To the outsider, it can seem that in order to have a successful SEO strategy you must first have a degree in programming or hire a freelance SEO expert. Sure, a lot of SEO focuses on the efforts to optimize websites and you’ll hear plenty of talk of URL structure, keyword density and crawling speeds. But these things only fall under the scope of Onpage SEO and fail to address the part of SEO that will actually improve your SERP (search engine ranking position) results through the creation of backlinks to your site – Offpage SEO. Additionally, most people who think of Offpage SEO think that it only focuses on creating backlinks through cheap forum comments and blog comment links – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to improve your SERP results whilst flexing your writing muscles and sharing your knowledge and expertise with others then listen to this:
The concept: Start focusing on blogs
The first step to developing a combined successful writing/SEO strategy is to choose a specific keyword that your website or services revolve around and start researching for bloggers who are writing on this topic. From a simple Google search, to doing a search on twitter or Google Plus and following the advice of colleagues in your field, there are many ways to find blogs with which you can start collaborating. The main point is that Google loves blogs due to their sociability, unique content and personal touch. The better the blog is, the higher the likelihood that many people have linked to it based on the strength of its content thus its value as a place to grant you a backlink increases. Focusing on blogs is also great because you do not have to generate hundreds of backlinks before you start seeing some results, typically you can start seeing a rise in your SERP results after a few dozen links from quality blogs. Plus with every article you write, you’re giving yourself a PR boost by marketing your services and skills through the sharing of your expertise.
The crucial point: Being open and collaborative
You may think that targeting blogs for links is A, simple and B, stuffing links into an article. What many people don’t realise is that your primary motivation for being in contact with other bloggers is to provide interesting, thought-provoking and unique content to the readers of other blogs through entertaining and well-written guest articles. Any SEO benefit that you can get should be an after-thought. Nevertheless, there are a couple of do’s and don’ts that you should always keep in mind:
- Do your research – look at the topics on the site and make sure to pitch an article that you know is likely to be well-received by the readers of the blog.
- Collaborate with the blogger on the exact topic and be open to any feedback and changes that they suggest
- Write original, fresh and punchy content.
- Explore any opportunities for the blogger in question to feature on your blog as a guest writer. Remember that guest writing is a partnership and it always pays to return the favour!
- Be social, follow the blogger in question via other social media channels such as Facebook and twitter in order to keep up to date with their output.
- Engage and stay connected: make sure you maintain the relationship, come back and put comments on other articles, share the bloggers articles.
- Don’t write an advertising piece that waxes lyrical about how great your service/product is.
- Do not stuff your article with tens of links to your website. If you write a quality piece then most bloggers would be happy to allow you a link or two back to your website.
- Don’t write a boring 4 page essay; keep your article precise and easy to digest.
Guest articles: The human side of SEO
The best thing about a White-Hat SEO strategy such as writing guest articles is that it gives you the perfect opportunity to share your experience and knowledge with others. It can give you a real buzz to know that your articles are giving advice to other freelancers or professionals in your field, and you never know, maybe your musings will lead them down a new path they might never have thought of before. It’s pretty hard to beat that kind of feeling. Plus, through blogging collaborations you actually interact with real people, this beats sitting in a cramped office all day leaving hundreds of anonymous blog comments!
It’s always important to keep in mind that Google is placing a stronger emphasis on content and has been cracking down on spurious linking practices for years. So please avoid websites that offer hundreds and thousands of links like the plague. Inject some pride into your SEO and start sharing your thoughts and talents through guest articles, by building up a reputation for yourself and acquiring some genuine backlinks along the way based on the quality of your content. Plus, you’ll enjoy yourself much more knowing your SERP results will rise based on above-the-board, social methods!
Author: Robert from twago, a musician, writer and long-boarding enthusiast from Berlin who specialises in spreading the word about the human side of SEO.