Link Building Strategies: What are the Dos and Don’ts of Guest Blogging in 2014

Guest-Blogging-Link-BuildingThere have recently been a lot of speculations about guest blogging. Many online bloggers are wondering whether it’s worth it to include guest posts at all. According to some strategists, guest blogging is highly toxic for brands of all types. On the other hand, many bloggers and online marketing

strategists believe that guest blog posting is a powerful way to expand the content you provide, allowing your audience to grow substantially. The trick, of course, is to do it right.

How Guest Blogging Works

Blogging is simple: when you post great content to your site’s blog, your readers can keep up with it. Faithful readers will especially enjoy your content. Additionally, if you tailor your content to be optimized for search engines, you may even gain new readership!

Guest posting is a little different. Here’s how it works: as a blogger, you can get in touch with a writer who shares your interest or niche. The writer will write a post (or offer one that he or she has already written) for your blog. Many bloggers believe that the advantage to this system is that by sharing the guest post, the writer will gain more hits. The blog will also benefit by the increased awareness and inbound traffic from the guest writer’s post.

However, guest posting has garnered something of a negative reputation. Matt Cutts, the webmaster of Google, has insinuated that using guest posts as a strategy for link building is on its way out. Even major name sites, such as Forbes and the Huffington Post, have hosted terrible guest blogs full of spammy promotions and less-than-mediocre content.

Major Don’ts of Guest Blog Posting

When it comes to guest blogging, there are a number of don’ts you should follow to make sure you end up with a reputable post and, for writers, land your content on a reputable website. For example:

  • Don’t use guest posts as your only link building strategy. This should be good practice in general; after all, as with any content marketing strategy, it is highly important to vary your approach.
  • Don’t use the same guest post that has been published on another website. The idea behind a guest post is that a writer is creating unique content tailored to one site. This is also good practice for content marketing in general: duplicate content is a serious no-no for any strategy. If you’re a writer, don’t submit the same content to multiple sites.
  • In a similar vein, don’t spin the same article over and over. While this isn’t exactly duplicate content, it’s not much better. To make sure you’re pushing all the right buttons, you should ensure that all the content you post is fresh, unique, and original.
  • Don’t use spammy black hat SEO and content strategies. Stuffing your guest post with keywords or links is a terrible practice and will make your content appear disreputable.
  • As a blog editor or publisher, definitely don’t accept random offers for posts. These often prove to be full of the aforementioned spammy content. The one exception to this practice is if you receive an offer from an industry thought leader or well-known writer.
  • Don’t offer “free links” as an incentive or allow links to be included in the comments. This is seen as spam.

Guest Blogging Best Practices

With all of the don’ts for guest blogging, it’s a wonder that people still do it! However, guest blogging can actually be a very effective strategy; it’s just important to make sure that you do it the right way. Here are some definite dos for guest blogging:

  • Do work with the search engines you have available. For example, writers should make sure to create a Google Profile so that they can set up Google Authorship. On the flipside, bloggers hosting guest posts should be sure to offer Google+ Authorship so that the post can be linked back to the writer’s portfolio.
  • Do post high quality, informative content! Again, this should be true for any content that you post on your site. However, when it comes to posting a guest blog, you don’t have quite as much leverage over what goes in it. Since this is the case, checking up on the writer’s past work is critical to make sure that your guest post goes off without a hitch.

While it may seem that there are more “don’ts” than there are “dos,” it’s important to note that guest blogging best practices are as simple as they are with any content marketing strategy. What it all comes down to is great content; the rest will fall into place!

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