Let me start by saying that as much guest posting and blogging craze that there is all over the web, I’m not real big on guest posts and blogs, period.
I’ll tell you why, but first a customer story.
If only I could rank #1 on page one of Google…
This long time customer once had stellar SEO rankings for multiple money keywords and long tail keywords in their industry.
For years, they owned search rankings with well-optimized pages and website in general.
In fact, this customer ranked so well across search engines that they didn’t have to participate in pay-per-click advertising although it would have been a benefit.
That all came to end after experiencing two failed SEO efforts and relationships with other companies.
In truth, all this customer wanted was establish their web presence as the number one spot in search rankings.
But is this not what we all want for our websites?
We all want our websites to rank for the big money keywords, and be in the number one position across search engines.
Nobody in their right mind would raise their hand and say otherwise.
But the catch in this story is that the customer was already ranking on the first page across search engines.
In most cases, the customer’s website ranked in position 4 on average for most keywords and receiving moderate traffic.
That was not enough to be satisfied, they wanted and craved for the holy grail position for all of their keywords.
They figured if they could do more SEO, they could control the number one position and this would somehow exponentially change the financial outcome of their business.
But is this really a realistic expectation?
They soon found out, hiring and experiencing 2 SEO companies.
One SEO firm we know and can prove participated in buying links and deceptive content placement that caused duplicate content.
The second SEO firm, not as advanced in their SEO knowledge, should have never been considered to begin with as they were suited for only handling SEO for new website launches.
Nevertheless, the short of the story between the two firms is that both firms cost this customer in rankings not applying sound SEO.
But I blame all parties because the customer enabled and empowered both firms lusting after greater search ranking positions for their keywords.
And so their website fell from the good graces of being highly favored in Google. But the story doesn’t stop there.
To make matters worse, a less than stellar website redesign was performed by a company’s who core competency was not SEO.
They nailed the design and visual presentation portion of the website, but totally missed the mark on architecture and SEO.
I make mention of this because this design company’s decisions as it pertains to website architecture and SEO generated even more problems with the website, sinking their rankings even more.
Now for all of this, there is enough blame to go around and some for all parties involved.
Not too long after launching their newly redesigned website, I was tapped to figure out this SEO quagmire by way of performing a SEO audit.
Since that initial audit, we’ve landed on every SEO landmine imaginable, a list too long to speak of (rather future blog posts of what not do).
Why is my content marketing not working?
Now fast forward to the current day, where I have now rebuilt and architected a search-safe, CMS-based website, the customer and I arrive at whether their content marketing strategy is working or not.
Truth be told, it’s hard to tell whether or not a content marketing strategy is effective when one has massive changes being made to one’s website constantly as this customer did.
Not to mention that content marketing strategies take time, meaning more than hours, days, weeks and months before results are evident.
In the case of this customer and their content marketing strategy, they are posting service-based content as opposed to industry-related content.
What I mean by that statement is the customer tends to focus on content that is salesy as opposed to writing content that engages customers.
This customer writes about what they want to write about as opposed to solving customer challenges and problems in a manner that is most beneficial for the customer.
In this case as it is with all who write content, it’s all a matter of content tone.
It’s quite a challenge to expect for content written with a sales tone to be shared, liked, and re/tweeted. Everyone should know that no one likes to be sold.
So in frustration that they are not receiving likes, shares, reposts, tweets and so on, they questioned whether they should start guest posting and blogging.
Considering guest posts or blogs as a sound content marketing strategy
What a loaded statement and heading for the section of content that is interesting to say the least and can be answered in a multitude of ways.
But the customer asked me, “Should I consider guest posts or blogs as a part of my content marketing strategy to increase search rankings?”
Based on this customer, knowing they take what I say to its literal meaning, I knew saying yes could put us on the path of SEO destruction as they had found themselves on with the previous companies.
Not to mention that deliberately trying to manipulate SEO for the sake of ranking higher across search engines is categorized as deceptive and black-hat SEO.
So I answered with a “Yes, and” approach. I simply stated that anyone willing to generate content, whether good, bad, or ugly, could guest post and blog.
That is the truth because anyone can do it.
I see people guest posting and blogging all the time.
Now I’m saying they are effective in doing so, but they do it. And this is where problems can arise.
For instance, if you are deliberately taking content which lives on your website and placing on other websites, then you are creating duplicate content issues for yourself.
I know this can happen with people scraping websites, but no one should deliberately be reposting their premier content, or any other content on external websites on than their own.
Then there is the case of why you are guest posting and blogging in the first place.
Some only guest blog with the intent of garnering a link from a reputable website with high page and domain authority.
So you ask what is the harm in this?
Well for one, you’re missing the greatest opportunity to gain new readership and customers.
Most people generating guest posting and blogging content for the sole purpose of increasing their backlink profiles don’t generate thought-provoking engagement.
And because of this, their content tends to be stitched together by unrelated copy and pasted topics that are overly salesy, keyword-laden and intense on links if they can get away with it.
This type of content does not lead readers to want to participate by way of commenting or even sharing the content with masses via social media networks.
Readers see through this type of unauthentic content as well as search engines.
And to some extent, my belief is that guest posting and blogging has gone on wild with people creating content for the sake of receiving top-level domain and internal page links.
And this leads to why I suggested to the customer that I don’t think they should go around peddling their content to anyone willing to post it and vice versa.
Why guest posts and blogs can be a slippery slope
Although I don’t guest post and blog, I do believe that guest posts and blogs have their place. I strongly believe in creating content for industry-related websites, but stress that you own your premier content.
Why write premier content for some other website to earn all of the SEO credit?
You shouldn’t do this and it can become a slippery slope when you do, causing your website to lose ranking, page authority and domain authority.
When guest posting and blogging, the content that you write should be unique, original and compelling, but shouldn’t tell the entire story.
Content should only be compelling to the point of enticing the reader to leave a comment, share the content with masses via social media, or click a link in an effort to find out more about the author or subject matter.
And if you’re not writing guest post and blog content like this, then I consider the content to be as worthless as re-gifting your junk to someone else.
It’s a clever idea for the giver, that is, until you’re the receiver of the re-gifted gift that keeps giving. What do I mean by keeps giving, you ask?
In the case of re-gifted content used in guest posts and blogs, I believe Google will have an algorithm within the next 6 to 12 months to bring guest posting and blogging back into SEO moderation.
So yes, today guest posts and blogs are considered to be white-hat SEO.
However, tomorrow guest posts and blogs could easily be considered black-hat SEO if Google thinks the masses are deliberately using either or both to manipulate SEO search rankings.
And for this very reason, I’ve opted out of using guest posts and blogs as a part of my content marketing strategy.
Now this doesn’t mean that I would not love to have a guest post or blog appearance on SearchEngineJournal.com, SearchEngineLand.com or Moz.com, but I’m definitely not going to focus on those that are less than the titans in the industry.