Guest blogging for SEO purposes started its downfall recently, especially with Google penalizing MyBlogGuest, and before that it was Google finding and penalizing advertorials. And before that, it was paid links in general. It’s not that Google’s against those advertising vehicles, it’s that they don’t want SEOs and website owners manipulating their algorithm, gaming the system so to speak, and “buying links that pass PageRank“. And now, if it’s paid, we all know that it’s not just Google’s problem: the United States FTC has also spoken up.
So, what’s the next best thing to guest blogging? What are the alternatives if you don’t want to participate in Guest Blogging? There are lots of them, but I decided to pick three that I really like right now. These aren’t necessarily in order of importance.
Alternative One: Paid Media
Generate content, great content. Write an article, publish a study, do some research that no one else in your industry is going to do. Something that shows or proves that something does or does not work. The publish the results. If the results are like to said thought they were going to be, then great. Publish it. If not, then publish it. Either way, you’ll have content on your site that you’ll be able to promote.
Once you’ve published the content on your site, you can collect leads using it. Publish the data in a .PDF and then provide a useful amount of the results: let people pay for the full report or ask them to fill out a contact form to download. Or, just give it all away for free, and let the publicity from it naturally garner you fresh, natural, organic links to your website.
Use Paid Media to get the content noticed. A PPC ad is great, but also Twitter and Facebook ads will help really well.
You can also use sites like Outbrain.com to push traffic directly to your content. Outbrain.com traffic can convert really well as long as you have well-written headlines.
Alternative Two: Media Outreach
Start becoming your own PR (public relations) person and start pitching to the media. Create a list of 10 possible article ideas, come up with your own summaries for each, and narrow down the list to the best one or two. Start pitching those articles directly to the press, media, journalists, reporters. Before you pitch a story idea, ask yourself, “why do I care?”. Many journalists will ask themselves this same question when reading your pitch: if you cannot answer it properly, then go onto another article idea.
Use sites like PitchBox.com to find media outlets and sites that are on-target for your possible story idea.
Another alternative, which is not as proactive, though, is to use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to answer their queries when they need a contact or to interview someone.
Alternative Three: Guest Authorship
A third alternative, which is much closer to Guest Blogging but safer (as of right now), is Guest Authorship. You can create great content on your site, place it on your site, and get a guest author, someone who has verified Google Authorship, to author the article or content that’s on your website. If the author is well known and has enough social media friends and followers, they will naturally get “their own” content promoted, driving traffic to your site. The jury is still out as of this post, but Google is working on AuthorRank or something similar to it, rewarding certain authors’ content where it appears on sites.
One option is to reach out directly to the thought leaders in your industry and ask them to guest author an article or content on your blog or website. An alternative is to use a service like AuthPost, which connects you to those who have verified authorship and have a good following on social media sites. Authors who have a good social media presence can apply to be an approved AuthPost author. Links in all the content are typically nofollowed and comply with all FTC and Google Webmaster Guidelines. The idea being that the traffic gained and the overall Author’s notoriety is worth something: and as Google leans more towards notable authors in the organic search results, there will be some value there, as well. And as a disclaimer, I founded the AuthPost.com service. UPDATE: Since Google has removed Google Authorship, AuthPost no longer exists.
So, even though guest blogging has been declared dead several times and then others have said guest blogging is not dead, well, with these three alternatives, there shouldn’t be any issues with penalties or manual actions from Google.