Danny Wong on Search Engine Journal has posted (a guest post at that) 5 reasons why we shouldn’t use guest posts as part of our link building strategies. His five reasons are fair enough, however, I believe there is a counter argument to each reason.
If you look at them one by one:
Expertise vs. True Relevance
Guest posts don’t prove any real expertise or offer true relevance unless you are writing guest posts on highly relevant sites and the guest post itself is relevant to both your site and the host site. Bridge posts – that is, posts that bridge the gap between the two sites work well. However, relevance is the key.
Website Semantic Irrelevance
Danny Wong offered the example of an SEO post linking back to a men’s clothing site. Obviously, there is no relevance, not even a loose relevance. But then, why write a guest post on a site that is not relevant to your niche? The idea of a guest post is to provide some link juice and to deliver relevant traffic–relevant traffic will only really come from a relevant website.
Page Semantic Irrelevance
The argument here is that keywords in the post are not always optimised for the keywords you want to rank on. Since you are writing the post yourself, you can optimise for your keywords, if you haven’t then it’s poor writing on your part.
It’s a Cheap Tactic
And what is wrong with cheap? Cheap doesn’t mean anything. In fact, most link building tactics could be considered ‘cheap’. Does Google see this as a cheap link building tactic? I think Google looks at content (quality) and relevance. Sure, that SEO post linking to men’s clothing will score low on relevance, however, link that post to an SEO site and relevance jumps.
Duplicate Content Complications
Duplicate content is not that big an issue, especially if you are only looking at the resource box at the end of the post. However, as Danny points out, this can easily be rewritten for each guest post written.
Danny does go on and suggest that guest posting does have positives and does deliver some value. To increase the SEO value of guest posting, the answer is fairly simple. Write high quality content that you only post on websites that are relevant to your own. You will gain a little link juice, a flow of traffic, and a reputation for being an authority. There is more to guest posting than just link building.