Does Guest Blogging Help with SEO? | Marketing Q&A

does guest blogging help SEO

Entrepreneur Question:

I've always heard that guest blogging helps with SEO. I've had a few strangers email me about writing a blog post on my website - is that really helpful to both of our businesses?

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Expert Answer:

Short answer: no. It doesn’t help and can hurt.

Long answer:

This is an old SEO practice that no longer works and can actually now damage your site. Yet you still hear some less knowledgeable SEO “experts” give this advice regularly.

Google’s own maestro of SEO John Mueller has said specifically that these types of blog posts – where you put a blog on someone else’s website – should always have the links set to “nofollow” … meaning that zero SEO juice will be sent back to your website.

Mueller said it’s bad practice in 2020, 2021, and again in 2022. This isn’t new news (but of course not everyone needs to stay as updated with SEO stuff as I do so you may not be aware yet!).

“Nofollow” is the tag you add to a link that tells search engines NOT to take whatever SEO juice you’ve built for your page and transfer it to the outbound link instead. Obviously any SEO work you’re dong you don’t want everyone else to get all the benefit from.

Mueller said Google actually views these small backlinks the same as spam backlinks – such as from the old “link farm” or link exchanges that used to be a thing (and probably still are from some BAD SEO advisors).

So you don’t need to be trying to guest post on other people’s blogs (except as I mention below); and you don’t need to accept requests for guest posts on your blog unless it benefits you in some other way (like I mention below).

I only recommend you accept guest post requests in a very few circumstances:

  • The person you are allowing to guest post on your blog is a business you cooperate with on a regular basis anyway. This can be a good way for businesses to work together as a tool in cross-promotion if they have an overlapping audience.
  • When you add their blog to your site, you set the outgoing link as “nofollow” like Mueller suggests.
  • The friend shares a link to the post on their social media and elsewhere. This is beneficial to spread awareness of your business to their audience and perhaps get you seen by more people.
  • The article they submit must be 100% original.

That covers people requesting to guest post on your blog.  But what about the practice of you guest posting on someone else’s blog?

If you are the one doing guest posting, the sites that are beneficial to you are the large national publications with high traffic. Things like Forbes, or Bloomberg where I recently contributed to an article. Huffington Post. Or something well known in your industry specifically, such as for me Rising Tide Society or Template Monster.

These types of national publications are almost always high-authority websites. Where the small blogs with small traffic can seem like spam backlinks to Google, these big sites actually help with the perceived authority of your website, and are beneficial. Note that most of the time you don’t get to choose whether the link they share is no-follow or do-follow, but either way they help you establish authority in your field.

This type of posting may also occur as part of PR outreach during an interview with a publication – an earned media strategy.

Your own guest posting on other sites should be a method for you to generate awareness but not SEO.  Similarly, since guest posts don’t really help, allowing others to post on your blog isn’t beneficial unless your main goal is increasing your awareness.  And in all cases, the links need to be nofollow.


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