6 Best SEO Practices to Stay Safe While Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has traditionally been one of the most effective ways to get targeted traffic to a website as well as improve your search engine rankings. Over the last few years, however, Google has changed many of the rules regarding SEO and many techniques that were once effective are now risky.
Fortunately, you can still get many benefits from guest blogging if you approach it in the right manner. The following six tips will help you get the most out of this strategy while staying in the good graces of Google and the other search engines.
1. Choose Relevant Sites For Your Guest Posts
If you want to get the best results from your guest posts, you should seek out sites that are relevant to your niche or industry. If, for example, you have a website on the topic of credit repair it would seem strange for one of your articles to appear on a gardening site. That’s an extreme example, but the principle is clear enough. Not only will you get more traffic from relevant sites, but the search engines will view these links as more natural and valuable.
The only exception to this rule would be if you have the chance to write a guest post for an authority site that covers many different topics. An example of this would be a magazine or news site that publishes and curates all types of content. These are always good sites to be published on.
2. Avoid Links From Low Quality Sites
This is one of the most basic principles of the post-Panda and Penguin world, and it’s relevant to guest blogging as well as other types of SEO strategies. Sites that are too willing to accept guest posts, especially for a fee, are ones that you should stay away from.
Make sure you research a site before inquiring about writing guest posts. Check out things like their page rank, traffic, topic and the overall look of their site. If you see a bunch of articles that look like they were created from an automated article spinner, you are better off not having your article there. This would be an example of guest posting doing your site more harm than good.
In general, you should look for sites that are high quality, and relevant to your own site for guest posting. Even if it’s harder to get published on these sites, you are better off focusing your efforts in this direction. Quality is definitely more important than quantity when it comes to SEO today.
3. Limit and Diversify Your Link Building
This may seem like a strange concept if you are accustomed to thinking in traditional SEO terms, where more links are always better. Today, however, Google is very wary of too many links pointing to the same site. The search engines know that this is a deliberate SEO strategy rather than natural linking.
One of your goals as a guest blogger is to get your name circulated and for people to start recognizing you as an authority in your field. This doesn’t require millions of links. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t link back to your site, but you should do this with discretion. For example, if you have an arrangement with a particular site to write a guest post every week, you could include a link once every two or three times.
A related issue is that you should be sure to diversify your link building efforts. This means that having the vast majority of your links coming from any one source is not good for SEO purposes. This includes guest blogging, which is why you should not rely on this method alone for your links. You should seek to build as many different types of links as possible. Aside from guest blogging, you could use sources such as videos, social media sites, web directories, forums, press releases and document sharing sites. This type of diversity has a natural appearance, and is more impressive to the search engines than a single type of link.
4. Use Safe SEO Practices in Your Guest Posts
When you do find blogs that are willing to publish your guest posts, make sure you adhere to the contemporary rules of SEO. For example, consider how you use keywords. You will want to include some keywords that relate to your topic, but do not engage in keyword stuffing. In other words, use keyword expressions as naturally as possible.
On a related note, never include anchor text that isn’t relevant to the topic of the article. You should include, at most, one link to your own site using relevant anchor text. You can also include links to authority sites that help to provide more value to readers.
To really be safe when it comes to anchor text, you should switch from using exact match keywords to long string anchor text. The fact is, Google is starting to regard any type of anchor text using keyword expressions as suspicious. You can include your keywords in the anchor text, but it’s best to make it part of a longer sentence or expression. For example, rather than having your anchor text “dog training tips,” it could be “for more information see this website containing many dog training tips.”
5. Use Google Authorship Cautiously
Google Authorship is one of the newest aspects of SEO that people are starting to focus upon. This involves setting up your Google+ profile, complete with photo, and claiming authorship to all of your content. This can be done with your guest posts, but it should be done with care.
The purpose of Google Authorship is to build credibility as an author and to make it easy for people to find all of your content. One advantage of this is that you are likely to get your articles posted with your picture, which makes the listing stand apart. You do need to be cautious about Google Authorship, however. This has to do with the above point about diversifying your links. If most of the links pointing to your site are from content written by you, this does not indicate diversity at all. For this reason, you don’t want to overdo it when it comes to linking to your own sites.
When using Google Authorship, it’s also especially important to make sure that the content you’re linking to is high quality and doesn’t break any basic SEO rules such as keyword stuffing, irrelevant anchor text and the like. Remember that while Google Authorship is useful and convenient in many ways, it also makes it easy for Google to penalize you if you are violating any of its rules!
6. Stop Using Author Boxes
If you have kept up with recent SEO developments, you know that Google has devalued links from article directories. One of the hallmarks of article marketing has always been the author resource box. This is the section at the end of the article that contains the author’s name and usually a blurb that includes a link back to his or her site.
Most guest blogging uses the same formula, with a website URL or anchor text following the author’s name at the end of the article. This is the type of guest posting that Google is starting to crack down on, because it’s obviously an SEO tactic. There’s no rule saying that you have to place your anchor text at the end of the article. Placing it in the middle gives it more value, as it’s more clearly part of the article rather than something you tagged on to get traffic and links.
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