, officially introduced in April 2012, aimed to decrease the rankings of sites that did not follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Anyone using ‘black-hat’ SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, cloaking, link schemes or duplicate content, would be penalised. This meant that search engine optimisers had to find another way to build reliable, high-quality links to websites.
That’s when content marketing as a digital tactic got big; when companies all signed up for a blog; and when infographics and guest blog posting really took off.
Since then, there’s been a lot of discussion regarding how to best go about building links that Google doesn’t view as spammy (as according to Google Webmaster Matt Cutts, links continue to be a valuable factor for ranking sites in the search result pages).
Content marketing is still a good source of links and within the content marketing spectrum, guest blogging a specifically viable source, though doing it ONLY for the links is really not the right approach.
Blog posting is just one part of content marketing aimed at driving relevant traffic to websites. Done well, blog posts will draw more traffic to the website that is hosting them, improve engagement and build a brand comprised of people with real voices. Blogging in today’s world should not recall the old ‘content farm’ techniques that aimed to build links from many sources, regardless of the quality of the linking website.
If you’ve watched the video you should now know that guest blogging IS a good idea if the guest blogger you have approached will provide quality content that is valuable for everyone. If you’re simply running an article bank or are guest posting for someone else just to get the links back to your own website, that’s when you’re going to get into trouble.
According to Laura Lippay, the CEO of SEOgadget, content marketing shouldn’t just be about linkbuilding. Content Marketing is marketing, pure and simple. Real SEO success does not focus on content as a means to a keyword end. Real content marketing focuses on targeting audiences which is really what drives successful SEO.
With this in mind, let’s briefly review the pros and cons of guest blogging.
Writing guest blog posts for others
Guest blogging for the right websites is a fantastic way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry (obviously a good reflection on your business) and has the added benefit of directing targeted traffic to your own site (note that this is an ADDED benefit, not the main purpose). You may also find that guest blogging for others helps to improve your relationship with them and get you that extra business exposure you need.
You will however want to consider the pros and cons before you start doing it as it is time consuming and could potentially mean your own business suffers if you neglect it. You will also want to be careful that you are not enriching a competitor’s website.
Accepting guest blog posts
If you are going to accept guest blog posts on your own blog, you will also need to think things through it very carefully. Guest blogs could confuse your natural ‘blogging voice’, they could take up additional time as you may need to edit them, and in the worst-case scenario, could get your website penalised if your guest bloggers are duplicating content. That said, the pros of accepting guest bloggers are multiple. Not only will it take the pressure off of you as you won’t have to constantly produce content yourself, but it could also provide a fresh approach to a topic you only view in one light. It may also free up some time which will allow you to focus on other activities. Furthermore, if your guest blogger is fairly well-know or socially-adept, you could attract new readers.
The next step
Have we covered it all or would you like additional help? If guest blogging or content marketing is something you think you’d like to do, give us a call or get in touch on our website and we’ll put together a proposal to suit your unique business needs.