Guest blogging involves creation of content for contributor posts, guest posts, partner posts, or syndicated posts.

It’s a technique used by black hat SEO agencies to build followed links. They often post one article on numerous, unrelated sites, to secure followed links for their clients.

However, it’s also a tactic employed by PR folk designed to secure their clients coverage in well-respected target media.

Naughty, largely redundant, black hat SEO agencies have given guest blogging a bad name, with Google recently seeing fit to republish guidance on the practice.

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However, it does not mean all guest blogging is bad. From the same Google post: “Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company.”

Public relations folks and modern B2B SEO agency outreach teams have naturally been building great followed links with targeted thought leadership for years.

Here are a few examples of links we’ve achieved for clients as a result of PR campaigns designed to “bring awareness”:

1)    http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/finance/avoid-running-out-cash/ (DA 47)

2)    http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Web-Exclusives/Viewpoints/Propensity-Modeling-How-to-Predict-Your-Customers-Next-Move–114721.aspx (DA 67)

3)    http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Recruiting-for-cyber-security-what-businesses-need-to-know (DA 84)
In each instance the author is sharing interesting opinion in order to inform and educate the site’s target audience.

This is classic PR. All about building credibility. Each online article has a followed link back to the author’s company website. A followed link on a site with a very high domain authority. A followed link on a site semantically relevant to the author’s company.

Remember, Google says: “Does this person’s message fit with my site’s audience?” If it doesn’t then Google uses this information to formulate an opionion on the likelihood of the guest blog being spam before deciding on the appropriate level of Penguin penalty.

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However, the opposite could also be argued to be true. If the author is making a valuable contribution to a specific community then Google rewards the associated site.

Here’s a quick guest blogging checklist – if you answer yes to the following questions then your ‘guest blog’ is so much more than that and won’t result in Google penalising you or the destination site:

  • Is the blog well written?
  • Is it free of spelling and grammar mistakes?
  • Does it contain interesting information that the intended audience will find useful?
  • Is it authored to an authoritative spokesperson? Someone with knowledge on the subject?
  • Is it an appropriate length?
  • Is the content unique?
  • If the content isn’t unique then have you used rel=”canonical” to reference the original article?
  • Is it free from spammy keyword-rich links?
  • If there are dubious links then have you used rel=”nofollow” on them?
  • Is it of a similar quality to other articles on the destination site?
  • Has the destination site actually requested the article? (i.e. Has the subject been pitched to the site prior to draft?)

Whether you’re producing blogs, byliners, features, opinion pieces… whatever you want to call them, if they contain valuable content, if they’re exclusive to one site (to be honest any self-respecting website will want exclusive material anyway) and if they’re well written and engaging, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them or followed links they might naturally generate. In fact, these are some of the most valuable links your brand will likely ever build and they make a huge difference to keyword rankings, organic traffic and inbound leads.

If you’d like to find out more about SEO PR then get in touch with Luke for a no obligation chinwag. 

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