Article writing in the form of guest posts has gone through the stratosphere, the amount of people writing informative, topical articles to publish online is literally growing by the thousands on a daily basis.
The standard varies from one extreme to another, i.e. from literary masterpieces to articles of the poorest quality that are hard to decipher and shouldn’t even be on the web. The type of folk who blog and their reasons vary tremendously too, such as journalists publishing the latest breaking news, industry leaders sharing insightful information specific to their sector, staff writing about their company’s latest products and services, to freelance writers producing articles on topics they are knowledgeable and passionate about.
Whilst guest blogging is a great vehicle to help raise brand awareness or the profile of individual writers, there’s no denying one key reason many turn to guest blogging is the ability to provide a website with what should be original, quality content in return for one or two backlinks of their choice.
In the world of SEO this is a fantastic opportunity but sadly is an area that once again is exploited and abused, but I’ll save that rant for another post! This post is about helping those who do write guest posts of great quality to build both brand awareness and links but are not necessarily aware of the latest best practices when it comes to linking.
The last twelve to eighteen months has seen much change in SEO and the search engines improved ability to identify and penalise those sites that are not playing by their guidelines by trying to manipulate search engine rankings.
Whilst guest blogging if done correctly is viewed as a safe method to generate links, if the article and the links it contains is not approached correctly then guest posts can also get you in deep water and land you with a Google algorithm or manual penalty.
The Backlink Shift
The landscape of how to insert links in posts has evolved to keep abreast of the recommended search engines guidelines. One authorative site My Blog Guest has published this article covering their thoughts and recommendations on the latest best practices. Historically it’s been recommended to place up to two self-serving links in the author’s by-line, which in many cases appears at the end of a post, and whilst that rule still holds true, it’s the number and type of links featured in the by-line that needs to be approached carefully.
It is still regarded as okay to have up to two links in a by-line, but rather than both of them be self-serving to the same domain, it is now recommended only one of those should be a self-serving link, either a brand link or on occasion a keyword rich anchor text link, and the second link should be a second-tier link like your Twitter profile, Facebook, G+ etc, i.e. a link to a page that you don’t own but it’s about you or your business.
One major change from past suggestions is that if you’re able to insert your self-serving link within the body of the actual article in a totally natural way then that is viewed as being okay and still leaves you with the option of featuring up to two links in the by-line, so long as they are pointing to two different domains.
Another point worth stressing and is covered in the My Blog Guest article linked above, is to ensure by-lines are completely unique with every post you write. Author’s bios are still part of the article hence they need to be original with each new post an author writes.
Author by-line Tips
To state the obvious, a by-line is there to describe the author and what he or she does, so at a bare minimum it should contain the author’s name, profession including the company name or blog the author is connected to. To help ensure each blog post author bio is original, it is good practice to add some other brief but interesting information such as career details or past experiences, hobbies and interests, marital status, whether you have children etc, taking this approach will help you create unique bios each and every time you write and publish a new post.
Check out this article which gives some great ideas on the different approaches to writing by-lines as well as links to other useful resources to help give some inspiration –