How to Get the Most Out of a Guest Blog Post

Guest blogging can be a great way for clients to receive links to their websites. However, it’s important that clients and marketers are on the same page about it.

Video Transcript

David: So, Janel, you were asking about how to get the most out of a guest blog post or maybe how to get a little bit more out of a guest blog post?

Janel: Yes. The client has submitted a sponsored post for a website, and the only link that they have available to them is a sponsored link that was “brought to you by.” So, I haven’t looked into that. I don’t know how much traffic they’re getting. We do have a UTM code set up for that. So, I believe that there is some stuff coming through, but they really wanted to get more out of this sponsored post, and they were looking to post it on their own website, but because I was afraid of duplicating content, I didn’t want to do that. I advised them to create a LinkedIn post and share that and say how excited they were that they did this post, and this organization is well known in the community, yada yada, and then with a link to the post because then they can always, the user can always go back either to my client site or via that LinkedIn post or the link within the website. So that’s what I advised them. If they really are pushing to just put the same content on their website, is there a way that we could set the canonical link so that they aren’t impacting the other post? Or is it because they’re on two different sites and they don’t have control over their partner site? I just didn’t know what to advise because even though I told them just to create a social post, they were still pushing for more.

David: So, this is a super question. And the first step to questions like this is to review Google’s link spam guidelines. Right? Because if it’s a sponsored post, I’d put it in a different category than a guest post.

Janel: Okay.

David: So, a guest post is something that I categorize as I wrote an article as a guest contributor to another website, and there was no money passing through hands. But when money passes through hands, it becomes a sponsored post, and that becomes a paid link. Google has very strict guidelines, so you have to review them. Basically, you have to declare that it’s sponsored, and it sounds like they have, but you should also add a sponsored or no follow attribute to the link up, which means the link does not pass link juice to the client.

Janel: Oh, can I share with you the post link? And can you, would it be…

David: Yeah. So, actually, we could do this without that. You can simply go to the link.

Janel: Okay.

David: And then right-click on it, inspect.

Janel: Yep.

David: And then look for REL in the parameters of the HTML for the link.

Janel: I don’t see it. I can share my screen if that’s helpful.

David: Go ahead.

Janel: Alright, let me…

David: Just show the code.

Janel: Yeah. Is it large enough to see?

David: Yep. Yep. And it’s not no follow.

Janel: Okay.

David: Nor is it REL equals sponsored. The following statement does not mean to instill panic. It should not. But by Google’s rules, it should be declared as sponsored or no follow by this website that is linking to you. Now, what’s going to happen if Google feels this is in violation? They will potentially penalize not only the source of the link but also the client’s site. But what’s more likely to do these days is ignore the link. Just ignore the value of the link as far as SEO goes. Okay, but humans can still follow the link.

Janel: Yeah.

David: Right? We’re building links for Google, but we’re also building them for humans. And so, this is basically what Google will say: hey, you know what? There’s the word sponsored. It’s brought to you by it’s sponsored as a class. Google can figure this out, that this is a sponsored link instead of probably ignoring it as far as link authority passed. Which doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that it’s not doing the SEO benefit of a link.

Janel: Got it.

David: Which it shouldn’t. Because the fact is that you paid for it, and so it’s not a genuine editorial link as an expert. Right? So, it’s worth reviewing that. Now, your instinct is right about republishing it on your own website, right? Number one, again, is that Google is just going to ignore it on your website. It’s already published on their website, so it’s not going to really do anybody any good to put it on your own website.

Janel: Unless you want a different audience to see it, that’s not going to see it on the other website.

David: So, the other side of it is you’re assuming the way people consume your blog is from about ten years ago when people go to your website and read through your blog.

Janel: True.

David: That’s not how people consume blogs nowadays. People consume blogs by googling something or going to social media, finding it, and clicking on your blog link. That’s how people consume blogs. So, putting it on your own blog is playing from a ten-year-old playbook because it’s not like your customers have time to go through your website and say, I’m going to take the afternoon and read all the blog posts from this customer. Right?

Janel: Yeah.

David: People don’t do that anymore.

Janel: And even so, the other post, the sponsored post, would probably rank higher because of the authority on the other website.

David: Right.

Janel: Would it even rank?

David: So, Google would probably just ignore it, so it wouldn’t even be in the index.

Janel: Okay.

David: So, yes, someone walking through the website might come up to it and might read it, but then it’s just self-promotional. What value is it? So, it’s probably better for someone to encounter it on the other website and read it. Right? So, saying that sometimes clients are really silly about this, and so, no matter how many times I tell clients, don’t republish a press release on your own damn site. Right? They have to do it. First of all, what do your clients care about? Do your customers care about reading through your press releases? No. Second of all, duplicate content is basically going to be ignored. But when they do, there are a couple of solutions. You can either add a no index tag to it, and you can do that if you’re using Yoast on the website, going into individual posts and saying, advanced no index. You could also, using Yoast, go in and change the canonical tag to say the original version of this article is on that website, which does the same thing – that will consequently no index it. It’s helping Google because if Google starts to decide on our site which content it doesn’t want to index, we kind of don’t want that. We want to tell Google not to bother to index this by sending canonical to the other site or no index on our site. So that way, Google trusts our site and is not making these decisions without us. Also, Google, we only get so much of your time every day or every week or every month. We don’t want you wasting your time on this page, which we know you don’t want to index anywhere. Spend your time in other places on our website. So, it’s kind of a crawl budget issue. So, if they’re adamant and they’re like, we got to publish it, okay, at least help them out by no indexing it. Maybe a canonical tag to the original place, but I think a no index is probably appropriate. And then people can see it, they’ll be happy, and it won’t hurt them despite their own efforts. But if we really want to promote it, this is where we tap into Stephanie’s brain because this is where social media is so important, right? In fact, part of the process of Curious Ants is to publish the blog post and then promote the blog post. So, if you go into the process of promoting your blog post of Curious Ants, there are a bunch of places where you can promote the blog posts on third-party websites. Maybe there is another website that you could write for. Write a follow-up blog post and provide a link to the original blog post. There are all kinds of things to do, and there’s a bunch listed there. But this is where I want to hear Stephanie’s thoughts. Posting on social media is not what David does when he does this. David vomits onto social media. That is not a social media strategy. Right? If you want to do real social media, you figure out your audience, and you develop that audience on that network. You figure out which network your audience is on. You develop that audience. You don’t just keep pushing stuff about yourself. You interact. But how would you begin this solution, Stephanie, if you were going to promote a blog post like this?

Stephanie: So, what I’ve done in the past, both for myself and for clients, is I’ve put a post up on my website that says… Now, I’ve never done sponsored posts. So, this might be the, and David, you can weigh in on if this would be different for a sponsored link. But when I’ve done guest posts or whatever, I have put a post up on my website that says, or the client’s website that says, we were recently featured in whatever blog post. Here’s a brief synopsis of what that post was about. Read the full post here and link to that post. Then, I will put the link to my website or the client’s website on social media. So that’s driving traffic to my site or to the client site but still pushing people to that sponsored or guest post.

David: So, we have to be careful about reciprocal linking there, okay? Because if they’re linking to us and then we link back to them, we’ve traded links. And that’s against Google’s guidelines.

Stephanie: Gotcha.

David: So, if that’s the case and we have a link coming into us, and I might no follow the link to them.

Stephanie: Okay.

David: So, you can add the no-follow parameter in the link, and I’ve done that several times. There are legitimate ways to have reciprocal links, but reciprocal linking is against Google’s explicit link-building guidelines. And so, we don’t want to have to explain intent to an algorithm. I didn’t mean to game you, Google. This is not a traded link. This is not some nefarious back-corner handshake link-building scheme. This is me trying to help promote you. But that’s an algorithm making that decision. So, explaining it to that algorithm is tough. So, if you’re going to link, do that. No follow the link or no index the page.

Stephanie: Okay.

David: It has a similar effect.

Janel: Okay. So, let me just recap this. So, if we follow Stephanie’s suggestion and link back to the sponsored post, just make that a no follow link, and that should take care of the reciprocal issue.

David: Yes.

Janel: Okay.

David: Yes. And that you can get away with not having to no index the post on your site because it’s a synopsis. Right? But developing that social media connection is the important thing. Does this client have an active social media presence anywhere, Janel?

Jane: I mean, they’ve got LinkedIn profiles, but I don’t know how engaged they are with the community. I don’t know if they found a community where they’re posting and commenting on posts. I found a photography Facebook group that I’m interacting with on their post, just providing advice. So, I’m not selling. I’m just providing my experience and, you know, that kind of stuff. So, I’m trying to become an authority figure on that stuff. So, this kind of feels, I mean, this is definitely them looking to just push messaging out. So, I mean, if they were to become a more authoritative figure in a group, it seems to me that that would be a better marketing effort for them than this whole process.

David: Yeah. Yeah. I like to make the analogy that social media is just like in-person networking. You know, if you go into in-person networking and all you’re doing is talking about how great your business is and selling to every single person you meet, you might get some sales, but you’re also not really developing relationships, and you’re not really listening, and no one’s going to want to talk to you the next time you show up because you’re just obnoxious.

Stephanie: Yeah. I compare it to a cocktail party. Like, if you go to a cocktail party and all you do is talk about yourself, you’re not getting invited back to the party. Nobody’s going to want to talk to you while you’re at that particular party. So, you might as well just leave.

David: Yeah. Many companies approach their social media the same way. Look at me. Look at me. I can make you whatever. And it’s like, who cares? I don’t really care about what you have to say anymore because all you do is talk about yourself. And so, you could post this on every social network possible, but if they’ve not taken the point to develop that, you’re just kind of speaking to an empty room.

Janel: Yeah. And I get that. So, to kind of lead them to that strategy, if they do come and become an authority figure and are helpful to whatever group they join, how would they then introduce this post? Or is it okay if they just have it on their own page, and then somebody will find it? Right. Because you don’t want to promote it. You don’t want to push it out like so many people do on social media. It’s like, oh, my God, I wrote a blog post. This is amazing. Go check it out.

David: Right. Different networks and plans have different rules, right?

Janel: Yeah.

David: The cool thing these days is everybody’s talking about Reddit and how Reddit posts get indexed almost immediately. And so, what, what, of course, happens is this is why we can’t have nice things, is the SEO community is spamming the crap out of Reddit right now and posting all their junk into Reddit. So then, we’re going to burn it, and then Google’s going to turn the spigot off. However, Reddit has very specific rules, and they also have unwritten rules, such as not promoting yourself on our platform. Reddit will turn on you desperately if you remotely look like you’re promoting yourself. But this forum might have the same rules. So, then you can talk to the moderators and say, at what point is this acceptable? How can I do this and still remain in their good graces? Or do I just need to post it? And then, whatever, you know? So, having transparency and talking about the rules with the people are helpful. But, yeah, I feel this pain because so many times, clients will give me something and say, promote this. And they’re doing it all backward. It’s like, let me be part of the planning process to get this together so that we can get a strategy together to promote it rather than just promote this. I can just post it on random social media sites. That’s going to do you no good.

Janel: Yeah. Because people don’t know you. They don’t trust you. Like, why would they care?

David: And so, the problem is that sometimes clients just miss that, and they’ll come to me and say, just promote this.

Tricia: Yeah, it’s already been…

David: What did I do with that?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And they don’t get it because they don’t think that there’s strategy and thought that needs to go into it. They feel like I have a magic wand. If I did, I wouldn’t need them. So, I get that’s a frustrating piece of this, that it’s taken years, in some cases, convincing clients to bring me in early. But some of those same clients are like, here, David, we want to promote this. I mean, no one wants to read this. You’re doing it backward. So maybe there’s a way to say, hey, we got exactly zero visits out of this and zero conversions or whatever. Next time, let’s develop some strategies and plan this so that we can be more prepared to promote it and build it in light of promotion rather than just asking me to promote it. It’s not really written that way. We’re kind of working backward, and we can say, hey, and then we can maybe turn it around. But unfortunately, since clients sometimes think it backward, they say, well, you suck because you couldn’t promote this, and that’s why I’m paying you. Well, that’s not how it works, and they misunderstand it.

Janel: And I feel a little bad because there was a suggestion to do guest posts. I didn’t say sponsored, but they took it and decided to jump onto this package. It’s for a quarter. So, yeah, I’ll give them the information that I have, and hopefully, they can make better decisions.

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