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We try to keep up on the latest news in SEO, and we can tell you it is a full-time job.

Fortunately, it's also interesting (to us at least) since there's SO much happening. One of the items on the SEO world's radar these days in "guest blogging."

To clarify, guest blogging has been around for a long time, and the only reason it's on people's radar again is, because like all SEO techniques, people abuse it.

And when that happens it makes it hard for the companies who aren't abusing it, to adapt. Especially since the ones doing it right and honorably aren't trying to game the system.

Unfortunately, it seems Google's SEO rules have to apply to the lowest common denominator, which are the folks trying to cheat Google's system. Jason DeMers quoted Matt Cutts from Google, who said this classic line regarding why Google has to keep changing their algorithms based on those trying to cheat. He said "This is why we can't have anything nice in SEO!"

Here are some highlights from some recent blogs posts on Search Engine Journal (one of our favorite websites about SEO) about guest blogging. And it relates to what we have been saying over the past year about the difference between good back links and bad back links.

Guest Blogging for back links

Submitting blogs to social media and other websites is all about getting the word out about your expertise on a given topic. If people read it and like it, they'll reach out to you for more information. With that in mind, you can either have a back link to your website in the bio of the blog, or just the name of your company. Either way, someone can find you, but the back link, also counts towards your Google rankings. Especially if people click on it.

So one question asked by Jason DeMers (and one you should ask whomever guest blogs for you) is: Would you submit this blog if you couldn't get a back link? Assuming the answer is yes, then the guest blogger in question has honorable motives.

You're judged by those you hang with

Just like you wouldn't want to be associated with shady companies or characters, your blogging should follow those same rules:

  • Accepting a guest blog: Is the individual or company you're accepting a guest blog from someone you know and/or trust? Are you familiar with their expertise in their industry? Do they know WTF they're talking about? If not, their article can be a bad reflection on you and your website.
  • Posting a guest blog: Google's current perspective is, if you post to a website than anyone can post to (ie: eZine.com) then there's no real SEO juice associated to that post from Google's algorithms. But if you post to a forum or other website that has a good reputation, it counts much more in your favor. Especially if your article is good enough to actually get clicks from that back link to your website.
  • Accepting an open invitation to guest blog should raise suspicions if that website doesn't closely align with your website subject matter. Make sure those website are legit and are not lame article directories. Those websites should be moderated so only the better articles appear.
  • Only submit or post original articles (though this should go without saying).
  • Give it a unique angle. If you research other articles to create one of your own, look at it from a different perspective than the articles used in your research. 

Doing it for the right reasons

Some people say you shouldn't guest blog ONLY for back links. That you should do it for the reason to educate those who want to learn from your expertise.

Perhaps they are more honorable than us, Or have more time on their hands. We like to get the double benefit of educating and helping our own rankings.

But blogging also benefits us: we find when we write an article about a topic, it helps us better understand it. It gives us uninterrupted time to focus on a topic and puts it into the words we use and understand. By doing that, when we want to address that topic down the road, we have the background and research to know what we're talking about.

Should you want to work with a Columbus web design firm who keeps up on SEO and SEM, we would love to have that conversation.