Jack the Ripper was the name given to Britain’s first serial killer who operated in the Whitechapel district of London. He was responsible initially for 5 gruesome murders (maybe more) of female prostitutes between 1888 and 1891. Jack was connected to another 6 murders on top of this but was never caught due to the lack of evidence he left and technology used by the police in the 1880s.
A few weeks ago we spoke about how 50 cent would approach SEO, well this week we’ve decided to use Jack The Ripper as our inspiration for a guide on guest posting en masse.
Guest Blogging is an above-board marketing practice and has its own merits outside of SEO. Aside from the links it can generate, it can also send mind share, visitors and even sales your way. It is a common practice and would be done even if search engines didn’t exist… But when you are doing guest posting en masse as a marketing agency or an SEO consultant in an aggressive market for pure SEO benefit, you may have to start thinking about “naturalising” your efforts covering your tracks for obvious reasons.
Now before you start, we’re not suggesting you get into the mindset of a mass murderer like Jack The Ripper, we are simply guiding you on things you should consider when publishing guest posts en masse so you are keeping things really natural don’t leave a huge dirty footprint.
10 Things You Should Think About When Publishing Guest Posts En Masse
#1 Spammy Author Boxes – You’re An Easy Target
Are you constantly writing and publishing multiple guest posts for different clients by the same author? Not to mention the dodgy-looking links in the author box, this looks spammy to the average everyday web surfer never mind us SEO’s and Marketers who know exactly why you’re doing it and not to mention the big G.
You should really consider using personas for different clients. Don’t forget anyone can find out exactly what you’ve published and for which clients just by searching in Google for ‘Your Name’ “Guest Blog”.
We prefer not to use author boxes in our Guest Post Service so that our ‘guest posts’ do not fall into the traditional guest post format. Our links appear within the body and flow of the article. If you can’t do this with the blog owner then try using just an author byline and just ensure you use different personas for different clients.
Takeaway: Don’t leave a large author box footprint across all your clients in many different industries. Better still, negotiate with the blog owner so that you do not have to use an author box.
#2 Don’t Write Boring Posts & Don’t Regurgitate
We know there are a lot of blogs that accept low-quality posts, but by raising your quality you can get accepted on much better blogs! If your client is in a boring industry, spice it up. Use different verticals to cross-reference your client’s industry.
One sure-fire giveaway that your leaving a messy guest post footprint is if you continually write about the exact same subject in the exact same way. For example ‘5 Ways you can Market your Business Online’. Do all your other posts follow a similar suit? ‘5 Ways to Market your Business on Facebook’, ‘5 Ways to Market your Business on Twitter’. Do all your posts follow this same style and have more or less the same content? If so then you should get your creative caps on.
Vary your subjects, expand your knowledge and start writing juicy, exciting, original content. If you’re stuck for content ideas try this great content idea generator from the guys over at SEO Gadget.
Takeaway: Think outside the box when it comes to content, even if your client is in a boring industry. Make all posts completely unique and add value to the web.
#3 Vary Post Content Length
When outreaching and publishing multiple guest posts across a number of websites and blogs ensure every post differs in content length. If you continually publish guest posts that are close to or around a particular number of words such as 400, then you are potentially leaving the first piece of evidence that you are trying to game search engines. Your link profile is going to be full of blog posts that are all 400 words in length. Not every subject that you are writing on demands the same word length. Some subjects are far more complex than others therefore should contain more content to get the message or point across clearly. Although in our guest posting service we advise we write a minimum of 500 words, in every post we publish we ensure our post lengths vary according to the complexity of the post we create. It could be anything from 500 to 1000, maybe more like this one.
Takeaway: Don’t write to a minimum word specification, write until the post thesis has been explored completely, even if this does mean going double over your minimum word spec.
#4 Site/Link Quality DA? PR?
This is another huge footprint people are leaving when publishing guest posts on masse. Partly due to the Penguin update which killed off sites that relied on poor quality links, many SEOs, Agencies and Marketers now think they must strive for links from sites with minimum PR/DA metrics. They are using these metrics when prospecting and in most cases are discounting sites with less than PR2 and DA20 metrics.
I’ve even seen “first hand” SEO’s paying webmasters to remove very natural real links just because the website was below a DA10. Come on people, this is “Google-fearing” BS. A few SEO lessons from 50 cent are needed if you have done something similar in the light of the updates.
The problem this creates is if you are buying guest posts/prospecting sites which fall into a category of PR and DA then your link profile is going to look very suspect just like the one I’ve illustrated. This just isn’t natural at all. Instead, look for quality and relevance. PR & DA can be gamed. A real site is harder to game. We’d much rather post to a DA20 PR1 real, genuine blog than a DA40 PR6 guest blog farm.
Takeaway: Focus less on numbers in metrics and more about how well the website and the piece of content fit your clients site. Look at the website, does it look like a guest blog farm or a real blog?
#5 Link Out to Other Sites
Don’t just write guest posts and link out only to your client/site. Reference other important information in your guest post. I’m not saying reference competitors or anything but reference news posts, other blog posts on the same subject, other non competing for websites so you literally can’t tell that the post was created for the purpose of the link.
It’s something we’ve done here at Fat Joe since the dawn of day. It makes us cringe seeing guest posts with only 1 link out as it’s really obvious the post was created for that one link!
60 Second Link Test
Apply the 60-second link test to any guest post you publish. If you can tell who the guest post has been written for within 60 seconds it’s not natural enough! Of course, if you are using author boxes it will be really easy to tell, but see point 1 of this post. Avoid author boxes if you can, instead use author bylines, and place your links within the flow of the article.
Takeaway: Link out to other sites to make your post look natural and impartial so that even if Matt Cutts himself saw your post he wouldn’t know if it was a guest blog post or not.
#6 Location of Your Links
If you can get the links in the flow of the article as opposed to in an author box or byline then that’s the best place for them. It’s not natural for a user to read a post and the reference all be at the bottom. Think of the way Wikipedia works. Important information, names, places and points of interest are all hyperlinked from within the flow of the information just like the screenshot above.
Takeaway: Try to keep your links within the flow of the article as this is the most natural and useful place to link out… within the flow of the article.
#7 Use Natural Anchor Text that Fits
I see this most days where a client wants to rank for ‘Keyword Keyword’ therefore they ensure the anchor text is the exact keyword whether it fits into the post or not. Example ‘Keyword Area’ such as ‘Best Dentist London’. Great, so your boss, you, your client knows there’s x amount of traffic for that keyword, therefore your want to rank the site for this. But ask yourself, how will this keyword fit into a free-flowing article without sounding dumb? OK, it may be possible but more often it’s not. ‘If you’re looking for the best dentist London try here’. Sounds dumb right? If you’re trying to fit an unnatural anchor text within a natural flowing article then it’s not going to work. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to fit that magic keyword in there which will make everything seem ok again ‘in’. ‘If your looking for the best dentist in London try here’. Now that’s better.
Also be wary about using commercial anchor text, if that isn’t the nature of the article. For example, if you are writing about “5 Ideas For Decorating Your Babies Bedroom” and you have an anchor text which is as commercial as ‘Buy baby wallpaper here’ it may stick out a little bit. If your article is shopper-friendly and was called ‘Best Shops Online To Shop For Your Baby’ this anchor text wouldn’t seem so out of place. Apologies for the bad example, but hopefully you get the picture.
Takeaway: Use natural anchor text, even if this compromises clients specifications, they’ll thank you later.
#8 Think About Your Anchor Text Consistency
There are usually 2 types of anchor text you will see. An anchor text containing words or an anchor text containing a URL. So, if you’re going to write a post and hyperlink a URL as opposed to a keyword, ensure the rest of your hyperlinks follow the same suit and style so that it’s not obvious your just trying to drop a natural naked domain anchor text for your clients or sites benefit.
Also, referring to point 7 again, make sure you are consistent in the style of anchor texts, whether you are being commercial or informational, it needs to appear natural, not like a ‘paid for afterthought’.
Takeaway: Keep your anchor text linking style consistent to avoid ‘sore thumb’ linking.
#9 Spice Up Your Posts Using Rich Media
Adding media to your guest posts where necessary just instantly improve the look and appeal to read the post. Don’t just use images though, spice it up a little and add videos from Youtube and Vimeo if there are some on the same subject of your guest post. Remember to credit images where due!
Takeaway: Use rich media to enhance your posts.
#10 Internal Linking
To earn some extra brownie points from the blog owner and increase your chance of it being accepted you can drop some internal links to other posts on his or her blog within your guest blog post. This also increases how natural your blog post looks. If you could do that without an author box, heck, it just looks like another blog post from the blog owner.
Takeaway: Internal linking in your guest posts has many benefits, but mainly you will increase how natural your post looks.