How To Keep It Ethical When You Guest Blog
When you're creating content that will be published on someone else's site, the key to doing it ethically is to make your readers your first priority. Your main goals must be to inform, enlighten, and/or entertain. Yes, guest blogging may also act as an advertisement for your own site, and a link included with your guest post may send some traffic your way. Refrain from thinking of the traffic-building as the main point and you will have no trouble conforming to Google guidelines and ethical best practices.
Further tips for sticking to the ethical high road when you guest-blog:
1) Write Only For Sites That Are Relevant And Trustworthy
When you go looking for promising sites to share your content on, look first for signs that the site puts readers first. Is it clear, accessible and easy to use? Does it already feature well-written content? Traffic matters as well when you are submitting guest posts, of course. You want your guest blogging to put your content in front of a significant new audience.
It's generally a good idea to investigate a site's "under the hood" details using tools like SEMrush. Promising sites that you want to guest blog on will get plenty of traffic. Check out a site's backlink profile, too. Ideal tools for this include Ahrefs and Moz's Open Site Explorer. (Be careful with Moz's Domain Authority tool; its metrics can be deceptive.) You'll also want to confirm that the site is indexed by Google and visible on its search engine results pages. Run a Google search with a site constraint (put "site:domain.com" into the address bar) to make sure posts on the site reach the SERPs.
You also want to keep things relevant by writing only for sites that address the same topics as yours. This keeps you focused on the right audience.
One of the best ways to target sites for guest blogging is to look at the sites which compete directly with your own. It's not those sites that you want to write for; it's the sites that help their search performance. Investigate their link profiles and see where they've shared their content using backlink auditing tools like Ahrefs. You can also use Buzzstream prospecting tool and plain Google searches (using keywords like "contribute") to turn up more opportunities.
Want more guest posting guidance? Check out Velseoity’s in-depth guide to the Guest posting.
2) Stick To Curated Sites
This is an important enough point to be broken out of the general guidance provided above. Guest blogging sites are like online directories: You won't get far posting to sites with a "no questions asked" approach to guest content. Sites that guarantee they will publish anything are actually waving a big red flag at you. Instead, concentrate your efforts on sites where you know your content's quality will be reviewed and verified before it's published. As a general rule of thumb, contact information for the operators/moderators of the site should be easy to find.
3) Exercise Moderation And Variety With Your Anchor Text
You don't want to use identical keyword strings for every guest post link you publish. Anchor text does get a bonus when it comes to search engine rankings, but the search engines have become clever enough to assess your cumulative anchor text profile.
If you over-indulge on the anchor text front and, for example, build up a disproportionate number of links for an exact match text string like "paint suppliers," you may end up attracting negative attention from the search engines. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can show you your anchor text profile and make it easier to keep your anchor text ratio in balance.
4) Write For People, Not Search Engines
When you're creating a guest blog post, it's especially important to refrain from keyword stuffing and other bot-first writing techniques. Keep human readers first and foremost in your mind and concentrate on sharing useful information with them. Stick to this principle and your content will pass through Google's filters with flying colors.
5) Exercise Caution When Spreading Articles Around
In 2017, Google issued a specific warning about the use of articles in large-scale SEO campaigns. The focus of their ire was an ethically-shady tactic known as article spinning. Essentially, this involves tweaking one article just enough to make it appear superficially unique and then publishing it in multiple places. It is okay to take previously-written content and refresh it for a new audience. It's not okay to rewrite the same article over and over and over again for obvious publicity purposes. Your guest blogging results will be far more sustainable if you stick to crafting original content for guest blogs and only occasionally repurpose your existing work.