Search engine optimization (SEO) and Internet marketing are rapidly growing as businesses continue to understand and strive for a profound online presence. Universities and colleges across the United States are developing their web presence in order to cater to those who wish to complete degrees online as opposed to on campus.
For these universities to efficiently market online, they must design their websites to fit the standards of leading search engines. Search engines, such as Google, have tremendous power in regards to the amount of traffic a webpage receives. This is due to the behavior of the public online, who almost exclusively type keywords in a search engine to find what they are looking for.
Because of the general reliance on search engines, Internet marketers must comply with a continually changing set of standards in order for a webpage to be easily visible in the search results. Search engines catch on to ‘black hat’ techniques and work to alter their set of standards, or algorithm, in order for search engine users to receive the most relevant and trustworthy search results.
Internet marketers work to design or tweak websites to represent the designated keywords their target audience types into a search engine. They also must build the strength of the targeted website in order for it to outrank competitors. One way to do so is through guest blogging.
What is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is simply the act of an individual creating and publishing a blog post on a website or blog that they do not own. People guest blog for a variety of reasons, one strong motivation being the one or more backlinks they generally receive from the posting.
While some guest bloggers just have a desire to write, reaping no tangible benefits, many guest bloggers generate articles/posts in order to increase traffic or build the strength of their personal websites. These guest bloggers are required to create original, high quality articles, which will benefit the readers of the blog they are writing for.
The Value of Guest Blogging for Link Building
Search engines consider a number of algorithmic factors when ranking websites. A strong factor in ranking is how ‘popular’ a website is, meaning how many other websites are linking to (talking about) the particular website.
Lets consider ‘website X.’ Websites cannot just claim that they are popular and should be ranked highly; they must prove this by having other websites link to theirs. One way to attain these desired links is through guest blogging, which search engines generally see as a genuine link (depending on the caliber of the website the link comes from).
The goal for the marketers of ‘website X’ is to have guest blogs published on relevant, high quality websites with backlinks pointed to ‘website X.’ By doing so, they demonstrate to search engines that they are being talked about (linked to) by other relevant, high-quality websites in their niche. As a result, Google will increase the strength of ‘website X’’ and positively influence their SERP rankings, increase traffic, and increase lead flow.
Cracking Down on Guest Blogging
Search engines are well aware of Internet marketing trends, and as they have in the past, continue to crack down on unsavory marketing techniques. Some marketers are creating very low quality guest blogs or even copying previous content in order to link to a desired website in a large-scale, low cost way.
In order to combat this, search engines are penalizing duplicate content, as well as cracking down on low quality websites that are producing large numbers of poorly written guest posts. Search engines want the most credible and honest results for their users and continue to work to attain such results.
In regards to online degree programs, if Google cracks down on a specific degree program for questionable link building, the ranking of the website will be seriously tarnished. This could result in many lost leads, therefore losing the university a large sum of money.
Because of the importance of high quality guest blog websites, marketers need to be aware of and check a variety of factors before posting on a site. One tactic would be to simply check if the website ranks on Google, to make sure it hasn’t been penalized at some point. Another factor is the quality of previous postings and the amount of blatant marketing visible on the website.
Guest Blogging and Online Higher Education
As with all businesses looking to generate customers through online marketing, universities and colleges can attain a sharp increase in new leads through a strong online presence. For this to happen, they must rank highly in search engine results and design their websites to be information rich and user friendly. To increase rankings, these universities pushing online programs should strive to acquire backlinks through strong websites by offering well written and engaging guest posts.
Tips for Researching Guest Blog Targets
- Use search engines to search for guest blogging opportunities in your niche
- When using search engines you may want to take advantage of the advanced search features found here
- Once a blog is located, review the site in detail and locate previous guest postings to analyze their quality
- Only reach out to guest blogs that are relevant to your niche and already contain high quality guest blogs
Good luck with future guest blogging and link building endeavors!