One by one, Google’s Penguin updates have effectively eliminated most backlink building opportunities that worked well a few years ago. Moreover, most spammy and poor quality link building techniques that were formerly ignored by Google now result in negative ranking penalties.
One viable opportunity for valid and natural link building appears to be guest blogging. With guest blogging, a guest author (presumably you) writes an article that is published on a related blog. Here is what Matt Cutts from Google has to say about guest blogging.
The key to making this work is to write a good quality article about a topic directly related to the site that you wish to link to. This cannot be a spun article or a rewritten article. The article must be unique and it should be a very high quality article that establishes you as an expert on this topic.
Most web sites that allow guest bloggers also allow you to either embed a single contextual link to a related site or you can place a link in an author’s bio. Make sure that you understand the rules before you send an article to a blog editor. If the article is very high quality and ranks well, the editor is likely to invite you back to write additional articles.
Here are some guidelines for posting guest articles.
- Always select a site for guest blogging that is directly related to the site you wish to link to. Avoid sites that contain a jumble of unrelated articles. Blogs with a mix of unrelated articles are frequently blog networks and most have been targeted by Google for penalties. Several have recently been de-indexed and banned from Google search results.
- The best sites to target are those that already rank well in Google for your chosen article topic. That means that Google already recognized that site as having at least some authority with respect to your topic.
- Try to write the best article on the web for your chosen topic. Position yourself as the expert on that topic. The article must be absolutely unique and should not be published anywhere else. Do not waste your time writing articles for “article directories” that freely syndicate articles to other websites. These types of directories have been hit hard by Google’s Panda updates because they consist mostly of poor quality information.
- As Matt Cutts mentions, each article needs to contain a minimum of 300 words. 500 words would be better. Do not write a minimalist article that barely covers a topic. It will never rank well. The article must focus on the details necessary to understand the issue or problem you are trying to resolve.
- Articles that focus on a problem area and offer viable solutions make good topics. Just make sure the solution is not already covered by thousands of other web sites and blogs. The most popular solutions are those that work well and are not found elsewhere.
- Offer to include images that support or enhance the topic. Never use free images from the web. You very likely do not have the rights to use these images, including images obtained from Google Images. Diagrams and images that you have created, or photos you have taken, work the best because they will be unique.
- Prepare a brief bio that positions you as an expert with respect to the article topic. Include awards, educational degrees and experience that justify your expert status.
So how do you find blogs that are looking for guest bloggers? The best way may be to look for blogs that already rank well for your chosen topic. If the site does not have contact information, that information may be found by looking up the domain registration using the WHOIS database at GoDaddy, Network Solutions or almost any domain registrar. The registration should give you an email address to use to contact the site owner. Don’t just send an article. Makes sure that you explain your value as a guest writer and wait for a response to see if the site owner is interested.