by Laura McLoughlin
Guest posting is a common strategy for businesses hoping to boost their website’s authority. The backlinks you gain from other websites lend authority to your own and help it to rise to the top of Google’s search results page, which, of course, leads to more traffic and more leads.
Seems like a pretty simple process, right? Get a few links, and you’ll get to the top of Google.
Unfortunately, SEO is a fickle discipline and one which is constantly evolving. Worse still is that lots of businesses try to beat the system with sneaky shortcuts and low-quality or duplicated content, leaving themselves open for a hit from digital karma: a Google penalty.
If you want to do your guest posting right, it can take time and effort but is ultimately worthwhile. Check out the top do’s and don’ts to consider when putting together your strategy:
DO provide quality content
Web editors are looking for interesting stories to tell and new information to share. Offer them that and you’ll find your strategy is much more successful than if you try to spin them the same top 10 tips articles.
You can typically judge how good your content is by how unique it is. For example, new research or survey results can be very attractive to both web editors and their readers. If you don’t have the resources to pull together, however, don’t worry. Unique perspectives of contemporary or evergreen topics can be desirable, too.
Google will reward your quality content, too.
DO NOT send duplicates
Duplicating is likely to pass little value when it comes to your SEO, so if you’re planning on sending identical guest posts to ten different publishers, think again. Not only that but if your business is caught flooding the web with identical articles, you’re unlikely to land future placements with the same ticked-off editors.
Make your content as unique as possible, which should come naturally if you are considering the individual audiences and tones of different websites. Even similarly themed websites can have completely different vibes once you read them. Just have a look at this music website compared to this one.
Another thing you should approach with as much authenticity as possible is your anchor text. There are plenty of articles around the web that will inform you of the best ways to manipulate this for your SEO gain, but more recently, Google has been trying to clamp down on this kind of activity. If you really want to get this right, just be natural.
DO make sure the website is relevant to your business
Macaroni and cheese, tea and biscuits, pancakes and syrup: some things just go together.
Your pet collar business and a recycling treatment plant’s blog? Not so much.
You might be under the impression that a link is a link and that’s enough to boost your authority, but the truth is that if you are gaining links from websites that have nothing to do with your business, you risk appearing spammy to Google. And if you look spammy to Google, don’t count on your authority improving any time soon.
Don’t force your content into places it simply does not fit, and instead seek out quality, relevant blogs which will benefit from it. These relationships are a much more natural fit, and as Google continues to crack down on its user experience and weeding out the irrelevant, your hard work will have paid off.
DO NOT keyword dump
If you are going to put keywords in your article, do not put so many keywords in it that people start to notice the keywords, because if you have too many keywords, it can be distracting. Keywords.
This kind of writing is entirely off-putting for an actual human reader, so when it comes to guest posting, the most important thing is to be natural. After all, if you’re trying to rank for a keyword like breakfast recipes or car insurance, you’re likely to use those words or some variation of them in the body of your blog anyway. You don’t have to stuff them in.
Ultimately, guest posting shouldn’t be about attempting to trick Google. It should be about good content and natural relationships, which better connect your business to potential customers, already searching for your products and services.
Google itself states in its quality guidelines “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines”. If you align your strategy with that instruction, you should start to see a steady lift in your page rankings without damaging your reputation or risking penalties – and people might actually like your content, too.
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR with past experience as a website editor and writer. Away from the keyboard, you can find her binging nature documentaries and dreaming up travel plans. Laura works with Glaze Digital in Northern Ireland.