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.”


So you’re interested in guest posting – but how do you start? That’s where we come in. We are ateam of experts here to teach you the ins-and-outs of guest posting, and give you all the tools you need to get started.

Our blog will focus on a range of subjects from how to create titles, what apps will help build your blog, marketing and branding, and everything you need to get going with guest posting – whether you are a publisher or a writer.

We are also open to hearing and posting information you’re willing to share about guest posting, so feel free to contact us if you’d like to appear on our blog!

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).

3 SEO Truths All SEO Managers Should Remember

SEO managers know that you can never get too comfortable. They’re a jumpy sort, hanging on Google’s every word and continuously adapting to ever-updating algorithm changes. It’s a lot of pressure, but in the midst of all the uncertainty, there are three universal truths that every SEO should remember as they continue plowing toward that number one spot in the rankings.

First, Mismanaged Expectations Will Ruin You
The first priority of any decent SEO professional should be to educate their client. There are so many definitions of SEO out there that depending on which one your client subscribes to, they’re either going to be thrilled with your services or deeply dissatisfied—and with the same results!

For example, a client may see increased organic traffic and subsequent leads, but they’re still upset because they expected more based on the amount of money they put into you. In this scenario, you may have succeeded by your estimation, but in the client’s eyes, you failed based on the expectations you failed to clarify. And if the client thinks you failed, you failed.

So how is this frustrating and potentially costly scenario avoided?

  1. Make sure you evaluate the data closely and set realistic numerical goals. If your client doesn’t have past data to scrutinize, draw on your experience with customers that have a similar profile. This will provide a baseline for your customer to latch onto, which they certainly will do. Remember that they will latch onto whatever estimated number you give them.
  2. Prepare education material for your customer at every level of the SEO process.
  3. Determine what’s most important to the client and report on that, and when you provide them with data, it’s absolutely critical that they understand what they’re looking at. That will depend on how well you’ve educated them.

Second, Resource Constraints are the Bane of an SEO’s Existence
Resource constraints can ruin an SEO endeavor, especially as you consider how many different departments factor into completing SEO initiatives: web dev, content, lead gen, social media, and more. If your budgets are limited in any of these, SEO-targeted projects can be road-blocked at multiple stages.

Techniques to avoid resource-related roadblocks:

  1. Inform yourself of the possible resource constraints ahead of time. Become familiar with the liberties and restrictions your client will have on those necessary departments, and how much access you will have to them too.
  2. You’re also going to have to make a list of priorities to follow to the letter. You and your client are a part of the creation of this list, discussing budget in relation to their needs and goals will help you determine which item should take priority over the rest and which should be put on hold until resources allow.
  3. Depending on your own resources, you may have some of the manpower to take much of the delegation aspect of SEO off of your client’s shoulders. In fact, that may be why they chose you as their SEO solution.

Third, Not Being Prepared for the Unexpected Will Hurt—A Lot

This just has to do with personnel changes, which happens frequently in our industry. When you lose clients for any number of reasons, here’s what you can do to salvage benefits from those relationships:

  1. End on the best note possible. Provide the info they need to transition to their new arrangement and request referrals if possible.
  2. Stay in touch too. In this highly connected world, there’s no reason not to stay connected over social networks.
  3. It will be hard not to take it personally when a client departs, but don’t. Learn what you can from the relationship and use what you’ve learned to perfect the next to come.

What have been the biggest roadblocks or lessons that you faced and learned as an SEO manager?


Gillette, Casie. “3 Common Challenges Facing All SEO Managers.” (November 26, 2014.)

How to Optimize your Blog Posts for SEO

SEO for Blogging

When you have a website or blog that represents your brand and business, optimizing it for SEO, also known as search engine optimization is highly recommended to find success online. Search engine optimization helps to improve your website’s overall visibility within search engines such as Yahoo!, Bing and even Google to increase the number of visitors and page views your sit receives on a regular basis. Optimizing your blog for SEO purposes allows you to appear more professional while expanding your current viewing audience and potential followers or customers.

Using a CMS (Content Management System)

Launching a blog may seem overwhelming, especially when you are not familiar with programming or even coding in basic HTML and CSS. Using a free CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, Joomla or even Drupal is a way for you to create a professional website that can easily be optimized for SEO purposes. Systems such as WordPress are ideal for both individual bloggers as well as those who are looking to launch a website to represent a corporate business or entity. WordPress is highly-developed to incorporate SEO already, allowing you to launch any type of blog that can rise in the search engine rankings much quicker than a hand-coded website.

Selecting the Right Keywords

Conducting market research to find the most important and trending keywords in your industry is highly recommended before you begin to format your blog, add new posts or edit any titles and meta tags you choose to include. Understanding the most popular keywords in your niche and industry will help you with the format of your blog and the type of content you produce to attract a specific market of potential virtual followers and online consumers.

Proper Sub-Headings

Using sub-headings and bold headlines when you publish content including relevant keywords and phrases for your industry will help search engines to discover your website while adding your pages into the search engines themselves automatically. The more relevant your content is to the entire purpose of your website and its name, the easier it will become for others to locate your site when searching for the information you have published and posted.

Avoid Spamming Keywords

When you are attempting to optimize your blog for SEO purposes, avoid using the same keywords repeatedly within the content you publish. Adding keywords too frequently within a post can ultimately lead to getting “blacklisted”, or removed entirely from well-known search engines, ridding all potential traffic that could have been generated from the search engines’ results. Be sure to add keywords into your articles sparingly and only when they fit.

Meta Descriptions, Tags and Titles

It is also important to properly title your blog along with each piece of content you plan to publish online. Adding in meta descriptions, tags and titles can be done within the header file of your blog to ensure that your website is properly named and can be searched for using keywords you deem the most fitting. Implementing tags, keywords and titles can be done within minutes and will change how search engines pick up on your site.


Increase Your Traffic with a Blog Series

During your blogging adventures, you may have wondered if you should create a blog series. A “blog series” is essentially a group of posts that cover one topic over a space of time. For example, you might see a blog series entitled “10 Ways to Make a Little Extra Cash this Holiday Season” or something similar.

There can be a lot of benefits to a blog series.

  • You don’t have to think of brand new content for a while.
  • Readers are more likely to stay on your page as they browse through every post in the series.
  • They’re generally pretty popular.
  • They help establish your expertise in an area.
  • It really helps with SEO as you begin to dominate a few keywords.
  • It gives readers a reason to keep coming back to your blog as you continue to publish new posts in the series.

Overall, it can be a really great method to improve traffic and SEO. But it can also take a lot of planning and work. Be aware that are you committing to somewhat of a long-term project when taking on a blog series.

So how do you get started?

  1. Pick a topic that you have a lot of expertise in. Make sure it’s something that you have a lot to say about. If it could easily fit all into one post, then maybe you shouldn’t spread it out over multiple posts.
  2. Plan it all out! Try to come up with titles or areas of focus for each post in the series. This can help you organize the time period and frequency in which you will be posting as well. Creating a timeline or scheduling a calendar can help you to stay on track.
  3. Start publicizing your future series. You can do this by asking your fans on social mediaquestions pertaining to the topic you’re discussing in the series. You can also announce the series to build up excitement. Some bloggers also suggest creating contests or hashtags for your series, but this will depend on you.
  4. Write and publish! Remember that you’ll want each post in the series to be consistent and cohesive. Titles should relate to each other and formats should be the same. You may even want the pictures to follow a similar formula.
  5. Give your readers a way to find other posts in the series surrounding each one. A “previous” and “next” button or link at the bottom and top of each post is a good idea. You could also create a button for your sidebar that will link to a table of contents for the entire series.
  6. Continue to publicize!

Running a blog series will be different for each blogger depending on your audience, the size of your blog, your chosen topic, and even more factors.

What type of blog series have you created? What have you learned on the way?


Saddington, John. “How To: Create a Blog Post Series and Why You Need Them!” (30 Oct. 2013).

Thompson, Kirsten. “How to Create a Successful Blog Series.” (30 Oct. 2013).

5 Places to Find Blogs You Can Comment On

One of the best and easiest ways to improve SEO for your blog is by commenting on other blogs. On most blogs, you should be able to share your URL as part of the commenting process (underneath the name that is displayed and a space to fill in your email address). This is an easy way to share your blog with other readers and create rich, organic backlinks. Google’s spiders will see your URL on someone else’s blog and give it more SEO weight.

Some blog tips

Perusing other blogs can also be a great opportunity for learning from other bloggers. You can see how they design their website, how they use social media buttons, their “about me” page, and more. And, of course, reading entries about other perspectives doesn’t hurt either.

The challenging part about commenting on other blogs to help improve your blog’s SEO is finding blogs to comment on. If you have a blogging community or favorite blogs that you follow, you’ve probably already commented on those (or if you haven’t, start now!). So how do you find new and diverse blogs?

Social media can actually be a huge help in this regard. Log in to all of your accounts and start searching in these locations!

  1. Hashtags – Hashtags allow you to search for certain topics on many different social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Google+ all use hashtags. Searching for hashtags like #blog or #blogging are guaranteed to come up with a lot of results, including many that are spam or not interesting to you. Narrowing your search down to #bloggingtips or #OnTheBlog will narrow down your results. Try also searching for your niche.
  2. Groups – Lots of social media platforms have a groups function! Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn allow you to create communities with similar interests. Join these groups or create your own. You can find groups for bloggers in general, bloggers in your area, or bloggers in your niche. Not only will they give you valuable insight, but many members share their latest blog posts. Make sure you “like” or “+1” their post on social media as a way of showing that you did comment on or visit their blog.
  3. BlogLovin – is a website that is both a blog directory that you can search through and an easy blog reader. All of your favorite blogs can be gathered in one place, so it’s easy for you to see updates. You can also search through blogs registered with BlogLovin (there are many) by category.
  4. “Do Follow” Blogs – Do a Google search for “do follow” blogs. “Do follow” blogs are ones that allow the URL you post with your comment to be followed by Google’s spiders. Sharing your backlink with blogs that don’t have this function is still useful, but not nearly as much as “do follow” blogs.
  5. Friends/Community – Take a look at your favorite blogs. Chances are there is a list of that blogger’s favorite blogs on the sidebar. Browse through some of those. They will most likely be similar to the original blog that you liked, which can be great! You can also try asking your friends, blogging community, or social media groups what their favorite blogs are.

Where do you find blogs to comment on? Share in the comments!

How to Create a Domain Name for Your Blog That Drives Traffic

Choosing a domain name for your blog is one of the most important parts of starting your new venture. It’s a simple item, but it can affect your SEO, your branding, and your traffic for better or for worse. When it comes to blogs, there can be a lot more freedom in how creative you are with your domain than with businesses, but many of the same challenges apply.

Before you settle on your domain name, Darren Rowse of recommends considering your traffic sources. He names three sources of possible incoming traffic to your blog:

  1. Loyal Readers – As a new blogger, you probably don’t have any loyal readers yet, but let’s assume that this category also encompasses people who come to your website through typing in the exact URL. Your friends and family fall under this section, as well as any other sources of traffic that aren’t online (like business cards).
  2. Search Engines – This is where your SEO efforts come into play.
  3. Referral Traffic – Social media, backlinks, guest posting, RSS feeds, and email newsletters all fall into this category.

It’s important to recognize what your biggest sources of traffic will be. For many lifestyle bloggers, visitors come mainly from social media or loyal readers. For business blogs, search engine traffic will be vital. And all blogs want to foster loyal readers.

While there aren’t any hard and fast rules to picking the ideal domain name, there are a few guidelines that generally help new bloggers:

  1. Make your domain name the name of your “brand” or blog. It’s hard to go wrong with this concept: making your blog name and domain name the same can eliminate confusion and make your URL easy for visitors to remember. Of course, you might want to consider making your blog name optimal for SEO and gaining traffic if you decide to use it for your domain name as well.
  2. Use keywords. Putting a relevant keyword from your niche or industry is a great way to gather search traffic.
  3. Short and easy to remember is the way to go. If your visitors can remember your name and easily type it into their search bar, they’re more likely to return. When it comes to making a memorable domain name, you might decide to sacrifice keyword opportunities for branding ones. “Google” is the best example of this: “Google” is an easy, short, memorable word, though it doesn’t describe its function at all.
  4. Use your name. Personal bloggers may want to consider using their own name as their domain. It’s easy to remember and it establishes you as the expert. It also has the added bonus of making sure you have control over that domain before someone else snatches it up. However, be warned: using your own name does limit the possibility of adding multiple contributors to your blog in the future.
  5. Pick “.com” instead of other Top Level Domains. You have the option of picking other URL endings, like “.net” or “.org,” but “.com” is the most common. Other TLDs have different connotations to them, such as businesses or other institutions. And most importantly, your traffic is highly likely to search for “.com” rather than the correct URL – and you don’t want to miss out on any readers.
  6. Buy up all the other TLDs as well. Yes, “.com” is the best, but if you have “secret” domains, you can direct all traffic to your one blog. This way, competitors and spammers won’t buy up names that are too similar to yours and confuse potential readers.
  7. Avoid letters that confuse. This means letters that invite misspellings and get your traffic lost, such as duplicate letters or homophones that aren’t clear. You might want to avoid using “kar” instead of “car” or other creative spellings as well.
  8. Run a few choices by your friends and family first. Having another perspective will alert you to any problems your potential name might have.

Before you get your heart set on a domain name, make sure you search for it and make sure it isn’t already bought or in use. You can search for an active website by typing in the URL, or you can search for a purchased domain name with any domain registrar. Once you’ve decided on your final domain name, you can buy it through a domain registrar and pick your hosting!


Rowse, Darren. “Choosing the Domain Name for your Blog.” (25 April 2014).

“Tips and Tools to Pick the Best Domain for Your Blog.” (25 April 2014).

5 Reasons Why Businesses Need to Start a Blog

Business owners might be surprised that the number one method to boost your online presence recommended by SEO experts is starting a blog. Having a blog attached to your domain adds numerous benefits to your content marketing strategy, making your online presence more appealing to potential customers. It also makes you easier to find by improving your ranking on the SERPs. Here are the top five reasons why your business needs its own blog today:

  1. It boosts your SEO. A blog is another area on your website where you can insert keywords while avoiding keyword stuffing. You can write posts about your local area to help you optimize for local search, or write about your product so that your website will be found more easily for that specific item.
  2. It can help raise your conversion rates. There are lots of reasons why good blog posts can appeal to potential customers: it can put their minds at ease about products; it can demonstrate exactly how products might be useful in their personal circumstances; and it can humanize you and your company.
  3. It adds value to your social media posting. Posting consistent content to your various social media platforms is the best strategy – posting content that is valuable specifically to your audience is even better. Cut down on your marketing pleas and post some of your blog publications instead.
  4. It establishes your expertise. When your website has all the answers to your customer base’s questions, you come out looking like the ultimate expert in your field. Being able to answer all of your customer’s questions establishes trust in your product and services, which leads to increased revenue.
  5. It reaches customers where they are. Your audience is faced with advertisements on every corner of the Internet. They’ve learned how to ignore them. However, people have never been more open to reading blog posts as they are now. In fact, reading blogs has become a mini version of reading a novel before bed. Original, valuable content slips past your audience’s defenses against ads, making them more interested in your company and your product than through any other form of marketing.

For more tips on optimizing your business blog for specific keywords, read our post “Finding the Perfect Keywords to Optimize Your Blog.”


Stuart, Ellen. “Why Your Business Needs a Blog . . . Now.” (6 May 2014).

Rowse, Darren. “6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog.” (6 May 2014).

3 Guest Blogging Myths That Haven’t Died in 2015

You may have heard the rumors, but guest blogging isn’t dead.

Many successful bloggers continue to use it as a strategy to gain credibility and attention for their own sites and online marketers believe it’s here to stay. Floating misconceptions about guest blogging halted its popularity last year, but with the right intentions, it is still an effective marketing tool.

Late January of last year, Google engineer Matt Cutts declared on his blog that guest blogging was over. He later revised his statement, clarifying that he was referring to ‘spammy’ posts written solely for SEO purposes. However, his post still created a hesitancy toward guest blogging in general, resulting in a steady decline in what was once a growing practice just a few months earlier.

The timeline below details Google searches for the term “guest blogging” over time. It spiked when Cutts wrote his post, and you can see the decline still continues today.

Guest BloggingDoes this mean guest blogging isn’t as effective as it once was?

The answer is of course not – when used properly, guest blogging is just as effective today as it ever was. In Cutts’ revised statement he said:

“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

The reason guest blogging took such a hit in popularity is because many people were using it as a spam service or to get links for their own website. A rising number of spammers published generic or irrelevant guest posts to boost traffic and get links

To combat this problem and offer better search results to its users, Google updated its algorithm to weed out sites that misuse guest blogging. Joshua Steimle, CEO of the internet marketing agency MWI, wrote that he believes Google will only devalue low-quality posts that contain an abnormal amount of links and keyword-rich text.

If guest blogging isn’t good for SEO purposes, then how will it benefit my site?

 Guest blogging still offers plenty of benefits to publishers and writers, but only if they avoid reproducing the ‘spammy’ posts mentioned above. Links are still a valuable source of traffic, but that doesn’t mean your posts have to be full of them to work.

Marketing writer Louis Gudema was able to take his company’s website from being buried under millions of search results to being number one by guest blogging. He wrote for several authoritative sites and built connections with other site owners (and their followers), which generated a huge push of traffic to his site.

Guest blogging is a win-win scenario. For writers, it offers free publicity, added credibility, and social media shares from followers of sites that have a large following in your niche market. And with some editing and selectivity, site owners benefit from guest posts as they will have less to write each week and can easily curate diverse content for their blogs.

But won’t my site be penalized for guest blog posts on Google’s search rankings?

It’s a commonly held misconception, but Google has no intention of penalizing authors for gaining traffic from quality, original content they’ve written for a relevant site. However, it is possible for your site to be penalized if you’re writing for links or less-than-credible sites.

The easiest way to avoid being penalized is to stop thinking about how you can get links from other sites, and instead think of ways you could increase your website’s traffic through guest posts. More traffic will lead to more links in the long run, so don’t worry if your blog post is published with a “nofollow” link.

When asked about the role of guest blogging in 2015, founder Zac Johnson had this to say:

“If you are guest blogging on other sites, make sure the quality is there. Don’t worry about the link back, as you should always have a full author bio at the bottom of the post. Focus on article quality and always link to real resources and examples. Follow these tips and you will continue to see guest blogging be one of your best marketing and branding platforms.”

The Big Picture

Guest blogging isn’t dead, if anything it’s been revived. Guest posts will become more valuable in 2015 as they are chosen selectively by publishers, crafted by experts in their field, and are written for content rather than SEO purposes. If you want to increase your audience and outreach for your website, consider guest posting effectively. You can’t be punished for great original content, and your website will benefit from the added visibility of a site with a larger following.

We’d like to know your experience as a guest blogger – What did you learn from the experience? Any advice you’d like to share to fellow bloggers? Let us know in the comment section below!