One of the most common practices of organic search engine optimization is link building. At it’s core, link building is the recognition that search engines place value on inbound links to your website. So, the SEO operative will do everything in their power to earn inbound links for their site. We talked about using Do Follow sites to earn inbound links, but there are many more methods that should be part of your link building strategy.
One of my favorite ways to build links is guest posting. I’ve included guest posts on our site before, some of them were from other writers who undoubtedly contact me to build links to their site, some where writers I contacted because writing an article about this stuff every day can get old. I like doing it, but once in a while the creative well dries up. Anyways, I’ve had numerous articles submitted to my site, most of which I reject. To be completely honest, I’ve had very little luck getting free content from other bloggers.
However, there is no reason you can’t create good content for others. It seems counter-intuitive to help what may ostensibly be your competition. But, by creating content for other sites in your category, you are creating relevant, keyword rich content linking to your site. This is very, very good for SEO.
If you’re going to take the time to write an article for another site there is some etiquette to keep in mind. This list is, unfortunately, from experience. I’ve had so many bloggers contact me to offer articles, and these are the reasons their articles never made it past my inbox.
1. I’ve said it in articles before, keyword stuffing is bad. It’s not interesting for readers and it comes off as awkward. Writing for a machine means that only machines will read your content. Further, keyword stuffing is just bad SEO practice.
2. The inverse of #1, I’ve had articles submitted that have nothing to do with what the author said they were going to write about. I don’t need an article on how little league teams can organize using Facebook, that’s not what we are about. I’ve also read articles that are complete drivel. It’s clear the author was just trying to fill up space. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything.
3. Don’t be narcissistic. The point of this exercise is link building, that’s it! When you’re writing, you should be writing about what you know. But, you shouldn’t be writing a sales pitch. I’ve featured a couple of articles by Brian who works for a social media company and he’s great at this. Maybe it’s because he’s writing quasi-anonymously. But, his writing never comes off as a sales pitch, it’s informative about what he does without falling into that trap. Speaking of Brian: Hey, where is that article on reputation management?
4. Another faux pas that many are guilty of, remember that you don’t own the place, you are a guest. When writing a guest post you should always receive small bio section to include your link, you shouldn’t link to your website or company within your article. If you do link to a site you are affiliated with, disclose it.
5. This goes for every document you ever send. Don’t ever, ever, ever send anything in docx. Every college student can tell you how annoying it is to receive something in docx, TA’s love to send files out in formats that no one can read, they are sadistic creatures. If you’re using Office, make sure you are saving your files as .doc and not .docx by using the “save as” button. Microsoft users are notorious for not updating to new releases of programs, so even though so many people are using Microsoft Office, many aren’t using a new enough release to open docx files. If you get saddled with a docx and find yourself unable to open it, you can upload it to Google Docs or download open office for free. Both programs can open the dreaded docx, though formatting might be lost.