A Year without Guest Blogging

by Jason Acidre on January 14, 2014 · 30 comments · Content, Search


First off, sorry for the misleading title, because it’s not entirely true, since I’ve published 3 guest blog posts last year (2 for Moz and 1 for Hit Reach).

overall traffic

I’m not saying that guest blogging doesn’t work, because it really does (when getting published on the right places)!

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Although, I’ve handled other sites last year that didn’t really rely on guest blogging (as a link building and traffic generation method) – you can see the full case study here.

case study

Guest blogging, as a marketing method, can add so much value to a campaign. Some of the factors that make it a very tempting process to be integrated to any type of online marketing campaign (when done right) are:

  • It helps you build relationships with other content publishers.
  • It can build brand exposure and improve site discovery, especially if you’re getting published on popular websites in your space that are capable of ranking for keywords that you’re also targeting (which often creates a traffic funnel that can consistently refer visitors back to your site).
  • It allows you to build links (signals) that can help better shape web entities (as well as authorship) and improve domain authority (which eventually impacts a site’s search ranking ability).

The benefits of being active on guest blogging sounds really good, but the reality is many are relying and focusing so much on it, and tend to forget the other important aspects of marketing a business over the web.

A guest blogging campaign involves a very exhausting process – such as prospecting, outreach, content development and tracking – in which most of the available resources are more often than not invested in to these efforts, just because everyone’s overdoing it.

If 50% or more of your current marketing activities are put into guest blogging, then you might want to rethink your campaign this year.

Internally, my focus for this year (on marketing my own sites as well as some of our clients’ sites) will only revolve around 3 simple processes:

  • Technical SEO
  • Content development and promotion
  • Taking advantage of existing (and proven effective) traffic sources (through Analytics data)

Continuous content development

As I’ve mentioned on my post on Moz a month ago, content development has been the driving force of my entire campaign last year. And it has proven itself to be very effective.

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One of my clients’ has been very successful with this approach as well, wherein he didn’t even bother building new links to his website after the first 3 months of full-scale on-site optimization we did for his website.

He just focused on consistently providing new content to his site’s steadily growing readership.

I believe that this approach is far more exciting, given that it’s like running your own magazine/publishing company – particularly in ensuring that every content you come up with is of high quality and targeted.

One valuable content can drive links, social shares, rankings, traffic, and conversions – but having ton of them can certainly tell a lot about your brand.

Things I suggest you start doing:

  • Regularly brainstorm for content ideas. Determine what your target audience wants.
  • Create a content calendar – and strictly follow them.
  • Align your content ideation/planning with keyword research.
  • Invest on other content formats (videos, images, interactive pages, etc…).
  • Always think of or project how your content will affect your branding and conversions.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO and content marketing is a deadly combination, seeing that the more useful pages you continuously add to your website, the more you’re able to build searchable web pages (which increases your search traffic).

Common best practices of technical search optimization:

  • Optimizing title tags – and making sure that the title of your pages match the content/information it provides (optimizing for keyword and topic relevance as well as long-click).
  • Only serving content that’s important and useful to your target visitors, by disallowing access (or using the “noindex” tag) on pages that have poor/thin content or duplicates.
  • Improving site’s speed.
  • Using structured data (schema/microdata) for search engines to better understand your site and its pages.
  • Optimizing the site’s structure and making it easier for users to navigate and use the site (particularly in finding the pages they’re looking for).
  • Proper use of internal links to increase site usage/engagement and for search crawlers to easily find and index deeper pages of the website.
  • Fixing site errors (404s, unnecessary redirects, canonicalization, and other site crawling/indexing issues).

Build on effective traffic sources

One of the best ways to succeed in online marketing is to take advantage of existing traffic channels that are already doing well. It’s just like knowing what your strengths are and focusing on getting even better with them.

Having a diversified traffic source is very crucial these days, and you can never rely on just search (or just social traffic).

It’s imperative to identify which channels are sending traffic and conversions to your website, and to continuously improve them to stay on the top of the game.

As the more traffic you consistently get from the channels that have proven to be effective for your site, the more you can ensure that people will find and be able to consume your future content.

traffic sources

Invest more on what’s already working for you. These traffic funnels and brand assets may come in form of:

  • Keyword rankings and/or landing pages – identify which content assets are constantly sending traffic and conversions to your site. Try to enhance them more (optimize for UX or conversions), so that they can maintain or further improve their search rankings, or for them to become more linkable/shareable.
  • Linking websites/pages – check the list of top domains/external pages referring visitors to your website, as they are considerably assets that you somehow have control of. Take advantage of them by building more brand visibility (getting more links) from them, or building 2nd-tier links to high-traffic pages linking back to you.
  • Online communities – Contribute and provide more value on other niche communities or social platforms that are sending quality traffic to your site (forums, groups, social networks, etc…).
  • Email list – continuously grow and strengthen your email list by sending high-value content to your subscribers on a regular basis. Because loyal visitors are as much as important as your site’s new traffic.

Personal thoughts on Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a very effective branding tool, but it’s a tedious process. I’d rather focus on the 3 areas of online marketing I’ve mentioned above instead of landing 10 new guest posts every month.

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If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and or follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Kira Permunian January 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

As usual and as expected, great blog post again. This time, I can remember your slide where you said, (it was about content marketing), “Be the first and/or if not, be the best among its kind!”.

That was then one of my rules in content creation and marketing. For me also as I am not really investing much on guest blogging, I go for helpful SEO tools, responsive website, investing on selected viral content pieces and social media engagement.

Thank you for this informative piece.

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Andy Enriquez January 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hey Jason. I really enjoyed this in-depth article. I’m new to blogging and internet marketing in general. I’ve been doing it for three months now and I’m very proud to say that I’m learning at a rapid pace. People like you have been tremendous to my knowledge success so far. Thank you for creating awesome content for people like me (newbies) =D.

If I know nothing about technical SEO and I don’t know how to assess my analytics report is it safe to say that Creative Content will be a good start for my journey for now? I’ve built my blog without prior knowledge and I think it’s not too shabby. I just need to grow my readership and exposure. I’ve been trying to push through on the content side of things lately.

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Claude Skye January 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Yeah, the title somehow got me interested in reading this. I have heard a lot thins regarding guest blogging and they say it works. But just like you said, only when it’s published at the right places. Your thoughts about technical SEO is great. I will definitely take note of that. Thanks for sharing those ideas here, Jason.

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jayson January 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I always ask my clients to build a content first and don’t go straight building links by using guest blogging and point them to product pages. Citation links are much easier to get when you have a well created content where you can link to. Plus the fact that when you have an asset, it’s easier to convince people that what you have is linkable (likeable).

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Jatin Chhabra January 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Great Post Jason. Yeah GP are tedious especially if you are not able get authority sites. I would also like to add private blog network here as its working extremely well.

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Louie Sison January 15, 2014 at 12:58 am

Jason,
Thanks for initially sharing on our meet at SEO Org Pampanga. It was a really intriguing case study. Content development, technical SEO and utilizing existing effective traffic sources – these are the best tactics to master this year.

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Aleksejs Ivanovs January 15, 2014 at 3:58 am

Great post, You’ve earned yourself a new subscriber.

I like your perspective, and I couldn’t agree more with spending the first couple of months putting out as much content as possible, that way alone you’re learning so much about the whole industry – without having to constantly stop and reconsider something.

I like to create long-term strategies as I go, and then start improving upon them, when it finally feels right.

peace,
Alex

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Kostas Chiotis January 15, 2014 at 6:53 am

That’s a really great post Jason, to tell you the truth I don’t think that you had more traffic on 2013 just because you didn’t guest post reqularly, this blog is certainly well establish and continuing publishing great posts like this guarantie that will continue increasing traffic each year. However if someone is a new blogger , guest blogging can make him/her from an unknown to a recognized blogger in matter of weeks…

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Sunday January 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

A well written content rich article! It made very valuable points. One of which is the fact that many bloggers readily forget or ignore the fact that guest blogging is not the only way to promote a blog. There are other ways that take less efforts but produce big results.

The details shared on technical SEO and continuous content development are very clear, instructive and educative. Above all, the practical tips to apply on each of these concepts are clear.

In kingged.com, I have left the above comment where this post found and syndicated for Internet marketers.

Sunday – kingged.com contributor

http://kingged.com/a-year-without-guest-blogging/

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George January 15, 2014 at 11:05 am

Awesome to see Technical SEO at the top of your to do list for this year. I think Google has evolved to the point where that’s going to matter much more again, but in a far more evolved way than ever before.

Also glad to see it since Technical SEO is my first love as a coder who also is a marketer :).

Another great post. Thanks.

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Lance Carlson January 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

Hey Jason, I just found this site and your post about guest blogging. I am definitely a new subscriber. You earned it my friend.

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Scott Saddler January 15, 2014 at 11:31 am

I have just subscribed to your list.

I think your post highlights a mistake many internet marketers make which is concentrating on one type of marketing to the (almost) total exclusion of others. There is no doubt that writing great content on your own site is still way to gain the most loyal and lasting readers.

Scott

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Rohit Palit January 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Great insights, Jason. You’re just an awesome all-round inbound marketer. :)

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Riza January 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm

I think it’s all about balance. Putting too much effort on something(like guest blogging) that you feel isn’t being compensated enough is definitely tiring and unhealthy.

I like how you emphasized why you’d rather focus on content development, technical SEO, and building effective traffic sources. It was a great and informative read. :)

I saw your post shared On Kingged.com, IM social bookmarking site, and I must say, it’s an awesome find!

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Alexandra Nicola January 16, 2014 at 7:05 am

I’ve had my first tries with guest posting in last few months and your right it’s hard and continues work, but I always tried to put that on the second plane. Meaning my first and most important task is to build a strong site and on-line presents, with my own social media presence and the content I create.

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metz January 16, 2014 at 10:12 pm

You are totally right, Riza. It is just like the other post that I’ve read just this morning, it also talks about guest posting and its benefits, also its cons. There, I have understood that balance should always keep in mind. And you are right! Guest posting/blogging is good or great in the right places.

This comment was left in kingged.com where

this post was already “kingged” and shared

for Internet marketers.

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Aahna January 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Hi Jason,

Again an amazing post, nowadays every online marketer or SEO is talking about giving more preference to guest posting. But you’re certainly right first you need to work on your website itself by implementing proper On Page optimization techniques, and then create the best content and focus on their promotion. Later on you should focus on existing traffic sources and building new ones. I certainly relate with your meme that you should only do guest posting on authority blog in your niche to achieve maximum outcome.

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DigitalPugs January 18, 2014 at 6:16 am

Amazing title push me to read the whole post & I really enjoyed reading it. Nice post Jason with great info layout.

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Brent Carnduff January 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

Great article Jason. I’ve been spending more time on technical SEO lately. Its too often overlooked or misunderstood by businesses that fall into the “content is SEO” fallacy.

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Marian January 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Great article Jason, love your insights.. People are talking about guest posting all the time, that they forget the other things that can help their site achieve its goal.

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Alexander January 24, 2014 at 7:53 am

Obviously, the title intrigued me, you are very good at this, Jason, i must i admit :) enjoyed the article entirely though

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Alexander January 24, 2014 at 7:55 am

Obviously, the title intrigued me as you are very good at this, Jason. i must i admit :) enjoyed the article entirely though. I am waiting for another great post from you very soon :)

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kalpana choudhary January 26, 2014 at 11:49 am

simply great article Jason. thanks for sharing this valuable information. I like the way in which you presented this post thanks once more keep doing great job

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Robert January 27, 2014 at 4:19 am

I do not know if that is true or not, but if it is, what will be next? Will be next comments on blogs or something else?
But I know something what a lot of people says, keep doing what you are doing until now and if it was good, continue with this.

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Vinay kakumani January 27, 2014 at 5:53 am

Jason, its a great blog about guest blogging. Before reading this, I have lot of question about guest blogging, Now it was clear to me. Thanks for your share. The value of content is perfectly said by you.

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Antoinette March 9, 2014 at 6:22 am

Guest blogging struck me in, last year guest blogging gets on SEO’s nerve, they’re there!

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Steve Spector April 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Jason: You’ve knocked this one out of the park. Easy to read and full of great information. Guest blogging will always have a place in the big bad world we call…marketing.

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