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22 Jun 2011

How Guest Blogging Can Send Your Brand and Reputation Straight to Hell

Guest Blogging and Brand Reputation

I wrote my first guest blog post in December 2008 for Ann Smarty’s SEO blog. My post was titled “The 7 Reasons Every Blogger Should Be Guest Posting.” Although it’s been two-and-a-half years, I still believe in what I wrote. In fact, I could have easily titled the post “Why Every Marketer Should be Blogging and Guest Posting.”

The reasons for my strong recommendation of guest posting included:

  • Exposing your content and brand to a new audience
  • Increasing RSS subscribers
  • Creating a mutually beneficial situation for the guest blogger and host blog
  • Benefiting from networking
  • Providing a fresh perspective to the host blog’s readers
  • Harnessing a different social network to spread your content
  • Building quality links

I purposefully put building quality links at the end of my list. The point of my post was not highlighting guest blogging as an awesome link building tactic. I wanted Ann’s readers to understand there are so many positive benefits to guest blogging that it’s foolish not to employ it in your arsenal of online marketing strategies.

I subsequently wrote about how guest blogging positions you as an expert in your field. I still believe this is one of the most powerful benefits and compelling reasons to guest blog.

When a Good Thing Takes a Wrong Turn

ReputationYou’re probably aware that a lot has changed since December 2008. The popularity of guest blogging has increased significantly over the last two and a half years. In fact, many Internet marketers and SEOs now view guest blogging as the new de facto way to build links. While I noticed this belief was on a steady rise, it seems Google’s Panda update ignited this issue like a wildfire in California.

Although it may seem to go against what I’ve written in previous posts, you should not use guest blogging solely for building links!

I’m a professional SEO, link builder and marketer, so I completely understand the need to build links. But I truly believe there are much better ways to build links than throwing together short guest posts that simply litter the blogosphere.

I usually get several low quality guest post requests per week. I reject these requests because it’s obvious they’re nothing more than a link grab. Canned and impersonal guest post requests are becoming just as bad as traditional link exchange spam!

What happened when link exchanges spiraled out of control? Google cracked down on them. The current exploitation of low quality guest posts means it’s only a matter of time until Google takes action once again.

If you think I’m jumping the gun, it’s important to realize there’s another factor at play. More blog owners are charging for publishing guest posts! We all know how Google feels about links that involve money changing hands.

It’s Not Just About Google

The likelihood of Google taking action against low quality guest posts isn’t the only reason not to make link building your primary guest posting focus.

My original discussion of guest posting highlighted 7 benefits this practice offers. But if you’re trying to shortcut this process, you’ll miss out on 6 of those benefits. Links are great, but so is bringing in real visitors who want to spend time reading your blog.

I also mentioned I advocated guest blogging because it can solidify your reputation as an expert in your field. However, what happens when you attach your name to meaningless guest posts that provide readers with no value? Not only will it not help you, but it can damage the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build! The last thing you want is people within your field blogging or Tweeting about how they’re tired of seeing your spammy posts popping up everywhere.

Put in the Work and You’ll Reap the Rewards

There is nothing wrong with getting byline links when you’ve produced a worthwhile guest post. You may get tired of hearing about quality content, but it needs to be repeated because it’s what Google and readers want.

Take the time to come up with guest posts you would want to read. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall, grab a pen & notebook and go for a walk outside. You have plenty of ideas floating around in your brain. Sometimes it just takes getting away from the constant flow of information on your screen to pull them out.

Producing quality guest posts can take more time. But you’ll find this is time well spent. Your posts will generate more results for your brand. You’ll also find it’s much easier to get quality posts published on blogs lots of people actually read.

People aren’t going to stop their attempts to spam the blogosphere. The best thing you can do as a blog owner is just say no when presented with these types of posts.

Putting in the work and holding your blog to a higher standard will keep your brand and reputation out of blogosphere hell!

geraldweberAbout the Author:
Gerald Weber is an internet entrepreneur from Houston Texas. He founded sem-group.net in Dec. 2005 
and more recently co-founder viralcontentbuzz.com follow Gerald on to learn more.