Is Guest Blogging good for SEO?

Is Guest Blogging good for SEO?

Guest blogging has been employed by a lot of webmasters in order to get a quick Search Engine Boost. Just last month Google’s webspam team head – Matt Cutts published an interesting post on his personal blog. This has come as a surprise to some people in the Search Engine Marketing community but I think Cutts has just talked common sense in this post. I think it makes sense to keep an eye out for those web masters who are trying to abuse the system by posting poor quality posts with the sole intention of extracting some pagerank from that website.

I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.

I think it makes sense to have a genuine expert contribute to your website but as Cutts mentioned, it was getting to a point where people are encouraging services like ‘guest post outsourcing’ and ‘guest post automation’. Imagine Search Engines’ first page full of poor quality, link juice orientated content, written not by experts but outsourcing agencies. Users would be required to sift through multiple sites in order to find the information they are after. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

Guest blogging still holds a lot of value and is a great way to expand your website’s scope but you need to be very careful  who you are allowing to guest blog on your website. I do not accept guest posts on any clients’ websites until the clients’ website is well established and research has been done to ensure the quality of content and the links that are going to be published.

You can perform a quick content check on the plagiarism of content on copyscape.com. Pagerank is not the best measure of a website’s authenticity but gives you a quick idea of how well any website is doing. You can download SEOQuake extension to check the pagerank of a website. Checkout some of the browser extensions that will help you determine the quality of a webpage in this post.

Having a ‘unique’ article isn’t good enough as Cutts has pointed out that the quality of your website’s content is of utmost importance. If you have any doubts over a guest post that you are about to accept, go through Google’s quality guidelines and see if it meets the quality criteria.
I will conclude this post by stating a few obvious points to help you make a decision.

When is Guest Blogging good for SEO and what precautions should I take when accepting a post?

  1. Guest blogging can be very helpful to your website’s health when the author has proven expertise on the topic.
  2. Make sure content is not a re-write of another article. It’s a hard one as there’s no obvious tool to detect this but if you do some research and read the first 5 results on a topic, you should be able to summarize the story and be able to tell if it’s a genuine article or a re-write of an existing article. I think this is important as Search engines, Google in particular, are making their algorithms stronger so that they can detect duplicate, re-written, and spun content.
  3. Make sure that all outgoing links in the post are relevant. Anything that’s not relevant to your site’s niche should have a rel='nofollow' attribute.
  4. Do not get involved in any pay per post programs.
  5. Don’t accept posts where author has linked to his site using keywords in a way that doesn’t seem very ‘natural’.

Remember that SEO is a long term strategy. There’s no such thing as short cut in Search Engine Optimization. I hope you enjoyed this post, share your opinions in the comment section below.

RELATED UPDATE 1 (18 Mar 2014) : Matt Cutts officially confirmed that they have penalized a ‘large guest blogging network’, believed to be Myblogguest

RELATED UPDATE 2 (19 Mar 2014) : Ann Smarty (founder of myblogguest) confirms the ‘large guest blogging network’ was myblogguest.

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