Everybody knows that building authority with Google requires two things: content and backlinks. While Google’s algorithm has changed drastically in how it calculates those metrics, the importance of content and backlinks have remained the same since Google’s inception.
The thing that has changed is now Google looks very closely at the quality of the content and authority of the backlinks. If you are publishing content that is resonating with your audience, (i.e. has low bounce rates and high session durations) Google will reward your article or post with a higher SERP for the target keyword. On the other hand, if users are quick to leave your site and not a lot of them come back, that can be a signal to Google of poor content.
The same type of methodology applies to how Google views backlinks. While it is good to have a lot of backlinks, it will not do your site any good if the other site has no authority in Google. You want to get backlinks from sites with an established reputation that already have hundreds or thousands of links pointing to their pages, that is what builds trust with Google.
So, how do you accomplish both of these? Well for many marketers and small business owners, the answer for a long time has been to publish articles on their own blogs and pursue a guest posting strategy on industry-related blogs. In this article, we will look at ways to engage both practices and optimize them for the best results.
Content for Your Blog
The content that you publish on your blog is crucial to the success of your SEO strategy. Articles are a great way to optimize your website for those long-tail keywords you might not have been able to fit on your homepage. The impact of blogging on your search metrics is influenced primarily by:
- The keywords of the content
- The user metrics associated with the content (Is there a high-bounce rate? Are users returning to the site?)
- The backlinks pointing to your article (not your homepage, important for link diversification)
First, you will need to optimize your article for the keywords you wish to rank for. It does you no good to publish a gardening article if you are trying to target the keyword “garage doors.” Doing some keyword research before jumping into writing can help guide you in the proper direction. It will help you avoid topics that have been covered to death (i.e. have very high competition). Keep in mind that the days of keyword stuffing are long gone. Your article needs to appear natural and your keyword density needs to not be too overbearing.
Second, you will need to optimize your content for the highest possible engagement from readers. Google considers many metrics when ranking webpages, especially blog posts. If your blog is experiencing a high bounce rate, consider investing in a heatmap service like CrazyEgg that might be able to provide insight into where most of your readers are jumping ship. To increase engagement from readers, you can also consider adding images, embedding videos, or posting graphs and metrics. Do not be afraid to change your post after it has been published, optimization is key.
The last aspect to consider is completely off-site: the backlinks pointing to your article. These are important for a multitude of purpose. First, you will need them to achieve better link diversification. The last thing you want is for all the backlinks to be pointing at your domain name. Second, these links establish credibility in Google. They show that people are talking about your content and referring to it. And third, as your article gets backlinks and authority in Google, you can use this page to link to other articles and pass on some of that sweet link juice.
Content for Guest Posting
Guest posting is a great, proven way to increase your backlinks and get some SERP movement in Google. The great thing about guest posting is that many sites are looking for content that they can share with their readers. It provides the website with a free article in exchange for a couple backlinks to your site.
There are many sources available online to help you find guest posting opportunities in your niche. The one thing all the websites will be looking for is quality content. Do not think that you can slap together just any article and hope it gets accepted. Most of the time, that is not going to be the case. After all, the blog you are posting to does not want to lose any readership to poor content that they didn’t create.
Not all guest posting opportunities are created equal though. Every site that you guest post to will have different promotional strategies. And you should pay attention to them. The best opportunities will be from blogs that post regularly to a highly-engaged social media following or e-mail list. Many of the blogs that you are considering publishing to will also syndicate their content to other websites. When considering your prospects for guest posting, you should consider how syndication might impact your site’s performance.
What All This Means to You
The takeaway lesson from this article is that a lot of SEO can be achieved through content. Posting on your blog helps to:
- attract recurring visitors to your site,
- improve your ranking for long-tail keywords,
- gain backlinks to your content and website
Guest posting, on the other hand, is a more off-site approach to search engine optimization. If taken on correctly, it will help you quickly gain a lot of links from reputable blogs in your industry. Not to mention all the potential visitors that will flock to your site from the third-party blog.
Both tactics will show Google that your site is authoritative and will rank you faster with fewer links.
What have your experiences been with guest posting and running your own blog? Have you seen a lot of long-tail keyword movement after posting? Let us know in the comment section below!