Google has had a lot of shake ups this year, most notably the Penguin updates. With the Penguin updates, a lot of spammy links were penalized and unfortunately a lot of those links came from bad guest posting, along with a variety of other shady link building tactics. Matt Cutts recently talked about Google’s view on guest posting, and gave a little more insight on Google’s view on link building through guest posting. Fortunately for guest bloggers, link building is still viable through this SEO activity, but there are more rules we have to follow now in order to not fall victim to Google penalties.
Be Careful Where Links Are Put
This goes for a few different things, but you need to be careful where you place your links. A lot of it comes down to what sites you want to linkbuild on. For instance, if you want to link to your bicycle shop, you would not want to post on a site about tools and hardware. Typically those topics don’t go together, and it might send a red flag to Google. On the other hand, don’t feel limited by only posting on perfectly relevant sites. For instance, a tech blog might take a link for a satellite television provider if you’re talking about their mobile apps. So while there are certain restrictions on link building, this isn’t a big hurdle to overcome if you take the time to make sure you don’t put your link in a bad neighbourhood.
Length of Article
This is something that most people don’t think about when it comes to guest posting, but the length of the article is very important. Most of the time websites set their own guidelines on length, and most of them set it at a good bar as far as Google is concerned. However, you will every now and again come across a site that allows only 300 word posts. In that case, it is still a good idea, if you are allowed, to make your post more than the 300 word limit. A 500 word limit is a good rule of thumb, but going above and beyond that is even better. Not to mention, having a longer post is always best for readers and blog owners. Just make sure that you keep your guest posts at a limit that readers and audiences want to and are prepared to read, because if you are too long winded, you will lose readers for the site, and that isn’t good for anyone’s SEO.
High Quality Posts
This may seem like it’s not really a tip, but it is important to write to as high quality as possible. While the idea of what “high quality” is may be subjective, there are certain things that you can avoid so you don’t come off as being ‘spammy’. Having large grammatical errors or spelling mistakes will make your article appear to be inferior quality and spammy. You also want to make sure that you have good content formatting and other structural conventions covered. This will ensure your article will be recognised as being higher in quality and will pass the Google crawlers quality criteria better. So when it comes to this aspect, make sure that you include as many quality signals as you can in the article to make it come across as well as possible to the search engine algorithms.
Fortunately for us all, guest posting isn’t dead, but we do need to be more responsible about how we post, where we post, and what we write about. There has been a lot of fear lately about guest posting, and whether it has lost its power, but I think for the moment it is still a great way to build links in a legitimate way. For those that are still trying to post links to bad, trashy sites, you can be pretty sure you will get dinged. But I think we can all rest assured that as long as our content is good, guest posting will always be a possibility.
Bill Thomas is an SEO blogger who writes a lot about link building and content creation. He also writes a lot about how to integrate social media efforts in SEO efforts.