It’s time to stop being an SEO denialist

Guest posting is dead.

This is commonly quoted as a cornerstone of ethical or “white hat” link building, but actually, this statement isn’t quite correct. The only people who kill guest posting are those who do it badly. Read on to find out how to guest post ethically and with great success.

Guest posting has been denounced by Google’s Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts. Historically, guest posting was done as a means of “link bait”. The mechanism worked by a webmaster posting a poor quality, unoriginal article onto another website, with a link back to their own site.

Google ramped up its fight against poor quality links and content with significant overhauls of its complex, computer-based rules (or algorithms) that decide how sites are positioned in their search engine results pages (SERPs).

Overnight, Panda became famous for penalising sites with poor quality content sitting both on their own pages and written for other websites. Whilst Penguin penalised those sites with questionable links pointing back into them (exactly the sort of links that would be achieved via poor quality content placement, incidentally).

Predictably and quite rightly, poor quality guest posting was circled as a no-go area and certain members of the SEO community cried “guest posting is dead.” More fool them.

To write a successful guest post, and most likely achieve a solid backlink to your website, remember that quality and relevance are key. Researching those sites that are relevant to your own is easy, thanks to Google and software that can analyse the backlink profile of your competitors. Their best quality backlinks are most probably the targets that you wish to approach.

When it comes to approaching the website whose page you want to position your content on (and whose backlink you want to secure), consider the exchange as a human conversation, rather than shoe-horning a previously produced blog into their inbox. Talk to them before putting pen to paper. The chances of coverage are almost guaranteed in this manner.

Write as an expert in your field with fresh commentary and opinion. If your blog tells your audience what they already know, it will almost certainly join the morgue of those dead blog posts. If, however, you offer a considered point of view or ground-breaking advice, your content is worthy of that space on someone else’s website—and that backlink.

When it comes to pushing your services or products – don’t! Let your voice of expertise speak for itself and reserve self-promotion for a succinct and discreet reference to where you’re from and what you do. At this point, it’s feasible to include a link back to your website, in a signature-style statement at the bottom of the guest blog.

In just a few hundred words you will have provided yourself with some brand credibility, secured a vote of authority from a respected website and occupied part of their real estate, meaning that your brand is seen by the eyes of their readership.

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