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The Do’s and Don’ts to Guest Posting

Guest posting has been a successful link building method for several years and it’s more popular now than ever before. In search of a link building technique that offered less risk, most SEO’s took a closer look at guest posting after Google’s first Penguin update in 2012. Now that Penguin 2.0 has hit, more people are jumping on the guest posting band wagon.

Similar to other content creating and link building approaches, guest posting is all about quality and relevancy. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, says guest posting is good practice as long as it involves producing high quality content for relevant websites.

Guest posting is a great way for writers to build up their reputation and gain authority on a subject. It’s also an opportunity for webmasters to post fresh content from new authors for their audience. However there are a few do’s and don’ts that accompany guest posting if you wish to be successful at it and avoid penalties from Google:

Relevance is still key – There is no way to escape relevancy since Google’s first Panda update in 2011. When searching for websites to write guest posts for, do be very selective. It’s vital that every site you publish content on is relevant to your site. Don’t send guest posts to the first 5 sites you find without investigating their content. If you take the time to find relevant and quality sites, the time you spend on guest posting will go that much farther.

Establish a relationship – Unlike blog commenting and some other link building techniques, guest posting is all about making relationships. It requires direct contact with the webmaster – often in the form of an email. It’s important that you do some investigative research on their site and tailor your email so it specifically speaks to them. Possibly explain why you’re attracted to their site and your reason for contacting them.

Don’t develop a template that you send to every webmaster. Sending an email that simply reads, “Hey would you accept this guest post for your site?” is not enough and will likely be seen as spam by anyone reading it. Webmasters today get guest posting submissions all the time and you want yours to stand out against the rest.

Follow their rules – Most sites that accept posts from contributing authors have guidelines that must be followed. It’s your job to do the research and review them carefully. Don’t send content to a site that has guest posting guidelines without reading them first. If your content doesn’t meet their criteria the first time, you have little chance of saving the relationship.

Write quality posts – If you want any chance at all of having your content published, do write high quality posts. Remember you’re trying to satisfy the site administrator as well as Google. Webmasters are generally picky about the content that goes on their site and this is especially true when it’s from a contributing author.

Don’t write content that isn’t unique and may be duplicated elsewhere on the internet. A lot of webmasters use Copyscape and other programs to make sure the content they receive doesn’t exist anywhere else. If your content is found to be duplicated or even similar to preexisting content, your relationship with that webmaster may be over before it begins.

Make your posts useful – Webmasters want to post content that their readers can use. Writing “how to” articles and posts about “tips” are popular among webmasters and it’s something you should do. Keep in mind the length of your content is also important. Spend the time to write articles that are 500 words or longer. Don’t write the bare minimum and submit an article that is around 300 words. It says you’re spending just enough time to do the minimum and webmasters will take notice.

Have a good site of your own – Guest posting is very difficult to do successfully if you don’t have a quality site of your own – that is if you’re trying to gain a backlink out of it. Webmasters will be hesitant to publish content if you’re trying to link back to a site that isn’t relevant or seen as quality. Do your best to make it presentable. Don’t rely on your email and content alone to make the relationship. Webmasters want to have relationships with other quality sites and inspecting your site is one of the few ways they can judge who you are.