Does Guest Posting Really Worth It?
What's the safest link building technique that Google hasn't killed yet?
You have guessed it right.
It is guest posting. But does it really worth the time and effort invested?
We will answer that question.
But before that, let's discuss why people guest post in the first place.
Most people guest post because they want to build links. There are some people who do it for having extra referral traffic or improving brand recognition etc. But generally speaking, people guest post because of the link love.
We know Google took massive action in the past against many websites for different reasons. Websites that have thin content, unnatural anchor texts, used PBN links are hit by different algorithmic updates.
We know Google updates its algorithm many times every year. If you wonder how many times it did in recent years, you can read my post about using PBNs.
I know a lot of people guest posting on other blogs. Hence, what I am going to discuss here can be a little controversial.
Let me tell you what is likely to happen in the near future?
At some point, Google will pull the trigger by taking webspam action against guest posting. Webspam team will be developing an algorithm to target people who do a lot of guest posting at scale to manipulate search engine rankings.
You may have been told guest posting is white hat link building only. You write a post and submit it to high authority sources like Huffington Post or Mashable.
It couldn't be any wrong, right?
If you have useful content that is relevant, submitting a few guest posts is fine.
However, if you do it to rank your mediocre content on top of the search results you are playing with fire.
Does guest posting really worth your time and effort?
Let's take a look at how the guest posting process usually is.
You need to start by finding websites that accept guest posts in your niche. Then you have to verify their domain authority to understand if they would worth your time.
Every website has different requirements. Some websites will ask you to provide a long-form of content (2000+ words) while others prefer a shorter copy with a lot of multimedia and relevant images.
You really need to spend your time to read and fully understand the entire guidelines of each website before even you pitch your headline. If you skip this step you will waste a lot of time.
Finding sites that accept guest posts, filtering them, reading their guidelines is a very time-consuming task.
Let's say you have decided to start with a few sites. What do you do next?
You need to pitch your ideas to those sites. Why do you need to do so?
Because most sites are not willing to review unsolicited content offers that are sent to their email box.
You wouldn't want to do that.
You need to write the perfect pitch that is effective but not used by many other people earlier.
You also need to check what type of content published on the website earlier. If you pitch an idea that is already published on the website, they are likely to say no or completely ignore your pitch.
If you do guest posts on other blogs you either write the content yourself or pay writers to do it for you.
Most high authority sites have very strict submission guidelines. They require you to provide very high-quality content, relevant images, researched data, etc.
If you would write the content yourself it would take you a day or two to craft a decent copy. It may even take a long time depending on your writing skills.
If you outsource writing to the writers, you will need to spend at least a few hundred dollars for a decent copy. Because most high-quality sites are likely to ignore content that is incongruent with their standards.
Unless you have writers that you have previously worked with, you have risks of having content from the writers that don't serve your goals.
It is not even all yet. There are additional time and money needed to publish your content.
You will submit your content, wait for feedback, maybe resubmit again after fixing certain issues before it gets published.
It usually takes a week to a month on average to publish a guest post from the day you start pitching your idea.
The process we have just discussed here is painful, and can really frustrate the most patient person. It will also break most people's budgets.
Here is the real problem lays down.
If you choose to submit guest posts on a scale, you should know your competitors also following a similar process to yours. You either need to spend more time or more money than they do.
You never know how many guest posts you need to publish before you rank for your keywords.
It is a vicious cycle, a game you can never win. Because there are always people faster, richer, or have more opportunities than you have.
You have to constantly find decent sites that will take your post, and you will keep writing for them. You have to write really good content and come up with new ideas because all sites want unique content.
You will be spending more time working on other people's blogs than you don't spend on your own website.
You may think less editorial restriction is better. Some websites have really picky editors. You may prefer working with sites that will just take whatever you will give them.
If they accept whatever you're giving them, they're likely to accept whatever the rest of the internet is throwing them. We all know what the rest of the internet looks like.
Then you think, maybe I should find websites that I can get a link only. Eventually, you slide down into the sort of black hat SEO territory.
You may have a big budget to scale and even automate it. You can use a team of outsourced writers, placement specialists, etc. You will scrape through the links from your competitors' link profiles and guest post everywhere your competitor posted.
Essentially you're moving to a dead-end street. The way there is no future after a certain point.
You may even see some results for a while. However, you don't know if these links are the things pushing your site forward.
So you keep building these links, then Bam!
You get hit by a Penguin or a guest posting algorithm or whatever Google comes with next.
You have to,
- contact with the sites to remove all these links
- disavow them
- send your reconsideration requests to Google
You may be out of the search results for a long time.
What have you done to your site?
What if you had taken all this effort and energy you invested in guest posting to build up the authority of your own site then people could start linking to you.
Here is one of the most frustrating things about guest posting many people don't see.
When you publish your content on someone else's blog, especially if it is good content, links are going to the site that published your content.
In return, that website will build more authority while having free content. They will get more visibility, and traffic using your content. That justifies the following saying.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
You will stay poor if you build authority for other people's websites.
You know where it all starts from. From the wrong assumption of “more links are always better”. It is not the case.
I have seen many sites with a handful, a few dozen great links outranking websites that have hundreds maybe sometimes thousands of links.
All links are not created equal, and we don't know what Google thinks about a specific link.
If you think the links matter more than all other ranking factors, like traffic and influence, and credibility. You are doing SEO whole wrong.
If I write a really great piece of content, I would put it on my own blog rather than posting it on someone else's website for a link. Because over time, more people will read it, retweet it, share it on Facebook.
By doing so, I am going to boost my sites' visibility that has secondary effects on my SEO, far better than just a link provides.
Does it mean you should quit guest posting altogether?
I didn't say that. You can strategically guest post on other websites for reasons primarily not for link building.
For example, guest posting can be a great way to reach a new audience. It can help you create a relationship with another organization through publishing content. Before building a formal partnership with another company, you can guest post with them to build the early stages of a relationship.
It can be particularly useful to find out if there is any kind of overlap between two organizations' audiences, such that you might want to build a deeper kind of relationship, maybe a sponsorship, an investment, a project, or a product together.
If you're going to publish some wonderful content on your site, even if you think it might do better on someone else's blog, you'll achieve better results in the long run.
Google's webspam team is going to be after sites that use guest posting techniques on a scale. We have heard it from Google representatives multiple times.
The question is only when Google will act, rather than if Google will act.
If you want to build your website on a sustainable foundation you need to stop trying to fool the search engine giant. You are likely to fail to achieve that. Sooner or later Google will slap websites that abused guest posting.
Finally, if you are asking me if the guest posting worth it?
It doesn't worth it. Because it is not sustainable to consistently create content for other blogs to earn a link. I have tried it and published guest posts on other blogs. However looking back, if I have spent the same time to improve my published content, or create new pieces of content, my site could perform much better.
Remember you shouldn't work for links, your content should attract links naturally. If you publish great content and do it consistently on a regular basis people will start to link to your site. It is the most sustainable way of building the authority of your website.