Much of what we do in the world of content creation is subject to frequent change. Search engine algorithms are modified, industries evolve, and the way people search for information online changes with the times.
Your Own Website
There is no single outlet I would consider the best place to publish articles online. The internet is awash with more than 5.4 billion pages of content (at the time of this writing). That content covers everything from written text to videos and e-commerce product descriptions. Moreover, the different types of content reflect the different internet users who need that content.
In the absence of one specific outlet, I tend to recommend that an article be published on your own website first. Your website is your electronic calling card to the world. Ultimately, the fundamental purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to your website so that people can be made aware of your products and services. Thus, your website is where you want most of your content to begin its life.
There are some obvious exceptions to this rule. Short-form social media is one of them. The limited nature of Twitter would preclude you from burdening your own website with the content you would otherwise tweet. The same is true for Facebook posts and content for Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. Leave the short-form content for social, using your social media posts to point back to your website.
Workable Social Media Sites
Though this may seem contradictory, I do not want to dismiss social media sites entirely. Publishing long-form articles for SEO purposes only precludes those social media outlets that specialise in short-form content – e.g. Twitter and Facebook. There are other social outlets that are particularly good venues for long-form pieces.
Take LinkedIn. This social media platform for business professionals offers many of the same features as Facebook. However, its professional nature discourages publishing meaningless content. Business users are not likely to spend their time worrying about memes, jokes, video links, etc. They want relevant, meaty information they can use in their businesses.
Another thing about LinkedIn is that the site actually encourages members to post articles. LinkedIn ownership sees blog posts and informational articles as helpful resources to other business professionals. An article that plays well on LinkedIn will get lots of traffic. As a result, backlinks in that content will direct readers to the writer’s website.
Social Media SEO Benefits
The topic of social media requires a little bit more than just asking where to post articles. Social media offers some limited, but very good, SEO benefits when used properly. Again, think of LinkedIn. A well written article with a few external links – one to your site and the rest to reputable, complementary sites – impresses search engine algorithms. In short, Google loves that sort of thing.
You can improve your website’s performance by deploying white-hat link building strategies alongside your LinkedIn articles. But that’s not all, you can also incorporate Facebook and Twitter as well.
Once you post an article on LinkedIn, share that post on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. The latter two outlets will drive traffic to your LinkedIn page where, in turn, your article will drive them to your website. All of this leaves digital breadcrumbs that search engines pick up on.
Publishing Guest Posts
Guest posting is still considered a mainstream means of improving SEO results through link building. Guest posting is also helpful to brand marketing and improving online reputation.
Remember that writing articles for SEO purposes is about driving traffic. In light of that, site owners want to drive traffic to their sites. That is one of the reasons they invite guest posting. They know that guest posters will link to the content they produce on social media. They also know that Google will drive traffic to the guest content if it is well-written according to SEO principal.
So how do you benefit along with the site owner? By making a connection between the guest site and your own. You could submit a post to a well-known industry news site for their consideration. Assuming they accept it for publication, the post creates a connection between that news site and your site. Google will take that into consideration when indexing the post.
In addition, you will have embedded a backlink to your site using some sort of anchor text relative to your industry. Google spiders will recognise that link and rank it in relation to the strength of the guest site. The stronger the guest site, the more weight is given to your backlink. If you do this often enough, your own ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs) will improve.
Choosing Guest Posting Sites
Before moving on, I must point out the fact that not every guest posting opportunity represents a good opportunity. You have to choose your guest posting sites carefully. Moreover, there are three criteria you have to look at:
- Quality – Google algorithms are now mature enough to determine the quality of a piece of content. The last thing you want to do is place your guest posts on poor quality sites. If most of the content on a given site is not up to your quality standards, do not publish there.
- Reputation – All websites are ranked by the search engines in light of what we call ‘online reputation’. You want to avoid websites with poor reputations. Stick with sites that rank well on Google. If you can find branded sites that are already part of the mainstream, even better.
- Relevance – Google has been all about relevance since the Panda update of a few years ago. Make sure you choose guest posting sites that are in some way related to your own site. Otherwise, your content will not make sense. Along those same lines, do not write unrelated content and try to slip in meaningless references to your business. Google frowns on that sort of thing.
The relevance issue is something that cannot be overstated. There are times when some individuals produce guest post content that has nothing to do with their businesses. They then look to have those pieces of content posted on sites that are in no way related. Guest posting in this manner does not help. In fact, it hurts. Relevance is the main consideration when choosing guest posting opportunities.
Informational articles that would not otherwise do well as blog content can be submitted to news outlets. Local, smaller news outlets are known to accept third-party content as long as it is well-written and informational in nature. News outlets will typically not accept advertising copy presented as news information.
The key to publishing the best SEO articles on news sites is to create content that the average reader is interested in. That means homing in on the hot topics of the day. If your content doesn’t play into those topics in some way, news outlets may not be the best option.
Industry and Trade Group Sites
If you want to know where to publish articles for free, you might want to take a look at industry and trade group sites relevant to your business. Industry trade groups are known to solicit high-quality content from members as a way to drive traffic and disseminate good information.
You can derive excellent SEO benefit through these kinds of sites due to the ever-important relevance. As an added bonus, publishing on industry and trade group sites will increase your company’s authority within the industry. Those who read your articles will associate them with the trade organisation, assuming an endorsement whether or not one was implied.
Press Release Distribution Options
The last thing to mention before closing this post is press release distribution. Sometimes the best SEO article is neither a blog post nor an informational piece. Sometimes it is a press release. By their nature, press releases are designed to be distributed far and wide. You can get quite a bit of exposure with the right distribution networks.
There are a number of trustworthy distribution services you can look to. Run a Google search and you will find them. In the meantime, be sure to pay attention to the basic principles of writing press releases for SEO purposes.
A press release is intended to disseminate important company information. You might want to announce a new hire or the retirement of a long-time staff member. You might want to announce a new product, the opening of a new location, or an upcoming event to which the public is invited. The thing to remember is that press releases constitute hard news.
A press release is not a vehicle for selling products or services. If you attempt to use it as such, many press release distribution services will reject your piece. Those who do accept and publish your press release will get it out there, but Google might punish it as a black hat piece.
Where are the best places to publish SEO articles? Well, now you know. Start with your own website before moving into social media, guest posting, and the other options explained here. The more content you can get out there, the better your website’s SEO performance should be. Just remember the two most important words: relevance and quality.