Guest posting is considered by many a valid way to get links and improve a web site’s ranking. This is both true and false and it depends from where and how you get links pointing back to your site.
Links are still important
Are links after Panda and Penguin still important? Definitely, and this is not something suggested by me or other SEO’s but it is officially said by both Google and Bing. Incoming links are votes that help search engines distinguish important sites from not so important. A web site that gets links from other important sites is likely to rank higher in the search results from a site that has no votes (links) from other sites.
On other hand a web site that gets links from a spam or low quality site is more likely to rank lower in the search results (or not rank at all if a penalty is imposed).
Many companies and marketers are trying to convince bloggers and web site owners that guest blogging is a legitimate way to get links without taking any risks. This is not the real case and I will explain why with some examples.
What is considered a valid link from guest posting?
In order for a link from guest blogging to count positively without taking any risks ALL the following factors must be true:
- The post is published on a related web site (in the same niche)
- The post is written by you because you are an expert in the field.
- The post is well written and adds value to the web site that published it.
- The web site the post is published is not only accepting guest posts but has original and unique content as well.
- The post was written exclusive for that web site and it not a re-write of another post you already published on your site.
- Do you expect to have traffic benefits from the guest post?
- The post may or may not include links within the body if these are inserted for the sake of building a link. In other words any links within the article are natural and they are meant to help the user find out more about the certain topic.
What is an invalid link from guest posting?
If instead of following the above path for getting good strong links, you decide to go the easy way by participating in blogging exchange schemes, guest posting programs or other similar programs you will find on the net, most probably you will lose your money, time and get your site banned.
Stay away from guest posting that:
- Is about spinning and publishing articles on several hundreds of low quality sites.
- Article Directories (almost all of them with some exceptions)
- Subscription based programs that maintain a network of web sites that accept guest posts
- Web sites that only publish guest posts and have no original content
If not guest blogging how can I get legitimate links to boost my rankings?
Natural links, social media links and quality guest blogging links are the only ways to improve your ranking (with link building) without taking any risks. If a link is too easy to get, forget about it. Google and Bing will spot it sooner or later and penalize your web site.
My experience with guest posting – Does guest blogging works?
When I started blogging in 2002 getting links for the purpose of manipulating search engines rankings was very easy. You could even hire an “SEO” to do the work for you. After article directories lost their value (think Ezinearticles.com) many webmasters (including me) turned to guest blogging for links.
What was the outcome? Initial boost in rankings, increased traffic and money and a sudden fall (due to link penalties) – after the introduction of Panda and Penguin.
What I did wrong? I violated all the rules (explained above) for getting strong guest blogging links.
Does guest blogging work or not? It works if you do it the right way and without overdoing it. If you can get 3-4 strong links from related web sites go for it but don’t start building links entirely from guest posting. Web sites like problogger.net, pickthebrain.com are a good place to start since they offer both traffic and good quality links.
Should you accept guest posts on your web site or blog?
Almost on a daily basis, I get offers from various ‘experts’ willing to provide me with free quality content for my web sites. The tradeoff for this deal is to add a link back to their web site within the post content or in the author area. I mark such emails as spam and continue my work.
You should only accept guest posts on your web site if the author is an established expert on your niche. The primary purpose of the guest post should be to provide value for your readers and not just for links.
What is the official view of Google about guest blogging for links?
Matt Cutts published a short video in November 2012 explaining how Google handles guest blogging. In a nutshell guest blogging is a valid way to get links provided that it adds real value for both the author and publisher.