Figuring out how to grow your small business is tough–no matter what industry you’re competing in. Not only do you need to figure out ways to attract new customers, but you also have to keep them coming back for more. As long as you produce quality content consistently, your odds of hooking someone who finds your site are pretty good. Getting new visitors to your site in the first place, however, is anything but cut and dry.
Many seasoned Internet pros have been espousing the benefits of guest blogging as a way to attract new visitors to your website for years. After all, if you can get your business’ name and a link in front of readers, the odds of them clicking through are decent. Guest blogging also used to be a great way to boost your SEO rankings so that your results would show up higher on Google searches related to your area of expertise.
In 2013, Google made waves in the marketing industry by changing several of the rules that had defined SEO for years. Analysts began spouting that the implementation of Google Panda (and its successor, Hummingbird) signaled the end of guest blogging. In reality, however, the details are much less cut and dry. Here is a look at a few of the pros and cons of guest blogging as a marketing platform today.
Pro #1: Guest Blogging Will Still Get Your Name Out There
Establishing yourself and/or your business as a leader in your field is always going to be important when you want to attract more customers. Regardless of the Google changes, it still boosts your reputation when you show up on a popular blog as an expert on a certain topic. Often, you can pique the interest of a reader and then send them to your website to learn more. If they like what they see, you may have hooked a new loyal fan.
Pro #2: Diversify Your Sources of Web Traffic
While search engines will always be an important tool to send traffic to your website, they aren’t the only source. In fact, you may find that relying too much on search engine traffic is a dangerous idea because getting penalized by Google could potentially kill your referral base. By having guest posts on other popular blogs that also link to your website, you are able to diversify the ways that you attract new visitors–which could help boost your overall traffic in the long term.
For years, the number of other websites with links pointing to your site (known as “back linking”) helped boost SEO rankings–especially when you loaded up your article with popular keywords. The recent Google updates tried to eliminate what had turned into an unfair advantage by changing the rules about frivolous guest posting. Websites that had contributed hundreds (or even thousands) of guest posts to various blogs just for the SEO benefits found themselves penalized, and many still haven’t recovered.
Con #2: Poor Guest Blogging Will Still Hurt You
Some SEO experts will try to convince you that guest blogging in general hurts your SEO rankings, but the reality is that you will only be penalized for low-quality posts and those on websites with bad reputations. Simply put, the Google updates were done to make the Internet a fairer place for webmasters trying to run their sites honestly. Attempts to cheat the system are going to be tolerated less and less as time goes on.
The Bottom Line
Like so many other elements of web-based marketing, the concept of guest blogging can get very confusing, but deciding whether or not to partake basically comes down to a few simple questions you can ask yourself. Most importantly, is the content you will be producing for a guest post actually well written and worthwhile for someone to read? And if so, does the website where you are guest blogging produce high-quality content regularly? If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then go ahead and continue guest blogging. If not, then it is probably in your best interest to leave this tricky marketing technique alone.
It’s not what you sell; it’s how you sell it. Danny Todd, the Cleveland SEO Guy understands that sometimes the best brands get left behind because their web design and SEO has become outdated. The Internet is always changing! Google and the other search engines are always adapting! Keep your brand current and reach Google’s #1 spot.