Guest Blogging for Authors is Alive and Well by Sandra Beckwith

Sandra is a guest speaker at the 9th Annual Book Marketing Conference Online: Reach More Readers. If you have not yet registered… Click here to get your access pass.

Sanda-BeckwithBy Sandra Beckwith

There’s some buzz out there in the interwebs about the “death” of guest blogging.

Guest blog posts usually let the writer include a link or two back to his or her own web site (“backlinks”), and those links are good for a site’s SEO (search engine optimization).

Unfortunately, though, too many guest bloggers got overly aggressive with their guest posts and their links. They started churning out low quality content that they placed on as many sites as possible so that they’d have lots and lots of links pointing back to their sites.

Google didn’t like that, so it started penalizing blogs and sites that participated in this kind of low quality content/online spam tactic. When bloggers realized what was happening, some saw it as the “death” of guest blogging and promptly wrote the obituary.

Truth is, the only thing that’s dead is spammy, nonsensical guest articles posted for SEO reasons only. And that doesn’t apply to you.

Guest blogging has value for authors

Authors want to be guest bloggers not so much for SEO reasons, although that’s a positive outcome of the tactic. Authors should write guest posts for other blogs because the tactic helps them to:

  • Reach more potential readers
  • Develop relationships with their target readers
  • Establish credibility
  • Showcase subject knowledge
  • Add the right readers to their mailing list

There are more reasons, of course, but you get the point: Guest blogging is an important online book marketing tactic.

So how do you make sure that the content you provide to blogs as a guest blogger doesn’t get penalized by Google? Here are three tips that will help you use guest blogging to reach more readers:

  1. Guest blog only for sites that are a good fit for your topic and host.

That might seem obvious to you, but it isn’t to many. They think that it’s about quantity, not quality. It isn’t. Focus on collaborating with blogs that have a connection to your topic, genre, or audience.

For example, if your book is about fly-fishing in the Pacific Northwest, you shouldn’t be guest blogging for the “Civil War Sites Then and Now” blog just because the host is your friend. That won’t help either one of you – and it could hurt him.

Similarly, novelists should be guest blogging on sites their readers read, not on sites hosted by writer friends who serve a different genre.

  1. Provide a top-quality blog post.

Quality counts. Don’t crank out something quickly and send it along without composing thoughtfully, then editing and proofreading. Google values high-quality content and while the evaluation process doesn’t include a roomful of grammarians checking for “your” vs. “you’re,” bad content doesn’t serve (or influence) anyone.

In fact, if people leave your guest post quickly because they don’t like it, that page’s search engine ranking will fall because of the speed with which visitors leave.

Many nonfiction authors collaborate with a professional writer on their book to get the quality they need; if you’re one of them, renew that collaboration for your guest posts. A professional writer can deliver content that your target audience will want to read.

  1. Write about something that will interest your host’s readers.

Google gets cranky when content on a site doesn’t make sense, whether that’s a guest post or something else. Address that by writing about something that does make sense.

Google knows when your guest post is relevant to the host sit and rewards that accordingly.

Guest blogging gets you in front of more readers

Guest blogging is a smart book marketing tactic because it puts your ideas in front of readers you might not otherwise reach while it generates links to your site that help your site’s SEO.

It can get you the visibility and credibility you need to get clients, contracts, and speaking gigs.

But perhaps the best reason for authors to guest blog – and one of the main reasons to be thankful that guest blogging isn’t “dead” – is that it helps you connect with more of the people you wrote your book for. It helps you find the right readers.

Viva the guest blog post!


Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books.

Download her free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” at



  1. It makes sense that Google would recognize when a posts doesn’t fit with the host site. And it makes sense not to waste your time trying to force a fit. Thanks for this info, Sandra.

    • sandrabeckwith says:

      Exactly, Rae. Gone are the days where you could get a “boost” by dropping articles everywhere and anywhere. This makes far more sense. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Wendy says:

    How do I go about becoming a guest blogger? How do I get articles I’ve written published in magazines?

    • Wendy, I talk about how to become a guest blogger in my presentation this week. I hope you’ll listen in!

      You follow a different process to write for magazines, but it involves studying the publication to understand what section your article would go in, finding the editor for that section, and writing a compelling pitch letter that nets you the assignment. I’ve got tips on how to do that in this article:

      Sandra Beckwith

  3. Dear Sandra,
    I really appreciated the simple yet very understandable idea that you contributed to the Reach More Readers class about labeling the file for my head shot pictures with my complete name. This makes perfect sense to me!
    In Appreciation,

    • I’m glad that works for you, Kaylind! It makes it SO MUCH EASIER for the blog host to track, identify, upload, etc. your headshot when it’s labeled with your full name rather than, “2015pic” or “bookjacket.”

      It’s the little things that make you stand out!

      Sandra Beckwith

  4. Thank you Sandra you have given me useful ways to get started. I thought about doing this for a long time, but finding the right blogs has been difficult. I will give it a try again now that I have some tactics for finding the right ones.

    • Margaret, I’m so glad to know it was helpful. Thank you for that feedback. Just take it one step at a time, starting with the blog search process. Drop them into an Excel file or a Word table when you find them — include the blog name, the URL, and the contact info for the site host/owner so you don’t have to go look for it again once you’re ready to suggest a few guest post ideas.

      Good luck!

      Sandra Beckwith

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