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Guest Blogging for Link Building: The Dos & Don’ts

Recently, the head of spam at Google, Matt Cutts, called an end to the use of guest blogging for link-building and SEO. For years, guest blogging was thought of as a great way to increase your search engine rank while also increasing visits to your site. Businesses would reach out to blogs in their industry, offer a few posts in exchange for a link back to their site, and both parties would come away satisfied. Not only does Google frown upon this practice, but having posts with links to your site all over the web is seen as overly spammy by readers.

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

The Guest Blogging Hype
The general principle of guest blogging is pretty simple and can be beneficial for both parties: Your site would get links on high-ranking blogs, and those blogs would get professional content. It seems harmless enough, but like many other things, the practice was abused. The problem arose when illegitimate guest blog sites were created specifically to post links back to other sites. Businesses would put out large quantities of blog posts to thousands of sites across the web, and the quality and authenticity of their content suffered. These spammy, low-quality websites were essentially allowing businesses to pay for search engine rankings.

So Is Guest Blogging Dead?
If you are writing guest posts only to get links, you might want to reconsider your strategy. Guest blogging can be beneficial if done right and for the right reasons. In general, Google suggests using the “nofollow” tag if you’re going to guest blog and link back to your site. Nofollow tells search engines not to give “credit” or a higher rank to that site. As a guest blogger, you can ask the hosting blog if they automatically nofollow, or if you should add it to your link. Here’s a run down on what to do and what not to do when guest blogging :

Do:

  • Use the nofollow attribute on your link
  • Produce high-quality, meaningful content
  • Know your audience and what they want
  • Find that audience and post for their interests
  • Seek highly credible blogs that are a natural link to your brand
  • Establish your brand as the authority on the topic

Don’t:

  • Post low-quality content that has been recycled
  • Post on spammy, low-quality sites that only exist for links
  • Overuse and force use of links, keywords in your post
  • Google random blogs to contact
  • Rely on guest blogging as a link-building strategy

The future of guest blogging is uncertain as Google takes action on several guest blogging sites. As long as you are posting on very high-quality, specialized sites and using the nofollow attribute, guest blogging can be a great way to provide an expert opinion that may introduce your brand to whole new audience!