Consider, if you will, the following scenario. You and your neighbours have been subjected to insane motorists who go roaring down your quiet residential street late at night at ungodly speeds, blaring their stereos. In response to complaints, the local police department sets up a speed trap and BAM!, they start nabbing these miscreants. One day, you’re driving home, delighting in how the bad guys were taken down, when suddenly you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror. Turns out you were going 37mph in a 30mph zone. Busted!
This example from thesocialrobot.com is a great analogy for the issues currently facing white hat SEO and content managers: because of the abuse of spammy blog sites and poor content, Google has made several changes to the way one must go about building a healthy link profile. These changes, unfortunately, have also affected many people whose smaller infractions may have otherwise gone unnoticed. But, like in the example above, there is no use at getting annoyed at being caught.
The reason guest blogging has recently become such a hot button issue is because it has been used quite effectively for some time in building up otherwise lacking link profiles due to two main factors:
It’s easy; and
Both of these factors, however, have contributed to the downfall of guest blogging as the go-to-solution for websites lacking external links.
Because of the sheer quantity of available blogs and bloggers on the Internet there is always content to come by but this does not imply quality. The blogosphere has been invested with poor quality blogs that feature uninteresting or poorly re-written content aimed solely at providing excuses for linking to a targeted website. This type of content does not help users but rather muddies up the waters and makes it harder for good quality content to get the rankings it deserves. Google aims to put a stop to this by removing rewards and in many cases even punishing those who are not putting searcher satisfaction first.
Guest blogging prior to the recent Penguin updates was generally focused on quantity. Now the focus must be on quality. It can no longer be used as an all-encompassing strategy but rather as a tool to foster industry connections and turn your company into a thought leader and recognized, respected voice in the community.
To prevent wasting your time or incurring penalties, follow these simple rules for guest blogging:
Meaningful links only:
Any and every external link in a blog post or article should be:
Relevant to the topic;
Useful or helpful to the reader; and
Pointing to a reputable site.
Remember: a few inbound links from popular and well-respected websites will carry much more weight than dozens of inbound links from shady or mediocre sites.
Do not over saturate your content with keywords that are irrelevant to your topic or too broad. Use only useful and related keywords that will be of interest to readers.
Only create engaging, interesting, and unique content when for guest blogging. If you are considering accepting guest content for your blog, hold it to the same standards. Bad or copied content will make you look like a content farm. Know your audience and write, or accept writers, that speak to their interests and concerns. Stay on topic and seek always to entertain and inform, not sell.
While it may be more time consuming to build up the proper connections for an effective guest blogging strategy, the time spent will be more worthwhile and likely benefit your company in many ways through building industry connections. Guest blogging is not dead but it can no longer carry the weight of an entire link building campaign and should be used as one of many strategies in a healthy and successful inbound marketing strategy.