Guest Blogging vs. Guest Contributions

Guest blogging is dead. Alternative to guest blogging.

The fall of article spinning and content submission to sites such as ezinearticles.com and submityourarticle.com as a link building tactic lead to the rise in guest blogging (or guest posting) – the act of reaching out to bloggers with content to host on their blog which is still seen as a legitimate way to build links throughout the SEO community despite the claims that “guest blogging is DEAD”. However, with prominence of guest blogging still growing and the same spammy mindsets lingering from article submissions of old, alarm bells are ringing with Google.

Check out these two videos by Matt Cutts:

Google’s view on guest blogging The dangers of spammy guest blogging

What I want to talk about today is an idea that not only helps you avoid falling into the murky grey waters of questionable guest blogging but one that can help improve the web as a whole – thus mirroring Google’s ultimate aspirations. This idea is guest contributions.

Unlike guest blogging, where an article in its entirety is submitted in the hope that the target blogger will upload it to their stream as a brand new page, guest contributing involves building upon existing content and making it better, ensuring its longevity and popularity whilst still obtaining that all-important link.

Guest blogging often suffers from two problems. Either posts don’t have the chance to obtain a thorough readership, as it soon gets buried under newer content and therefore not accruing the direct links, shares and page authority it deserves OR they simply don’t have the quality or originality to attract these rewards. So if you have links on a guest post that suffers either of these outcomes, Google isn’t going to value your links very highly.

So what about contributing something that adds value to an already-great piece of content with an established page authority and readership? For example, Rhea Drysdale at Outspoken Media and Alex Czartoryski at Fresh Air Educators contributed a filtering functionality for Jon Cooper’s amazing “Link Building Strategies” compendium which Jon has duly credited them with a link. To date this resource has a page authority of 60, links from 232 separate domains, 535 Facebook Likes, 1366 Tweets and 642 +1’s – all of this amounts to a helluva juicy link for Rhea and Alex!

The web is saturated with crap content with thousands of extra pages being churned out daily, often rehashes of what already exists. The vast majority of this content will fall by the wayside, lucky to get a couple of views a week. The top content that actually enriches the web-user’s experience is where we should be investing time producing, or adding value to…why not make good content great?

Contributing to existing content rather than starting from scratch means more time refining and less time on padding out, researching, editing, uploading etc that really takes a bite out of your day. Like guest blogging, this is a win-win situation but on turbo-charge. Contributors can reap the rewards of the authority a content piece has accrued which can potentially grow as a result of the contribution. Needless to say, the content owner gets a hall-of-fame worthy boost with no added work on their part.

The visual content revolution is here. With much of the content produced today being text based there are plenty of opportunities to contribute in the form of images, graphics and video. Perhaps your target blogger is a dab-hand at prose but lacks artistic or video production skills. The argument for including visually appealing and engaging content is strong and could be the perfect way in. Nail this and it could also be the start of an amazing on-going relationship.

Finally I will leave you with this – My three top tips when it comes to guest blogging/contributing:

Three

Flattery gets you everywhere. Can you cite the webmaster’s own existing blogs and content within your article? By linking or mentioning content they have produced, you are not only showing that you have researched, read and enjoyed their own content but you are nominating them as a credible source and appealing to their ego.

Two

What can you offer to sweeten the deal? With more and more webmasters realising their blog’s monetary potential, many will be reluctant to accept content for free. Often overlooking the fact that awesome content in itself will help them attract more traffic and better search engine visibility in the long run and therefore should be graciously received, they know that a link to your website is worth a lot to you and dollar signs will appear in their eyes. Consider presenting them with alternative favours to close the deal such as:

  • Promoting their blog on your social media channels
  • The opportunity to guest post on your own blog
  •  Offer to write a second article on a topic of their choice, sans links
  • Use your imagination and strengths to think of other mutually-beneficial bargaining chips

…And my number one tip if considering contributing to another person’s blog or website is to consider your own site’s reputation:

  • How does the quality of content you are producing reflect your business? Would you be proud of it if a potential customer were to read it?
  • When selecting potential blogs/sites to guest post on, how do these mirror your message and relate to your target market? Would you want to be associated with blogs/websites willing to accept crap content?
  • Lastly, make sure that YOUR website is worth linking to. Your success rate in getting bloggers to accept submissions involving back-links will increase if links are pointing back to a reputable business and lovable content.

Looking for opportunities? Search Google: “guest post guidelines” + keyword(s).
Good luck.

 

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Rick Eliason

Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

Rick is Reload's most senior SEO expert, and started his digital marketing journey way back in 2007 as an in-house online marketing executive. Now with over three years under his belt at Reload Digital, he handles search and conversion campaigns for a wide range of clients from e-commerce and start-ups to large service-based businesses and not-for-profits.