Including guest blog posts on your blog is a great way of diversifying content on your blog. As a byproduct, it also gets you relevant links to and outside your website that could potentially result in higher search rankings. Google and Matt Cutts are catching onto people that are taking advantage of this scheme, and Cutts voiced his opinion in a recent video blog. He acknowledges the value that guest blog posts add to a company blog, but suggests that it be done in moderation. He doesn't, though, guide us in a direction by which we can create reoccurring, valuable guest blog content that doesn't look bad in Google's eyes. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn whether or not you should guest blog at all, and tips on how to do it the right way!


Hello, and welcome to The Daily Brown Bag on guest blog posting. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good morning, Chad! We’re talking about guest blog posting today, and we’re glad you could join us. This is an interesting topic, and we want to start off right with a quotation from Matt Cutts from Google. A few months ago, Matt Cutts responded to a question about guest blog posting, and he said this, and I quote: “This is probably the sort of thing that you should be thinking about doing in moderation.” He also said, “This is the fad of the month.” I think the reason that Matt and Google have been taking that position is that many people have been moving toward guest blog posting as a way to build links, and they’re quite concerned that the content is not up to their quality standards and is not unique. They are worried that this has become a fad of the month in link building, but Chad, I want to talk about this today, because I think many marketers use guest blog posting as a very legitimate way to reach out to other publishers and exchange content, in return for, yes, a link, but also recognition and social promotion, and as a way of relationship-building.

As we know, more and more companies are relying on fresh, healthful, unique content to increase engagement and awareness for their brands. So, here’s a couple stats, Chad, to key up this conversation and really dive into this idea of whether blog posting is the fad of the month for link building or if there is something higher quality here. These stats are from HubSpot:

  • 82% of marketers who blog every day acquire customers from their blogs.
  • 57% of marketers who blog monthly have also acquired a customer from their blogs.
  • Blogging takes up less than 10% of marketing staff time.
  • Blogging takes up less than 7% of the total marketing budget.
  • 24% of marketers report that their blogs deliver a lower-than-average cost per lead, and that’s a good thing. The leads coming in from their blogs actually cost less to acquire than the other channels that they’re using.
  • Small businesses that do blog get 120% more leads than those that don’t blog, and they also have 50% more traffic and 102% more Twitter followers. I think that’s an interesting one, Chad, from an SEO angle, to dive into.
  • Just to round this out, 70% of consumers, again according to HubSpot, heard about a brand through content rather than ads.
  • 61% of consumers report that they’ve actually made a purchasing decision based on blog content.

So, as I look at this constellation of statistics, it strikes me that guest blogging fits into this constellation, and probably isn’t really the fad of the month, but I want to explore that today, Chad, and see what your opinion is.

It is definitely a difficult one to sort of wrap your head around, but I think at the most rudimentary level, marketing is all about trying to spread the word and get the word out. We all know that in the traditional world and in the offline world that you do that by talking to friends and family and networking with people and engaging in different kinds of marketing opportunities. So, in the online world, it makes perfect sense that as you begin to want to expand your business you’d want to reach out to people and say, “I’ve got a unique perspective. Your audience may be interested in it, and I’d like to see if I can help provide some information to your audience,” with the idea that they eventually might be interested in your service and come back to your website. I think the real rub for Google is figuring out how much of that is trying to go after that audience and engage with the audience that that guest blog publisher has, versus just getting the link. So, I think that those are really the “fad of the month” and the “do it in moderation,” but I think it really comes back to thinking about the end user value. So, we have some tips today that would help you the kind of stuff you should be doing from the stuff you shouldn’t be doing.

1. Try to make sure that the content on the guest blogs where you’re posting is relevant to your industry. Again, that’s really thinking about who the audience is on that website, are they interested, what keywords that site ranks for, what kind of traffic it gets, and whether it’s relevant to your business. Start there, and then make sure that the content you actually write is meant to be read, is interesting, has researched facts in it, and provides an interesting point of view. It doesn’t have to have to be something that would get published in the New York Times, but it should have enough content and enough of an angle that people who read it might say, “Interesting point!”

2. Again, I think that a lot of this comes down to analyzing the audience and building relationships, and when you do that and follow those kinds of steps, like thinking about the audience and building quality content, it really helps out.

3. One final tip is to always measure the results in terms of when you do share the content on that website, does it get tweeted? Do people engage in it? Do they comment on content? Those are the things you want to look at when making a decision about whether it’s worth your time to go out and publish content, and ultimately guest blog posts, not only for the audience value, but for seeing that link back to your website.

Those are excellent! I think you kind of hit it on the head here, Chad. It’s sort of about your intent. If you think about where Google has heartburn about guest blog posting, it is really that people do it merely as a means to get backlinks and are trying to manipulate their PageRank, and they don’t like that. So, they’ve stated that if your intention is just to move your rankings up, and you put that priority higher than creating high quality content, that’s what they don’t like. But, the reality is that it’s very hard for them to measure that, and so I think that when you just described all these points and tips, if you were having a conversation with Matt Cutts and this is what you were telling a client to do, I think he’d say, “Right on!” Matt would totally 100% agree, and if that earns you a guest blog post and even a backlink in return for your hard work and your excellent points made to the audience, I think he’d be okay with that too, because it would be earned and editorially appropriate.

So, you can see that this is a very gray area, and I guess that’s why he’s using statements like “in moderation is okay.” I’m not sure that I agree with “the fad of the month,” in fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t, but I’m pretty sure he’s just throwing that out there to say, “We have a hard time dealing with this, and you’ve got to be careful that you don’t go overboard with it. Obviously it’s part of marketing, so my perspective would be that you should be doing it. We’d like to hear your opinions, and we hope we’ll see you back here tomorrow for our Brown Bag. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.