Connect with us


Is It Still Worth It?



Is It Still Worth It?

Updated June 30, 2022

Marketers often resort to guest blogging as a “get rich quick” SEO tactic to secure backlinks that help their content rank better in search.

As far back as 2014, then-head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts disavowed this practice, saying: “(S)tick a fork in it: Guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

In the earlier version of this article (which ran with the headline Why Guest Posting Isn’t the Answer in 2020), I set out to show that guest posting wouldn’t fix SEO woes.

That article ended up kicking off a lively discussion (which you can still read in the comments) about all the non-SEO reasons guest posting makes sense.

I stand by my position that guest blogging shouldn’t be your primary strategy for a quick SEO boost. But I agree it’s still worth doing – as long as you focus on long-term growth. I submitted this article to the Content Marketing Institute rather than publishing it on my own channels, after all.

So, let’s review the reasons “old school” guest posting is (still) out. Then I’ll explain how to approach this marketing strategy the right way in 2022 and beyond.

Occasional guest posting doesn’t help SEO

It can be tricky to keep up with evolving search algorithms, but not much has changed in the murky world of link building over the last decade.

In 2012, Google introduced the Penguin update to stamp out black-hat link-building tactics. The move led people to conclude that backlinks must contribute positively to a site’s ranking profile. They viewed links as demonstrating that their websites must be significant enough to be referenced by other sources, thus showing search engines (and humans) that the site is an authoritative source.

In the words of Google, “Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors.”

But as research from Backlinko reveals, writing a guest post here won’t provide the same boost to your search ranking or your online visibility.

As this chart shows, content that gets the top positions on SERPs earns many different referring root domains. Even a No. 10 ranking features multiple links from different domains. So, even if your guest post results in a backlink, a single probably won’t be enough to boost your content’s page rank.

Top ranking pages have more referring domains than lower ranking pages when excluding URLs with zero backlinks.


Image source

As you can see, to rise to the top positions on search engine results pages requires hundreds of referring domains. Even a No. 10 ranking averages almost 50 referring domains.

Website quality matters

Not all backlinks are created equal. There’s no point in guest blogging on a site no one has heard of.

Check sites’ domain authority when identifying publications you want to submit an article to. That’s a good indicator of the publishing site’s quality. You can use MozBar, a Chrome extension, to find the domain authority and an overview of the website’s metrics to see if the site is even worth your guest blogging time.

A screenshot of MozBar, a Chrome extension, to find the domain authority and an overview of the website’s metrics to see if the site is even worth your guest blogging time.

You could also use Moz’s Link Explorer to check out page authority (PA):

A screenshot of Moz's Link Explorer used to check out page authority (PA).

If you’re going to invest in writing or outsourcing guest posts, make sure you properly vet the hosting domain first.

Not all backlinks are created equal. There’s no point in guest #blogging on sites no one ever heard of, says @IAmAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Many publishers use “nofollow” links (or no link)

Even a well-known (i.e., high domain authority) site may not be a valuable place for your guest post.

Not all of them grant a referral link in guest posts. Some allow links but code them as “nofollow,” which lets visitors click on the hyperlink but tells Google that the link isn’t worth considering in its search algorithm.

Guest blog referral traffic is usually minimal compared to your overall traffic. And unless the referring site and guest blog topic are highly relevant, those visitors may be low quality – they don’t stay on your site, visit other pages, convert, etc.

Spend your time securing more valuable referral traffic by focusing on high-quality native content, influencer marketing, and a robust social media strategy.

B2C brands find less success

Here’s the deal: Building an impactful backlink profile solely from guest blogging is not likely to work for a B2C company. As Neil Patel, who has written more than a thousand guest articles, says: “If you’re in the B2C niche … chances are it’s not worth it.

“The amount of traffic you can get from these sites and the amount of business it generates for the consumer niche is so small you will not generate enough revenue.”

5. Guest posting doesn’t lead to short-term success

Neil also explains in the video above how he attacked guest blogging – he started with one or two guest articles a week. He ramped up to add a guest-blogging team to manage his process and he was writing a 700- to 1,000-word article every day of the week.

But Neil only began to see business materialize a year later when his guest articles on sites like Entrepreneur and Inc. began to rank high in Google search results.

Ultimately, Neil advises, don’t expect to see a big return on investment for at least two years.

Don’t expect a significant return from guest posting for at least two years, says @NeilPatel via @IAmAaronAgius @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

In short, the more quality content you publish over time, the better the cumulative effect is. If you’re considering guest blogging as an overnight-success tactic, don’t do it.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Guest Blogging: A Step-by-Step Guide

Editor’s note: All tools referenced come from the author. If you would like to suggest a related tool, please include it in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes



Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

Did you follow the Apple iPad Pro content debacle?

Here’s a quick recap. A recent online ad for the new iPad Pro showed a large hydraulic press slowly crushing various symbols of creativity. A metronome, a piano, a record player, a video game, paints, books, and other creative tools splinter and smash as the Sonny and Cher song All I Ever Need Is You plays.

The ad’s title? “Crush!”

The point of the commercial — I think — is to show that Apple managed to smush (that’s the technical term) all this heretofore analog creativity into its new, very thin iPad Pro.  

To say the ad received bad reviews is underselling the response. Judgment was swift and unrelenting. The creative world freaked out.

On X, actor Hugh Grant shared Tim Cook’s post featuring the ad and added this comment: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

When fellow actor Justine Bateman shared the Tim Cook post, she simply wrote, “Truly, what is wrong with you?” Other critiques ranged from tone-challenged to wasteful to many worse things.

Actor Justine Bateman shared Tim Cook’s post on X, which featured the ad, and added this comment: "Truly, what is wrong with you?".

A couple of days later, Apple apologized and canceled plans to air the ad on television.

How not-so-great content ideas come to life

The level of anger surprises me. Look, the ad does show the eyeballs on an emoji-faced squishy ball popping under the plates’ pressure, but still. Calling the ad “actually psychotic” might be a skosh over the top.

Yes, the ad missed the mark. And the company’s subsequent decision to apologize makes sense.

But anyone who’s participated in creating a content misfire knows this truth: Mistakes look much more obvious in hindsight.

On paper, I bet this concept sounded great. The brainstorming meeting probably started with something like this: “We want to show how the iPad Pro metaphorically contains this huge mass of creative tools in a thin and cool package.”

Maybe someone suggested representing that exact thing with CGI (maybe a colorful tornado rising from the screen). Then someone else suggested showing the actual physical objects getting condensed would be more powerful.

Here’s my imagined version of the conversation that might have happened after someone pointed out the popular internet meme of things getting crushed in a hydraulic press.

“People love that!”

“If we add buckets of paint, it will be super colorful and cool.”

“It’ll be a cooler version of that LG ad that ran in 2008.”


“It’ll be just like that ad where a bus driver kidnaps and subsequently crushes all the cute little Pokémon characters in a bus!” (Believe it or not, that was actually a thing.)

The resulting commercial suffers from the perfect creative storm: A not-great (copycat) idea at the absolutely wrong time.

None of us know what constraints Apple’s creative team worked under. How much time did they have to come up with a concept? Did they have time to test it with audiences? Maybe crushing physical objects fit into the budget better than CGI. All these factors affect the creative process and options (even at a giant company like Apple).

That’s not an excuse — it’s just reality.

Content failure or content mistake?

Many ad campaigns provoke a “What the hell were they thinking?” response (think Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad or those cringy brand tributes that follow celebrity deaths).

Does that mean they’re failures? Or are they mistakes? And what’s the difference?

As I wrote after Peloton’s holiday ad debacle (remember that?), people learn to fear mistakes early on. Most of us hear cautionary messages almost from day one.

Some are necessary and helpful (“Don’t stick a knife in a live toaster” or “Look both ways before you cross the street.”) Some aren’t (“Make that essay perfect” or “Don’t miss that goal.”)

As a result, many people grow up afraid to take risks — and that hampers creativity. The problem arises from conflating failure and mistakes. It helps to know the difference.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to become a rock ‘n’ roll musician. I failed. But it wasn’t a mistake. I wasn’t wrong to try. My attempt just didn’t work.

Labeling a failed attempt a “mistake” feeds the fears that keep people from attempting anything creative.

The conflation of failure and mistakes happens all too often in creative marketing. Sure, people create content pieces (and let’s not forget that there are always people behind those ideas) that genuinely count as mistakes.

They also create content that simply fails.

Don’t let extreme reactions make you fear failures

Here’s the thing about failed content. You can do all the work to research your audience and take the time to develop and polish your ideas — and the content still might fail. The story, the platform, or the format might not resonate, or the audience simply might not care for it. That doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.

Was the Apple ad a mistake? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Was it a failure? The vitriolic response indicates yes.

Still, the commercial generated an impressive amount of awareness (53 million views of the Tim Cook post on X, per Variety.) And, despite the apology, the company hasn’t taken the ad down from its YouTube page where it’s earned more than 1 million views.

The fictional Captain Jean Luc Picard once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness. That is life.” The Apple ad turns that statement on its head — Apple made many mistakes and still won a tremendous amount of attention.

I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t criticize creative work. Constructive critiques help us learn from our own and others’ failures. You can even have a good laugh about content fails.

Just acknowledge, as the Roman philosopher Cicero once wrote, “Not every mistake is a foolish one.” 

Creative teams take risks. They try things outside their comfort zone. Sometimes they fail (sometimes spectacularly).

But don’t let others’ expressions of anger over failures inhibit your willingness to try creative things.

Wouldn’t you love to get the whole world talking about the content you create? To get there, you have to risk that level of failure.

And taking that risk isn’t a mistake.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


The Future of Content Success Is Social



The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book



7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.


Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading