During a webinar presentation about search engine optimization (SEO), one of the attendees asked me the following question:

“How does guest blogging help your SEO campaign?”

I’m sure a lot of other people have this same question so I want to address it here for everyone’s benefit.  Before I can explain why guest blogging is such a good SEO tactic, I first need to give a little background into how Google ranks websites in the search results.


Introduction to the Google Algorithm

I covered this in a previous post where I answered the question, “Is link building dead?” So if you’re already familiar with Google’s ranking algorithm, then skip down to the next section.

The way Google ranks websites is similar to the way people “rank” other people.  For example, without any other information, we tend to make assumptions about a stranger based on that person’s friends.  If you see a picture of this stranger playing basketball with President Obama, then you’ll quickly jump to the conclusion that she is probably an important, trustworthy, woman.

On the flip side, if you see a picture of this stranger playing basketball with Aaron Hernandez (ex-NFL player just accused of murder), then you may get the impression she’s a little shady.

In other words, WHO you hang out with affects your reputation.  This is common sense and something my mother repeated to me daily when I was running around the neighborhood with some of my delinquent childhood friends.

So to rank your website, Google looks at who you hang out with online.  And they can do that by looking at the websites that hyperlink (aka link) to your website.  The websites that link to you are essentially your online friends.  If a lot of large, well respected websites link to you, then Google gets the impression you’re also a well respected website.  If a lot of spammy, fake blog websites link to you, then… you get the point.  The LINKS from other websites to your website are the #1 factor in ranking your website in Google’s search results.


How Does Guest Blogging Help You Rank Higher?

OK, back to the main question here.  When you write a guest blog post for another website, then the article will include a link back to your website.  The light bulb should be turning on now. :)

So if you can write guest blog posts on other high quality, respected websites, then you’ll start to build up your reputation in Google’s eyes.  As your reputation improves, you’ll start to rank higher in Google’s search results.

Of course, I’m simplifying things quite a bit here and there are many other factors in how you will rank in Google. But getting links from other reputable websites is by far the biggest factor and it’s the main reason why guest blogging is such a great tactic.