Google’s Matt Cutts recently blasted guest blog posting, leaving the search engine optimization world worried. Now that the dust has settled, there aren’t many changes for responsible social media users and content marketers. If you follow the simple guidelines in this post, guest blogging can even be an effective part of your social media marketing strategy. After Matt’s post was published, I emailed my trusted SEO advisor Dustin Thompson to discuss his thoughts on the big shakeup. Thankfully, he explained that “Guest blogging is still a legitimate strategy to use as long as you are doing it right and not just looking for links.” He also mentioned “For clients, I am still looking for opportunities with a focus on quality sites with most of their content coming from staff writers, editors and regular contributors. Next, the post needs to able to expose the brand to the target audience because the main goal is now exposure and traffic, not just link building.” Hallelujah, guest blogging is not dead! Read the tips below to stay within Google’s guidelines when writing and posting guest blogs for your digital marketing strategy.
Here are 4 basic guest blog post tips for 2014:
1. Quality Matters
Look for websites with quality and unique content when you participate as a guest blogger. Be sure that the majority of the site’s content comes from regular staff writers. Check out how Google ranks the website before agreeing to participate.
2. Focus on Brand Building
Although guest blogging can help your search engine optimization, your main focus should be brand exposure. Many reputable industry blogs may not link to your website. What you should get from guest blogging is exposure to an audience, not just links for SEO purposes.
3. Nothing is Free
Have you received emails from people offering free or paid content for your blog? Some may even be willing to pay you just to post their relevant content. You might think “Great! Now I don’t have to write a post and it will help my SEO.” Think again. These are usually spam messages from link building companies whom Google is working to identify. Don’t risk hurting your reputation or being penalized by Google because you thought you were getting a good deal.
4. It’s not about Linking Anymore
Once upon a time, Google gave credence to links that directed to websites. The idea was that if other sites linked to a website, it meant that it was popular and had good content. Higher quality links that came into your website were even better for rankings. Some search professionals began to “game” the system, but they focused so much on link building that links became less and less valuable to search. Now, many websites have had to reverse their linking strategy and try to get links removed to undo the damage because Google is now penalizing them for all those crappy links. The new changes to Google’s algorithm mean that linking is no longer a huge player. If you can get quality links from big sources it can still help you, but Google is paying attention to other things. Fresh and original quality content, social media signals and other indicators now play key roles in determining the value of a website. At SocialNicole, we advise clients to create a well-rounded social media strategy that has a search component. First, a solid social media plan is critical, as this is quickly becoming the focus of search engines. Second, it is important to create fresh content with basic search engine optimization principles, including site speed, design, effective navigation, and keyword mapping. Finally, you must focus on connecting with and engaging your target audience. Building and growing valuable relationships online will help you succeed in search. Eventually the world wide web will be the social world web and all things internet will be social. Is your business ready for this coming revolution when social and internet are one and the same? If not, what are you waiting for?