The secret to success in the online marketing world, and the solution for business owners struggling to generate website traffic, is to establish your brand (and yourself) as a credible authority within your niche, and the best tactic for doing so is called guest blogging.
Guest blogging has become the darling of the SEO industry, but that doesn’t mean that only SEO professionals can do it. In fact, in the competitive world of online marketing, it’s necessary for business owners to do, or risk being burned by the competitors who are.
This article is meant for business owners who want an easy-to-follow, understandable guide to building their business online through guest blogging.
+ Benefits of Guest Blogging
+ How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities
+ How to Establish Your First Guest Post
+ Tricks on How to Contact a Website/Blog Editor
+ How to Tell if a Site Accepts Guest Posts
+ Guest Blogging Best Practices
+ Ways to Succeed at Guest Blogging
+ Why Quality Guest Blogging Will Always Be Effective
+ Can Sponsored Guest Blog Posts Hurt Your Rankings?
+ Guest Blogging Sites to Avoid
It’s important to note that guest blogging is not the only tactic business owners should pursue. Online marketing is a diverse and rapidly-changing field that currently consists of tactics including (but not limited to):
With the exception of paid search and paid ads, all the other tactics intertwine and affect each other. For instance, a strong social media marketing campaign will positively affect your organic search rankings, improving your SEO. And a strong content marketing campaign will provide fuel for social media marketing and SEO campaigns.
While paid search and ad campaigns can yield great ROI in the right situations, they usually amount to short-term gains with little or no long-term impact. A good SEO campaign, on the other hand, is like building equity in your business that lasts for the long haul. It’s similar to the difference between buying a house and building equity vs. just paying rent.
So, why do I so strongly advocate guest blogging? Because a properly-executed guest blogging campaign yields the strongest and safest ROI while simultaneously supporting your SEO, social media, and content marketing efforts. It builds the most valuable, long-term equity in your business, and, most importantly, requires nothing more than a computer and an Internet connection to execute. This means there are no excuses; if you’re reading this, you already have everything necessary to start a guest blogging campaign and grow your business online.
Don’t have time? Hire staff and assign them some of your duties to take things off your plate. Trust me, this is an initiative you should be making time for.
Guest blogging is relatively simple to get into, though the process may seem intimidating to those unfamiliar with the strategy. All you need to do is identify a publisher or blog that might be a good fit for your industry, reach out with a guest post or post idea, and hope to get published. The wider your network of guest posts and the more authoritative your sources are, the greater effects you’ll see. The benefits are diverse and many.
One of the most immediate benefits of guest blogging is the referral traffic you’ll receive. Assuming you include at least one link pointing back to your root domain on each individual post, you’ll see an increase in referral traffic from those external sources. For example, if your guest post gets 1,000 views and 10 percent of those readers end up clicking on your link, you’ll end up with 100 free visitors to your site. Since those links (and posts) are permanent, your referral traffic will continue to increase and compound over time.
Brand Recognition and Reputation Building
One of the less measurable effects of guest blogging is the increased brand recognition and reputation you’ll receive. As people start seeing your name and your brand popping up on more publication outlets, and as you are seen more consistently, you’ll start to be seen as a greater authority. This, in turn, will attract more people to your site and increase the likelihood that your new site visitors will eventually convert. You can even call attention to the fact that you’ve been published on these external sites on your homepage to strengthen your perceived reputation and credibility.
One of the most popular reasons for guest posting has been the opportunity to build external links. Since its inception, Google’s search algorithm has used the number and quality of backlinks pointing back to domains as a go-to resource for determining that domain’s total authority. In essence, the stronger the backlink profile, the more authoritative the site will be, and the more authoritative a site is, the higher it will rank. Guest posting gives you the perfect opportunity to build high-quality links on external sites, giving you higher search rankings—so the theory goes.
Social Audience Building
Social media marketing is becoming increasingly important as more and more consumers rely on social media platforms for their communication needs. A larger social audience means greater influence, greater search ranks, and greater brand visibility, and including your social links on all your guest posts is a surefire way to increase your following. In a self-perpetuating relationship, a greater number of followers means more traffic for your posts, and greater traffic to your posts means a greater number of followers.
The benefits of guest blogging listed above have served as the justifiers for a guest blogging strategy since its rise in popularity several years ago. However, a number of changes in the market—including Google’s algorithm updates and a shift in consumer preferences—are influencing guest blogs’ effects.
Guest blogging’s popularity has been a burden for those practicing it as an ongoing strategy. Because the demand for content is finite and consistent and the amount of content available is constantly growing, there’s been a slow but measurable oversaturation of guest content getting published. As a result, each guest post published today is slightly less valuable than an equivalent post published three years ago. As time goes on, this effect may become more severe, but for now, as long as you’re posting the best possible material you can, oversaturation can be overcome through sheer quality.
The Slow Death of Link Building
Thanks to Google’s Penguin algorithm and repeated assertions by Google that link building is not an effective strategy, many search marketers are shying away from link building altogether. Fortunately, link building is only a small part of what makes guest posting effective. Instead of using links, rely on brand mentions to pass authority—they’ll build your domain authority just as much, and they don’t carry a risk of penalty. Plus, you can still use links to increase your referral traffic—just use a nofollow tag if you want to mitigate your penalty risk.
There are many benefits of guest blogging:
Here’s the breakdown on each of the benefits.
Creates links to your website: Inbound links have the heaviest weight of all the ranking factors in Google and Bing. Inbound links are considered much like “votes” by one website for another. Links from more credible, trusted websites will be treated as more important votes, so it’s best to spend your efforts focusing on getting inbound links from authoritative publishers.
Aligns your brand with industry leaders: Aligning your business name and website with brands that Google already ranks at the top in search engines is the best way to become a part of Google’s inner trust circle. This results in higher rankings for your website, driving more traffic, leads, and sales.
Builds your personal brand: After a while, if you publish enough great content that your readers love, you’ll start to become an authority in your niche. Once you become a niche authority, this opens the door for many more opportunities, such as:
Generates leads and traffic: Give advice or solutions to problems, and you’ll come to be recognized as a trustworthy source for further help, resulting in leads and sales.
Creates social signals: Social signals include Tweets, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn shares, Google +1’s, and more. Together, social signals represent a quality signal to search engines, because pages that are shared and discussed more often in social media channels are usually higher-quality. They are growing fast in importance as one of Google’s many ranking factors, so it’s important to get lots of social activity associated with your brand in order to stand above the rest in search engine rankings.
Guest blogging, as an SEO tactic, has long been considered an expensive, time-consuming endeavor. It’s also been considered one of the safest, most “white-hat” methods of link building in the SEO’s arsenal, but over the last several years, has largely been put on the backburner as most SEOs pursued more powerful (albeit, more risky) tactics.
But with the rollout of Google Penguin, everything changed. Guest blogging services are cropping up everywhere (including here, at SEO.co) as the industry begins to realize that guest blogging, as a link building tactic, is one of the few safe havens left after Penguin demolished many of the lower-cost, higher quantity tactics that SEOs came to rely upon over the course of the past several years.
As the new darling of the SEO industry, the popularity of guest blogging is growing exponentially. But while many SEOs are just now learning about the benefits of guest blogging, many are still in the dark about how, exactly, to do it.
There are lots of great guides available on the Web that offer nuggets of information about guest blogging, but I haven’t been able to find any that really dig deep into the most difficult part of guest blogging: Actually finding the blogs to guest post on. This guide is meant to provide a thorough, step-by-step walk-through of exactly how to find guest blogging opportunities. And I’m going to show you how to do it by using one of my favorite internet marketing tools: Scrapebox.
Saddled with an unfortunate reputation for being a tool useful only for propagating blog comment spam, Scrapebox is actually one of the few internet marketing tools I use on a daily basis—and for only ethical, white-hat purposes.
What You’ll Need:
Scrapebox will execute multiple search queries simultaneously in Google and Bing, automatically harvest all the results, and allow us to manipulate, augment, and export the data.
For example, let’s say you want to find good guest blogging opportunities for your website about canine epilepsy. To find other websites that rank well for the term (and similar terms) which might be good targets for a guest blog post, you’d want to examine the top 100 search results for the following search queries:
Without Scrapebox, you’d have to perform each of those searches manually (via Google.com), manually click through each of the top 10 pages, and copy/paste each URL into a spreadsheet for future follow-up. This process would easily take you at least an hour.
With Scrapebox, you supply the search queries, and it will perform the searches, collect the URLs of the top 100 results, and supply them to you in an Excel spreadsheet. Additionally, you can use Scrapebox to automatically find the PageRank of the domain of each search result, allowing you to filter out low-PR domains without having to manually visit them. Scrapebox also offers lots of other filtering options, such as the ability to ignore results from domains that would never accept a guest blog post, such as facebook.com, amazon.com, etc. All of the above processes can easily be completed in under 60 seconds.
Ready to take your link prospecting capabilities to a whole new level? Let’s get started.
After obtaining your proxies, load them into a .txt file on your desktop in the following format:
Here’s an example:
In Scrapebox, click “Load” under the “Select Engines & Proxies” area. Select the text file containing your proxies. Scrapebox should load them immediately, and look something like this:
Click “Manage” and then “Test Proxies” to test your proxies and ensure Scrapebox can successfully activate and use them.
Be sure that “Google” and “Use Proxies” are both checked.
For example, let’s say I’m trying to find guest blogging opportunities for my website about canine epilepsy. I would select “dogs” as my keyword. I could go for a more targeted approach and try “canine epilepsy” or “dog seizures” as my keyword, but I’m likely to find much less (albeit more targeted) prospects.
Copy and paste the following search queries into a .txt document on your desktop, and replace each instance of [keyword] with your chosen keyword from Step 2.
Note: The following is my personal list of search queries that I use to identify guest blogging opportunities. Google limits queries to 32 words, which is why these are broken down into many chunks rather than one long query. Enjoy!
“submit blog post” OR “add blog post” OR “submit an article” OR “suggest a guest post” OR “send a guest post” “[keyword]”
“guest bloggers wanted” OR “contribute to our site” OR “become a contributor” OR “become * guest writer” “[keyword]”
“guest blogger” OR “blog for us” OR “write for us” OR “submit guest post” OR “submit a guest post” “[keyword]”
“become a guest blogger” OR “become a guest writer” OR “become guest writer” OR “become a contributor” “[keyword]”
“submit a guest post” OR “submit post” OR “write for us” OR “become an author” OR “guest column” OR “guest post” “[keyword]”
inurl:”submit” OR inurl:”write” OR inurl:”guest” OR inurl:”blog” OR inurl:”suggest” OR inurl:”contribute” “[keyword]”
inurl:”contributor” OR inurl:”writer” OR inurl:”become” OR inurl:”author” OR inurl:”post” “[keyword]”
site:twitter.com [keyword] “guest post” OR “guest blog” OR “guest author”
In the “Harvester” section in Scrapebox, click “Import,” then “Import from file.” Select the file containing the search queries that you just created in Step 3. Scrapebox should then populate with the search queries, looking something like this:
Scrapebox has a “blacklist” which allows you to automatically filter out undesired search results. For example, I know that Facebook.com and Amazon.com will never accept a guest blog post, so I don’t want results from those domains appearing in my list.
To edit your blacklist, click “Black List” from the top navigation, then click “Edit local black list.”
After you start using Scrapebox and receiving output lists, you’ll begin to notice undesirable domains that often appear in search results. As you notice these, add them to your local SEO blacklist so they never appear again. Here are a few good sites to add to begin with:
Next, define how many search results Scrapebox should harvest for each query. You can do this in the “Select Engines & Proxies” area, in the text field next to “Results.” I generally set it to 200 or 300.
We’re now ready to start harvesting search results for our queries. Click “Start Harvesting” in the “URL’s Harvested” section.
You should now have a list of websites that Scrapebox harvested, which looks something like this:
The next step is to filter these results by PageRank, since we don’t want to waste our time reaching out to websites with a low PR. Scrapebox makes this super easy. Click “Check PageRank” then select “Get Domain PageRank.”
Next, click “Import/Export URL’s & PR.” Click “Export as Excel” and export the file to your desktop. Open the file on your desktop and re-save it if need be (sometimes the file is corrupt, but by re-saving it and deleting the older version, you can easily solve this).
Column A should contain a list of all the harvested URLs. Column B will contain the PageRank of each domain. Add column headers to column A (URL) and column B (PR).
Next, sort column B by PR, in order of largest to smallest. To do this, highlight column B by clicking on the column header, then click “Sort & Filter” in the “Home” tab in Excel. Then, click “Sort A to Z.”
You’ll see a popup box asking if you’d like to expand the selection. Do so, and click “sort.”
Remove all the rows with a PR of 2 or lower. We only want to target PR 3 and above.
You should now have a list of hundreds or thousands of potential candidates for guest blog post outreach. Add two more columns to your spreadsheet:
Use the “Follow up?” column to note whether the website would make a good candidate for guest blog post outreach. If so, use the “Contact information” column to note the webmaster or author’s email address, or the URL where the contact form can be found.
While reviewing each website, ask yourself the following questions to determine whether it’s worthy of outreach for a guest blog post:
Use your best judgment to decide whether the website is worthy of follow-up.
You’ll also notice lots of results from Twitter (if you used my queries supplied above). Visit each tweet and try to figure out whether the author has a blog and accepts guest posts. If so, follow that author on Twitter, and then reach out politely to ask them about doing guest blogging for their website.
After you’ve finished manually reviewing each website and deciding whether it’s worthy of asking for a guest blogging opportunity, save your Excel file and begin your outreach to the authors & webmasters.
Scrapebox has several very useful “Addons” which you can access from the “Addons” menu. For link prospecting, I recommend installing the “WhoIs Scraper.” This handy tool will automatically crawl your list of links and perform a “WhoIs” lookup to tell you the following information about each domain:
You can use the name and email address information to aid in finding contact information for each of your prospects.
Establish and grow your relationships with each one, and you’ll be scoring guest blog posts in record time. However, getting past the gatekeepers can be tricky, and establishing a great long-term relationship is even harder. Once you’ve built your list, there’s a relatively solid system you can use to build up a store of guest posting sources.
Follow these five steps, and you should have little trouble establishing a relationship with a relevant source:
Once you have a source in mind, you have to reach out with a pitch—this is a brief outline of a post you intend to write for the source. Keep your pitch in line with other material you know the site has posted in the past; for example, you could reference a previously popular post and offer a more detailed follow-up or a rebuttal. You could also cover a topic you know has never been covered before by this particular source.
The key here is to offer value to your source. Make a bold impression by suggesting content the editor or publisher will be excited to incorporate on site. This is easier said than done, of course, but if you can find appropriate, exciting content to pitch, you’re a shoo-in as a new guest poster.
If your pitch isn’t accepted, you must submit a new pitch or move on to a different source. If and when a pitch is accepted, it’s your job to deliver on your promise. That means creating great content that will actively add value to your selected source. The definition of “great” will vary from source to source, but a few things you’ll have to keep in mind:
In addition, make sure to use a unique, recognizable brand voice across all your platforms and publishing sources. It will help your readers grow loyal and familiar with you.
Once your post has been accepted and published on your target source, it’s your job to follow up at a later date and offer something of value. That something of value is subjective and variable—it could be another pitch for a different piece (and this is probably your best option). It could be an interview. It could be a syndication opportunity for the publisher. The key is to make yourself useful again.
Once your target source gets to know you, and learns that you’re a valuable and reliable resource, the doors are open. As long as you feel a mutual trust and respect, feel free to ask for a system of regular exchange. For example, you might offer to provide a new post every week, or every month, in exchange for being listed as a regular contributor. Start with a small ask—there’s always room to grow. The more posts you submit and the longer you work together, the more likely you’ll be to earn more opportunities in the future.
Once you have a handful of guest posts in circulation, getting more opportunities is much easier, but starting a guest posting campaign from scratch is quite difficult. Earning that first guest slot is arguably one of the biggest hurdles in any campaign. I’m here to help you do it.
Before you start building a house, you have to have a solid foundation. When it comes to guest posts, that foundation is going to be your own website. It’s possible to garner a reputation without a core website tying your posts together, but without some common place for the end of your funnel or a target for SEO rankings, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential traffic and interested customers.
Your site doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A professional designer and developer can help you make your site more appealing or functional, but for the most part, a basic template is all you need to get started (and most of those are free or cheap). The only requirement is that you have a few pages and a blog to host the majority of your content (but I’ll be touching on content in a subsequent step).
Just like better resumes make you more likely to get hired for a job, greater credentials can make you more attractive as a guest poster. If you’ve had industry experience, you can mention your previous job titles (or companies that you’ve worked for). If you’ve ever been featured as a speaker or a special guest of an event, you can mention that too. Any board experience or community experience you have could also be beneficial, depending on your area of expertise.
Take inventory of these credentials (and start looking for some new ones), and make them a prominent feature of your site—the About page is a perfect opportunity to do so. You’ll also want to set them aside so you can use them in your pitch in step five.
Once you’ve established a baseline for your site, it’s time to get started writing content. You’ll need a sufficient bank of link-worthy blog posts so prospective publishers can evaluate your writing ability and style. Your pace might prohibit you from moving quickly, but as a general rule, you’ll want 20 to 30 posts live on your site before going any further, and it’s a good idea to post a new one at least weekly so your readers get used to recurring updates.
In addition, you should start building out your social media profiles and tie them in with your site. Make it easy for people to share posts of yours on their own social media accounts, and syndicate your posts regularly to spread the word about your material.
Once you’ve got a nice cache of posts and a decent social media posting schedule in place, it’s time to make a short list of viable guest posting candidates. Aiming too high, like going after a high-profile national publication outlet, will likely waste your effort at this stage. Aiming too low, like seeking a place on a low-quality “fluff” blog might damage your reputation. You want something in the middle—an industry-related blog with a bit of a reputation, but without a breakout level of popularity. Try to find several options here, and if you find viable candidates for the future, set them aside for when you’re ready to scale.
Finally, start making pitches. Track down the editor or owner of each blog and email them an idea for a piece of content you think would be great on their site. Be original, and keep in line with the blog’s tone and purpose. The more thorough you are and the more you pay attention to the audience and needs of each individual site, the more likely you are to be picked up. And if you get rejected, all you have to do is move on to the next potential opportunity.
If you feel intimidated, rest easy knowing most people pitching their first guest posts are similarly intimidated. It will take some time and effort to build a baseline reputation, and even then you might get rejected by a handful of external blogs, but if you stay dedicated to your strategy and persist despite those challenges, there’s no reason you shouldn’t expect to make progress over time.
Whether you are looking to get in touch with an editor of your favorite political blog or if you want to submit a piece of your own to your favorite website or content curator, getting in touch with an editor is not always a simple task, especially for a high-traffic website or high-profile editor. Getting to know a few tricks to help with getting a hold of any just about any editor for a website or blog can help you to gain exposure while getting any message you intend to out there for others to see.
Any time you want to send a message to an editor, whether you are pitching yourself as a freelance writer or if you are looking for other potential opportunities, having a clear message in mind is one of the best ways to remain focused on your objective. Create a list of goals you have in mind before reaching out to an editor and forming any message or email. It is also important to create a draft to look over before sending it off officially. Keep in mind the voice and tone you integrate into any message you want to send to an editor based on their own writing style and personality.
Implement a professional signature into any email you send to an editor for a website or blog to show you are also professional and representing a business or a brand, even if it is for yourself. The more professional you appear, the more likely to are to receive a response, especially if the editor believes he or she has something to gain from continuing a professional relationship with you.
Use a professional email address from your own domain or website or from another site such as Gmail. Avoid using AOL and MSN emails, as these are considered less professional and more outdated in today’s internet world. Using a professional email address can also help to keep the attention of an editor who may be receiving hundreds of email submissions each day, which are difficult to keep track of individually over time without some standing out.
Build a professional website or online portfolio to represent yourself and to be taken seriously by anyone you choose to contact, including editors of online blogs and websites. Having a professional online website and official portfolio helps to boost your credibility, thus increasing your chances of receiving a personal response from any editor you want to contact. Launching a website to represent yourself professionally not only helps you to appear more credible, but it also assists you with standing out to editors who are only looking to work with those who are professional or experienced in the industry you are working in or representing. The more time and effort you put into editing and maintaining your website regularly, the easier it is to find potential editors to work with or to take on any pitches and proposals you have in mind and want to share professionally.
Building an online social media presence is also a must when you want to effectively reach out to various online editors of blogs and websites today. Reaching out to editors using social media and your online website is much easier with more followers and online “klout”, or impact. The more impact and influence you have, the more likely you are to receive responses from editors who will take you seriously.
Creating social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Intagram, Tumblr, Vine and even Pinterest helps to drastically increase your online influence and the potential for online followers and fans. Any time you create an official online social media page for your business or brand, keeping the same name is essential when you are looking to build your brand’s overall reputation and credibility.
Researching your editor’s personal life is another way for you to get more involved with understanding how to better communicate with editors you want to work with in the future professionally. Researching your editor’s personal life is a way for you to discover potential connections you can use when communicating with one another.
When you are pitching to an editor and you have researched their own history and type of work they are involved with, incorporating a connection you have together is ideal to help with building a more professional relationship. Integrating some form of connection can help you to stand out from countless letters and emails editors receive daily or weekly regarding various positions and opportunities that other individuals are also seeking similar to you. Helping yourself stand out can be done by building a personal relationship to help editors remember you and what you have to say.
Sharing your thoughts via social media can help you to promote any type of response you are looking for from a specific editor. When you are reaching out to your followers and fans using social media, it is now possible to ask them for helps with “shares”, “likes”, and “retweets” depending on the social platforms you have chosen to use for your own brand, website or professional reputation. The more you update your social media pages, the bigger your reach ultimately is, allowing you to have additional impact and influence online.
You can also choose to reach out to editors directly with social media, specifically using Twitter. The more followers you have on Twitter, the more likely you are to receive a genuine response from editors you want to contact, as having more followers means you ultimately have more influence over what you publish and say about others, including the editors themselves. Building the number of followers you have on Twitter can be done by thoroughly researching and understanding any industry you are working in or currently represent. Tweeting and updating social media profiles consistently and frequently also helps to boost the number of followers and fans you have altogether.
Following up with an editor after two weeks can also be done if you have not received a response and if you are truly interested in pursuing the content you have emailed in the past. Following up is not always recommended if you do not want to pester the editor or if you have communicated with them in the past but you have not received a response. Finding another editor is also possible, regardless of the publication you are interested in.
There are several ways you can determine whether or not a website accepts guest blogging. Here are several:
One of the clearest indications that a blog accepts guest blogging is the fact that they have published guest blogs in the past. Thus, when you decide you want to guest post with a specific blog or website, take the time to surf through it and determine whether they accept guest posts. If you find that the website or blog has published guest posts in the past, take the time to review them carefully. This will afford you an opportunity to determine what type of style the site host is most likely to publish. Although most site hosts will be looking for interesting, informative content, there are a plethora of different ways this type of content can be created. Some site hosts might like simple, fact-based posts that include “scannable” techniques such as the inclusion of bullets, lists, and headers. Other site hosts might be looking for “meaty” and “academic” posts that include a plethora of facts and opinions that are organized in a manner that constitutes a logical argument. In general, you can use the type of guest posts that a site host has published in the past as a framework for how you would put together your own guest blog for publication.
In many cases, site hosts will include a guest blog link or tab in a highly visible place within their blog or website. This link or tab will often take you to a page that invites you to submit your guest blog idea. In many cases, the site host will give specific instructions regarding how to submit your guest blog idea in terms of length and what type of information your pitch should include. (A pitch is the blogger’s submission of the story he or she plans to write to an editor.) If the site host requests a pitch, you should definitely take the time to study and implement strategies that have proven effective when submitting a pitch. One of the best strategies to implement when you write a pitch for your guest blog is to identify why you are qualified to cover the topic idea you submit. For example, if you’re submitting a pitch regarding the role that religion is playing in 21st century America, it would be prudent to provide the site host with credentials or qualifications that indicate you possess the knowledge and/or experience to discuss the topic articulately and intelligently. For this reason, you might cite any courses you’ve taken in religion or experiences you’ve had interning with a contemporary church within the U.S.
In many cases, you may find that you want to submit a guest blog to a site host who has given no indication that she or he accepts them. Don’t let this deter you from publication. Instead, make contact with the site host in a professional yet friendly manner so you can ask if they’d be interested in publishing your work. To do this effectively, keep your communication as concise and informative as possible. Include important information such as your background and why you’re interested in guest blogging with them. In many cases, your motive for guest blogging on a specific website or blog results from the fact that you enjoy the content or aesthetic design of the site. If this is the case, it is always a good idea to tell the site host. You should also consider providing the site host with a link to your work and/or asking if they would like to see some of your writing samples. (Of course, you should submit your very best writing samples if they request to see your work.)
Since one of the primary reasons that individuals opt to guest blog is in order to gain more publicity for their own blog or website, people who are interested in accomplishing this goal should note that there are options outside of guest blogging. In addition to guest blogging to gain publicity, you should consider the benefits that can result from submitting articles for publication through various venues. There are innumerable different websites that accept work from freelance writers, and an individual who calls themselves a blogger can certainly consider himself or herself to be a freelance writer.
Yet another thing you should consider doing in your attempt to begin guest blogging on other sites is to determine whether they are reputable. Although having your work listed on a blog that ranks high in the search engine results pages is a good idea, having your work published on a scammy or low-caliber site is not. Since this is the case, take the time to carefully review the website or blog you want to submit your work to before doing so. There are a variety of red flags that can indicate that a blog is not high quality. Some of them include poorly edited work that is full of grammatical errors, run-on sentences, and/or plagiarized work. A blog or website that has not been updated in a week is often a red flag because it indicates that the site host is not involved in regular site maintenance. Additionally, you should take the time to look at the blog’s social share counts. Generally, a blog posts’ shares on social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook functions as an indication of how popular the blog is. Ideally, you want to publish your guest blog with a website or blog that is as popular as possible as this will grant you greater exposure in the public.
Guest blogging done wrong is more than just a waste of your valuable time and energy, but can actively hurt your blog. Here are the three biggest signs to tell if your guest blogging is helping or hurting your image.
Fortunately, you can still get many benefits from guest blogging if you approach it in the right manner. The following six tips will help you get the most out of this strategy while staying in the good graces of Google and the other search engines.
If you want to get the best results from your guest posts, you should seek out sites that are relevant to your niche or industry. If, for example, you have a website on the topic of credit repair, it would seem strange for one of your articles to appear on a gardening site. That’s an extreme example, but the principle is clear enough. Not only will you get more traffic from relevant sites, but the search engines will view these links as more natural and valuable.
The only exception to this rule would be if you have the chance to write a guest post for an authority site that covers many different topics. An example of this would be a magazine or news site that publishes and curates all types of content. These are always good sites to be published on.
This is one of the most basic principles of the post-Panda and Penguin world, and it’s relevant to guest blogging as well as other types of SEO strategies for your blog. Sites that are too willing to accept guest posts, especially for a fee, are ones that you should stay away from.
Make sure you research a site before inquiring about writing guest posts. Check out things like their page rank, traffic, topic and the overall look of their site. If you see a bunch of articles that look like they were created from an automated article spinner, you are better off not having your article there. This would be an example of guest posting doing your site more harm than good.
In general, you should look for sites that are high quality, and relevant to your own site for guest posting. Even if it’s harder to get published on these sites, you are better off focusing your efforts in this direction. Quality is definitely more important than quantity when it comes to SEO today.
This may seem like a strange concept if you are accustomed to thinking in traditional SEO terms, where more links are always better. Today, however, Google is very wary of too many links pointing to the same site. The search engines know that this is a deliberate SEO strategy rather than natural linking.
One of your goals as a guest blogger is to get your name circulated and for people to start recognizing you as an authority in your field. This doesn’t require millions of links. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t link back to your site, but you should do this with discretion. For example, if you have an arrangement with a particular site to write a guest post every week, you could include a link once every two or three times.
A related issue is that you should be sure to diversify your link building efforts. This means that having the vast majority of your links coming from any one source is not good for SEO purposes. This includes guest blogging, which is why you should not rely on this method alone for your links. You should seek to build as many different types of links as possible. Aside from guest blogging, you could use sources such as videos, social media sites, web directories, forums, press releases and document sharing sites. This type of diversity has a natural appearance, and is more impressive to the search engines than a single type of link.
When you do find blogs that are willing to publish your guest posts, make sure you adhere to the contemporary rules of SEO. For example, consider how you use keywords. You will want to include some keywords that relate to your topic, but do not engage in keyword stuffing. In other words, use keyword expressions as naturally as possible.
On a related note, never include anchor text that isn’t relevant to the topic of the article. You should include, at most, one link to your own site using relevant anchor text. You can also include links to authority sites that help to provide more value to readers.
To really be safe when it comes to anchor text, you should switch from using exact match keywords to long string anchor text. The fact is, Google is starting to regard any type of anchor text using keyword expressions as suspicious. You can include your keywords in the anchor text, but it’s best to make it part of a longer sentence or expression. For example, rather than having your anchor text “dog training tips,” it could be “for more information see this website containing many dog training tips.”
Google Authorship is one of the newest aspects of SEO that people are starting to focus upon. This involves setting up your Google+ profile, complete with photo, and claiming authorship to all of your content. This can be done with your guest posts, but it should be done with care.
The purpose of Google Authorship is to build credibility as an author and to make it easy for people to find all of your content. One advantage of this is that you are likely to get your articles posted with your picture, which makes the listing stand apart. You do need to be cautious about Google Authorship, however. This has to do with the above point about diversifying your links. If most of the links pointing to your site are from content written by you, this does not indicate diversity at all. For this reason, you don’t want to overdo it when it comes to linking to your own sites.
When using Google Authorship, it’s also especially important to make sure that the content you’re linking to is high quality and doesn’t break any basic SEO rules such as keyword stuffing, irrelevant anchor text and the like. Remember that while Google Authorship is useful and convenient in many ways, it also makes it easy for Google to penalize you if you are violating any of its rules!
If you have kept up with recent SEO developments, you know that Google has devalued links from article directories. One of the hallmarks of article marketing has always been the author resource box. This is the section at the end of the article that contains the author’s name and usually a blurb that includes a link back to his or her site.
Most guest blogging uses the same formula, with a website URL or anchor text following the author’s name at the end of the article. This is the type of guest posting that Google is starting to crack down on, because it’s obviously an SEO tactic. There’s no rule saying that you have to place your anchor text at the end of the article. Placing it in the middle gives it more value, as it’s more clearly part of the article rather than something you tagged on to get traffic and links.
Keeping an eye on the comments is the most basic way to gauge your audience response. Negative comments are normal, so just seeing one or two negative comments isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully you’re speaking to a diverse audience, and some of them are bound not to agree with you. However, if the comments are largely negative, you may want to take note. If you receive primarily negative feedback, it may be a sign that you’re posting on the wrong blog. Posting on the wrong blog means that the audience of that blog is filled primarily with people who are not your target audience and are unlikely to look kindly on your views.
This means that, not only will they be unlikely to visit your blog to read more of your material, but they may also speak negatively of your writing in other areas, spreading negative word of mouth. This negative word of mouth may turn off potential readers who would otherwise be more open to your ideas. For example, say you’re guest posting on a tech blog, and you have a low opinion of Apple. If the readership of that blog is primarily in favor of Apple (even if the blog takes no official stance itself), your posts are not likely to be taken well.
Readers may mention you in other tech based spaces, where there may be a mix of people who like Apple, and people who dislike Apple. Even those who would agree with your message may be turned off by the negative comments about you, reducing your potential audience. It may also turn readers off from the blog entirely, meaning the owner of the blog is not likely to recommend you to others, and may ask you to stop posting.
Specific things to look out for in negative comments include specific recognition of your name, or handle. This means that the readers have noticed that your content specifically differs from the content they enjoy. While they do know who you are, it’s not in a good way. This name recognition means that they will be ill disposed towards you in future posts as well. Just by seeing that you wrote the piece, their negative feelings towards your writing may carry over, even if you’re writing a post they normally wouldn’t mind. Another bad sign is if you comment on the blog yourself, and people respond negatively to your comments, based on your previous writings.
Another simple way to check if your guest blogging may be hurting you is check how many blogs you write guest posts for. Are they all relevant to your topic? Your first instinct as a blogger may be to write for as many sites as you can, to get your message out to as many people as you can, and to get as many search engine hits as you can. However, the old saying about quality over quantity is apt. The blogs you write for should be good matches to your content. They should be relevant enough to your topic that you’re still talking primarily to your target audience, but different enough that you’ll stand out, and show how your personal blog offers unique content. The more sites you’re writing for, the higher the chances are that you’re missing these criteria on many or all of them. If readers feel like you’re spamming sites for hits, it will reflect negatively on you, and cause problems for your blog.
Even if you are writing for the write blogs, writing for too many may stretch your abilities too far. Your writing as a guest poster may not exactly match your writing for your own blog. Your writing should be catered to fit the content of the blog you’re writing for. This means guest posting isn’t just a matter of writing a post, but researching the site you’re writing for, and trying to find material that fits. Again, it’s a search for a perfect balance between enough like the site it will be well received, and different enough that you’ll stand out. It may not be possible to put in that much work for too many sites at the same time while retaining quality, and your voice.
When using a guest blogging network, a random blogger on the Internet will be paid to write about your services or product. These types of entries on the blog are sometimes skipped-over by the blog owner’s readers because they state that the entry is sponsored. This basically means that anyone reading the blog is going to know that the blog owner was paid to write about your services. It is a lot like seeing a commercial that states that the people who are raving about a product were paid to talk about it.
Also, guest blogging networks don’t always screen their writers as well as they should. Someone might pick up the entry that you need written and the post is filled with a lot of filler text or spelling errors that it actually makes you look bad as a company owner. Using a guest blogging network basically makes you rely on the service to find a good blogger and this is not always the case for people who use these types of sites. The person writing about your product or company might not know a lot about your business and they could even get facts wrong when writing the guest blog entry.
Another major issue that people have found with guest blogging networks is that they look like spam and can negatively affect a new or growing company — when you have a lot of random bloggers talking about your product and these bloggers are being paid to do so, it easily comes across as a spam post and many people will avoid reading these because they hold no true value. This is just another thing to keep in mind if you are considering using a guest blogging network for yourself and your own company.
Guest blogging is best done regularly, and for a small number of highly relevant blogs. Check how many posts you’ve written for the blogs that are the best fit for your content. If it’s only a few, the chances are the readers haven’t gotten much of a chance to know who you are. Depending on how clear the site makes it that your post is a guest post, readers might not even realize you exist. The optimal way to guest post is to allow the readers of a blog to learn who you are, and want to read more of your writing. If you become a regular fixture on a blog, readers can gradually learn more about who you are, what your views are, and what sort of content you like. The better your readers know this, the more likely interested readers are to visit your blog. It also means it’s more likely that they’ll recommend your blog to interested friends, even if they’re not personally interested. Ultimately, not letting your readers know who you are is one of the worst things you can do, even worse than getting primarily negative feedback.
Again, imagine that you’re writing for a blog and get negative feedback. Those readers may spread negative word of mouth. But if that word of mouth is accurate to the content you offer, some parties may be interested. If someone criticized a film for containing too much action, a fan of action films may be intrigued, for example. It’s not optimal, but it may still draw in a few people. But if the readers have no idea who you are, and you don’t write often, they won’t be able to say what about your content is unique, or worth reading. It’s more likely that they’ll forget about you. All of your hard earned work will go to waste.
Worst of all, if you get a negative response, but you don’t give your readers time to know who you are, any word of mouth on you won’t reflect what you have to offer, meaning you’ll be pushing away potentially interested readers, without much hope of attracting anyone at all.
If you are looking for a chance to do guest posting, here are some tips to help you increase the odds of your getting accepted to appear as a guest writer in other people’s blogs.
Choose the right blog for your intended topic and audience
Strategy is key to getting accepted by the most appropriate blogs for your area of expertise. As always, quality trumps quantity. The game has shifted from posting on as many blogs as you can handle to posting to the most authoritative and relevant blogs in your field.
The goal is to find the blog that is most closely related to your own in subject, but has a good pagerank, solid authority, and a respectable number of followers or readers. Go over the blog’s posts to determine its voice; in other words, how the blog owners like the posts that appear on their blog to be written. It’s also helpful to go through each post’s comments to get a feel for the readers’ sentiments.
Write fresh and creative posts
Now that you’ve targeted the best location(s) for your guest blogging activities, it’s time to focus on how to attract your target audience. The only sure way to do that is to compose a unique and interesting post. Your existing posts, whether on your own blog or other people’s, may not be sufficient to land a guest post opportunity if those are the samples you show potential host bloggers.
What really counts is how effectively you can wow your target audience with the post that you propose to publish on another person’s blog. The more unique, timely, and interesting your post, the greater chance you’ll have of getting accepted.
To determine the relative uniqueness of the topic you propose to write about, go through the blog’s previous posts to find out how much the subject has already been covered. If it hasn’t been covered at all, your chances of getting your post accepted are that much better.
Quality as top priority
Nothing grabs people’s attention like a post that is coherent and original. Guest posting is a golden opportunity that, if done right, could land you more lucrative opportunities as you establish yourself as an expert.
Be sure not to submit content until you have thoroughly edited it. Don’t pass the burden of correcting errors in spelling and grammar to the owner of the blog. Run your draft by a friend or colleague whose judgment you trust. Put in the required amount of effort to make your post as spotless as it can be — chock full of high quality and interesting information.
Provide accurate information to bloggers
Prior to approaching bloggers whose site you would like to write for as a guest, prepare your own blog’s stats. This will establish your “street cred,” your legitimacy, for their benefit, if they’re not familiar with your work.
But when you do present information about your own blog, be sure you provide accurate information. Honesty will go a long way. Provide accurate stats on traffic, social media followers, and engagement, as well as conversion rate (if applicable).
After doing your research, writing the post, and preparing your blog’s statistics and other pertinent information, it’s time to go for the kill: promoting your post to other bloggers. Send emails to them and let them know your intentions.
However, don’t send a message about what you want. Send a message about how you can offer value to their blog and to their audience. If you’ve gotten accepted, it’s also your duty to help the blog owner promote his or her site. Be sure to direct traffic to your guest post.
To provide a valuable user experience for individuals who are searching the Internet, Google is constantly making minor changes to its algorithm. These changes are subtle and usually won’t drastically affect search engine placements; however, major updates will. The last two major updates, Penguin and Hummingbird, placed a larger focus on content and its importance in Google’s algorithm. Now, high quality, well written content is expected on a regular basis from websites. Without it, achieving and maintaining high search engine rankings becomes quite difficult. This gives an edge to website owners who take the time to provide readers with valuable content. To fully compete though, a brand must spread rich content to other blogs and social media sites. Guest blogging is a strategic and highly productive way to accomplish this.
Often, readers who are interested in a specific niche will browse the top blogs and frequent the same social media areas. Guest blogging allows a website owner to gain exposure as a recognized contributor in their specific industry and that helps solidify trust with readers and potential customers. When individuals start to see a frequent amount of content from the same author, they begin to recognize that author and brand as a leader. This helps reinforce recognition and the expertise of an author.
In real estate, success is all about location. The same theory applies to building brand recognition. Bloggers and businesses that create guest posts to increase their exposure are forming more opportunities to bond with individuals that are interested in their message, services or products. They are also gaining credibility by being hosted on websites that drive in large amounts of traffic and are well respected.
Associating with other popular websites in an industry helps create credibility with potential clients or customers. Also, it allows a brand to reach out and spread a message to communities and topic hubs that may not have heard of a brand. By guest posting on popular blogs, a brand can also experiment with topics that may be new to readers. However, it may be difficult to get accepted by the most popular blog sites. If a brand has never written a guest post, they should start with smaller sites that are more receptive. Baby steps will lead to a final goal, and new relationships are always good to start. A blogger never knows what type of person they will meet or how a new acquaintance will influence their business. By contacting the owners of smaller blogs, it still increases networking and provides possible opportunities outside of blogging on just one site.
Networking is one of the biggest keys to success in business. By branching out and contacting others in an industry, it opens a door of communication that could be beneficial to both parties. Some brands take this opportunity to team up with other businesses in their industry and offer combined product packages to their readers. This combined partnership could help boost an interest in complementary products or create a whole new product that has a valuable proposition for interested individuals with a problem that needs solving. An initial seed to begin a new relationship can be started by offering to provide a guest blog post. It starts the ball rolling and opens up a positive line of communication with others in an industry.
Also, networking provides an opportunity to discover guest bloggers. Most readers appreciate periodic changes that spice up the content that they are reading. Support from another blogger is always good to have when material is becoming stale. A new perspective, style and expertise has the ability to provide value for readers and that is the most important aspect that a blogger should work on first. Trust and sales will come later if an author provides continuous streams of value.
Guest blogging and article sharing is even easier and more important now with Twitter and Google+. When a blogger takes the time to formulate valuable content and share it as a guest post with the readers of a prominent blog, those readers may decide to share the article’s link with individuals in their social media channel. This sharing fuels more brand recognition and creates more links back to an author’s guest blog post, Twitter name, or main website.
In fact, it’s a good idea to use these popular social media sites and applications after posting content. This shares areas where a blogger is posting so that anyone following an author can easily find their material. Taking time to use these tactics will drive more traffic to articles, establish expertise in the field and provide social proof that an author is a leader in the industry. Also, these social elements are formulated into Google’s algorithm which leads to higher rankings in the search engine results pages.
Search engine optimization should be utilized by brands that want to build a foundation for long-term success. Guest blogging helps build that foundation by forming inbound links from other websites. These websites are seen as valuable assets on the Internet, and Google places a higher value on a site receiving valuable incoming links. This inevitably helps a brand receive a higher website rank, better search visibility and hopefully an increase in traffic which should help boost sales.
In order to get the most out of your guest blogging campaign, it’s a good idea to implement a process of interlinking to strengthen the bonds between your posts and help direct users to more valuable content—ultimately getting you closer to a converted lead. At its most basic, interlinking is a strategy that embeds hyperlinks in your articles which lead to your other articles. Essentially, you’ll be using your content as a bridge that connects users to other pieces of content that you’ve written, usually on your main site or on other external blogs.
There are several benefits of interlinking, including:
No matter how often you guest blog or what sites you use to do it, it’s important to interlink your content as much as possible—without spamming or annoying your users.
The main purpose of interlinking a guest blog is to get more traffic for your main site. The more traffic you have, the more chances you’ll have at converting leads, and ultimately, that means higher sales and revenue. Interlinking your guest content with your main site also passes authority in the eyes of Google, so if you link from a high-profile, high-authority site to your main website, you’ll eventually see a ranking increase as a result.
You do have to be careful with how many links you have pointing back to your site, however. If a user clicks on multiple links within your article and they all link to one domain, they may become suspicious that you are trying to lure them into a sale, and they will distrust the intentions of your content.
It’s wise to complement your interlinking strategy by including links to other guest blogs you write, either on the same host or a different one. The idea here is to give users a chance to explore your other content so they can get a wider view of your experience—and of course, to give them more value by providing helpful resources where they are required in the context of the article.
Interlinking between guest blogs will also help build and strengthen the network of links and affiliates you display to Google, meaning increased authority all around.
When an author takes the steps to blog as a guest on another website, it also gives them a chance to become a better writer. No one wants to look like a fool when they are making a first impression. Learning to communicate with others through guest blog posts leads to a stronger grasp on subjects, it broadens an author’s outlook and teaches them how to spread a message in circles that they may not be familiar with. This provides growth and solidifies knowledge in an area of interest, and leads to an easier ability to write about subjects and cater content to different types of audiences. A broader range and outlook will only help the bottom line in the long-term.
Of course, it does take time to formulate high-quality content that attracts readers and stimulates their minds. An author should never be afraid to outsource guest blogging if they begin to feel burned out or uninterested in their chosen topic. By outsourcing, it frees up time for marketing and other tasks that are important for success. Blog content should never become boring or stale. If too many bland or boring pieces are put out, an author raises the risk of becoming unneeded and losing interested participants. It takes time to keep content fresh, interesting and entertaining. Valuable content is one of the main reasons why readers gravitate to an author; it should always be top-notch.
Interlinking, while straightforward in theory, is a bit more complicated when you look at correct implementation. It’s not a process you can just start, stuffing as many links as you want into the body of your content. While the idea of building many bridges is appealing, you also have to keep the preferences of your users and the search robots at Google in mind. If you annoy your users, the strategy crumbles, and if you’re seen as a questionable practitioner in the eyes of search engines, your rankings will plummet.
Keep your interlinking strategy healthy by incorporating these best practices into your campaign:
The Importance of Link Relevance
Your links must be relevant to the subject of your article. If you try to stuff a link that leads to a meat processing factory’s website from an article about financial planning for seniors, you’re going to get some confused users and a red flag from Google’s algorithm. Google robots use contextual clues and semantic analysis to determine when links are appropriate or inappropriate, so use them only when they’re relevant and can give users more information. Your first goal should be making an informative, authoritative article, and your interlinking efforts should only enhance that purpose.
Choosing the Right Anchor Text
Anchor text has gotten a lot of attention lately, especially with the recent onset of the Penguin 3.0 update. Backlinks aren’t nearly as simple as they used to be; once upon a time, you could root your links in anchor text that contained a keyword you wanted to optimize for, and your ranking for that keyword would improve. Today, if you even try to optimize your anchor text, you’re begging for a penalty. Instead of writing out the names of your articles or trying to stuff a keyword phrase in to justify a place for your articles, embed your links into naturally relevant phrases (like I just did).
Just the Right Number
You want to have enough links to entice your users to click, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them. Having too many links from related sources pointing to one another can trigger a red flag from Google, signaling a link exchange scheme. It could also make your text virtually unreadable to the average user. There’s no firm rule for how many links you should have; instead, try and focus on only including the most relevant, highest quality links you can. You also need to vary your link targets—use many different articles in your interlinking strategy.
Occasional Nofollow Links
If you want to hedge your bets to avoid a penalty from Google, start using a handful of nofollow links as part of your interlinking strategy. Nofollow links are links marked with a rel=nofollow tag, which instructs Google to ignore the link in its authority-scouting algorithm. Essentially, you’ll be able to capture a share of user interest and traffic without angering search engine robots. It’s not ideal, since you’ll be missing out on a bit of authority, but if your interlinking strategy is tempered with occasional nofollow links, you’ll protect yourself against a possible ranking drop.
Interlinking is a worthwhile strategy for any guest blogging opportunity. The benefits of increased rank and more traffic are nice, but keep in mind that your first priority should be giving your users a more valuable experience. If your links aren’t improving the quality or value of your article, you might as well have none, so remember your users and interlink responsibly.
When high-quality content is streamed to other channels, reaped rewards and benefits are inevitable. Guest posts that contain valuable, high-quality content will continue to create inbound links, networking opportunities, positive exposure and credibility. This tactic should be used by all brands that are striving for success and increased profits in their chosen niche.
Guest posting on an external site can pass page rank to your website, thereby increasing your SEO ranks, and can also increase your reputation in your industry and send referral traffic your way directly.Offering guest posts on your own site can help boost your online brand reputation, especially if you can work with major influencers, and can beef up the diversity of your content offerings.
But one form of guest posting—namely, sponsored guest blogs—is perceived as risky. There are a number of misconceptions and fears around sponsored guest posts, but for the most part, the fears are misplaced.
Let’s start by describing what sponsored guest blog posts are and aren’t. There are some gray areas when it comes to this type of sponsorship, but as far as Google is concerned, the definition is clear. Sponsored guest posts are any type of written post that somebody paid to have published. For example, if you give an external site any form of direct monetary compensation for featuring your work, that’s going to be considered a sponsored guest blog post.
As Google regularly reaffirms: Buying links for the purposes of passing page rank and manipulating ranks in SERPs is explicitly forbidden, and will earn Google’s wrath in the form of a penalty. Back in the day when quantity was all that mattered to a link building strategy, webmasters would take advantage of the vulnerability by buying up whatever links they could. Today, Google wants to prevent any such activity, so if you’re caught buying a link to improve your rank, you’re probably going to be penalized sooner or later.
However, merely exchanging money for a place on the web is not the problem. For example, Google’s position on affiliate links is one of understanding. Affiliate links are essentially paid links—clients pay hosts a set fee for each click those links earn—but they aren’t penalized, so long as they’re set up properly. This is because the intention of affiliate links is to attract direct traffic, rather than to manipulate search rank—as long as you aren’t trying to cheat the search engine, Google doesn’t care what you buy or sell on the web.
In accordance with their stance on affiliate links, Google is perfectly fine with sponsored posts, so long as they aren’t meant to pass page rank. If you pay for a position on an external site, Google’s stance is that the position should not in any way pass authority to the site responsible for posting the content. In effect, as long as you aren’t paying for the opportunity to increase your rank, you aren’t going to conflict with Google’s policy, and you aren’t going to earn a penalty.
The trick is to make it clear that the guest post is sponsored. First, you owe it to your readers to disclose the fact that the post was sponsored. You can do this by introducing the content as a sponsored post, either at the beginning or the end of the article, and including a “sponsored” indication somewhere if and when you syndicate a link to the post through social media. Second, you owe it to Google to disclose the fact that it’s a sponsored post and make sure any links available in the post are not considered for passing authority. The easiest way to do this is to mark any links in the sponsored content with a “nofollow” designation, which will prevent search engines from crawling those links.
This policy by Google is something of a double-edged sword. So long as you prevent your links from passing authority, you can be assured that Google won’t penalize you for posting sponsored content. However, passing authority is one of the most important motivators for making guest posts in the first place.
Fortunately, paid guest posts still have a number of benefits:
If your primary goal in guest posting is to increase your domain authority and thus, your rank in search engines, sponsored guest posts simply aren’t worth it. You might earn some residual authority from brand mentions, and you might end up attracting a handful of secondary inbound links from people citing your work, but since all of your sponsored links will be blocked, the SEO benefits are almost negligible.
If your primary goal is to gain more visibility or more traffic, sponsored guest posts could be worth it. It all depends on the cost of featuring your post, the audience that could potentially view it, and the level of authority of the hosting site. For example, if you have to pay $1,000 to have a guest post featured on a site that only gets a few hundred hits a week, it may not be worth it. But if, for $100, you can earn a “featured” slot on the top of a news feed for a major publisher, the opportunity could eventually pay for itself. It helps to know your conversion rate for inbound referral traffic and an estimate for how much traffic the post would generate.
If you’re worried about getting penalized for sponsoring a guest post on an external site, don’t be. As long as your host indicates that the post was sponsored, and as long as any inbound links in your material are covered with a “nofollow” tag, you don’t have to worry about attracting the wrath of Google. However, be aware that sponsored guest posts do not carry the same benefits as traditional guest posts, and sponsorship opportunities are only worthwhile if the amount of exposure you receive outweighs the initial cost. Keep traditional guest posting as the core of your strategy, and treat any sponsorship prospects with a critical eye before moving forward.
Let’s examine the 10 types of website you should avoid at all costs when guest blogging.
Blogging on website where there are few guest posts can be anything from an inefficient use of your time to something that actively hurts you in the future.
These types of websites generally have little content, which means one of two things:
Blog networks, while decent for the amount of traffic they can potentially generate, are generally considered one of the worst places to build link authority.
The problem stems from how bland and general that the overall network structure is. Every blog can potentially blinked to every other blog, which means that authority resources are given the same potential value as any spammy blog.
Furthermore, blogs that are interlinked by a network structure generally have links to other blogs that may not even be related. The links lack relevance, which in turn makes them a waste of time at best.
You should carefully choose who you allow to link to you. The penalties that search engines impose for infractions can leak from one site to your own with as much as just one link.
This is one of the reasons that Google recently implemented their disavow feature.
Though most website owners are okay with this risk, the amount of websites built with illegitimate link building practices is astounding. Just a few links embedded inside of high quality content that point back to your website can transfer some of those weighty penalties to you. Even if you manage to avoid them, these websites are still a waste of your time and effort.
Spamming other websites is one of the worst SEO practices in existence. Not only does it incur the wrath of search engines, but it also develops a negative reputation from webmasters whom have been hit the hardest by spam.
While the penalties that can be transferred by these practices have already been covered in the previous point, it’s the fact that these website owners may strike back with a vengeance that should worry you.
They can do everything from leaving a nasty comment that your business’s customers may find to resulting in penalties and removal from websites that you do want links from.
Low-quality content leads to ineffective back links and a poor domain authority. This can make your efforts of posting on certain blogs ineffective.
There are a few markers for low-quality content. Short article lengths, grammatical mistakes, content that reads like a non-native speaker wrote it and content that has been partially copied from elsewhere will lead to the desire that you had placed your guest blogs elsewhere on a higher quality website.
In a best case scenario, posting guest blogs on a website filled with spam comments will result in ineffective backlinks
It’s the worst case scenario that should frighten you away from these websites. Comment spam tends to be prevalent on websites that lack any means of filtering or on blogs desperate for the appearance of reader interaction.
The first condition is the most threatening. It can mix your website up with the wrong crowd, which can invite penalties and spam to your website.
The second condition is another sign that your blog posts are better kept for another website, as explained below.
Remember that there are two goals to guest blogs: to build links and to foster the attention of new visitors.
Blogs that lack signs of reader interaction are blogs that likely will accomplish little progress in either of those goals. They can also be a sign of a poor-quality blog, as readers who don’t see amazing blog posts that help them tend to refrain from leaving even a “thank you” comment.
The one condition that makes blogs without a large number of comments okay is if the comments are strictly moderated. This is generally the case on high-value educational and government website blogs.
For every other kind of blog, you will find that the best results come from websites where there is not only a few comments that go back and forth between commenter and reader, but also comments that act as lengthy threads of discussion between readers.
Link farms re a dubious way of building up content and integrating links with that content. They act as another form of paid links that tend to play host to low-quality content that has been run through process like spinning to keep the content seemingly unique.
An easy way to spot link farms is to look for content that looks poorly written or strays from the topic that you can only guess it was meant to be about. This happens as a result of link farms trying to bypass Google’s uniqueness checks by using synonyms of words during the spinning process.
These types of blogs are among the most dangerous to receive a link from. Search engines have become smart about checking for duplicate content that has been spun, which means that your website may actively receive penalties if it’s connected to a blog that employs link farming techniques.
To search engines, regularly posting quality content is one of the many signs that a website is trustworthy and worthwhile to regularly crawl.
Blogs posted on websites where search engines already expect regular content will provide the greatest measurable benefit to your own link building outreach by ensuring that your guest posts will be seen and counted.
Avoid blogs that haven’t posted new content in the last two or three months and ones that lack a history of consistent posts.
Unlike many of the other types of blogs posted here, blogs that lack recent content will still likely result in achieving some of your SEO goals. It may just take six months to a year before you see how.
Plagiarized content is one of tho deadliest sins that anyone can make when it comes to SEO. Plagiarized content can incur site-wide penalties and potentially poison your website with as much as one or two relevant links that you would normally gain from blog posting.
Blogs that plagiarize tend to be taken down due to DMCA complaints, which in turn renders any chance of potential gains null. Posting guest blogs on these websites may send infuriated victims of plagiarism your way with the idea that you were behind the blogs responsible for it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on building your business through guest blogging. I strongly believe it’s the most valuable tactic business owners can (and should) be using to build a sustainable online business for the long haul, while growing traffic and sales.
Although finding a place to publish your guest blog may seem like a difficult or impossible task, it doesn’t have to be. By implementing the strategies listed above, you can find a website or blog that does accept guest blogs and subsequently get yours published. In so doing, you will be able to generate more traffic to your blog and increase your conversion rates.
Did this guide help you? Are you going to give it a try? Or you could let our guest blogging and backlink service take care of it for you!