Guest Posting on Sites with a Low PR: Is There an SEO Benefit?

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It’s no secret that guest posting is becoming one of the most popular ways to earn quality backlinks. Contributing a guest article in exchange for a link back to your site not only improves your SEO, but it helps your company gain visibility and credibility in the industry. However, there are a few known rules about the SEO success of guest posting. First, it’s best to include links back to your site within the copy of the text. Second, it’s best to spread your links around by contributing articles to several different websites as opposed to just one. Finally, it’s best to get backlinks from authoritative sites, or sites with a high Google PageRank.

There are of course other tips and tricks to guest posting, but these are three main “truths” of guest posting for SEO purposes. Following the first two rules is ideal, but veteran guest contributors know that this isn’t always possible, and so life goes on and the article gets published. However, the third rule is a bit different. Many guest bloggers will blow right past a website if it doesn’t have a high PR, and the article won’t go on. This then leads some to that inevitable question: Is blowing off a site based on PR really a good idea?

Why Would You Want to Choose a Site with a Low PR Over a High PR?

You wouldn’t. It’s always best to try and find a site that is very authoritative in the eyes of Google because these backlinks typically hold more weight when it comes time to rank different sites for a Google SERP. However, getting your article placed on a very authoritative site isn’t always easy for several reasons:

  • It takes a great deal of time to prove you’re an expert to sites that have tons of guest contributors. If you’re a full-time guest writer, it’s hard to justify spending all your time waiting for an email reply or writing an article that you hope someone will like.
  • Sites with a high PR typically have a high PR because they only publish the best. If a site is asking you for samples of your writing and you don’t have enough, you might not be able to get published on that site.
  • A good deal of authoritative websites don’t even bother accepting guest posts. This really limits the number of sites available.

Now no one said it was supposed to be easy to become a contributor for a PR 6 or 7 site, but sometimes there simply is too much time in one day to fill it with pitching these important sites. There are plenty of PR 1, 2, and 3 sites that would be happy to have your article, but is this smart when it comes to SEO?

How to Analyze a Site with a Low PR

Posting on a site with a low PR can be beneficial in terms of SEO; however it’s important that you really analyze the site to determine if it is of quality. Just because Google hasn’t found the site yet or the site is too new to have many backlinks doesn’t mean it won’t be big in the future. If this happens (and it should if the site really offers quality content) you will have gotten a link on an authoritative site—you just did it the easy way!

Below are a few ways you can analyze a site despite the low PR:

  • Check dates and frequency of articles.

You want to make sure that the website is maintained. A website could have a great design and look neat and clean, but if no one is uploading any articles it probably isn’t going to grow. Check to see when the last article was posted and how frequently new articles are being posted. Anything longer than 6 months might be a red flag.

  • See if you can navigate your way around the site.

If a site is difficult to navigate you can usually tell just be looking at the way the site is laid out, but this isn’t always the case. Make sure that you check the website out fully to see if it is intuitive and something that visitors would be able to use. If Google bots can’t navigate the website, the PR of the site likely won’t go up, which makes this a good indicator if you’re considering to contribute an article.

  • Analyze the content and the focus of the articles.

Great blogs and websites have unique content surrounding a particular industry or topic. Make sure that the blog isn’t syndicating a bunch of content or copying already published content. Consider copying a few sentences from a few of the articles and pasting them into Google search to see if the content is duplicated. Finally, make sure to consider the focus of the website. If the website has articles all over the place on different topics, it may not get very far.

How do you justify posting on sites with a lower Google PR? Do you have any tricks you use when analyzing these sites? Let us know in the comments below!

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Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a... Read Full Bio
Amanda DiSilvestro
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  • Chucker Reibach

    We couldn’t care less about low PR, as long as the site has PR. We are more concerned with a good Alexa rank so we know the site has traffic, and hopefully search traffic. Alexa ranks under 200,000 are the target for us.

    • Duane

      Alexa Alexa Alexa like location is in retail 🙂

  • Amir @ Blue Mile Media

    I haven’t dove into guest blogging yet but I don’t think that PR is a big relevant metric to look at. Although it is important, I think the relevance to your site as well as traffic and engagement is more important.

    I’ve seen some low PR sites get articles with 50+ comments.


  • Jules

    So long as the site looks tidy and contains quality content, it could be worth a try. I always look at the last few posts to see what other kinds of sites they haved linked out to, which is often very telling in itself. If you spot outbound links to companies that are off-niche then this is an obvious red flag. The second point is that if all your guest posts are sitting on high PR sites, all the same length, all do-follow etc etc, then surely this is a red flag to google as well? Spreading posts around differing PR sites doesn’t look like a pattern! What do you guys think?

  • Zach @ First Scribe

    Jules, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad if all your posts are on high PR sites. If I were Google I would assume you are a thought leader and not spamming. Like the article says, high PR blogs don’t go around letting random people post.

  • tobiasschumann

    I would also check traffic rank and backlink profile. Quality Pages have quality backlinks. It is not necessarily the total number of linking root domains, it is more important where those links are coming from. Once you have gone through that list and made sure that those links are trusthworhty, you are good to go.

  • newmediaMike

    My site only has a PR of 2 and my most popular post has a PR of 0. Do I care? Absolutely not. Why don’t I care? Because even Google says to not pay too much attention to PR. If your blog post is contributing to the other site and you are reaping some benefit from a back link, that’s what is important. Not the PR.

  • Amanda DiSilvestro

    Thank you so much everyone for reading, and I’m so glad that you all agree! As a former freelance writer who has done quite a bit of guest posting for various companies, I know that those newer to SEO sometimes put a lot of unnecessary thought into the PR of a site (after all, it’s an easy and quick way to analyze a site). What’s worse is the fact that it took me a while to research this and determine it wasn’t really a fact, so I wrote this for both writers and editors.

    I don’t think that having all of your backlinks coming from high PR sites will put up a red flag for Google, but like Zach said, it’s not easy to make this happen. Mike–I also love how you brought up the example of your most popular posts amongst readers (although not search engine bots). Remember, readers first and bots second. Thanks again everyone!

  • M.-J. Taylor

    Any PageRank is better than no PageRank at all. PR may not be as central to the algorithm as it was when Google was launched, and it may only be 1 of more than 200 signals, but it remains a very important signal – certainly among the top 10 if not the top 5. If you don’t know this then you have probably succumbed to the very powerful persuasion of Google propaganda. But believe me, if PR wasn’t important, Google wouldn’t care if we bought or sold links. Period.

    But I am happy to have a guest post with a link from any well indexed, relevant site. I care more about SEOMoz authority than I do PageRank, because the ‘authority’ is a measure of trust and that is one of the top ten signals – and we have no idea how Google rates a site on that score, but rate it on Trust and Authority it certainly does.

    There are lots of ways to assess quality – but one of the easiest is to ask myself: would I be proud to show my mother? Or my friends. You know quality when you see it. And you know whether you would accept a guest post from the other site. If the answer is yes, the quality is high enough for YOU!

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      Great points! Blogging and managing a website should be something that makes YOU proud regardless of whether or not Google algorithms agree.

  • Authority Buzz

    Guest posting is great for building your company or personal brand as well. So like you said, starting on the less popular sites can help you build up your “portfolio” and prove you are an expert…and then this opens up the door to the bigger sites. The end results is effective SEO and a better brand.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      Absolutely. Creating that portfolio is key, and big websites won’t care if your writing was published on lesser-known sites. As long as the writing is top notch, you’re in. Thanks for reading!

  • Jill Kocher

    In addition to post frequency, I check frequency of comments and variety of commentors. If a variety of people comment frequently, the content is more likely to be higher quality. Plus that exposure to more readers on the site could possibly lead to tweets and links as well as brand exposure. If no one is commenting, though, or always the same people, it’s likely that the site had pie readership or poor content.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      Great point. It’s also a good idea to look at the quality of comments. If comments are full of links or you’re seeing a lot of “good article” type comments, the site might not be worth your time. Thanks for the suggestion Jill 🙂

  • SEO Translator

    Great post and fine advice. You forgot one, though: It must be related to your main topic. If I write a post on a blog related to cooking, it will not necessarily improve my won blog, which is related to website translation. Google DOES check whether the links come from related subject areas…

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      You’re absolutely right I DID forget that. That’s probably one of the most important things to remember! Thanks for the extra advice.

  • Cruz Command

    Totally agree with the above comment. Relevancy seems to be key these days. We prefer to post relevant content on relevant sites, rather than totally post for PR. As they say, relevancy is the new PR.

  • Simon

    Yes i am agree with your words friend but we will focus on site Domain Authority if its more than 25 and site pr is low than we will consider them.