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Great content for great links: a guide for the newbie link-builder

by Carlo Pandian | 20.03.2013
We all know Google is clever enough to recognise patterns in link building. At the same time we are overwhelmed by a massive wave of guest blogging activities and sites are able to see a ranking uplift but the format looks almost identical – a chunk of text with only one link included in the author’s biog at the bottom.

Low quality guest blogging activities are characterised by irrelevancy, poor layout, content that doesn’t provide any value and excessively promotes the brand. Links don’t make any sense. It is inevitable that Google will continue to release updates targeting the blogs which allow poor quality guest posts – and take action to make the tactics worthless. Don’t panic!

By brainstorming ideas, you will be able to find guest blogging ideas that can be scaled to show a natural variety of link types, in the eyes of Google. The following are tactics to create useful content and embed links in the body of a blog post:


Each business carries an intrinsic knowledge about their industry, and (hopefully!) employs talented people. Those experts within the company can be exploited to get you links by providing quotes for your posts, mentioning their name, the company and of course adding a link to the company or their profiles.

Guest post title: “Why Some Companies Lose Their Best People – And Others Don’t”
Quote: “Retention is becoming a key factor of success in the development of tech start-ups” says Robert McKenzie, CEO of [brand name] HR software.

This gives you a much more natural way of linking out. You can vary this up by using the person’s name, the company name and also the site URL as anchor text.

List of tools, top 5, best of’s
best of's

The product or service you are marketing can be included in a much wider group of products with a particular aim. For example, HR software aims at organising employees and tasks, healthcare services benefits patients and gardening tools improve your patch harvest.

You can easily brainstorm guest post ideas based on top 10 (or 5), “best of” lists and further embedding links to other non-competitive products you are mentioning.

5 HR software systems for start-ups
5 health assessment’s explained to patients
Looking forward to an extra harvest in June? Check these 5 organic resources for a more productive garden

Top tip:
When you link to other websites that aren’t your own, reach out to them with Twitter and let them know you have mentioned them. It’s a great conversation starter and could lead to you pitching some of your content ideas for their blog.

Tutorials and How to’s
how to give your blogging brain a rest

Some products require specific expertise in order to be used. Share this on the web with your targeted community and improve brand awareness and the loyalty of your customers.

How to track employee absence in [brand name] HR software
What to eat before the blood test (example of guest post for a medical centre offering blood tests)
How to grow Jerusalem artichoke (example of guest post for an online grocery retailer)

Top tip:
Don’t be overly promotional, the bloggers will spot your tactic. Include at least 2 links in the body of text, and find the most natural way to link out to your site. For example, avoid anchor text links, link to support resources and suggest alternatives to your readers. For example,

Citation of personal experiences

There’s a particular style of blogging that loves to promote personal experiences. Here you would be able to write that you have experienced a particular product or service including a link out to them. This will naturally fit in with purpose of the post.

Guest post title: “Why Some Companies Lose Their Best People – And Others Don’t”
Citation: I have been using different methods to track my employee absence such as this useful Excel template or [brand name] HR software, and these have given me a better understanding on how to allocate resources within departments.

Get Your Creative Groove Back

Guest blogging can be highly creative, so you get your internal expertise together and find out the most improbable ideas. Here are some hooks you can test  for creating and pitching great content:

Make a plan of what are the main events in or outside your targeted industry. For example, Christmas, elections, industry updates and conferences, release of National statistics surveys to comment on, new product innovations, special days such as anti-bullying day, women’s day etc. and even anniversaries of important people (the first mention of HTML, Tim Berners-Lee, October  29th, 1991 or the death of Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin).
Use these events to inspire your SEO team. For example, OddBins, a wine retailer, has produced a “Wine Guide to The London Mayoral Election” capitalising on the hype of the UK capital election together with their wine expertise.

Find out which trends your company can be related to: for example climate change, employee happiness, local service, cycling, start-ups, and produce related content ideas.
When working for a business software company for example, the trend of the paperless office can be exploited to run a series of guest blog posts on green companies, technologies and new business trends.

It is your turn now and you are in charge to pursue a new way to approach guest blogging targeting high quality blogs, creating useful content for targeted communities and contributing to make the web a better place. How many great guest blogging opportunities are waiting for you?