Guest posting is arguably one of the best ways to create quality backlinks to your website.
For several years the debate has raged on, whether guest posting is amazing or completely dead, but the simple fact is, done correctly, guest posting works. The key is to create authentic, quality content, not just spammy keyword-stuffed articles.
To put it another way, don’t reach out to a million sites looking for backlinks, really think about the content you are creating and how it can be beneficial to your audience. This will not only help you gain traction in Google’s eyes, but it will be a lot easier to publish on a good quality website.
Guest posting is also ideal for a range of other marketing tactics, including brand awareness and reach.
The other point to remember is this should not be your only strategy. Guest posting is great as part of a wider SEO strategy, which includes a tailored authority building approach.
So, let’s look at Guest Posting in more detail, and how you can use it as part of a wider link building strategy.
Why guest posting works
Guest posting, like all content marketing, is about creating and sharing information, that is interesting and relevant to your audience. By sharing this valuable information online, you are providing a service that helps your audience and in turn, introduces them to your brand.
Your guest post may be a ‘how to’ or another informative article, that helps solve a problem for your audience. For example, I might write an article on How to Set Up Your Google My Business account, which is helpful for small business owners getting started with Local SEO.
By creating this guest post and sharing it on a third-party website where my audience visit (such as a small business website), I am providing helpful information to my audience.
This works to build up my profile as an industry authority, as well as creating a relevant and natural backlink to my website, which builds the authority of the site and ranking in search engine results.
Benefits of guest posting
Guest posting is not only about getting a quality backlink, there are a range of other benefits to writing a guest post for another quality website from increased traffic, growing your social media following and building your own author profile in search engines. Some of the other handy benefits of guest blogging include:
Builds brand authority
Good content can help build your brand and establish you as an industry authority. Creating content for other websites where your target audience visits, can help build your awareness around your area of interest.
By choosing websites that you know your audience regularly visits, you can naturally introduce them to their brand, but creating an informative, engaging piece of content.
Boosts your social media following
Guesting posting can help boost your social media following, by including your social media handles in your author bio. This way, once you have created content that is useful to your audience, they will be inclined to follow you, to keep abreast of your work.
A good link from a highly-visited website can lead to an increase in traffic to your website, with readers following your hyperlinks back to your site.
Improves your author bio credibility
Google places a lot of weight on the content of the article, based on who it is written by. Google’s search quality guidelines emphasize the value of author reputation. You want to build your author bio across the web, to show you’re an expert in your industry, which will help Google understand your content is credible (and therefore be more likely to rank it).
Grow industry relationships
By reaching out to other websites, you can build long-term relationships in your industry. These relationships can mean that your business becomes highly regarded and trusted. So as an example, if you are a marriage celebrant, by creating content for wedding venues and suppliers, such as florists and photographers, you are boosting your profile and industry connections. They are then more likely to refer business your way if you have helped create useful content for their websites.
Guidelines for guest posting
Ok, so now we know why we want to guest post, so how do you do it? There are hundreds of different strategies for guest posting, so let’s look at some of the basics:
How can I find guest posting opportunities?
You want to start by creating a list of authentic, relevant sites in your industry to connect with. Check their websites to see if they have a “write for us” or “become a contributor” section. If they do – great! If they don’t, reach out to them with a unique content idea, to see if they are interested in receiving quality content of interest to their audience.
You can also try good old Google! Try searching for terms such as “guest post” / “write for us” / “become a contributor” etc to find sites that accept guest posts. Qualify these with your industry and location, to narrow down the search.
Search social media – a lot of high-profile guest post authors will share their latest articles across their social networks. So try searching Twitter users in your industry and “guest post” eg @neilpatel AND guest post:
Or check the Facebook pages of leaders in your industry for links to guest posts, such as:
You can also try publisher call out sites, such as SourceBottle, which put call outs for content creators on various topics. These sites also help you network and find new publishers in your industry.
Do your research
Research content ideas that will be of interest to your target audience. Don’t just rewrite something that already exists. Try looking at something new that is happening in your industry, a unique angle or something seasonal that might be of interest.
For accountants, maybe it’s changes to tax laws that affect your customers. For a small goods store, maybe its new seasonal foods and recipes available for winter. Whatever your industry, you are the experts, so find a new and interesting topic to pitch to your target sites.
Check the website for existing articles. Think about writing an extension to an existing article on the site. Also, make sure you write the article in the same tone as the rest of the website and follow any style guides.
Pitching your guest post
Once you have come up with some topic ideas to pitch to your target websites, make sure you approach them in a unique way. Don’t send a blanket email to everyone, really tailor your approach to the website owner or publisher, so you’re more likely to get a response.
Keep pitching – you are going to get a lot of no’s; you just need to keep going! The more sites you reach out to, the better your chance of finding the right spot for your content.
Don’t forget to say thank you! When someone publishers your guest post, make sure you thank them! The power of a thank you email (or even a little gift) can go a long way to building up your opportunities in your industry, so make sure you appreciate anyone that accepts your guest post.
Measure your success
Like anything, you need to measure the success of your guest posting strategy and tailor it accordingly. Set yourself KPIs based on your main goals:
How can you measure an increase in your brand awareness? Is it an increase in keyword searches for your brand name? increased traffic to your site? Set some KPIs in Google Analytics and your other tools to measure your brand awareness goal.
One of the main goals of guest posting for backlinks is to build the authority of your website, so make sure you set some KPIs in your research tool of choice, to measure the increase in authority to your site (which will help improve your rankings).
Any SEO expert worth their salt knows you should be keeping a regular eye on your backlink profile. Set up regular backlink checks (new and lost links) so you can keep track of this goal.
Google & guest posting
The debate around guest posting and linking largely stems from information provided by Google itself. Google’s John Mueller has stated on several occasions that they have been devaluing guest posts that are link grabbing, for years:
“The part that’s problematic is the links — if you’re providing the content/the links, then those links shouldn’t be passing signals & should have the rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow attached. It’s fine to see it as a way of reaching a broader audience.”
– John Mueller, Google
Essentially, he says guest posting will not help you rank and their algorithm is able to tell when the article is trying to do this.
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”
– Matt Cutts, Formerly Head of Web Spam, Google
Despite the above, there is still a lot of value on guest posting, providing you stick to the guidelines around quality content. Google has had a lot to say about guest posting over the years, the consensus currently seems to be:
- Write unique, quality content
- Don’t guest blog for backlinks
- Have a no-follow link in the guest blog
- Have an authority writing the article – don’t outsource to content writes who have no similar articles in your industry
- Don’t stuff the article with keyword anchor text
Done correctly, guest posting can still get you a valuable backlink for your site, along with a range of other benefits. Like everything in SEO, you need to keep an eye on any algorithm updates and comments made by Google representatives, to ensure you are keeping abreast of any changes.
Creating unique, engaging content for guest posts is a powerful way to build quality backlinks to your website. Combined with a wider SEO Strategy, guest posting will help improve the authority of your website and build yourself as a credible source in your niche.
Need Help with Your SEO Strategy?
Our team of search marketing experts adapt our link building strategies, in line with the latest industry standards. We keep ahead of any algorithm changes to ensure our SEO strategies continue to work, well into the future. Contact our team to get started today.