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:
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).”http://www.searchenginejournal.com/matt-cutts-clarifies-guest-blogging-for-seo/. (22 Jan. 2014).
Hambrick, Kecia. “Nofollow, Dofollow, and your Google Page Rank.”http://basics4bloggers.com/2013/10/nofollow-dofollow-and-your-google-page-rank/. (22 Jan. 2014).