Written by Jessica Ann on January 24th, 2014
Guest Blogging and SEO Strategies for 2014
Is guest blogging dead? After reading the latest blog post from Google’s Matt Cutts you might think so. He is the search giant’s chief spam fighter. He said “guest blogging is done: it’s just gotten too spammy.” So should guest blogging be part of your marketing strategy in 2014? And in the light of what Matt Cutts has said, how should you keep up with the Joneses of SEO this year?
Read those last two sentences again as the words were chosen very carefully: should guest blogging be part of your marketing strategy, i.e. not your SEO strategy. Note the separation of marketing and SEO in that sentence. You see, in his blog post Matt Cutts did not signal the end of guest blogging: he signaled the end of guest blogging for SEO.
What Is The Future For SEO
SEO is still an honorable pursuit. So we’ll look at some SEO strategies for 2014 in a moment. But SEO is only honorable when it’s pursued honorably. Google does not want you to do anything that is designed to game the system – and guest blogging for SEO (i.e. in order to get a dofollow link) is gaming the system.
Imagine you were in charge of an organization that was responsible for airline pilot exams. That is an important job. It is a competitive industry but only the best should rise to the top. How would you feel if large numbers of the trainee pilots were trying to cheat the exam? You would first be concerned that the quality of your results had been compromised. Second, you would do everything in your power to weed out the cheats and change the system so that the same cheating methods could not be used again.
On the Internet, guest blogging for SEO has become a way to cheat – so Google is shutting it down.
SEO Strategies for 2014
So what SEO strategies should you use in 2014? First, you need to start thinking of SEO as a form of marketing. In fact, there will probably come a time when the phrase SEO becomes redundant. Marketing is the key – promoting your brand, telling people about your products, engaging with your customers, and reaching out to new customers is what makes up much of marketing today.
If you do those things, the search engine rankings will start to come naturally.
The trick is to know where to focus your SEO / marketing efforts. Here are some ideas:
1. Guest Blogging
Yep, guest blogging is okay, as long as you are not doing it to get links. If you’re doing it to increase your profile it’s a great marketing strategy. More people will get to know who you are and over time that will help your bottom line.
But there is no shortcut. The days of offering money in return for space on someone’s blog is over. You need to build relationships and make people want your expertise and knowledge. Then you can write a guest blog, and you can include a link – just make sure it is nofollow!
2. Social Media
Social media should be part of all digital marketing and SEO strategies in 2014. Whether you choose Google+, or you decide to run promotions on Facebook, choose your channels carefully – and then start engaging with your audience. This starts with providing content that they want to read or see. It also involves participating in conversations, and starting conversations of your own.
But get ready for the long haul. Building relationships takes time; building communities takes even longer. That applies to social media as much as it does to anything else.
3. Create Good Content
If you are not already on board with the “content is king” theory you have a bit of catching up to do. Google is only valuable to its audience (the people who search) if they are sending them to good quality websites and pages.
But it is not just about Google. You should be giving your audience good quality content anyway.
4. Google Plus and Authorship
Spammers are almost always anonymous. So it’s not surprising that Google wants people to put a face and a name to the content they publish on the Internet. That’s why Google Plus and Authorship are so important. If you’re not up to speed on this, get there quickly.
5. Mobile Friendly
The Internet has changed as people now use mobile devices to access information. If your website and content is not mobile friendly you should make this your priority for 2014. Your users will like it, and so will Google.
Start thinking about digital marketing rather than SEO. Do things that will make people want to read your content (by making it great and building relationships) and make it easy for people to find the real you (by embracing mobile and Authorship). Everything else will follow.