Recently, an employee of Google named Matt Cutts (who many believe to be the utmost authority on how Google views our SEO efforts) told us that guest blogging would no longer help us move up search results.
Marketers were in an uproar. After all, many of us have built our strategy up around contributing blog content on well-established blogs to reach a wider audience. And now Google’s telling us we shouldn’t bother?
But what really happened is many misinterpreted Cutts’ words and panicked unnecessarily. Permit the liberty of attempting to explain what he meant.
It’s All About Your Objective
What I believe Cutts was saying is that if you’re writing guest posts for other blogs in an effort to move your own site up search results by linking there, you’re wasting your time.
However, if you’re using it for branding and exposure, keep on doing it. And this is why you should be guest blogging. It remains an outstanding way to reach the audience of other blogs. You educate them with your content and they can click the link in your author bio if they choose.
If you build a fully-developed guest blogging strategy, people will start noticing that you’re everywhere. That’s when I tend to pay attention to something; when I see it over and over again. If you’re guest blogging on dozens of small business blogs, it’s likely some of the same people will read your content on many of those sites. You’ve effectively built rapport with them, as well as a degree of trust.
Focus on Quality Content
I don’t expect the average guest blogger to know about this decree from the Google Gods for a while, but because you do know about it, be smarter when you pitch your posts.
- Read the blog first to see if they accept guest content and to get a sense for the types of posts that they like.
- Have a specific topic in mind. It cuts down on the back-and-forth emails.
- Craft an email with a one-sentence overview of who you are, and then pitch your topic, with a few sentences fleshing out your idea.
- Follow up in a week if you don’t hear back. Bloggers are busy.
And when you write your post, remember: you’re a guest, and you’d like to be invited back. So be on your best behavior:
- Follow guidelines if the blog provides them.
- Use subheaders and bullets to break up the content.
- Include a royalty-free image to accompany the post.
As long as you manage your expectations about guest blogging (branding, not SEO), you should continue to use it in your marketing strategy.