In early 2014, Matt Cutts (from Google) all but declared guest posting to be dead. But, is it really?
In past episodes of this podcast, I’ve even bad-mouthed guest posting to a degree.
So, in this episode, it is time to clarify things. Does guest posting still work? IS it still worth your time? When is the right (and very WRONG) time to use guest posting as a traffic strategy?
Well hello there! Sitting here today having a cup of coffee… let’s talk about blogging some more! That’s what we do here in Coffee Break Blogging. We are actually going in a sequence in building an online business from scratch but with the blog front and center as to what we do.
Now today, because we are talking primarily in the last several episodes and the next many to come here; about generating traffic to our sites, I want to talk about guest posting as a traffic strategy. I want to clarify a few things, too, because I have bad mouthed a little bit; especially back in Episode 88 where we did the free traffic versus paid traffic smackdown, I kind of said a few bad things about guest posting and I left the impression that it just isn’t worth your time in most cases to do it. And so, I want to talk about guest posting a little bit here with a bird’s eye view on whether we should bother with it at all.
What Triggered It?
Now what really started this conversation was back in early 2014 with Matt Cutts. Now, Matt Cutts; he was the guy with Google that essentially all SEOs hung on his every word as if it were gospel. So if Matt Cutts said something; because he works for Google and he’s like “the dude”, I guess for the SEO guys… when Matt Cutts says something, they all listen and then they discuss it endlessly. So being that they hung on Matt Cutts’ every word, well, back in 2014, Matt Cutts went in a little tirade and essentially declared guest posting “dead”.
Okay, now that idea definitely made some waves. It triggered all kinds of blog post across the blogosphere in terms of debating whether guest posting is dead or not. Now at the end of the day; and I think Matt Cutts basically came out and sort of kind of said this: He kind of overreacted. Well, you know, sometimes… He’s a human being and he kind of says things…
It’s Not Dead! 😉
Here’s the thing, there are some issues with guest posting and we are going to talk about that here, but he overstated his case because guest posting is not dead. I want to make sure that everybody who’s listening to Coffee Break Blogging understands guest posting is not dead. It still is an effective strategy. But there are a few caveats in here so we are going to be talking about that.
Is guest posting an effective strategy anymore?
The answer is: YES. But you have got to treat it in the context that it deserves. And what has given guest posting a bad name is the fact that there were a ton of people; and quite frankly, still are, who are not treating guest posting with the proper respect. What they were essentially doing is using guest posting as a way to do link building. Now when you do that, it is basically a fairly mediocre piece of content, sometimes it outright sucks, but sometimes they put a little bit more thought into it and it is mediocre like, just get by kind of a blog post. It doesn’t really say anything that it is all that noble, it doesn’t really have a lot of personality in general; usually it is written for the purposes of getting certain keywords into the blog post and kind of just getting by. But the whole idea here is that they are going to drop links to their site inside that guest post. Now it is just not the attribution at the end of the blog post that says, “This guest post is written by such and such” that kind of stuff is normal. What they would do is that they would actually drop keyword targeted links to their site inside of the guest post.
Now a lot of these was happening, they would take advantage of lazy bloggers who are like “I have a hard time making my own content” so they were getting very liberal with the quality of guest post that they would be willing to accept. And these people who are trying to link build many times on a paid basis because they were hired SEO firms, in order to get “quality” backlinks to their clients’ site, they would go out there, hire some paid writers, create some mediocre content. I just call it what it is… It is not that great to keyword stuff it with some keyword targeted backlinks and this stuff was being posted rampantly across the internet. And quite frankly, still is, today. That has tainted the idea of guest posting.
Guest posting; a lot of blogs just do not do it that much anymore because they still, to this day get a lot of crap submitted to them and it is very obvious that it is just the link building thing. And so it cheapened the idea of guest posting and that was primarily what Matt Cutts was talking about when he declared guest posting dead. It is actually not true that it is dead. It is just that guest posting for the purposes of SEO is dead. It is not effective. You shouldn’t be using guest posting to build backlinks to your site. It is just not the way to look at it.
Make It Really Good
Now that being said, if you take the time and create really high quality stuff and you post it for the right audience; the exact right audience like your avatar is on this other person’s blog and you want to reach them and you can create the killer blog post… We are talking about something that probably takes more time to create than it would to create something for your own site; that can still work very well, like you really got to knock it out of the park. You got to have a kick-ass blog post and have some multimedia in there, whatever; you need to standout.
If you do that to the right audience; like an audience that is just ideal for you, that could still work very well. But here is what you are doing… You are not doing it for the purposes of backlinks. You are not dropping keyword phrase backlinks to your site. You are doing it for exposure and branding. And that is a completely different way to look at it. It is really the proper way to look at guest posting in context of what it is that you are doing.
You should not be using guest posting as a way to build backlinks. Google can see that stuff, by the way. Google sees the backlinks that are pointed to your blog. And if a lot of backlinks have the same set of keyword phrases they know that you are rigging it, okay? They know that you are rigging it and they don’t like to be gamed. They want it to be a natural linking pattern. They want it to be natural because when natural links are pointed to the site; that is a sign of quality. It is a sign that people out there across the internet are endorsing your blog by linking to it. It is like an up-boat for the fact that your blog post is good. But it doesn’t work if every single time it is being linked to it is using the same keyword phrase because that that is been artificially created; it is an artificially linking environment. It is not the way to do it. But if you guest blog for exposure to the right audience and branding, it works.
Think about if you go to a “competitor” blog… I really do not believe in competition on the internet because the internet is a very big place; but that being said, you go to a competitor blog and you knock it out of the park with a really, really killer piece of content and you just give it the attribution at the end for yourself say, “Hey, my name is blah I blog about this over at www.whatever.com…” It is just a branding thing. And if you have really wowed them with that piece of content, they are a lot more likely to click over. But if it just another average plain Jane or whatever kind of a blog post, they are never going to click on that thing to come over to you. Now if you don’t care about that, that means you are only doing it for searches and spider purposes and that is stupid. That is not the way to guest post. That is why Matt Cutts had it a field day with the idea of guest posting last year, okay?
The Right Way For The Right Purpose
So you need to look at this from the perspective of 80/20. I mentioned the 80/20 Rule many different times; like 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your efforts. In terms of building your traffic to your site, we do need to keep guest posting in context with the 80/20 Rule. This guest posting done right is a time consuming thing to do.
This is not just some other random blog post that you might write on your own site. You got to knock it out of the park with a guest post.
With that being said, if you just want to build traffic and get leads and that type of thing; it actually is more reliable to go and do paid traffic because you can go to the Facebook, you can target exactly the way that you want and you are going to get people coming to your site. As I have said in prior episodes, if you pay Facebook for traffic, you are going to get some traffic. My question is that “What to do with it?” But the thing is, that is a more reliable way to go than guest posting. Because with guest posting, you are going to have blogs that just do not accept guest posting, you are going to have blogs that if they got good quality control they might come back saying “Listen, this isn’t enough to our standards” you know… You are going to be dealing with some stuff like that. If you want something reliable, use paid traffic.
But the occasional guest post for the purposes of branding and exposure to the right audience makes perfect sense. You just need to be really strategic about where you submit your content. This is not a matter of peppering the internet with it because that is the mentality of a link spammer. It is the mentality of a link builder and that is not the way you want to be looking at it.
Keep this in mind as well; the blogs are probably going to be the most worth your time for guest blogging for them, are probably going to be those blogs that are the hardest to get in to. If those blogs are posting guest posts all the time, it is probably not going to do you a helluva lot of good to guest post there. Okay? You got to keep that in mind. The ones that are worth guest posting on are the ones which are going to be more work. They are going to have a higher level of quality control, they probably do not post guest posts very often, it is probably primarily the owner of the blog who’s posting there… Those are the ones where you can get more bang for your buck, so to speak, with guest posting. So be choosy about where you are trying to submit.
Do not try the path of least resistance when it comes to guest posting because it just simply what will work very well for you. You will be seen as a spammer in the eyes of Google and that is not a good idea for multiple reasons.
Alright, so back to the original question… Is guest posting an effective strategy anymore? Yes… It absolutely is. You just have to keep it in context, realize it is an exposure and branding play… That it is going to be a lot more work than you probably think; and it is not a way of link build where to SEO your site because that is not natural and Google knows it. Okay?
That being said I would like to invite you, again, to my next webinar. It is blogmonetizationwebinar.com where we are going to be talking all about this topic of traffic and how monetizing your blog in the right way is so tightly integrated with how to get traffic. When we talk about building up our traffic; and that is what we are doing here with guest posting, there is a very reliable way of doing it and I happen to mention it briefly in this episode and that is paid traffic. Now if your first reaction is “How I could possibly do that” because it costs money… I understand. Come join me on the next webinar over at blogmonetizationwebinar.com and I want to show you how the right type of set up when it comes to your monetization will lead to more traffic for you because it will actually enable you to do paid traffic and that is a lot more reliable than having to rely on blogs to post your guest posts.
I will see you next time here at Coffee Break Blogging. Talk to you soon! 😉