Guest posts are like a game of piggyback. You put your material on someone else’s website, which then links back to your website, and you both win. Really there’s no difference between a guest blog post and a regular blog post, content wise. If your post goes live on your own blog, it’s not a guest post. Whenever you create content that goes on a different website, linking back to your own, you have created a guest post.
Guest posts, however, require a bit of SEO etiquette that one must understand. While it’s not an illegal method of generating backlinks, creating guest posts require decorum. Too often the guest post technique has been abused to create spammy articles that only serve to backlink, and not to offer any relevant value to the reader. Fear not, you can still use guest posts to generate backlinks, you just have to make sure your content is quality, and keep the following tips in mind.
Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and guest posts are no different. Search engines want to see a diverse amount of sources linking to your website or blog before they award you higher page ranking. If your only link source is content you created that is posted on a different website, Google will know something is up and you won’t get the page ranking you desire. What this means is you need to be tactful with your guest posts. Make sure you don’t write too many guest posts in too short a time span, and always make sure your posts aren’t just a bunch of incoherent words with links to your website. Your guest posts reflect the merit of your blog or website, which leads me to my next point.
I mentioned earlier that guest posts were being called out for being too, “spammy.” What makes something spammy? Whenever a guest blog post looks like it was hastily thrown together, with a fancy blue link at the bottom linking to the parent website, where it seems like the only reason the post exists is to drum up traffic, that’s when I know it’s spam. So when you get ready to put together a guest post, ask yourself, would this content be good enough for my own website? If you don’t think so, then it shouldn’t be on someone else’s either. Focus on quality, not quantity. Good guest posts are subtle, because they seem like content that would normally reside on that website. Study your guest post destinations to craft worthwhile content that won’t turn off users.
Just because you’re writing on someone else’s canvas doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself at home! Feel free to use images in your guest posts, and other media because that will help set them apart and your post will become a diamond in the rough, standing out amongst the guest post spam. Use formatting to add to your post’s uniqueness, like bullet points, and paragraph breaks to space out your content.
When it comes to links, again you may want to follow the less is more approach. You don’t want to appear spammy, so too many links back to your content is a no-no. Usually you are allowed one direct link back to your website from the guest site, but some allow more. Only use a link if you need to reference relevant content to whatever your blog talks about, if you use links in this way you offer more value.
Just like you should vary your format, images, and links, you should also give some variation to your links words, or anchor texts. More than likely you have a particular keyword you want your website to rank high for in Google, so naturally you use this keyword phrasing for your guest post anchor texts that link back to your blog. This is fine in an instance, but constantly linking with the same words as your anchor text can become suspicious to Google, much like having guest posts account for all your inbound link traffic. Make sure when you write out your links you diversify the words you use to encapsulate them.
Guest posting does not have to be something you worry about at night, wondering whether you’re going to get a penalty from Google. Take your time and use decorum and restraint when you guest post. If you have any questions or comments about guest post practices, please feel free to fire away!