As the owner of a blog, it’s natural to get really nervous any time you hear that Google is updating its algorithm. Many bloggers worry that all of the work they have put in to increase the rank and relevance of their blogs will be flushed down the drain once an algorithm update takes place, and many worry that they will have to start all over again with brand new promotional strategies.
Guest blogging is a strategy that has been used successfully by bloggers for many years when trying to build quality links coming to their blogs. Guest blogging has long been considered a great way to get high quality links from good, authoritative blogs coming to your own site. Many bloggers therefore wonder if guest blogging will continue to be a good strategy once a new Panda or Penguin update hits. Yes, guest blogging can still be a great strategy, but in order to keep this strategy from doing more harm than good, you are going to have to adapt your strategy with the times and gear it towards what Google is looking for when it comes to quality links. Of course, guest blogging should not be your only strategy, but it is still a good one to employ along with others.
Here are six tips to follow when continuing to use guest blogging as a link building strategy that will help you avoid taking any serious hits when a new Google algorithm is introduced.
1. Take care of your blog first
It all starts with you and your blog. If you don’t take care of your blog first and make it the best that it can be, no number of guest posts and links to your blog is going to help you. Also, having a good blog and quality content allows you to potentially get the best types of links – the kind that you don’t even have to ask for in order to receive.
If you have a high quality blog with a lot of great content, there are going to be people who are going to want to link to your site even if you don’t ask them to do so. In order to increase the relevance and quality of your own blog, you have to make sure that your content quality is high. Pad your archives with a lot of great information and make sure that your blog is filled with not only well-written content, but also original content that doesn’t just look like it was spun from a another, perhaps more relevant, blog within your niche. Put in the time and the effort to make your blog shine on its own.
It is better to put in the work towards improving your content and the way you write than to waste that time on negotiating links for money or link trades with other bloggers. If you have great content, people are going to want to link to it without getting anything in exchange.
2. Focus on the quality of your guest posts
If you are focusing so much time on making the content on your blog great, don’t compromise that quality when offering up guest posts. Many people get lazy and choose to try and guest post with blog posts that they don’t consider good enough to be posted on their own blogs. That is not the way to go. You should be following the same criteria for quality when writing for yourself and for others.
What does a winning article look like? It has an engaging and snappy headline, it’s interesting and unique, it reads well and flows smoothly, there are no grammatical mistakes present in the text, and it’s at least 1,000 words in length.
Putting as much effort into your guest posts as you are putting into your own blog posts is going to pay off in the end. It’s all about putting the work in first.
3. Choose the right blogs to approach
When it comes to guest blogging in this day and age, it’s quality over quantity. It’s not always in the numbers. Getting a few links from high quality blogs is much better in the eyes of Google than getting lots of links from blogs that literally accept any guest post that is sent to them. If you are already putting in the effort to make your guest blogs great, you shouldn’t be settling for second best when trying to find a home for them. Sure, it’s easier to approach smaller blogs that will want to post your guest blog posts immediately, but it’s better to take the time and pitch them to high quality blogs that have strict rules when granting people permission to guest post with them.
When you are looking for blogs to pitch your articles to, analyze them. Look at the general quality of the posts that they feature. Check out what types of blogs they are linking to and what types of blogs link to them. Do these blogs have a cohesive theme and strict criteria, or are they granting links to anyone who asks?
4. Stay within your niche
One of the most important things to consider when trying to build your relevance and blog integrity is staying within your niche when guest blogging. People want guest bloggers who are proven experts in their fields and clearly know what they are talking about. If you are guest posting as a novice on a vast variety of topics, you will never gain the trust of respected bloggers within your niche. Sure, you can write an article about baseball, one about mobile apps, and another about finances and get them all published on various blogs, but these links do not have the same value that one detailed post within your niche will have if published by another relevant blog within your niche.
And the more you appear to be an expert in your field, not only will more and more blogs within your shared niche want to post your guest blogs, you will see more blogs linking to you independently as a blog that these people consider to be a relevant source for high quality information related to their fields.
5. Go easy on the anchor text and keywords
Getting the right anchor text for links to your site used to be considered the most important part of guest blogging. This is no longer true. Google’s trends show that they are more interested in general content quality than keywords and anchor text. If you can get a link for a good keyword, then by all means go for it, but don’t make that your “make or break” criteria. Getting a link to your site from any anchor text will be good, as long as the site that is linking to you is a good one. Also, getting nothing but links from keywords is something that Google will notice more easily and perhaps penalize, as opposed to getting links from anchor text such as “click here” or other simple and more conventional anchor texts.
When it comes to loading your guest posts and the content on your own blog with keywords, this is another thing that you need to go easy on. If you are going to include keywords, make sure that they are as natural as possible. Don’t sacrifice the readability of your guest posts or site content for keyword density.
6. Focus on building your Google authorship
If you have not registered as a Google author through your Google Plus account, it is time to do that. Google loves when you use its services, and guest posting while using your Google Author account is an easy way for them to keep tabs on the quality of your writing and the expertise you have within your niche. Author rankings will become more and more important as time goes on, so make sure that you are registered as a Google Author and that you post as one.
When thinking about your blog promotion strategies such as guest posting and taking into consideration the changes that come with the introduction of new Google algorithms, remember that Google is not out to get you. Google is making an effort to separate the good from the bad and highlight the sites and blogs that it sees as being authoritative and of the highest quality. You should focus on yourself first and foremost. Take pride in your blog, your content and the guest content you pitch to others and everything else should take care of itself.