Guest Blogging is Not About SEO Anymore

Darren Rowse is annoyed.

If you don’t already know, Darren Rowse is the successful blogger and owner of Digital Photography School and Problogger. These are two of the most successful blogs and websites on the Web. Darren started out just like any other blogger and he’s turned his passion into a successful enterprise. He’s a successful business blogger.

But with success comes a few headaches and Darren is dealing with some headaches.

Yesterday Darren shared his frustration with SEO spammers that are contacting him about guest blogging on his blogs. These SEO companies are looking to post content on Darren’s blogs, which would be fine in theory, but they want to post about topics that don’t even have to do with Darren’s sites and the only thing these people are after is links.

Darren is one of the 15 or so people I follow on Twitter (@problogger). He’s a great resource for insight into blogging, but more than that is the fact that Darren just comes off as a nice person. It’s easy to see that he loves photography and he loves his family. He seems like a calm guy that’s patient and willing to help others.

But when it comes to spammy SEO messages about guest blogging Darren is annoyed.

Much of the content in Problogger and dPS is guest content. For the last few years these sites have lived on the content of others as has one of Darren’s other sites – Twitip. Guest blogging is something Darren believes in it would seem. He loves giving writers the chance to write about what they love so they can access his audience of his websites. In return for truly great content this is what writers get in return.

But spammy SEOs are kind of putting a damper on the guest blogging world. Darren explained that the emails he’s been receiving have been way out in left field about the topic they’re presenting for publication. The emails include verbiage about links. It’s obvious these people (or bots, scripts, software, etc.) are just looking for old school SEO tactics (links).

Here are my thoughts on the situation and there is nothing new here.

First of all, don’t ask for links when you ask about guest blogging. You’re looking for access to an audience of people that might be interested in you and your brand. You’re simply looking to get your personal name and the name of your company in front of the audience. In return for access to the audience you need to provide a great blog post. I mean, you need your A-game when you’re guest posting. You owe it to the owner of the site and to their audience. Really you also owe it to yourself because you’re making a first impression on these people and you want to wow them.

Here is how to reach out to guest bloggers. It takes works. The more specific you can be the better. Darren lays it out in his explanation linked above. That’s what he’s looking for from guest bloggers. It’s what we aim to do here at GBW when we reach out to blog owners. We look at their site. We make sure the site is related to the topic we’re writing about. The reason we do this is because we aren’t looking for links. We realize that SEO is no longer about links. Our goal is exposure and we realize that we need to provide a great post not only because we owe it to people like Darren, but because we owe it to ourselves and our clients.

Guest blogging is a great way to grow a new business and a new blog. It’s what you need to do as a business. You need access to an established audience in order to build your own. If your target customers read blogs or belong to communities then guest blogging can be a great strategy to gain access to their attention. But you better be great otherwise they’ll ignore you.

To expand even more I think that blogging in general is not about SEO or SEO strategy. I’m not sure if Darren would agree with this. He knows that organic search traffic is a major part of blogging traffic although it is a lessening portion of the overall referral traffic.

To recap:

  • Don’t be a guest post spammer
  • If you are guest blogging for SEO you’re doing it wrong
  • Guest blogging is about exposure and discovery

Darren also mentioned a little bit about ghost writing. I’ll touch on that tomorrow.

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