There certainly is enough controversy regarding how many links (if any) should be in a guest post. It seems many bloggers still hold the antiquated opinion that too many external links will bleed precious “link juice” away from your own link. More on that below.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why adding out-body links to your articles is a good thing and why you really should do it.
Why You Should Add Supporting Links To Your Guest Post
- A single link in the entire article (including the byline) looks suspicious! If it is obvious to me and any other site reader, you can be darned sure it is also obvious to search engines that this single link is the reason for the article. This could get your article flagged as spam and/or low quality content. Worse, it could contribute to getting the publishing site and your client’s site penalized.
Yes, I take everything I read about linking, posting etc. with a grain of salt. #myblogguest
— Sabra Kay (@smkay70) March 6, 2014
- Adding supporting links shows readers that you have actually done some research on the article content. You’ve spent extra effort in sourcing relevant supporting links that help readers understand further details.
If that single link looks suspicious to me, and to readers, then you betcha it will look suspicious to Google too! #myblogguest
— Shannon Hutcheson (@LdyLarke) March 6, 2014
- Properly sourced supporting links and citations also help search engines understand exactly what your content is about. This sends trust signals to Google and other search engines, making your article seem more authoritative.
- When an author consistently sources supporting links in his/her articles, and properly uses rel=author when linking their own name, they establish credibility in the field(s) they write about. Over time they will be considered experts in those fields by both Google and others in their industry.
@LdyLarke When guest posting – I’d often outbound link at a target blog to soften them up and get them used to my name #myblogguest
— Thomas McMahon (@ThomasMcMahon14) March 6, 2014
- Other authors, when they notice their own content being linked to (especially if you drop them a line and tell them you did!), may also become regular readers of your content. They may even start linking to your own content in return. You know this is a win when those backlinks come from sites with a much higher authority than your own.
- A wall of text without any formatting is difficult to read. Adding images and links help break up that wall of text and make the article easier and more pleasant to read.
People are skimmers. Links add color (it’s true!) and help break up long paragraphs of text. Roving eyes will wanna click! #myblogguest
— Shannon Hutcheson (@LdyLarke) March 6, 2014
- According to Rand Fishkin, adding external links to unique pages adds more value than if you link to the same pages. In other words, don’t use the same resource link every time you write an article of similar content. Or worse, link with obvious commonly known words (like “car”) on Wikipedia.
@myblogguest #7 So true, big no-no! #myblogguest
— Sabra Kay (@smkay70) March 6, 2014
yeah, those were my early mistakes 🙂 RT @myblogguest: #7 i.e. Throwing a link to Wikipedia page in each article is useless #myblogguest
— Ivana Zuber (@bloggless) March 6, 2014
- Another point from Rand is that links from inside content have more value than external content links (such as footer or sitewide sidebar links). Which only makes sense when you think about how long sitewide blogroll links have been abused.
No math here: As much as it makes sense and helps for both! RT @Javamazon: what the ratio of ext links to int links #myblogguest
— Ann Smarty (@seosmarty) March 6, 2014
Bill Slawski comments on the same article that:
“So, a link that appears higher in the HTML of a page that appears commercial in nature, uses anchor text that isn’t related to the content on the page, isn’t clicked upon as much as other links on the page, and so on, may not be given as much weight as other links on the page.”
What!? A spammy, exact match keyword link at the top of the article doesn’t get much weight anymore? Why would this be any surprise?
So what about the link juice?
“Link Juice” is a term that refers to the amount of “juice” a link will give your site. If you can get a high quality site to link to yours, it will pass it’s high quality “juice” to your own site. For guest bloggers, that would be having your guest article published on a high quality site.
In the past, the more link juice you could get (from high quality sites linking to you), the higher your site would rank on Google. The higher your PageRank would be (0-10). Where PageRank used to be a clear indication of the “power” a web site had that Google used to weigh heavily in how it ranked sites on it’s SERPs (search engine result pages).
Times are changing though. One should note that PageRank (PR) does not always equal a high quality site. Nor does it mean a site will rank highest on the SERPs anymore. In fact, Google has been updating PageRank less often in recent years. Only twice in 2013. Either Google has started to discount PR, or it’s going to be just another “not provided” stat in the near future.
Example: I did a search for “SEO Toronto” on Google.ca in a private window (where I’m not logged in to Google).
The first several result sites are PR0. The first four, in fact. Whereas the 5th is PR4 and the 6th is a PR5.
If PR is no longer a major indication of a high quality site to Google, then neither is link juice a huge metric to get hung up on (when it comes to guest blogging or content marketing).
Write for people, not search engines.
How does using multiple supporting links in your article affect link juice?
Do supporting links “leak” link juice and give your self-serving link less value? The short answer is no. In fact, according to Adam Stetzer, link juice can flow backwards too.
This suggests that linking to authoritative (non-competitive) sites will help your self-serving link, improve your article quality and help set yourself up as an expert in the topic discussed.
Writing articles for link building purposes is not going to serve you very well at all. You should be writing articles to make connections with readers, to create potential customers, to be highly sociable (content that is shared in social media) and to build your brand.
Providing real value content on a consistent basis both on your own site and through guest blogging will generate natural inbound links on its own merit. Which is what you want to happen. The reward for creating high quality content is the natural and spontaneous links you get in return.
Thanks Shannon, I have found some great nuggets of info from this article. I have started a new blog and will be utilizing some of these practices to help build my following.
I’m glad you found the article helpful Paul. Thanks for commenting 🙂
Shannon, I must appreciate your points, writing posts with co-citation will give values to the readers and this make sense after all..
Thank you for your feedback Avik 🙂
We just registered on MyBlogguest and still learning how we can make post guest post I’ve been reading article and this post one of the most useful i found.
Glad you found it helpful James. Definitely feel free to use the MBG forums or the MBG G+ Community to ask any questions you may have about MBG. https://plus.google.com/communities/100851261270271076857
You shouldn’t really use links in content for the sake of it. Supporting links need to serve a purpose and be useful to the user. I still find it somewhat surprising that a lot of link builders don’t do their homework and proper research when creating content.
Joseph, sadly a lot of link builders are just doing what they are told by their boss or peers. They are often focused on the wrong things.
As a publisher, my goals of course are slightly different than an author’s would be. I am trying to build useful, worthwhile sites for my audience. So, I want all kinds of supporting links in articles. It just makes sense.
If there are no supporting links, or too few images, in an article – I will add them. I find Zemanta to be ideal for this purpose. Although I use the browser plugin (works for any blog I edit), there is a plugin available.
Thanks for stopping by, Wally! Our philosophy is that both the author and the publisher should one common goal: That the published article does well in terms of traffic and engagement because they both benefit from that!
Wally, I know and have used that Zemanta plugin. I just didn’t care for the page load time. It was a bit of a pig on resources too if I recall correctly. I’ve tried similar plugins as well.
Though it is, as you say, most helpful for finding related resource links. For myself, I just look for things via search. Depending on the content, with certain sites in mind. “search terms” sitename.com etc
I always add a featured image (or more, depending on the kind of content). Then link up phrases I think are important (or for more reading) in the article to content that is relevant.
In fact, I think that is part of the fun of writing! Finding great resources and learning even more about your topic.
Thanks for commenting 🙂
I’m a bit confused when you write “page load time”. Do you mean when you are editing? Or when the article renders for a visitor in a browser?
If it’s page load time when you are editing, I would suggest using the browser plugin (which takes the load off the WP site). And, I always edit using Chrome because it’s so much faster than IE/FF.
If you mean render time when a visitor pulls up the page, that’s probably not a Zemanta issue (unless you are using the Zemanta related posts plugin). For a rendered page Zemanta only places a tiny pixel. Everything else is served via the source server for the image, so if Wikipedia/Flickr/whatever is having a slow day, your page load will suffer.
The WP plugin takes too long (in WP admin) to load. I am impatient at the best of times. I found the plugin to be a system resource pig as I already said.
I’m always conscious of plugins that increase page load time for visitors. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a WP plugin geek.
Firefox has always been my editing browser of choice. Chrome and I are frenemies at the moment. That’s a long story for another day haha
I may try the browser plugin..
I think Zemanta has browser plugins for Chrome, Firefox, and IE. Not sure about Safari or Opera. I’ve used the FF version as well, and it works identically to the Chrome version. Give it a try.
You are absolutely correct about too many plugins. I try to keep my sites as lean and mean as possible.
This has been very helpful, I am working on a new website and have been looking for ways to get quality content on my website before falling on this article. The strategies you explained has shown a whole new light on how I should go forward with my new website.
I am going to bookmark this page and apply these principles to the list.
Thank you Plotinus. I’m happy to hear you found the article helpful.
Thanks, Shannon. I often wondered why guest authors failed to place more (or any) links in their articles. I was often tempted to add some myself but did not want to alter the content.
Thank you kindly for commenting Ken. I’m happy to hear you found the article helpful.
When accepting guest posts through MBG, it is always advisable to contact the author if you want any editing done. This includes adding supporting links yourself.
Most authors really don’t mind to make any changes.
What I do when making an offer on a guest post is tell them straight out that I *will* be adding supporting links if they do not. That if they accept my offer, they also accept that I will be adding non-competitive supporting links myself.