Link Parties – How Do They Compare to Guest Posts?

Guest posting is not the only way for a blogger to improve his or her SEO rankings. Many bloggers recommend something called “link parties” or “linky parties.” In fact, the method seems to be a favorite of “mommy bloggers.”

Link parties are established by a host publisher. Other bloggers add a link to one of their posts to the link party directory – in return, they must include the host’s URL on their own blog. Oftentimes, link parties have a theme, such as Halloween décor. Trading backlinks widens the audience range for both bloggers while simultaneously aiding their SEO – without setting off any of Google’s guest posting alarms. Link parties can also help you establish a community of bloggers that you can mine for guest posting opportunities or exchange advice.

What’s the Downside?

Link parties sound like a win-win situation, right? It is! All participants benefit from a link party. Yet there are still a few drawbacks.

Link parties are a TON of work. The host first creates a set of rules, then invites bloggers to backlink on his or her blog. The host then has to review every blog post and backlink to make sure they are following the rules. If any blog violates the link party rules, they get kicked out.

Generally, the backlinks from multiple bloggers are published by the host blogger in one post. Readers of the host blog see a long list of many links. Sometimes, pictures will be included. It is unlikely that any reader will click on every single one of those links – they’ll probably just scroll through until they find one they like.

Guest posts, however, have a much higher success rate than link parties for far less work. Writers get a chance to show off their style, voice, and expertise while publishers can mix up their usual content.

So Should I Use Link Parties?

There’s certainly no harm in participating in a link party, if you have the time and energy. If you have a favorite post on your blog, or one that you think will do well in a link party, go ahead and join! Just be careful not to break any of the host’s rules.

The one benefit link party backlinks have over guest posting is that traffic is driven directly to your site. Readers must click on the link to view your post, sending them back to your blog. With guest posts, readers may or may not click on the backlink.

There’s always the possibility that you will be invited back to another link party by the same host, or that someone else participating in the party will like your blog so much that they will ask you to guest post with them.

What do you think about link parties? Does participating in a link party help your SEO rankings?

What To Do When Someone Plagiarizes Your Content in 3 Easy Steps

A few months ago, I wrote about plagiarism in the blogging world. I concentrated on how bloggers can properly attribute sources so that they aren’t accidentally plagiarizing, as well as what constitutes plagiarism. I also discussed the consequences of plagiarism: it can ruin your reputation as a valuable website; it can burn bridges with other bloggers; and it can get you in serious trouble with Google.

What kind of trouble with Google? According to their webmaster page on duplicate content, “In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”

If your website no longer appears in the Google search results, you are missing out on 60% of online traffic. That is a huge hit to your ability to generate revenue.

Of course, if you read that post and you’re now reading this one, you’re already convinced that plagiarism is horrible and you should never ever do it. So instead, let’s talk about the people who aren’t convinced, the ones who have plagiarized your content, and what to do about it.

Step 1 – Politely ask the plagiarizing party to take it down. Yes, keeping your cool is the first step. It’s important to remember that many plagiarizers steal content on accident. They may not realize that their actions constitute stealing or they may not know how to properly attribute a source. This isn’t an excuse – plagiarizing is always unethical and illegal, even when done on accident. Some plagiarizers might be aware of what they are doing, but have never suffered any consequences for it in the past. Asking them to take it down with a brief but decisive note may be all you need to do to solve the problem.

Keep in mind that taking action against the thief will result in some serious consequences for them. They could lose their webhost, their advertisers, their ability to post on social media, and be penalized by search engines. All of that is extremely difficult to bounce back from. Someone who knowingly plagiarizes your work deserves all of the consequences of their actions, but someone with more innocent intentions may deserve a second chance.

Of course, in order to send them a message requesting that they take down your content from their website, you first have to find their contact information. Check for “About” and “Contact” pages within the website. If the website has an internal search function, search for “contact.” If an email address is not readily available on the website, you can find the owner of the domain name through If all else fails, try commenting on the blog post.

Step 2 – Start documenting. Take screenshots of the offending website and of your original work. Make sure to include the date in your picture. You will also need a screenshot of the messages you sent to the thief. Find a Google cached copy of your webpage as well. Print out carbon copies of your evidence as well as save them to your computer.

Find a Google cached webpage
Step 3 – Take action. Give the offender a few days to comply with your request. It’s a good idea to specify in your first message to them how much time you will give them, such as 3-5 days. If they have not responded or taken down the plagiarized content, then you will have a few options of recourse.

Do not seek to take revenge out on the thieving website. Trying to defame, spam, or otherwise hurt the plagiarizer will not help you in any way, and it could actually hurt your reputation and chances of getting help. Instead, keep all of your communication civil and polite.

After you’ve given the thief some time and your content is still on their website, then you need to start seeking some bigger fish. Contact their webhost, advertisers, blogging platform, any social media they are posting the content on, and finally, search engines. If you’ve done thorough documentation proving that the original content belongs to you and the other website stole it without permission, you should be ready to move ahead with this step without a problem. You can also report stolen content through Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.


“What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content.” (4 April 2014).

10 Essential WordPress Plugins for Increasing Social Media Engagement

Gaining online traffic to your blog is simple to do with social media. But after you’ve started your social media accounts and gathered an initial following, you may feel that your engagement is stalling. With these WordPress plugins for social media, you can design a painless process of sharing online while also encouraging your audience to share, like, +1, and follow you!  

  1. Google Analytics – Google Analytics can give you tons of valuable data about your blog and how your audience interacts with it. One important metric is the source of your traffic; this piece of information can help you determine which of your social media platforms is the most effective, and which is the least. If most of your traffic is coming from Pinterest, you know you’re doing something good there, and you might decide to spend most of your efforts driving Pinterest traffic.
  2. Simple Share Buttons – This WordPress app does exactly what the name claims: it adds social share buttons to all of your blog posts. It even gives your audience a share count, which can often influence them to share your content. Making it easy for your readers to share your content will increase your traffic from social media, as well as your engagement on social media.
  3. Sociable – Sociable adds social media buttons to your blog posts. This plugin adds a similar feature as Simple Share Buttons, but the images are social media icons rather than share buttons. Still, the same call-to-action is there, motivating your readers to share your content on their social media accounts.
  4. WP Pinner – Need a little help managing your Pinterest account? This plugin lets you schedule pins, track your Pinterest engagement, and automate pins of your WordPress posts from your admin panel. With this plugin, you can spend less time on Pinterest with the same amount of progress.
  5. Pinterest Image Pinner – Speaking of Pinterest engagement, this plugin will raise yours by adding a simple “Pin It” button to all of your blog post images. When it comes to Pinterest, readers are more inspired by your pictures than your text. You might lose the share if you leave your Pinterest CTA to the bottom of the post. Using this plugin allows your readers to pin your image the second they see it.
  6. Shareaholic – More social media buttons! These ones “float,” meaning that they follow the reader when he or she scrolls up and down on your webpage. Having the social share buttons immediately accessible will influence readers to share on a whim. Shareaholic also makes images shareable, gives the reader recommended and related content from your blog, and has social analytics from which you can glean valuable metrics.
  7. Tweet Old Post – This plugin will automatically tweet links to some of your older blog posts, reviving them and bringing in new traffic. Bringing readers in to some of your old posts with absolutely no effort on your part – what’s not to love?
  8. WordBooker – WordBooker streamlines the process of posting on Facebook. You can post content from your blog, status updates, and more into your Facebook page, any groups, or your own wall.
  9. The Google+ Plugin – Automate your G+ posts with this WordPress plugin. It also adds a +1 button to your blog and makes the process of adding you to a circle much easier for your readers.
  10. WP Instagram Widget – Use this plugin to display your latest Instagram pictures on your blog.  Attaching Instagram to your blog will direct your readers to follow you – giving them a taste of what you post can also be an added incentive.

What WordPress plugins would you recommend for increasing your blog’s social media engagement?

Finding the Perfect Keywords to Optimize Your Blog

The most important part of optimizing your blog for the search engines is deciding on the right keywords. Good search engine optimization requires a set plan, and picking specific keywords for your blog as a whole and for individual blog posts will give you direction as you try to promote yourself.

So what is a “keyword”? It’s a word, phrase, or sentence that you predict people will search for using Google, social media, or some other search engine. But it’s not as simple as choosing keywords you think will attract an audience – as a blogger, you need to know the exact wording that Internet surfers are using. You need to know which keywords are stronger than others. And you need to know what your competition is.

Finding Keywords

There are lots of tools online that will help you determine the optimal keywords you need to use. Some of them are free, and some of them will cost you. If you are a beginning blogger, hold off on paying for any kind of service.

Start out with Google Trends and remember this tool forever! Google Trends will tell you the top Google searches done each day, which can be great inspiration if you want to write about current events in the future. It will also help you compare interest over time for any keywords you type into the search bar. I avoid using phrases or words that have been on the downward slope for over six months or are currently below 50 (the graph uses a scale of 1-100, with one being the lowest, to gauge interest).

Wordtracker is another tool that helps to measure the interest in a particular keyword, but it will also give you related phrases. This can help you to determine the exact phrasing you should use.

Search through hashtags and trending posts on social media to see what is popular there. Keep in mind that the results will be different on every social media outlet, but that shouldn’t deter you from using what is popular.

If you already have a blog, use your analytics to help with future posts. Analytics tell you the phrases that have directed visitors to your blog. It can also tell you what your visitors are interested in reading about.

Finally, do a simple Google search. Research the query results – these websites are your competition. Don’t underestimate what you can learn from your rivals’ success.

Choosing Perfect Keywords

The best keywords to use for posts are longer phrases. Try doing a Google search for one word, such as “rabbits.” Your search results will include news, movies, humorous websites, and thousands of other results you don’t care about. Searching for “how to buy a rabbit” gets you much more valuable information, such as “10 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Rabbit.”

The generic one-word keyword is terrible on its own, but does well when part of a question or answering phrase.

There’s a delicate balance between choosing keywords that are too popular and not popular enough. You want to ride on the coattails of a popular trend, but you also don’t want to get lost in the crowd. Whichever way you choose to go is up to you.

Where to Use Keywords

Keywords are necessary for your site as a whole, as well as individual blog posts. But be careful – too many and you will be flagged by Google as a spam site. A good rule of thumb is to only use your keywords three times in one blog entry, with one of those times being in the title.

That rule can be transferred to the rest of your blog, especially towards individual pages, but there is a little more leeway depending on how much content you have.

Good luck, and happy keyword hunting!


Gabbert, Elisa. “How to Target Keywords with Blog Posts.” (1 Oct. 2013).

Wang, Andrew. “How to Perform Keyword Research for Your Blog.” (1 Oct. 2013).

Why Bloggers Need Google+

It’s no secret that Google+ lags behind Facebook in popularity. As a blogger, you know that you will have more success gaining followers on Facebook than Google+. However, many don’t know that Google+ can drastically help your SEO. It makes sense – Google runs Google+, so it gives more SEO weight to that social network than any other. So if you haven’t yet, you need to start a Google+ account.

How Can Google+ Help My SEO?

+1 – Blog posts that are +1ed on Google+ are given more SEO weight. Those posts will come up higher in the search results than those that are not. This is true without personalization of search results, but is even truer with the personalization.

Personalization – When Google users are logged into their account, the search results for their queries are personalized. Instead of getting content that Google believes is most relevant for everyone, the user receives content that Google believes is most relevant specifically for them. +1s can impact this. For example, if a fan +1s one of your blog posts, the rest of your content is deemed more relevant to them by Google. Your blog is more likely to come up higher on their personalized search results. But it doesn’t stop there – it’s also more likely to come up higher on the search results of any of that fan’s friends.

Custom URLs – Google+ is offering customized URLs to some businesses. One of the times you log into your account, Google will give you the option. Change your URL to your blog name and you should see an increase in organic traffic. Google has not officially stated that custom URLs will give your account more SEO weight, but it’s likely that will be the case in the future. Regardless, having your name in your URL should still give you a push.

Authorship Google Authorship has been in place for a few years. Connecting your Google+ account to any articles, guest posts, and blog posts you write will improve search results: your picture, a link to your Google+ account, the number of Google+ circles you are a part of, and a link to more search results written by you will show up along with your article. This makes your post more appealing to Google users, but also makes you a more credible expert to Google. The more your articles are +1ed, the more SEO weight you will have as an author.

Social Media Optimization – There’s a strong correlation between having lots of social media followers and better SEO. This is mainly because your fans will do a lot of great legwork for you: they will share your posts on their social media accounts or other places. These backlinks definitely help your SEO. Google+ is another social media outlet that you can add to your repertoire.

What are you waiting for? Start improving your SEO with a Google+ account ASAP!

After you start your Google+ account, link to it in your FreeGuestPost profile and author biography. Connecting your FreeGuestPost account and your Google Authorship account will help to make you a more credible source for Google, improving the SEO of any website that publishes your articles. Including it will make it easier for publishers to find out more about you as an author. More publishers will request your work if they know that you are a real person, a qualified writer, and you have SEO weight with Google Authorship.


Enge, Eric. “Google+ & SEO: How Google+ Impacts Search Results.” (18 Nov. 2013).

Bogar, Colin. “Google Plus rolls out custom URLs: a win for boosting organic search results?” (18 Nov. 2013).

Stadd, Allison. “The Relationship Between SEO And Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC].” (18 Nov. 2013).

SEO Isn’t Dead and Here’s Why

What follows the headline “SEO is dead!”? Usually a click, and that’s why people use that claim in their article headlines. They know they’ll get clicks by scaring people. When you see such a loaded claim, the obvious, knee-jerk response is to say, “There’s no way! Without SEO, what will I do now to make my website visible?” And then you read on to find out how to protect and ensure the success of your website.

One blogger argues that not only is this claim inaccurate, but the articles that follow it are surface level sensationalism at its most dangerous. Bad advice that eliminates good SEO strategies can lead people to make poor decisions for their websites that can hurt their ranking, and consequently, their chances for success.

The Timeless Definition of SEO

As long as there is information online, there will be a way to search for it. And as long as there is a way to search for it, there will be a reason to optimize said content for more efficient and effective searchability.

And that’s what search engine optimization is: the process of refining content for optimal visibility online. This “refining” process is where SEOs (search engine optimizers) come in. They are responsible for navigating and deploying the correct practices that will help a website appeal to a search engine’s defined yet evolving algorithms.

Kristine Schachinger of gives two rule-of-thumb questions to consider every time you’re confronted with a claim that SEO is dead.

  1. “Is there still a search engine that seeks out and returns content to a user based on words they enter through text or voice input?”
  2. “Are these results based on programming, algorithms, and math?”

If the answer to these two questions is yes, there will always be a reason to continue employing SEO and you’ll be wise to keep yourself in tune with the current state your favorite search engine’s algorithms.

A False Accusation

Those that say SEO is dead also make sweeping claims against SEOs, lumping legitimate SEOs in with the spammers with unfair generalizations. It’s been called an “industry full of promises,” but Kristine clarifies that true SEOs “give Google what they want—sites that are good for users, guided by Google’s guidelines.”

A true search engine optimizer isn’t a proponent of “blackhat tricks,” because they know that the results won from those tricks won’t last. True SEOs understand that Google’s algorithms are constantly shifting in order to provide the end user a better and more accurate search experience.

If a website owner understands Google’s motive and the implications of each algorithm change, then they will be on top of making content and design strategies that will best appeal to those algorithms, and will see a boost in ranking and traffic as a result. A knowledgeable SEO acts as the consultant, or spokesperson, for Google in relaying those practices and strategies that will yield the desired results.

What content and design decisions have you made that were influenced by Google’s changing algorithms?


Schachinger, Kristine. “Is SEO dead? Nooooooo!”!&utm_campaign=08%2F04%2F14%20-%20SEW%20Daily&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Daily (August 18, 2014.)

Google Cracks Down on Guest Posting Scams

Google has become even stricter when it comes to guest posting for blogs. With so many spammers infiltrating genuine guest posts, Google was forced to take a stand. Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google, recently explained why penalizing shallow guest posting was necessary in a YouTube video: too many are trying to take advantage of guest posting by offering the same post to multiple publishers; offering similar posts with only a very slightly different spin to multiple publishers; and only writing the 300 minimum amount of words.

New guidelines were added in order to warn against “link schemes.” Backlinks that attempt to manipulate PageRank or SEO standing is a violation against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This will hurt both the writer and the publisher of anything that qualifies as a link scheme. The guidelines can be found here:

What Does This Mean for

FreeGuestPost is unique in that it guarantees more safety for writers and publishers against Google’s punishments than organic guest posting. Many of the violations to Google’s guidelines are impossible for FreeGuestPost users to carry out. Writers and publishers can only communicate through the website, limiting any opportunity to pay for articles or form partnerships for the sake of backlinks. FreeGuestPost also is not compatible with programs that automate link creations, another one of Google’s possible infringements. encourages writers not to commit these infractions. Create genuine blog posts with thorough research and depth. Write more than the required 300 words. Don’t try to offer the same or similar blog posts more than once. Try to avoid including too many backlinks into one post. If you are worried about your backlinks being punished, make them no follow – this will allow readers to follow the link back to your source, but Google’s spiders will not follow them for SEO purposes.

Publishers should also be careful about what they chose to accept and post on their own blog. Only accept posts that are well thought out. Although it is not always easy to see who is an expert in what field, you can screen each individual post. A shallow post should be rejected. Make sure all writing that you publish is valuable – quality over quantity.

Should I Still Use Guest Posting to Improve My SEO Rankings?

Although Cutts was firm in his video, he was also very confident that guest posting is a valuable resource for bloggers, writers, and businesses. There may be more complications to guest posting with these new, stricter rules, but guest posting can still improve your SEO rankings, bring your writing to a broader audience, and introduce a new voice or expertise into your blog.


“What is Google’s view on guest blogging for links?” (16 Sept. 2013).

Grigg, Ally. “Guest Posting – How to Avoid Google’s Wrath.” (19 Sept. 2013).

The Dos and Don’ts of Guest Posting [Infographic]

Although guest posting has gone through its ups and downs this year, it is still a viable method of reaching a new audience or adding fresh content to your website. However, spammers have used guest posting purely for SEO purposes, creating content that is not valuable or informative; Googlehas caught on to this method and is stricter than ever when it comes to guest posting. Before you guest post, read this inforgraphic to make sure you aren’t falling on Google’s bad side!

Guest Posting | Guest Blogging

Learn more about guest posting at “Guest Posting 101: A Beginner’s Guide.”

How to Optimize Your FGP Profile

At Free Guest Post, the relationship between writers and publishers needs to be built on trust. With Google becoming stricter with their guest posting rules, publishers need to be able to trust that the guest post article they are posting to their own blog will not be penalized by Google. Although Free Guest Post eliminates most of the worries a publisher might have, there is still some inherent risk in any guest posting situation.

The best way to earn that trust is to build up your reputation as a writer. Start on Free Guest Post by completing and optimizing your profile. Here are a few tips on how to create a trustworthy profile.

The Profile Picture

The biggest turnoff from any online profile is not having a picture of a real person. Think about online dating – would you even bother with a person who doesn’t have a picture? Free Guest Post is the same way. Your profile picture should be a clear, professional looking headshot. Don’t use pictures of pets, children, or anything else that isn’t your entire face. Keep it somewhat professional: you don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but you shouldn’t be doing anything inappropriate in the picture either. Remember that this picture will be published along with any articles you write on a publisher’s website.

Social Media

It is not necessary to include social media profiles, but it is recommended to share at least one. Doing so will allow publishers to do some more research on you. They may need to determine whether or not you are an expert with a certain topic.

Here at Free Guest Post, we understand that many Internet users value their online privacy. However, we also highly recommend setting up a Google+ account and sharing it on your profile. Google+ isn’t as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it has the added option of setting up a Google Authorship account and AuthorRank. Claiming Google Authorship gives your posts more visibility. AuthorRank connects all of the articles you’ve ever written, giving them more opportunities for traffic as well. And, above all, Authorship and AuthorRank gives you more credence to Google, improving the SEO of your articles and any website that they are published on.

Writing About Yourself

The “About Me” section shows up on your profile. The “Author Bio” section will be automatically published with any article that is posted by a publisher. Feel free to use the “About Me” space to talk about yourself in a broad, casual sense. No pressure.

The “Author Bio” section should be professional and succinct. Try to make it no longer than 3-4 sentences. You’ll want to include a very brief description of your qualifications (such as “animal enthusiast” or “graduate of blank college with blank major”). Most people use this space to incorporate one of their backlinks.

Both sections are how a publisher gets to know you. Don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments, but also introduce some of your unique personality.

“Writes About”

This section is really just a simple list, but don’t neglect it! It’s really all about self-confidence – what do you think you’re qualified to write about? A publisher wants a writer who believes that they can do a topic justice. So if you don’t include the topic in your “writes about” list, why will they want to post an article by you on that topic?

… The End?

If you’re a blogger, you already know that the “About Me” section of your blog is vital. Think of your writer’s profile on Free Guest Post the exact same way: it introduces you to publishers and readers, giving them a taste of the exciting things you have to offer in your article. Good luck!

How to Guest Post Without Pissing Off Google

SEO, Link Trading, and Guest Blogging

We all know that SEO affects pagerank, and the purpose of having a high pagerank is to get more visitors to your website, which then results in more money – but what exactly does it mean to have a high pagerank? The real underlying message behind being at the top of a search query is that your website is an authority on a certain subject. What you are conveying to Google is that you are an expert on your keywords, and that the information contained on your website is valuable to readers. Because ultimately, Google doesn’t create SEO algorithms to help businesses or blogs earn more money. Nope – it’s all about the individual user for them, and how they can enhance the searching experience.

This is where linking comes in. When another blog or website links to you, they are passing on some of their “link juice.” So basically, they are signaling to Google to pass on a bit of their authority on to you. Google sees that another website likes you and finds your information valuable, which in turn means that your information must be valuable to the Google user. And that improves your pagerank.

And that’s why link trading was such a popular SEO strategy, until Google caught on to people using it for SEO purposes. Once an SEO method becomes well known and encouraged by SEO experts, spammers will swoop in and use it for “evil.” Then Google finds out about it and starts penalizing the spammers and giving things like link exchanging less SEO weight.

Unfortunately, guest blogging may be the next SEO method to fall under Google’s ax. The webspam team leader at Google, Matt Cutts, posted on his personal blog this week that guest blogging is dead. This spells trouble for all the bloggers out there who want to share their expertise, broaden their audience, or publish new content onto their own website. The advantages beyond exchanging link juice are many.

Of course, Matt Cutts later went on to say that guest blogging is still a viable option. His exact words were:

“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.”

To put it simply, Google does not want you to guest blog for the sake of SEO. They want content to be valuable to the user, and so they are doing their best to discourage inauthentic guest posting.


How do we save guest posting?

Google has always recommended original, valuable content. Successful bloggers who want to produce quality content are already doing this. Writers should be using their expertise to produce interesting articles that are at least 500 words long. Publishers should field guest post submissions, taking only articles that are worth staking their reputations on.

The very best way to ensure that your guest posts won’t be penalized by Google is to use no follow links. What is a “no follow” link? Basically, when you create a no follow link, none of your link juice will be transferred over to the website you are linking to. When Google spiders your website, it will not follow the link to the other website and register it as one you want to give authority to. With no follow links, you can still produce great content and give credit where credit is due without risking your pagerank. Plus, readers can still click through to the link, giving the website you are linking to a higher readership.

To make a link “no follow,” you need to edit your HTML. Find the original URL. It should be surrounded by < and >. Before the closing bracket, insert (rel=“nofollow”) without the parentheses.

For example, if you were to create a backlink to FreeGuestPost, it would look like this in your WordPress post:


The HTML for a nofollow link

For many website owners, simply switching their backlinks to no follow made a huge difference in their pagerank. If you find that your pagerank is suffering, try updating some of your links.



Rampton, John. “Matt Cutts Clarifies Guest Blogging for SEO (with tips).” (22 Jan. 2014).

Hambrick, Kecia. “Nofollow, Dofollow, and your Google Page Rank.” (22 Jan. 2014).