Matt Cutts recently announced that guest posting was dead because it’s become too spammy. So is guest posting really dead?
The answer to this is no. Publishing content on high quality and relevant third party websites is fundamental because it helps drive relevant traffic to your website, helps build your brand and your reputation. Guest posting is only dead if it is done to influence the SERPs. There are certain tactics that Google is clearly tracking to determine if the guest post is spammy, these are:
- Using keyword rich anchor text to link back to your website. Keyword rich anchor text is a sure sign in Google’s eyes of manipulation. Read can more about the ‘slow death of anchor text‘
- Having guests posts from a large number of links.
- Having lots of links on low quality websites.
- Creating articles of low quality, solely for the purpose of integrating keyword rich anchor text in the content.
All of these tactics have been widely overused by individuals and organisations seeking to manipulate the SERPs, often used by SEO companies promising position 1 rankings on Google. Whilst there is no doubt that this tactic has worked in the past, Matt Cutts is suggesting that if this is your strategy you should probably now stop.
So how should you utilise guest posting?
- Guest posting should be used to drive high quality and relevant traffic to your website. If the domain is unlikely to bring you visitors, leads and customers, then there is no point in contributing to the website.
- Any links back to your own website should primarily only feature in the author attribution. Links to your website in the body of a guest post or article should only be practiced if it absolutely essential.
- Never use keyword rich anchor text phrases, unless you want to be penalised by Google. Instead use terms such as ‘read more’, ‘click here’ or your brand name/website as these are natural anchor text phrases that individuals use who are not trying to influence the SERPs, but simply get a reader from A to B.
- Quality content is essential. Because the purpose is to drive visitors, leads and customers to your door, you must not compromise on quality. Writing quality and informative content will enhance your brand and reputation.
- Aim to build a column, rather than individual guest posts. Writing columns on highly relevant and authoritative websites will improve your visibility and build your reputation. This will also enhance your SEO, but the primary focus should be to attract new visitors, leads and customers.
- If you plan to use an SEO agency to help build your reputation and brand, make sure they practice up-to-date SEO strategies. Ask them about their strategies and if they mention exact match anchor text in articles etc, then you know you should stay firmly away from this practice.
- Be careful using agencies that carry out guest posting on your behalf, after all, you are the subject expert. You must be actively involved and sign-off any content as if was being placed on your own website.
Here is an example used by Halifax Bank in the UK. The Halifax Bank recently experienced a sharp fall in Google rankings and evidence suggests that the cause is over optimised keyword anchor text within blogs, widgets and infographics. This represents outdated strategies, that once worked, but now are likely to lead to a loss of rankings and damage to their reputation.
Guest posting is not dead, and is still very much a source of obtaining new visitors, leads and customers to your website. Quality content is key and you should only product content that should represent your brand and be worthy of a place on your own website.
You should only choose high value websites where your potential customers hang out. If you hire an agency to handle your guest posting you must involve yourself with the process and sign off any work they carry out on your behalf. This is because its your reputation at stake, not theirs.