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How to Decide if a Website is Worth Publishing Content On

Table of Contents

    We are often asked by clients how we decide where to publish articles we have written for them as part of their Content Marketing Strategy. The process of looking for quality websites to publish client articles, otherwise known as Link Prospecting, is an important part of our job as Online Marketers, and it’s understandable that clients want to know more about the websites publishing their content and linking back to their websites. There are many factors to consider when choosing where to place content, and below we look at some of the major factors, quality signals and metrics we consider:

    User Engagement

    With Content Marketing becoming a popular Online Marketing tool, a lot of blogs have popped up looking to publish content written by others, often in exchange for a fee. Given the fact that accepting money for links that pass PageRank is in direct violation of Google’s guidelines, and what’s clear from recent Penguin and Panda updates, it’s clear that links from blogs that were set up purely to publish backlink articles are not useful, and can in fact be detrimental to SEO. To the untrained eye it can be difficult to distinguish a blog set up for this reason, compared to a blog set up by an individual or company that is truly passionate about sharing information related to their niche. However, one thing that really stands out as an indication of a quality blog is engaged, useful and lively debate from readers in the ‘comments’ section below articles. This shows that not only do real people read articles on the website, but they also take the time to really engage with the content.

    Social Shares (Klout)

    Similar to user comments, looking at the number of social shares that other articles on the website gained is another indication of how engaged users of the website are, as it means they take the time to share content from the website with their contacts. It’s also a good sign if the website has its own social profiles with a decent number of followers, as this may even mean your article will be shared here with their followers and gain increased exposure.

    Website Content and Design

    A website’s quality is only as good as the quality of the content it posts. We can tell pretty quickly if a website takes pride and puts effort into the articles posted on there. It’s important that the content is up-to-date, useful and engaging, that it’s well written and grammatically correct, and that it discusses topics of value to readers. We put that time and effort into the articles we write for clients, so we want to make sure the articles sit alongside other content of the same quality. We also check to make sure new content is added regularly to the site, because if it’s not up-to-date then it’s not offering the best experience for users. And speaking of user experience – we also judge the website based on its overall design and layout, as well as the amount of advertisements and outgoing links. If the website is not laid out well or looks too spammy then it’s not likely to be of the highest quality.

    Relevance

    Another important factor we consider is the relevance of the blog or website to the products or services offered by the client. While general news blogs can be great to get a link from, particularly if they are high profile sites such as news.com.au or watoday.com.au, for less high profile sites it’s better to focus on ones that stick to relevant niche topics. For example if our client sold garden furniture, it would be better to place an article on a website dedicated to talking about gardening, landscaping or home design, rather than a website that covers something like healthy lifestyles or sports.

    SEO Metrics

    There are three main SEO metrics we look at to determine if a site is worth publishing content on. These are PageRank, Domain Authority and MozRank. None of these are the most reliable indicators when looked at in isolation, but when looked at in relation to eachother as well as in relation to all of the above factors, they do give us a stronger idea of how worthy a website is to target for client article publishing. PageRank is a numerical value between 1-10 assigned by Google to indicate how much trust it has in a domain. While the general rule to follow is obviously ‘the higher the better’ this stat is not updated very often, and a common practice by people hoping to set up the low quality article sites we mentioned above is to buy an old domain that already has high PageRank. Domain Authority (DA) is a similar metric, updated more frequently than PageRank, this time ranging from 0 (for brand new websites) to 100. DA is not a Google metric, it is determined by a company called Moz, which is an authority in the world of Online Marketing. There are many different factors that contribute to the DA of a website – one of the most important being how many backlinks the site itself has. Another Moz metric we look at is MozRank (ranging from 1-10), which is another way to determine how trusted a website is based on similar factors to the other two metrics. Taking all of these major factors into account, as well as many other smaller factors, we then decide which website would make the best home for the content we create for clients.

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