Webmasters and site owners should know by now how important it is to write guest posts and feature them on their site’s blog. Guest posting has been an effective means of link building and content marketing for several years now. However, the strategies for it and the effectiveness of these strategies have changed some as Google has continued to adjust the rules of the game over time.
Adapting to Google Hummingbird
Google recently changed its search engine algorithm with the release of Google Hummingbird. Contrary to some critics’ beliefs, this change did not come completely out of the blue. Google has been preparing site owners for the future by gradually updating its algorithm via Panda and Penguin. Panda and Penguin acted to flag and penalize more sites for spammy content or poor linking practices.
For some bloggers, the previous updates meant that they needed to change their ways and get on board with the new way Google was running the world. Continuing to work in the old style of blogging will simply not cut it with how Google is trying to improve its search engine results. Bloggers need to learn what Google wants to see in their posts and cater their writing to please the search engine giant.
The purpose of the Hummingbird update is giving users the exact information that they need. Google has been working toward understanding user intent so that the search results will give the answer to user questions. To do this, they are directing users toward using longer search questions instead of short, keyword phrases. Then Google wants to provide long, content rich answers for users.
With this change, the new Google algorithm rewards unique content, not re-hashed slop (not that it ever did reward this). You will want to focus on providing answers to questions that your audience might have. So the more tuned in to your audience, the better off you will be.
Writing Unique Content
Keep your content original and unique. Some might think that re-spinning a concept is an acceptable practice. Even if there are 500 articles out there about “10 Hottest Celebs,” every site wants to feature your post, right? Wrong. Especially with the way Google works now.
In the past, sure, some sites were happy with posting unoriginal content even though it could easily be found elsewhere on the web. They wanted people to see it on their blog instead of somewhere else. But since Google is looking for more specific and informative answers, an unoriginal idea won’t make your post any more popular or useful than anyone else’s.
Know what your audience wants to read… and then write it for them! Keep your topic relevant to their needs. If your specialty is web design and business, it doesn’t do you any good to venture off into the world of home improvement.
If you have even a small following of readers, you risk losing them by posting about information that they can’t relate to. You want to be reliable and consistent in what you publish. This will also help with your Google authorship. If you can establish yourself as a serious blogger, it makes your posts that much more legitimate.
If you want to include a self-promotional link in your article, first you should ensure that the site owner is OK with this. Then, the included link should read seamlessly like the rest of the post. Always make sure that whatever you link to will benefit your readers and is relevant to the site. Irrelevant or spammy links are a red flag to Google and they won’t hesitate to penalize you for it.
Hopefully as a blogger you have been practicing some of these good techniques already, but truly utilizing them will make your guest posts more effective and useful for you and the site that is posting it. Try to stay up to date on the Google game and go along with how they want your writing to improve and you won’t find yourself hurt by the system.