To guest blog, or not to guest blog? That seems to be the question. Allow us to shed some light on the subject.
Increasing the authority of a site through link-building has been a pretty hot button topic this year in the SEO sphere. In the race to capture quality links to improve search rank, guest blogging became the go-to strategy - pitching and trading generic articles for links.
The result? Lots of spam hit the fan. Companies focused on the links and not the people on the other side of the screen, and the internet was quickly filled with not-so-valuable or unique articles that people could care less about.
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.” (from Matt Cutts, article here)
In a way, I think that Cutts statement deserves a slow clap. He’s revealing a tenant in the Google philosophy – that the ones who provide the most meaningful interactions will be awarded the greatest visibility from Google. That’s a consistent message streaming from the search giant these days[JK1], and truthfully, that's the kind of Internet that we all want.
So, the question: Is guest blogging really dead?
I think that answer is “no” and here’s why: people still want to find and discover new content through their already trusted channels. That means that guest blogging still serves to be a channel for motivating referral traffic. A post on an influential blog in your space will spike your traffic for a day or two from a loyal audience, and - if the post is different and beautiful - will steadily lead traffic to your site over the course of months.
Example: Our founder Justin Spring secured a guest post on artofmanliness.com where he was able to talk about some of the lessons he’s learned about entrepreneurship. The site published Justin’s article on October 24 2013 and it continues to be one of our top sources of referral traffic. That's not a bad payload for one article.
Guest posting is a quality, not quantity, strategy.
Ultimately, this is what will determine your guest posting effectiveness moving forward. While it might be pretty simple to get a lot of linkbacks through lazy guest posting (creating articles that are copy/paste and not very valuable to the audience), it's increasingly imperative to ask about the quality of those links. Are there engaged users behind the links, who are motivated by our content and curious about our offerings? Or, are those simply dead links - an advertisement that no one really cares about?