There… I said it… Guest blogging as we know it is dying a slow and painful death and digital marketers either aren’t happy about it, or don’t see it coming yet (which is sad).
This post is probably going to upset some people, however, it needs to be said and marketers either need to make adjustments to their current strategies or move on to other link acquisition strategies and tactics that are sustainable.
So, what do I mean by guest blogging as we know it? Let me explain.
Current Guest Blogging Strategies
The problem with SEO is that it’s a long term strategy and companies engaging in SEO are looking for the best way to scale their efforts without spending a fortune doing so. In the past, this has led to businesses and agencies building thousands of directory links and articles, which eventually were targeted and devalued by the search engines. Well, the same goes for guest blogging.
Over the last few years, companies and agencies have worked extremely hard to scale these efforts, but while doing so have cut corners and made it a less effective tactic for the rest of us. It’s gotten so scalable and borderline commoditized, that there are several companies who’ve popped up over the last year or so who only do quick and dirty guest blogging fulfillment for businesses and agencies. Not good… not good at all.
So, what kind of corners are being cut that make guest blogging a less effective tactic? Here’s a few:
- Writing generic, garbage content that helps no one.
- Posting generic, garbage content on sites that are full of other generic, garbage content.
- Writing non formatted, four paragraph, four hundred word posts that look exactly the same as all other guest posts you’ve written.
- Adding no links in the post except two back to your or your clients site in the author bio.
- Adding no imagery or videos.
- Taking any opportunity you dig up through the [“insert your topic here” intitle:write for us] advanced search query.
- Not taking the time to proof read your generic, garbage content.
- Not taking the time to promote it socially.
- And the list can go on and on 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, even though these tactics are pure garbage, they do still help improve rankings in the search engines (today), however, they will not bring sustainable results and when the next major algorithm update rolls out, it will be all for naught.
So what should you be doing different? Let’s talk about that next.
Future Guest Blogging Strategies
As I don’t have a keen ability to see into the future like some self proclaimed “digital marketing gurus”, I’ve been doing this long enough that I can make some fairly reasonable predictions on how to salvage this tactic and squeeze as much value out of them as possible. There are six specific areas of focus that I’d like to call your attention to.
First, don’t take any guest blogging opportunity you drum up through advanced search queries or through communities like MyBlogGuest. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ann and she has a ton of great opportunities in there, but there’s also a lot of crap, so be careful. Be selective and seek out opportunities to publish posts on the best blogs you can find. The best opportunities and the most powerful links will come from the sites that don’t actively allow guest bloggers to post. If you invest the time and build a quality relationship, you can get them, but you have to be patient and persistent. Remember, one link from a site like this is far more valuable then a dozen links from crappy blogs.
Second, when you have some decent opportunities, write your very best content for them. You owe it to them for allowing you to post on their site. Don’t just horde all of your best content for your own blog, give it away as well. I promise, you’ll thank me later!
Third, when writing your content make sure to do your research and work in some internal links from the blog you are posting on. This shows the blog owner that you truly care about their blog, their readers, and your quality. You should also work in external links to relevant resources besides your or your clients website. Trust me, two links in an author bio is a dead giveaway of a crappy post only being used to “take” from someone else. Give as much as you take!
Fourth, format your post by adding heading tags, bullets, and add images and video where it makes sense. I will also recommend taking some time to design custom graphics for these posts. You don’t have to spend hours designing them, but I can promise that a little effort goes a long way with both the site owner and their readers.
Fifth, put your stamp of approval on your post by associating your name and your face with your blog posts by adding authorship markup.
Sixth, remember three paragraphs ago when I said give as much as you take? After you get your content posted, make sure you take sufficient time to promote it socially. You should do this from both your personal account and your company account. If you are too embarrassed to share because of the content or the site it is found on, it’s probably not worth your time to post there.
So there you have it, the future of guest blogging. What do you think? Spot on? Way out in left field? I’d love your comments and feedback, so please share them below.
Image credit: Social Media Revolver