What Guest Posting Patterns Can Google Really Pick up on?
Guest posting is a way to increase recognition while driving traffic back to your blog. It’s a method that has proven effective for link-building and for increasing popularity. Based on these facts, bloggers – especially new bloggers – are often eager to find guest posting opportunities. They reach out, write posts and are published without a second thought. This could be detrimental based on the advances in search engine technology and the patterns new algorithms can pick up on.
Before starting a guest posting campaign, consider the facts below to ensure your attempt at driving traffic doesn’t backfire.
Repetition Can Work Against You
With the onset of new search engine technology, like Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, repetition can be penalized. If a byline is the same across multiple sites, search engines are likely to pick up on the trend; understand the SEO tactic at work and penalize it. Bylines that are the same, or too similar, create a footprint, which makes it easier to track information across the Internet. It can also create duplication issues for the sites you’re guest posting on – for example, if you use the same byline for five sites, Google may see those sites as linked, and penalize them as well as you.
To create guest post bylines, think about the information that matters for the blog you’re writing for and incorporate it. Use two or fewer links and consider taking advantage of Google+’s rel=author tool. Remember, variety is just as critical in bylines as in content.
Commercial Byline Links Are a Trend of the Past
In the past, using a commercial link, especially an exact-match keyword link, was typical of guest posts and generally accepted. In some cases, it was advantageous for link-building but now the opposite is true. While some blogs still allow the trend, search engines tend to ignore such links. To maintain credibility, or possible search ranking penalties in the future, it’s best to do away with the practice now.
The Quality of the Site You’re Posting to Matters
Some blogs depend on guest posts entirely, while others have a core team and offer occasional guest posting opportunities. This matters.
When a blog is comprised solely of guest posts, its purpose is probably to increase search rankings. When you take the time to write for a site like this, it could increase your visibility, however, it could also hurt your online reputation, especially where search engine crawlers are concerned. Of course, there are always a few exceptions – the Moz blog and Search Engine People are two examples that come to mind in the SEO niche.
When posting to a site, whether with the intention of increasing your own site’s traffic or that of a client, do the research up front. Look at the posts on the site and their quality, think about whether this is a site that would help your reputation or harm it. Would your post be a natural fit or would it stand out as an obvious attempt at link building? Quality, not only of your posts, but that of the site you’re contributing to, can make or break your efforts.
But don’t just look at PageRank or Domain Authority. Relevance is a factor that is bound to grow as Google’s algorithm learns more about grouping related subjects. If you are link building for a construction industry client such as Maxwell Systems, a link from the Construction Industry Round Table would be totally above-board, but a link from Jezebel or a mom blog might raise a few eyebrows.
Diversity is Critical
If you corner yourself into a single niche, your opportunities become limited. You’ll also increase your repetition factor which can be detrimental, as mentioned before.
By taking the time to write in fields that aren’t necessarily related to your single area of expertise, you’re demonstrating diversity and skill. You’re also amplifying the odds that you’ll be able to find blogs and share examples of content in a variety of fields. This is helpful when trying to target the blogs in the industries to which your clients belong. Relevancy and diversity can make or break a guest blogging campaign.
Guest posting can be an effective, long-term strategy for increasing traffic for your own sites or those of your clients. However, when care isn’t taken, it can work against you, especially with the onset of “smarter” search engine technologies. Do you research up front and stick with what feels right while following the proven advice above.