On SEO & guest blogging: A smart talk with Ann Smarty
Here Ann discusses how MyBlogGuest works, her current passion for reviving Threadwatch, and her take on guest blogging for links.
You’re well known as the founder of MyBlogGuest. Could you share a bit as to how it works for freelance writers and blog owners?
MyBlogGuest.com was started as a simple forum with the only aim to connect people with one interest: guest blogging. I never intended to monetize it. It was just a fun idea quickly wrapped together with no budget behind it.
What happened next was a fun time of building the community, collecting the feedback and implementing it. In an effort to cover development costs we had to monetize it but the gist remained the same: We wanted people to meet and build relationships…
Currently our features include:
- Articles Gallery: A writer can upload his/her original guest article there for blog owners to come, preview and suggest their site to be its home. I think it’s a good tool for any blogger: Whenever they have too little time, leave on vacation, get a new job, etc., the Articles Gallery can be their source to support the blog. The Articles Gallery is 100% free from any money offers: We want the blog owners to only use the content if they love it! There should be no other incentive.
- Infographics Gallery: The similar tool for infographics designers to find blog homes for their work. Together with the infographics we require an original text description to go with it. (My case study is here).
- Articles Requests: A blog owner can leave a “request” for some specific guest article topic and authors can pitch ideas. The unique part of this feature is that ALL articles here are pre-moderated, so the blog owner gets an essentially edited piece of original content based on his/her specific requirements and topic. (Here’s a quick video).
- Verified authorship: We comply with Google trends and encourage authors to verify the authorship of their guest posts (and thus digitally sign them). Blog owners may visit that section of “verified” content and allow established authors to guest post.
There are lots of other features including link tracking (for authors to be able to use a guest post elsewhere if the blog, for example ceased to exist), free Copyscape checks (to make sure all content is original), 24/7 moderation and support (thanks to our awesome team), follow-up reminders, free hand-picked and monthly updated “featured” requests lists, etc.
We still can’t stress the value of relationships enough!
Even with PRO membership I have always been saying: Pay for a couple of months, build some contacts with a bunch of bloggers and move on! Don’t use it as your only or main source of guest post opportunities. Go out and reach out to more bloggers, use MBG-powered connections to expand to “friends of your friends” circles, etc.
Lately there’s been some concern expressed by SEOs regarding Google’s warning about guest blogging for links. What’s your take on all this? Should this be a concern?
My main concern is the SEO community – people are too distracted and confused. SEOs just keep looking in the wrong direction!
I’ve said this before: Guest blogging for links has always been doomed. It’s simply not the way it should be used to work!
Instead of picking up to Googler’s work and inventing “red flags”, SEOs just need to grow up and make it work the right way, i.e., build a linkable asset (tool, whitepaper, great article, etc) and use guest blogging and social media to get an initial attention to it.
If you are doing your job right, you won’t have to keep writing guest posts just for the sake of gaining links: Links will start coming on their own!
If that’s how you are guest blogging, you will always be good!
You’re also very involved with the Threadwatch community. What is Threadwatch about?
Threadwatch is one of the oldest SEO communities. It’s been around since 2004! Then it was inactive for a while and Jim Boykin decided to revive it in January of this year. I happen to be Internet Marketing Ninjas’ community manager, so I was the one to oversee and manage the revival.
In my revival submission, I covered all the Google updates and news we had missed.
Since the re-birth we have redesigned it and added a couple of innovative features. One of the recently added is the “Marketing Conferences” page which enables users to mark conferences as “I am going to” and it will then be reflected in the calendar (as well as your user profile and on the conference page as well). Basically, it’s like a community-driven personal conference manager.
We are still undergoing the “beta” phase though: Looking for the “core” active members and editors who will create the “ultimate” voice of the resource and define its actual style.
Time will show but I would love to see Threadwatch to be the major resource of what is important in SEO and social. I don’t want it to be yet another list of “top lists”, you know. I want it to be the ultimate hub of in-depth SEO discussions: “Less noise, more signal”
But time will show… The community is organic in nature; you can’t always control it, so we’ll see where it goes!
You’ve been in the SEO and internet marketing profession for a considerable time now. What is your overall impression of the state of the SEO industry today?
I stopped counting years in SEO, to be honest. I’ve been involved long enough to understand that nothing essentially changes: Google is trying (and often failing) to find really quality content and SEOs are trying to “fake” it instead of actually trying to *build* it.
In the process, Google is getting more aggressive and SEOs are getting more sophisticated (instead of putting the same amount of energy into actually *building* it). Luckily, the SEO community is slowly but surely growing up and it’s been awesome to be part of that process!
About Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty is founder of MyBlogGuest, Branding and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, co-founder of ViralContentBuzz and regular contributor to a number of top marketing resources. You can follow Ann on Twitter (@annsmarty and/or @seosmarty) and on Google+.
photo thanks to chrishusein