Why Guest Blogging is Useless for Link Building

Filed as Features on June 22, 2010 5:41 pm

Guest posting NOT for linksThis is a guest post is by Ann Smarty, founder of a community of guest bloggers: My Blog Guest and first contribution as part of a new My Blog Guest – Splashpress Media partnership.

I used to be highly advocative of guest blogging as an effective link building strategy. I used to tell people that this way they could get a quality link back from a high-authority website for free. I used to say, these links (coming from high-quality content) are well-deserved and thus can’t be frowned upon by Google.

But now I wish I hadn’t said that.

Like many other things done online to promote yourself, the concept of guest blogging as the way to build links is being so much abused that it makes me shudder.

People go around spreading poor-quality content (even paying sometimes to get it posted on the blog) and call that “guest posting”. They send spam guest posting pitches and tell you they would “guest post for you for free” (never trust a spammer offering you anything for free. Spammers have nothing of value to offer!).

Now I am telling you: Don’t build links using guest posts. Forget about links.

Why Guest Posting Is NOT Effective for Building Links:

This is actually easy. Your effort spent creating a post and trying to get it published on a blog is going to be wasted:

  • Focusing on links, you are not going to create good content. Poor-quality content will be rejected by all decent blog owners (especially if they notice you are using them to build links. No one likes being used!);
  • You may still be able to get it published on a low-quality blog but the link will be worth nothing: the post will go in archive and you’ll see no value from your effort (no matter which aim you were pursuing).

I am sorry if I sound harsh. But I really feel pity for those who try to misinterpret the concept of guest blogging by using it in spam emails and offering it as link building service.

Your effort would be much better spent if you were just buying blog reviews and sponsored posts. You are saving your time and money then.

The problem is, by focusing on links, you are missing the real value of guest blogging.

So What Guest Blogging Is Actually Useful for Then?

Is guest blogging a time-waster then? Certainly not! But it is valuable only if you understand how things work!

  • You will only be able to drive value if you get your posts published at high-quality blogs with “real” active readership. Links from those blogs will give you much more than just “virtual” link and PageRank power:
    • They will drive actual followers to your site and promoters to your business.
    • They will “indirectly” result in dozens (maybe hundreds) of links from people who will be citing you, including your posts in round-ups and bookmarking your article at social media sites;
    • They will position you as expert and build your authority and brand awareness.
  • This is only possible if if you focus on quality of your posts, if you sincerely try to provide value and get people interested.

That being said, if a backlink is the only thing that really matters, guest posting is the least effective of all other link building tactics. It is not worth your time and money.

Only get engaged into guest posting if you are looking for more benefits, if you care about your brand and business image and if you want to reach out to targeted audience.

This is a guest post by Ann Smarty, the owner of My Blog Guest – the ethical community of guest bloggers. If you are serious about guest posting, join us!

Post image by hmerinomx

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  1. By Brian at Arctic Llama Freelance Writing posted on June 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm
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    I was going to say something snarky about do as I say not as I do, but then I read the article all the way through and have to admit that I have come to the same conclusions, although for different reasons.

    You are correct that you will spend much more time writing a guest post and finding someone to publish it than it will be worth. I disagree on the why.

    Unfortunately, Google’s algorithm is falling further behind those who try and manipulate it, and the so-called penalties and criteria used to determine search rankings are too easily overwhelmed by shear volume. Take the same amount of time you would have used for a guest post submission to create 30 links from ANYWHERE and you will come out ahead of having one link from a “high authority” website.

    That has been my experience, at least.

    Reply

  2. By Jacob maslow posted on June 23, 2010 at 2:54 am
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    All of my posts are high quality. I blog for the single link on the byline. Don’t worry too much about keywords or getting links within the content.

    Focus on providing value and being a good guest.

    Providing high quality content involves carefully editing and proof reading your content.

    I am proud of my recent postings.

    Further, I use my most recent posting as part of my resume when trying to get other links and exposure.

    Since many other bloggers do not take time to carefully edit and proof read their guest posts, mine stand out.

    I really respect anne, and understand where she is coming from.

    Many do not provide value. All link methods can be, and more frequently than not, abused.

    Half of all blogs in seo or other categories only have basic info another 20-25% is misinformation. Does that mean everyone should stop blogging?

    Over the long term, those that take their craft seriously and act responsibally will prosper.

    Further, like everything else it is not an either or. All link building requires time and effort.

    If you are doing guest posts that are high quality, you can promote it through link building.

    It enhances the page linking to your site and anyone going to that post is exposed to your seo philosophy or your product/service.

    Reply

  3. By Eric Gesinski posted on June 23, 2010 at 3:58 am
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    Ann – your post definitely got my attention. “Ann thinks guest blogging is useless for link building? What?” But your point is definitely a solid one – I’ve noticed many “guest” bloggers starting to post very generic content, in some cases material that isn’t worth reading at all.

    I think at the same time that this will help guest bloggers that DO try to provide quality information. It will weed out the quality blogs from those that accept any type of material. And if you run a blog – keeping the posts high quality will help all of your visitors, as well as the reputation of those whose posts get accepted.

    I know even article directories such as EzineArticles are starting to crack down on quality of content. It’s easy to write a cheap post that provides no new information or no quality information, but it’s much better for the readers when it’s a post worth reading.

    Speaking of which – great post, Ann.

    Reply

  4. By Marcus posted on June 23, 2010 at 11:09 am
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    Hi Ann,

    Are you referring to all posts that have an anchor text back link to a site, including those that may not be relevant?

    If i write for a blog that has a topic I am interested in, and create a quality piece of content, would it then be spam if i sign off in my Bio with an irrelevant single link?

    Marcus

    Reply

  5. By Ann Smarty posted on June 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm
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    Marcus, you are missing the point here. It is perfectly fine to link from your guest post to your site (especially if that makes it sense). But if links are the ONLY reason you guest blog – it makes your effort useless.

    I knew most people would never go beyond the title :)

    Reply

  6. By Wynne posted on June 24, 2010 at 12:09 am
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    Sounds like you are saying that we should add as much value or more value than we take from the site that we are guest blogging for. This sounds like good advice to me.

    I love teachings by Robert Cialdini – Influence the Science of Persuasion. The top point he made is that if you want to influence in a powerful way then you have to give, give, give, first and foremost.

    Also Frank Kern talks a lot about giving constant value when building email lists.

    When you here social media guru’s teach, they say to give valuable input into a community.

    I also belong to a local BNI (business networking chapter for small businesses), and they essentially promote the same things – “givers gain”… the most.

    So based on that if you were putting a back link in your guest post, then you would want to make sure the link added value to the post itself. If not then don’t put in the link.

    Reply

  7. By Marcus posted on June 24, 2010 at 9:43 am
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    Ann,

    I did read through this article, but the point I was trying to make is that nowhere in this article do you suggest that a link to your site (even if irrelevant) is OK if the content is good quality!

    What are your views on this?

    I still believe that Guest Blogging can be a good form of link building, as long as you are prepared to spend time creating something that is of good quality!

    Cheers :)

    Reply

  8. By KS Chen posted on June 25, 2010 at 10:57 pm
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    You are right! If guest post is just for link building, it will become useless. In my opinion, guest post is a great way for us to get exposure and build up the relationship among bloggers. I have submitted two guest post to one of my blogging buddy. I love this kind of healthy relationship that exist in blogosphere.

    Reply

  9. By Tia posted on June 26, 2010 at 8:39 am
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    I like this. I actually wrote a guest post for smartbloggerz about how the real reason guest posting works well is for connection (engagement). I wouldn’t use it for link building, personally, because it just takes too long. :) Instead, I consider it a you get what you give kind of thing. You give a lot, and get way more than just a back link.

    I don’t have time to do a lot of guest posting but I haven’t regretted any of the ones I’ve done thus far.

    Cheers,
    Tia

    Reply

    • By Nathaniell posted on July 6, 2013 at 2:07 am
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      I was going say something similar, but you beat me to it. I, as a post reader, rarely click someone’s because of a particular topic they wrote about. Much of it is about style and personality. Connecting to readers in this way is a much better way of garnering followers and attention online. I follow people, not posts!

      Reply

  10. By Dave posted on June 29, 2010 at 5:04 am
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    I think blog owners are at fault here as well, they want the content on their site and allow shady/spamish work to be posted on their site.

    Reply

    • By Shannon Hutcheson posted on July 4, 2013 at 10:18 am
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      I agree Dave! Many bloggers don’t know any better, or worse, don’t care. Accepting low quality “fluff” craptastic articles will not do a site any good.

      It’s like hand feeding the local wildlife, after a while they cannot or will not forage for themselves. You perpetuate the problem but continuing to do the “bad” thing.

      Reply

  11. By Mitch posted on June 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm
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    I’ve never thought about links when I was writing a guest post for someone when requested. What I’ve thought is that I have an opportunity to publicize myself to some folks who might have never heard of me before, thus I need to write something of quality. If people who write guest posts don’t walk in with that belief, they shouldn’t even think about doing it.

    Course, I’m also one of those folks who never asks anyone is I can write a guest post for them, though I will entertain it if someone asks me if they can write one for my blog.

    Reply

  12. By Gregory Burrus posted on June 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm
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    Hey Great post. Couldn’t figure out where you were going for a bit, but in the end it makes big sense. Agree it is about providing value first and links second.
    Thanks for guestblogging and sharing.
    Gregory Burrus

    Reply

  13. By Wil posted on July 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm
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    Agree across the board. We use guest blogging to build brand awareness for our website. Our hope is that the knowledge we have acquired over the years would be beneficial to others within our space. If the intent is to only acquire links then you may as well pack up and move on.

    Reply

  14. By wursti posted on July 15, 2010 at 7:16 am
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    I guess you are right, but still every link is worth it and it is really valuable when it comes from good blog. I am working on linkbuilding for the past couple of months and I can assure you that every link have effect on the ranking.

    I am using article marketing mainly, but when it comes to guest blogging I always write the articles on my own. I agree that there are always people trying to achieve high rankings in Google the easy way, but the truth is that guest blogging is valuable for those, who use it wisely.

    Reply

  15. By Nathan Davis posted on July 23, 2010 at 9:44 am
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    I agree that guest posts work for you only if you have good content. However, you mentioned, “I used to tell people that this way they could get a quality link back from a high-authority website for free… but now I wish I hadn’t said that.”
    I don’t feel you should take your advise back. It’s not just guest posts, but even posting articles on your own site or blog work only if it has quality and if people appreciate it. In http://blog.directorymaximizer.com/2010/07/23/matt-cutts-tips-on-link-building/, Matt Cutts has also mentioned tips that can get you natural links, apart from great content.

    Reply

  16. By Udegbunam Chukwudi posted on August 3, 2010 at 12:30 am
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    At some point bloggers who accept guest posts should have their eyes wide open as there are some skanky folks out there recycling guest posts :-(

    Reply

  17. By Arohan posted on August 4, 2010 at 6:48 am
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    I have always considered guest posting as a way of building relationship with the host blog and its audience, which, than you can leverage later on for legitimate links

    Reply

  18. By Al Sefati posted on August 13, 2010 at 6:18 pm
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    Very nicely put article. I agree with you fully. It seems Google is finally catching up with spammers and poor quality content or links coming from poor quality websites are most certainly not going so well with Google.

    Even Bing has stepped up their anti-spam filters are picking up poor quality links (yahoo still easily spammed but it won’t be around for long)

    Reply

  19. By Liz posted on August 24, 2010 at 7:06 pm
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    I guess I never really thought of guest posting as a means for getting links, guest posting can do so much more for you than build links.

    When I guest post I do it to help extend my reach. I do it to get in front of my targeted audience by giving them some of my insight and ideas. It gives me a great opportunity to really express myself and help others to know who I am. Ann is so right, guest posting is a valuable resource if you know how it works and how to use it. Nice Post Ann!

    Reply

  20. By Kathy posted on September 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm
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    I understand why everyone takes the approach that you take in regards to being against using guest posts for SEO. I don’t think that it really matters though. What matters is whether the material is well written, whether the sites linked out to are relevant and what the quality of the site is that is being linked to. Obviously spammers usually violate those basic rules by trying to get links to crap. If they took time to build decent 100% unique well written articles that linked to decent well written and reasonably monetized sites, then it wouldn’t have become such a huge deal.

    Reply

  21. By Mason posted on September 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm
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    I think Kathy it right… If you make it properly it benefits for both side.

    Reply

  22. By Tony posted on November 9, 2010 at 9:16 am
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    I would Say that at first when i started to read the post i was totally mad…
    Because Guest blogging is not about getting backlinks from other blogs, Yes it is a bonus, but posting your articles on small blogs is not Guest Blogging. It is Backlinking.

    Guest Blogging is posting Quality Articles to Blogs what have readers and get traffic from Google or other sources. And the link from that article is just a bonus. Creating Quality content can take time and is not easy. But it will pay you back really fast with the readers that article brings to your site.

    I would say that Guest blogging is the next step in article marketing, because most article directories are already used by people who post low quality articles as a mean to get backlinks. But with Guest blogging you have Niche blogs that has readers who are interested in the topic. And you can get these readers on to your blog with a really GOOD article. And you get a pretty good Bonus Backlink, it doesn’t matter if the blog has PR 0 or PR 5 because both of your blogs have relevant content and that link beats a link from irrelevant site anytime!

    Just my 5 cents.
    Thank you
    Tony

    Reply

  23. By Rich posted on November 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm
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    LOL sorry I just have to laugh at a guest blog post writing about how useless guest blogging is and ranking at the top of Google under “Guest Blogging and Link building”.

    The hypocritical irony is killing me.

    -Rich

    Reply

  24. By JustinDYHP posted on November 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm
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    I’ve found that in most cases your traffic will increase by a large margin on the first day of the guest posting due to backlinks. These are obviously inflated numbers. Not everyone will be dedicated readers of your blog. Though with every guest blog I’ve done, my site always manages to retain a handful of people who come back to our site on a daily basis after that original day. That has a lot to do with quality, like Ann said. I wouldn’t submit a blog to be guest posted that I wouldn’t consider posting on my own site. In fact I may even put more effort into my guest blogs because I’m trying to attract new readers and I want to make sure the hosting site is happy with the results.

    Reply

  25. By Joy posted on July 4, 2013 at 7:36 am
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    “But I really feel pity for those who try to misinterpret the concept of guest blogging by using it in spam emails and offering it as link building service.”

    yes I wanted to say this. Most blogger are selling links and adding low quality for a few bucks they don’t know a single update can throw their website into bin

    Do real blogging with high quality sites and content.

    and

    Make it Live forever [Don't give Google a chance to ban Guest Blogging BTW it is already on the way]

    Reply

  26. By Don Sturgill posted on November 12, 2013 at 10:32 am
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    Ann Smarty … you’re a prophet. Within a year of writing this, the rest of us found out the hard way: the “low hanging fruit” is sometimes full of worms.

    Reply

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