On Facebook this week I saw one of my favorite industry people post this:
It got me thinking about the “imminent death” of guest posting, and he is dead on. Google will kill the guest posting scourge.
Before you start flipping out in the comments lets take a look at the basic definition of Guest versus Contributor.
By definition, a guest takes while a contributor gives. Also by definition a guest is invited, which rarely happens with guest posters today. Think about how much you hate uninvited house guests.
When you are a contributor to a website you add value on an ongoing basis. This is exactly what Google is looking for with its authorship focus. If your CEO writes ongoing for Forbes, it is likely he will link back to your company, and because he is contributing content ongoing it is likely that the link will drive traffic as well as SEO value.
When I think of the current guest posting craze the scene in Dances with Wolves springs to mind where Kevin Costner’s character sees all of the buffalo that have been skinned and otherwise unused strewn across the land.
Content placement from a pure SEO perspective leaves a lot of the valuable portions of the process unused.
If you are approaching content contributions with an objective larger than SEO, in my opinion you will ironically get the most SEO value from it. Google wants trusted sources of content that can help them define the web. This has always been the core of their algorithm, regardless of what bits and pieces are in it. Contributors with verified authorship on not only a single web property,but across a niche, fit into this concept. This same blueprint is also the best route for public relations, ORM, and every other earned media format that exists.
Sustainable marketing; its the cure for the guestpostocalypse as well as any other overused tactic.
And how simple is filtering out guest posts to devalue them? Well I was using Ontolo this week to find the guest posting usage in different niches.
The guys at Ontolo are smart, but something tells me Google probably has better footprint recognition tools than them. Google is likely looking for similar patterns:
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- Guest post tags
- Author bios
- Guest post in title
- One time contributor
Then comparing the relevancy of the post to the rest of the content on the site, and lastly looking at the authorship profile of the writer. If the post fails on all accounts:
- Author is a one time guest poster
- Page not relevant to site content
- Author is not an authority in the vertical
It is pretty much a no-brainer to devalue any outbound links from that post.
At CopyPress we do a process we call connection building. This is essentially connecting writers and content creators with publishers for ongoing contributions, and helping both sides establish a long term beneficial relationship. We have modeled this concept on sustainability.
- Our content creators provide ongoing content for the publisher
- All content is 100% relevant to the site and vertical
- We are working with Authors to establish authority in their vertical
Are we perfect today? Like with everything else, no. We may never hit perfection, but I know we are going in the right direction because we are focusing the concept on driving targeted traffic through content, rather than gaming the system for links and SEO value.
Online marketers need to think like marketers. Stop being so focused on a single platform and tactics for that platform. Think about your job, which is likely to sell X by driving traffic. If you base your larger strategy around this one concept, the platform based initiatives will fall into place.