For many bloggers and internet marketeers driving traffic to a website can be a bit of a ‘do it yourself’ process, especially for new websites.
Building up content and becoming a recognised authority takes time and needs to be done across a number of different media, if it is to be done relatively quickly.
Guest blogging has ben seen as a way to gain authority, reach a wider audience and also gain backlinks. But given the time and effort it takes to do it properly and as Google continues to penalise spammy content, has guest blogging reached the end of its day?
And if so is there an alternative?
One of the ways that has traditionally been promoted to build authority, has been to guest blog on other more developed websites. This has had a couple of advantages particularly for new writers;
- It provides a ready made platform and audience
- It’s a way to gain good quality backlinks
- It enables the writer to target a specific audience rather than hoping the right person will see the content.
The downside to guest blogging is that it takes time and takes away from time spent producing content for your own website, which potentially slows down recognition and authority at that end.
That’s all assuming that the reason for doing the guest blogging is genuine, however many SEO companies started to use and misuse guest blogging as a way to boost page rank and sell products indirectly to an unsuspecting audience.
So Is Guest Blogging Officially Over?
In 2014 Google certainly made several statements declaring that guest blogging for link building purposes was not going to be tolerated, since it was being exploited for spam and page rank fixing.
As Matt Cutts from Google stated in 2014;
"guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy." - Matt Cutts, 2014
Matt Cutts also referred back to previous videos where Google had stated that strategies such as article spinning and producing low quality articles would be penalised.
So in essence Google has been on the attack against this form of link building for a while now, although its main concern was to improve the quality of content and not specifically target guest blogging.
The Dangers Of Using Guest Bloggers On Your Own Site
Although Matt did support using good quality guest writers he also warned that site owners needed to be aware that the quality of their guest blogger and any links they used, would be reflected in the site owner’s own website ranking. Here is one of the videos where he explains this.
In fact most of his later discussions on guest blogging are actually targeting website owners who are unwittingly become victims of spam. Letting someone onto your site to write a guest article might be considered a great way to get more diverse content and bring in different readers, but Matt’s lesson is very clear –
- unless you personally know and can vouch for the writer say no
- be aware that your website can be affected by their links
- you can easily become listed as a target for other guest bloggers and spam promotion sites
So if guest blogging is such a risky strategy is there something that can be used instead.
Forum Blogging As An Alternative To Guest Blogging
I’ve used the term ‘forum blogging‘ rather than mini blogging because as content writers a large part of our time is naturally spent promoting content on social media and digital marketing platforms. These sites all have forums or ways to interact with others (hence the name social).
Whereas guest blogging took time away from our main content and was an isolated approach to promotion, writing on social media forums is a much more integrated approach. It can actually support our current social media marketing strategies.
Examples of Forum Blogs
For example I blog on the Wealthy Affiliate forum where I can reach an audience of internet marketing people, who are all working with on-line businesses.
By posting here I reach the targeted audience that I need and Wealthy Affiliate is a large and reputable site not to negatively affect my authority.
They in turn have a strict no spam policy which reduces the risk to them of having multiple bloggers on their site.
Another site I use is Quora and I have just started using this as a blogging platform as well.
Generally these posts have the potential to rank in Google as well, however some forums including Quora, this may not always be the case.
Why Forum Blog?
Neither strategy in my forum blogging is about link building, since I can achieve that by answering forum questions, which is often quicker and easy to achieve.
Instead the strategy is simple – promote my authority and build a following.
Using Blogging To Develop A Following And Build Authority
Content marketing is a slow process there is no doubt about that, and SEO is a key part of why that is so slow.
Social media sites can build a following by retweeting and liking your blog posts, however one of the problems is that people don't often click on your content. So they don't actually know what you have to say.
Forum blogging is an intermediate step because people are already on the forum and are already interacting with content. Forum blogs tend to be shorter than website blogs, but are often longer than micro or mini blogs, so it allows you to provide a taste of your writing approach and style and build a following.
Is Forum Blogging Not Just Even More Work?
It depends on what you call as work, to develop a strong SEO content marketing strategy you need to have an audience to talk to.
Sometimes these conversations need to start outside of your blog space before people will visit and read your content in full. It is work, but having invested heavily in the time to produce great content why would you leave it hanging in cyberspace in the hope that someone will see it.
As such forum blogging is another investment in your content marketing strategy, similar to promoting work on social media and digital marketing platforms.
So Can Forum Blogging Work For You?
It is another content marketing strategy that you may choose to adopt, although it probably works best for those sites that;
- are already active on social media because the forum blog also needs to be promoted
- are members of forums since most require some form of (usually free) sign up
- enjoy writing content because this another form of content production – although you can use forum blogs for video, info graphics or other media types that you develop.
I would love to hear your own view on this type of approach and what your own experiences are of using forums to drive traffic.
There are a couple of other articles that you may also find useful on this site linked to this topic;
- Raising the Bar in Digital Marketing Training (Information on Wealthy Affiliate)
- Why Is SEO Such A Slow Process?
I hope you enjoyed the discussion and please feel free to share this content on your chosen social media channels. If you have any further questions or comments please leave them in the section below, thanks Marie.