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There are numerous reasons why people write content and have it published on the internet. For the purpose of this post, I want to consider how doing so benefits the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of a business website. Writing guest content and having it published on relevant sites is about much more than just acquiring links back to your own site. Rather, by writing content that is unique and of high quality, you also have the opportunity to build a reputation in your field on the internet.
Much has been written about Google’s perspective on guest posting, and it’s a misunderstood and frequently debated topic. In their own words,
‘Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company.’
As such, guest content should be created with the goal of benefitting the readership of whichever site publishes the article. The content should be of high quality, demonstrating the experience and expertise of the writer. In doing so, the author has the opportunity to establish themselves as an authoritative and expert voice in their field. This is of great benefit for SEO in a more holistic sense.
I myself am a writer who creates content on a regular basis for publication on the internet. I have a number of criteria that I apply to sites where my content may be published.
Let’s look at four essential factors when publishing quality guest content.
A Relevant Niche
My first criterion for posting quality content on the internet is that it should be published on sites that are in niches relevant to my own. By doing so, I achieve the maximum impact on my writing.
I run a local computer repair and IT support business which I launched from nothing. I’m an IT support professional, a business owner, and a Google-certified digital marketer. Those are my areas of expertise and, as a consequence, I write about technical topics, business principles and digital marketing. As such, the niches which are relevant for my writing are technology and business (including digital marketing). Consequently, you’re reading this article on a site related to SEO.
Normally I write an article and then look for a relevant site for its publication. However, in the case of the article you’re reading, I wrote this one specifically with the Limitless Referrals site in mind. The site has a category about SEO Tips and Tricks and, in my view, this piece is an excellent fit.
I was recently in touch with the site owner of a particular technology blog. The site had a great design, a solid domain authority, and healthy organic traffic. However, a few of the most recent posts on this ‘tech blog’ relate to topics such as tips about having your eyesight cared for, ways to de-stress in the information age, and rational emotive behavioural therapy.
This particular blog may have started life as a tech blog, but it had clearly evolved into a blog posting generic content. Whilst I was drawn to the site for a number of reasons, I decided not to proceed with the publication of any of my content. In my view, the site was no longer a tech blog but a generic blog.
When publishing quality content, it’s helpful to consider what other content is published on the site in question. To achieve maximum impact for SEO, your content should be published on blogs whose readership will benefit from the specific experience and expertise you have to share.
Strong Domain Authority (DA)
Having established that a site you are considering is in a relevant niche for you, you next need to consider the domain authority (DA) of the site. Domain authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz. It predicts the likelihood of a site ranking well on search engine results pages and is widely used as a benchmark in the SEO industry.
In general, a site is considered as having more authority on the internet if it has a high DA value. It is therefore assumed that sites with higher DA values are the most beneficial when seeking to acquire authoritative backlinks.
Genuine authority sites do indeed have high domain authority values. According to Moz, YouTube, Google Search and Apple all have a DA value of 100, whilst Microsoft and LinkedIn have values of 99. Sites such as these have established their authority in a natural organic manner and have generally been in existence for a significant period of time.
There are, however, many sites that have high DA values (though rarely above 80), but which don’t possess the same intrinsic authority. It is perfectly natural to target sites with high domain authority when seeking to build authoritative links. However, it is somewhat unnatural for a site to have a high DA value (50+) if it has only existed for a short period of time. There are numerous blogs with rather high DA values which have only been in existence for a year or two.
A relevant point to ponder is whether Google attributes any real value to links from sites that have attained high DA values within a short period of time. Such high DA scores may have been attained using manipulative methods. For this reason, it’s necessary to also consider other factors when evaluating a site’s reputation on the web.
The third factor I consider, after noting a site’s domain authority, is its monthly organic search traffic volume. A number of tools are available which can be used to provide this data. I tend to use either Semrush or Ubersuggest. These are two of the most reliable tools out there, though they both restrict the number of sites you can evaluate in a day when using the free version.
Semrush displays a chart for any site which plots the monthly organic search traffic over the last two years. They also offer a chart that tracks the number of organic keywords for which the site is ranking, together with other useful information. This information is all available on their domain overview page.
Numerous blogs exist with high DA values, but very little organic traffic. In fact, there are plenty of blogs and other sites which have almost no organic traffic, in spite of their having high domain authority. In evaluating a site, you may want to set a monthly organic traffic threshold figure in order to filter out lower-quality sites. Personally, I tend to exclude any site which has traffic lower than 1000.
There are also blogs, and many other sites, which have a large volume of traffic, but a relatively low DA value. For example, I’ve just had a post published on a site that has a DA of just 45 but with organic traffic of 135,000 visits a month.
The question is what is more significant to Google. A high domain authority may have been attained through manipulative tactics, but it’s much more difficult to manipulate genuine organic search traffic.
A Well-Established Site
The final factor I use in assessing a site’s level of authority is the vintage of the site. In other words, for how long has the site been in existence. I enter the domain name into Who.is to find out when a site was first registered. Of course, older sites may have changed hands over the years, perhaps even several times. However, with Who. is you can see at a glance if a site was only registered recently for the first time.
In general, if a domain was registered within the last couple of years, I consider it to have lower authority from Google’s perspective. This is especially the case if it has attained a high domain authority in such a short time. In this case, I tend to view the site with some suspicion and would want to investigate it further before publishing anything to the site in question.
The site on which you are reading this article fulfils all four of my criteria. The meta title for the Limitless Referrals site is ‘Blog about SEO and software’ which immediately places it in a niche about digital marketing and SEO. The site straddles a number of other categories, but its primary niche is one that is relevant to me. Limitless Referrals has a domain authority of 67 at the time of writing, and monthly organic search traffic of almost 8000. Not only that but the traffic is trending higher, as is the number of organic keywords. Finally, the domain was first registered in 2015 which, in internet terms, I would consider being well-established.
When publishing high-quality guest content on the internet, and seeking the maximum benefit for SEO, look for a site that is relevant to your own niche. Check the domain authority of the site, and its monthly organic traffic. And finally, the longer the period of time for which the site has been established the better.
Thank you for reading!