When the people at Google started working on the quality of the search results this engine provides, they always enforced one thing and one thing only – content quality. Now, this term is rather broad, it can be interpreted in so many ways and people all over the world started doing all sorts of crazy things in order to get their website on the first page. There were all sorts of spammy tactics; for example, keyword stuffing was one of them. In 2006 for instance, and a while before that, if you were a regular internet user, you have surely stumbled upon some websites that sold a particular product – a retailer’s website, let’s say someone who is selling property in Miami – and you found sentences like:
”If you are looking for real estate in Miami, we sell excellent real estate in Miami. If you take a look at Miami real estate, there is not much that Miami real estate cannot offer”
Utter nonsense. No information whatsoever. Right?
When the first Penguin rolled out in April 2012, it was Google’s way of telling you that, if you haven’t been following their updates and if you have been trying some sneaky, black-hat methods in order to sell something online – no dice! This update focused on content quality exactly.
You already know that Google understands what you ask it. For example, if you type: “When was the declaration of independence signed?”, you’ll get a great big answer displayed in the form of a date and a short description. This means that Google understood your question and answered it for you. Now, Google can use that knowledge when it crawls through your text on your site, and it can determine the quality of the information provided. That’s the shortest explanation.
So, after Penguin 2.0. Which officially went live in May 2013, everyone started turning to guest blogging and blogging in general. This update put an end to content spamming and it enforced a focus on quality content creation and distribution.
To explain, if you are selling something, you are bound to be an expert in that field. Then, why not open up a blog on your site where you can post articles closely related to your niche. These articles can be fun, exciting, you could share some of your secrets, ideas, you could share updates about your job, what’s new, what’s old – again, you are the expert. As such, you can also find some other blogs and webzines that are closely related to your niche, talk to their webmasters, set up an account and you can start writing on broader topics. From there, you can link back to your blog, to further explain something and, well, that’s it.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, if you take a look at what people have been doing since then, you can come to a conclusion that not everyone understands what they should be doing. People are creating accounts on tech blogs where they are linking to their grandmother’s vintage handworks on Etsy. Again, utter nonsense – to say the least.
So, how does one approach guest blogging in 2015 and beyond? The following text should give you a clear insight.
What makes a quality blog post nowadays?
A blog post, or an article – call it what you will – just like any literary piece, has to be a concise (unless you really want to write something abstract), meaning it has to have a beginning and an end, it has to have a topic that it circles around and, when someone finishes reading it, he or she should have a clear idea of the message you wanted to convey. Think of it this way – when you are talking to someone, you can monitor their reactions, you can use body language, facial expressions and so on. With a blog post, you have to do all this, but with words, photos, links and videos. It might sound hard, and it is hard, but once you get the hang of it, it is very fulfilling and this makes the whole writing process easy to swallow. Also, once you have about 10 or so articles on your blog, it will be easy to start guest blogging.
● Evergreen content
When thinking of a topic, try to think big. If you are a fashion store owner for example and you want to write something along the lines of “The sexiest outfits for this summer”, you can go a step further and write about how summer trends changed over the years. You can create a great big resource with loads of images, some of which can date back to even ancient times. It’s up to you, but the point is to create an ultimate resource. This is something that people will want to read in 2015, 2016 and in 2022. Also, you can always update that blog post, add something new here and there, and prolong it and so on. The best thing about a piece of evergreen content is the fact that you can link it anywhere. No one will ever blame you for it, since it is an ultimate resource.
● Quality design
Of course, just bulks of text won’t work. Your site has to have a certain tone in its design and each and every blog post should have a clearly designed heading, clear subtitles, a nice and readable font. It should have relevant imaging incorporated within the text. Let’s take infographics into concern, since they are a true representation of how to combine written content with cool images. Infographics have been becoming increasingly popular ever since people started using them and if you have the skills to create such a thing, you should definitely use it. Otherwise, you can always find some royalty free photos online. And, to top it off, you could embed some videos from YouTube – something that clearly explains the topic
Only when you have a stable base of quality posts on your blog – only then should you start guest blogging.
Before you start looking for places to guest post on, you should keep one thing in mind. The websites you should be looking for should be closely related to what you are doing. As mentioned above, this is preferable for many reasons the most important of which is the fact that the community on the blog you want to guest post will welcome you with open arms – since you actually have something to say. The people who will be reading your work there, when they click on the link leading to your site, and they encounter that ultimate, evergreen resource you created, they will surely stay a little while. The fact that they are staying on your site and reading your material only tells Google that you are to be trusted and that, if someone were to be pushed forward on SERPs, it should be you.
What Google thinks about guest blogging?
As far as the text itself is concerned, each blog you would like to contribute to has its own set of rules and guidelines and you have to follow these. Just make sure you go through your text once or twice after completion, since you will never write a perfectly correct piece of text in one sitting. Sometimes, you will have to wait at least 24 hours before proofreading, since if you do it the second you finish the text, you will certainly miss some errors.
When you encounter problems – Power through
After you finish writing your 50th article (or earlier) you are bound to run into the so called “writer’s block”. When this happens, you should kick back and do a little thinking. If you want to be successful, you constantly have to come up with new topics both for your blog and for guest blogging, therefore, you constantly have to keep up with the trends, do research and figure out what your readers would like to read next. If you cannot look at your keyboard any longer, perhaps you can outsource your writing to someone else, and you can focus on doing other things to improve your rankings. But, before you do that, try to power through. There is always a new angle to each story, you just have to find the right perspective.
And, to wrap up, if you are asking yourself, where keywords and anchor texts come into play – forget about those! Those are a thing of the past. When writing about a topic, a keyword that this topic revolves around is bound to appear enough times if you just write naturally.
After some time, you will start to notice that your inbox is full of messages filled with experts from all over the world, who are asking to post their stories on your site. When this happens, if content promotion is a game, you have beat the final boss. However, you don’t get to see Mario and the princess walking out into the sunset. To you, as a blogger, writer, entrepreneur, business owner, or whatever it is you are doing – this is just the beginning. Good luck.