It is now more important than ever to make sure that every guest posting opportunity you consider writing is not going to harm your standings with Google. Matt Cutts is leading the Google team on stopping websites that use guest blogging as an SEO measure.
Although guest blogging used to be a popular SEO tactic, it still has many strong benefits. Guest blogging allows you to reach a wider audience, it increases your overall exposure, it helps you establish yourself as an expert, it has great potential for referral traffic, and it helps you to increase your social engagement online.
The key to success is to only contribute guest blog posts on websites that will improve your standings, as opposed to hurting them by getting you in trouble with Google. This, of course, leads to the next question: How do you know if a website is going to hurt or help you?
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself when considering a guest blogging opportunity.
1. Does the blog have an active social following? It doesn’t exactly matter which or how many social networks they are active on. What matters is that they have actual followers and fans that interest with the website.
2. Are the blog’s social profiles updated regularly? Once again, if the blog has a social media account, but it hasn’t been updated in months, that is not a good sign.
3. How often is the blog updated? Active blogs should be updated on a somewhat regular basis and should contain quality content that’s non-spammy.
4. What is the blog’s audience? You should really only guest blog on websites that are somehow related to your niche. The content you provide should be of interest to the blog’s readers.
5. Do the blog’s other posts have people leaving comments? And are there posts being shared through social networks? The answers to these two questions will tell you whether or not the blog has actual followers and readers. If there is no interaction on the page, it is likely the audience is either really small or non-existent.
6. Can you add value to the current blog? This goes along with question four. Can you write something that will be of value? If your content adds little or no value, it will likely be seen as an SEO tactic.
Related: Effect of Google Authorship on SEO