After the explosive online storm that followed Matt Cutt’s declaration that guest blogging was more or less dead, everybody who was anybody in the world of SEO had something to say on the subject. Most industry professionals concurred that any kind of blogging, guest or otherwise, is only as good as the quality of the content therein. Cutts was specifically addressing poorly written content that is more about backlinks than delivering a useful message, but many online marketers panicked nonetheless.
Here’s a hint: If your guest blogging is about sharing high quality information on a topic that is somehow related to the topic of the blog you’ve been invited to, you’re ok. In fact, you’re better than ok. For some reason, the internet marketing industry has attracted an unsavory underbelly of people who prefer gaming the system over delivering quality content to readers. They somehow think if they can manage to cheat Google or Facebook or whoever is making the calls this time around, actual humans won’t be able to tell the difference between useless drivel and substantive content.
What Guest Blogging Should Be
Call me old school, but I think if you read beyond Matt’s headline, you’ll find he’s right. What he’s talking about are randomly solicited, link-filled guest blogs that don’t add anything to the discussion. A blog entry should entertain and educate, or further a controversial subject, but a guest blog has to do more — it needs to bring a new perspective or idea to the table. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The true purpose of a guest post, the practical purpose, is to attract new readers to your blog. It’s like a first date or an audition — you show the people how clever and witty you are, you intrigue and delight them, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll visit your blog or social media site to find out more about you. It’s ok if you’ve got something for sale, provided you’re motivated beyond your call to action and give those readers something they want for free.
Good Guest Blogging Still Equals Sales
Guest blogging that is essentially link-filled spam is no different than keyword stuffing — both these practices are impractical, unethical and, if you’re worried about the long term, useless. I’ve never met someone who would click on a site that was full of garbage and stay long enough to bother to buy anything. Why these practices continue to proliferate online despite plenty of evidence that they don’t work is beyond me.
Clicks don’t equal sales, sales are the only things that equal sales. If the world was bought and sold in clicks, you’d see the keyword stuffers, the email spammers and the link over-sharers sinking the marketing companies who build reputations on quality content. That’s simply not the case, though. Google continues to help us all by weeding out useless garbage and elevating the divine content that brings understanding and answers common questions.
It’s not rocket science, it’s just bloggers helping people. If that blogger happens to know a lot about raincoats because it’s their business to know about raincoats, the people who read their guest blogs on websites about rainy weather can feel confident that the guest blogger will be there to answer any questions they have. The person builds a relationship with the blogger, they trust the blogger, and they go on to visit their website — RainCoatsRUs.com and find just the right coat for their needs.
None of this is difficult, and it’s the way that business has always been done. Trust equals sales, it’s as simple as that. We’re adrift in a sea of niche markets and the only way to prove you’re better than the next guy is to show off what you know about what you’ve got to sell. If you choose to do so through guest blogging go for it — the people out there will find your insight and experience useful as they navigate this vast sea of information.