The idea is simple enough.  Find other bloggers / writers / insiders to write a guest post on their blog or website and build a starting traffic base from said guest posts.  But does it work?  More importantly how well does it work?  And finally, from a time management point of view, is the return worth the stretch?

I’m leaving the SEO viewpoint out of this equation because there is no question in my mind that eventually google will find a way to devalue guest post links, much like they devalue anything that gets abused by webmasters for ranking.

Background

The question came to a head, strangely enough, almost a year ago, when Tamar Weinberg of Techipedia.com made a post on Google + attacking those who allowed Social Media Today to aggregate content from postings they made on their blog.  At the time, I was one of those people who didn’t see any harm from it.  After all, some of my posts that were aggregated were getting 5,000+ views.

My view on this has drastically changed.  Websites like SMT carry more authority than typical websites and therefore rank higher than the original website.  To add injury to insult, the traffic that one may get from a website like SMT is minimal compared to the page views…this is even when the article is featured.  So, in a sense, I am giving props to Tamar for recognizing this when I refused to.

This past week, AJ Kohn (aka blindfiveyearold) wrote a post on why he doesn’t use guest posting as a strategy. While the two cases were different, the thoughts are pretty much the same.

Guest Posting Builds a Brand…Just not Yours.

Here’s the problem with guest blogging.  The trade off is typically in the favor of the website in which you are posting content.  Most people aren’t going to scroll down to your byline and click the link.  And if they happen onto the website via twitter or through a link, they probably aren’t even going to recognize that your article is an advertisement for how crazy cool and authoritative you are.

I have had guest posts where the comments talked to the owner of the website rather than the author of the article.

To make matters worse, websites that get SEO traffic and are updated daily means that the chance of getting a referral based “click” is about as likely as having something retweeted (and may be even less).

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t guest post.  I do regular guest posts at a few places on the internet but the reason isn’t necessarily for the traffic but for the relationship with the owner of the website itself.

In other words, it’s the intangibles.

And the intangibles sometimes lead to other things….

…such as in text referral links from the owner themselves….

Which by and large are the best type of link you can get from a traffic standpoint because it is a testament by the author themselves.

In fact, you stand a better chance of getting traffic from a top 10 best of article written by someone else than you do from writing a guest post on the same website.


Should you guest blog?

This depends.  If getting referral traffic is your imperative, there are plenty of other things that will take less work and bring in the same amount of traffic (for instance, believe it or not, a well written comment could bring in the same traffic in less time.

If the owner allows trackbacks, this is another option since the content will be on your website with a link attached to it (in the very least, it will bring in the website owner you are linking to).

As far as relationship building goes, guest blogging will get your name on the lips of the owner and you will be, in the least, recognizable to them  (but once again, there are ways that can be just as effective that is more efficient on a time scale.)

Of course, this is coming strictly from a time efficiency standpoint.

What are your thoughts on Guest Blogging?  Do you guest blog and why?