The importance of guest blogging has long piqued SEO confusion. Google has cracked down on guest blogging in the past, mainly disavowing link authority passed through a guest post source. But there still remain numerous SEO benefits to hosting guest blogs on your website and it’s an effective strategy for public relations outreach.
Some of the largest internet domains and news sources are modeled entirely on freelance publications, such as The Huffington Post and Moz.com. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of guest blogging and we’ll explain steps you can take to make sure you pick the right guest posts to publish on your website.
Increased Visitor Traffic – Hosting a guest blog from a prominent blogger grants you access to that blogger’s existing audience. Most likely, a blogger will be promoting their guest submission in some form on their own website. Even better, you’ll acquire more relevant traffic to your website as this person will most likely specialize in topics related to your niche.
SEO Benefits – There exists a direct correlation between the quantity of blog posts you create and the amount of leads, conversions, and visitor traffic you acquire. Quality content naturally ranks and you can offer keyword input to your guest blogger to help rank your own website for specific keywords. Plus, all backlinks acquired from guest posts on your website transfer authority back to your website and this provides exposure for your domain.
Builds Relationships – A mutually beneficial relationship exists between webmasters and guest bloggers that could extend into different marketing channels and promotion strategies (e.g. social media promotion, future link acquisitions, content promotion). Contrary to popular belief, publishing a quality guest post increases your brand’s authority.
Brings Expertise – Struggling with ideas for original content to publish on your blog? Bring in a fresh perspective. Publishing someone specialized in your niche can bring expertise and original ideas that are applicable to your own practice moving forward.
Could Detract Authority – Not properly vetting and editing a guest blogger can result in low-quality content. Google has cracked down on guest blogging and your organic rank will deteriorate as a result of publishing thin and irrelevant content on your website. This is not to mention the damage to your reputation may occur among your followers. All content you publish on your site is viewed as an endorsement by your brand for that material.
Hard to Integrate – While providing a fresh perspective to your content may benefit your blog, you may sometimes find it hard to fit foreign content into your existing blog. Your content marketing strategy is designed to nurture leads and guide visitors through your sales funnel. Incorporating external content into your conversion funnel will be difficult without providing strict guidelines for guest bloggers to follow.
Content Syndication – Most webmasters typically require exclusive publishing rights to all guest blog posts. The logic is simple- you don’t want another website outranking you for the same exact material. But sometimes exclusive content doesn’t always remain exclusive and all control is left up to the bloggers not to republish their own work. Hosting duplicate content may result in a penalty for your website and it’s difficult for search engines to determine the original source for indexation.
Be careful of any guest blogger you contract to write for your website. Only hire professionals for onsite pages and topics that are important to your information architecture. There exists numerous SEO and content marketing firms that possess experienced writers that can write qualitative articles across any vertical.
Consider hiring someone you trust or contracting a blogger who ranks highly for keywords in your niche. Research competitive websites that rank highly for these keywords and contact guest bloggers they’ve published in the past.
Here are some tips to decide if a guest blogger is right for your website.
Do your research
Request a portfolio and research any off-site posts a guest blogger wrote in the past. Consider a few factors to determine their writing skill, such as their average word count per article, grammar usage, persuasiveness, and knowledge of your niche.
If a blogger reached out to your website, analyze their outreach letter. Do they communicate knowledge of your company and your field of work? Is the letter personalized or does it look like it could be shopped around to a hundred different websites?
Monitor outbound links
Google is putting their foot down on black-hat link building practices. Analyze the amount of outbound links a guest blogger hides in their content and how many of these point back to their domain. Consider whether they are sacrificing content quality to specifically acquire backlinks and SEO benefits for their website.
To ensure content quality, consider placing a minimum word count for guest posts. Place all submissions through a rigorous editorial process to make sure that a guest post fits your brand’s standards for quality.
Avoid content syndication and duplicate content penalties by requesting exclusivity among guest submissions. Report any content that violates this penalty and consider deleting your own guest post if a guest blogger republishes a submission.
To avoid any penalties that a guest post could cause to your website or reputation create disclaimers. You’ve probably seen this disclaimer: “Any opinions or views expressed in this articles are solely those of the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions or views of this website.” If you’re concerned about any outbound links in an article submission, attach a “rel=canonical” tag to your URL to prevent any link juice from passing through.
Hiring a quality guest blogger on your website is tough and sometimes it’s better to simply avoid the hassle. Yet, contracting experienced freelance writers to write posts for your website can provide benefits to your SEO presence and create relationships within your niche community. Aside from that, hiring an experienced writer can save you some stress and improve your brand’s presence across the web.
The decision ultimately lies in the skills of the guest blogger. We believe the benefits of guest blogging outweigh the cons, but we place our content through editorial standards. While backlinks from guest blogs may be disavowed, the increase in traffic and leads derived from a guest blogger remains beneficial to any digital marketing campaign.