Imagine you’re thinking about watching a movie and trying to decide which one to go to. What would influence your decision more: a friend or an advertisement? Unless your friend gave you particularly bad movie advice in the past, you’d almost certainly trust them more.
The most adamant followers of a blog see the blogger almost like a friend. Even if they don’t, they still trust their endorsement of another blogger more than they trust that blogger’s opinion of themselves. This is one of many reasons guest blogging can be incredibly powerful.
Think Like a Search Engine
If you were a search engine, how would you decide which results to put at the top? Would you favor the site that got mentioned by the New York Times more than the site that only seems to get mentioned in low quality article directories? You bet.
Guest blogging certainly doesn’t have to be about getting one of your articles published in the New York Times. What it does mean, however, is that you should be doing everything in your power to get guest posts up on high quality sites as they will get you a good quality back link and potential targeted traffic sources.
It’s difficult to find an SEO that doesn’t endorse the benefits of guest posting, and this should be cause for concern. Why? Experience has taught us that any SEO technique that becomes popular will eventually be exploited, and any technique that becomes exploited eventually becomes useless.
What Guest Posting Isn’t About
- Article directory marketing – There’s a fine line between article directories and a link network. As a general rule of thumb, if you can write an article in five minutes and get it published on an article directory, you’ve just wasted five minutes of your life. Article directories need to have good quality control in place and shouldn’t accept articles that take no time or talent to produce.
- Article spinning – There’s not much to say here. Just don’t do it. This is something that has worked (and may still be working) as an SEO linking strategy, but over the long term your efforts will just be wasted. When doing a guest post, you want to always use quality content.
- A way to manipulate search results – There’s a difference between improving and manipulating search results. The difference between a good guest post and a bad one is easier to gauge than you might think. All you need to ask yourself is whether it would be worth your time to do this if there were no such thing as Google.
What Guest Blogging Should Be
What approach should we be taking as internet marketers if our goal isn’t just to spam the search results with low quality articles? Here are a few ideas.
- Referral Traffic – Links that don’t send referral traffic are unlikely to be very influential on search results in the first place, except in rare cases such as links from educational institutions with tremendous authority but small readerships. Focus on bloggers with a real audience and provide engaging content for them.
- Relationship Building – Guest posting is a great way to build relationships with influential people who possess insider knowledge and can be leveraged endlessly in many different ways.
- Good Marketing – All in all, guest blogging should be part of a cohesive marketing strategy. If a user comes across a “guest post” and wonders why on Earth you would have ever created such a monstrosity, there’s a name for that. Bad marketing.
This is what works for us. What works for you? Let us know in the comments.