As building high quality links to your website is more important than ever since the penguin update targeted webspam and low quality links, guest blogging has exploded on to the scene as the current method of building links to your website. As with any link building technique, once it works and webmasters begin to see the results it is then usually abused.
Guest blogging is really the art of reaching out to other webmasters and blog owners and building relationships. Once you have built a relationship, the opportunity is there to then propose and submit an article that adds quality to their website. In return there is the opportunity to have a link in the author bio that links back to your website. More importantly your website is then linked to a quality piece of material that has been published on a high quality website.
A recent video by Matt Cutts himself who is the head of webspam for Google basically confirms that it can be good to have a reputable, high-quality writer do guest posts on your site, and that it can be a good way for some lesser-known writers to generate exposure. Danny Sullivan for example from search engine land was mentioned and Magnetize PR is a daily reader. Of course the other extreme which he goes onto mention is people using it to an extreme where low quality articles and generally the bare minimum word count of 300 – 400 words are being used to build mass amounts of links are less likely to looked upon favourably.
Google targets low quality content
Google has made several major changes over the last 18 months with the Panda update and the penguin update being major algorithm updates aimed at targeting low quality content and focussing on penalising sites that have duplicated, inaccurate and irrelevant content. The penguin update focussed on link quality and over optimisation and affected a large number of search results with many websites being hit. Once effective black hat techniques had suddenly become devalued overnight and those participating in such schemes suddenly saw their rankings disappear.
Guest posting should feature around providing quality content that is well written, has informed ideas and ultimately provides engaging and interesting content for readers. Blog owners who care about their blogs will not be interested in publishing content that will add no value to their blog. Guest posts should display the right quality signals. When considering publishing a guest post, it is important to consider factors such as
Low word count or basically just the bare minimum of 300 to 400 words
Title of article
Is the article title only stuffed with keywords? Does it make sense? Does the content have any relevance to the article title?
Should be fundamental but poor grammar, spelling and inappropriate use of words can be clear signals of spinning
Unfortunately spinning of articles is a way to publish several copies of the same article which was the main feature of many networks. It only adds to poor quality content being published around the web.
Anchor text has certainly come under scrutiny since the penguin update and mainly due to its overuse. It is still important to feature anchor text but variation is the key.
Really simple but think of it this way. The neighbourhoods that you visit will say a lot about you. Quality websites generally attract quality content and the reverse is the same. Poor quality websites will have poor quality content. Think about what benefit you will get from having your content published on a blog. Is it quality or quantity?
Quality and Engagement
General quality of the article should be of prime importance. Is the article well written and has the topic been researched. Have they actually taken the time to present facts, views and even references to other resources? Ask yourself would you read it and would your readers find any benefit.
Another important quality signal to remember are the sites you are linking to and who are linking to you which will add to your own quality signals.
Has the guest post got authorship? This proves authorship of the content and if a writer is proud of the content they publish and really want to be associated with it, then they will certainly have authorship. It also sends out the right signals to Google.
Google has continually focussed on providing search results that have high quality results and several key factors over the last 12 months have only pointed to the fact that those looking to sustain long term success should always focus on providing high quality content both on their own website and on that of others. The freshness update which was launched in November 2011had the primary aim making search results “fresher.” There was a sudden emphasis on businesses to have regular fresh content on their sites. Having a blog on your website was a great way to provide fresh content. The penguin update was unleashed in April and guest blogging has since grown in stature over recent months.
Google has continued its push towards websites providing signals of fresh and quality content by introducing the Google authorship tag. Again this shows that Google is beginning to reward high quality writers. Matt Cutts has already signalled that using the tag can help Google recognise trusted and quality content from writers. The use of authorship is great way to be associated with quality content and can also help to make you an authority on certain subject matter. Having guest posts published on high quality blogs with your authorship attached to your post could certainly be the way forward for guest blogging and the better quality blogs will no doubt only except content from guest writers who have a proven authorship.
Guest posting if done correctly can be very valuable not in just gaining high quality backlinks but in building long term relationships. There are many other benefits such as helping to drive extra traffic to your site and even generating sales. You can be sure that as guest posting continues to be used more intensely across the web; those quality signals will become even more important to Google.