Guest blogging was for a long time seen as a good technique to use to boost your search engine optimisation efforts. The premise is simple, you write a guest article for another website and in return you gain an inbound link from that website to your own website. On the surface it looks like a win/win situation, you have gained an extra inbound link and potentially new users to your site from the site you have posted on while the site on which your post appears has gained extra content.
Unfortunately, as with most search engine optimisation techniques, over time people have tried to use guest blogging as a way of manipulating search engine rankings. I receive at least one email a week from somebody offering to write an article for my site in return for between one and three links to other sites from within the article. Most of these offers are for articles that are completely unrelated to any of the services that I offer or any of the topics that I write about.
Now Google has started to clampdown on what it sees as low quality guest blog posts. They have recently updated their Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines to include a new line under the “Little or no original content” section that reads:
“Content from other sources. For example: Scraped content or low-quality guest blog posts”
What Does “Low Quality Guest Blog Posts” Mean?
In a nutshell it means an article that has little intrinsic value to the reader. If the reader will not have gained anything after reading the post then it is low quality. One of the techniques that spammers use is known as “spinning”. This is where they take an original article and run it through software that changes some of the wording of the article so that another article can be created from the same article with little or no effort. One of the problems with this is that it while all the words in a spun article are in English the article itself may make little or no sense. Think of what online translation services used to be like in the early days of the web. An example I saw on a blog recently referred to a “MacBook Atmosphere” rather than a “MacBook Air”.
Another issue may be that the post contains duplicate content that is already available elsewhere on the web.
Should I Still Guest Blog?
The answer to this is yes, but only if you are capable of providing high quality content for the sites that you are writing for. If you can not then you are wasting your time and you would be better focussing your efforts into other avenues.
Tips for Offering Yourself as a Guest Blogger
Don’t just use a generic email that you send to hundreds or thousands of website owners. Look to build a relationship with a site owner before offering to submit a blog for the website owner to publish.
Choose websites whose content already matches closely the subjects that you are interested in writing about.
Show samples of other articles that you have written to demonstrate the quality of your writing.
Give the site owner possible titles for your articles and be prepared to write content that the site owner is looking for rather than those that you would like to write.
There are still benefits from being a guest blogger in spite of the changes to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Always look on guest blogging as more of a way to gain greater exposure for your own writing and to prove that you are an authority in your specialist area rather than as a method for search engine optimisation.