Our Blog

The Indirect SEO Benefits Of Guest Posting

by michael on October 11, 2018 , No comments

Remember when blogs were king, because blogs were all we had? In the early days of the web, before aggregator sites and social networks like Reddit, Facebook and Twitter took off, blog posts were the standard building block of the web, and guest posts, where a blogger invited another blogger or perhaps even a blog-less expert to share their thoughts, were common. Since around 2014 various internet pundits have been declaring guest posting dead and advising bloggers that guest posts may damage their SEO. But is it true?

With the rise of social media, guests posts have declined naturally in some domains (why ask for a guest post when you can just re-pin something?) and blog readerships have decreased as well. In other areas, blogs and independent websites still thrive, yes, even ones with guest posts. Despite this evidence, guests posts are causing panic attacks and alarming blog headlines. As members of the boxChilli team have been working online since there was an internet to work on, we feel collectively qualified to weigh in and we say: NO. Guest posting isn’t dead – in fact, it can have surprising SEO advantages. But like any tool, you have to know how to use it…

The case against guest posts 

There are two main arguments against guest posts: 

1. If you do lots of guest posts, you’ll quickly wind up posting on poor quality sites.

2. If you accept lots of guest posts, you’ll quickly wind up posting poor quality or irrelevant content.

These points are often made by bloggers who conclude: ‘…and Google will penalize your site.’ This line of argument is fair, in that it’s probably true, but also nonsense, as too much of anything is clearly a bad thing (water, wine, food, exercise…). We like to think that our readers can understand the benefits of moderation without having them spelled out. 

Will Google penalize my site if I accept guest posts?

As far as we can tell, no, Google will not penalize you for accepting or writing guest posts. However, Google may penalize your site for repeatedly linking to or being linked to by sites that it deems poor quality, spammy or inappropriate but it will (probably) improve your results if you are linked to by high quality sites. Again, this argues for moderation: only host guest posts from quality people, and only share your content with quality sites. 

What are the benefits of guest posts here in 2018?

Some of the fundamental benefits of guest posting remain the same. As a host you: 

1. Get to post great content for free.

2. Can share the work of someone you respect on your platform.

3. Add more diverse voices and points of view to your blog.

4. May owe someone a favour – or have someone owe you a favour.

5. Might improve your SEO.

If you write a guest post you: 

1. Get to share your content with a different or wider audience.

2. Can add another platform or blog to the list of places you’ve been published.

3. Add your own expertise to another space.

4. May owe someone a favour – or have someone owe you a favour.

5. Might improve your SEO.

Guest posts that draw traffic can improve SEO

The most obvious and direct benefit of a guest post (either one you create or one you host) is that it can draw new traffic to your site. This in turn will not only bring you more traffic (and hopefully more sales) but can make your site look more relevant in the discussion on a given topic, improving your search engine rankings. 

Guest posts can create a temporary buzz 

You don’t want to waste your effort creating guest posts for poor quality sites, but have identified a dozen or more sites which would be worth your effort. By releasing a clump of guest posts around a particular event, such as a new book release, product launch, sale or seasonal event, you can create a temporary buzz and a sales boost. Not all effort has to be sustainable or evergreen. 

Hosting guest posts can draw new readers 

Increasing the diversity of voices which are heard in your field is worth doing simply because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also true that the authors of guest posts are likely to have social media accounts, even if they don’t have their own website. This means that if you ask a commenter or fan to write a post for you, you may still get a positive social media and SEO buzz from the encounter. You may also increase the authority of your site if you host guest posts from experts in your field (perhaps when they have a new book out…)

Are there SEO benefits to guest posting?

There are still – and we would argue will always be – SEO benefits to guest posting as long as it’s done correctly. Modern search engine algorithms are striving to winnow good quality, interesting and relevant content from the chaff of automatically generated or rote created content. Now, we could argue about what constitutes good quality, interesting or relevant content, we could try to peek behind the curtain to understand what big search engines like Google think those words mean, and we could certainly debate whether search engines should be the arbiters of that, but that would make this blog post unbearably long. Right now, it’s enough to say that search engines have a goal, and that’s, broadly, to reward sites for posting interesting, relevant stuff, and penalize spam and junk. As a result, any behaviour (including guest posting) will have a long term positive impact on your SEO if it makes your site more interesting and relevant, and negative if it makes it seem spammy. 

Join the conversation