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Guest Blogging for SEO – How To Rank Your Site Faster
Reading Time: 11 minutes
If you set out to do it only for the links, you should reconsider your guest blogging strategy.
Let’s take a look at guest blogging best practices, and strategies we can use to find high authority blogs that accept guest posts.
More importantly, let’s look at how guest blogging for SEO can propel your site to higher rankings, and at a much faster rate.
Guest blogging is a great way to build links to your site. But keep in mind that getting a linkback shouldn’t be your sole aim when it comes to guest blogging. Rather it should be a by-product of the entire exercise.
If you set out to do it only for the links, you should reconsider your guest blogging strategy.
Publishers get bombarded every day with pitches from people eager to publish guest posts. But most of the time requesters are only interested in securing a link without much contribution beyond that.
In some instances, people will send you a hastily written article that’s very general in nature, laden with links which are mostly out of context with the hope that the article will still get accepted.
Plenty of webmasters have stopped accepting guest posts altogether because of practices like this.
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company. Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way any more.” — Matt Cutts, in his article “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO”
But don’t get discouraged. Promise yourself that you’re going to add value to each guest post you write, and you won’t go wrong.
Guest Blogging offers benefits that go beyond links
What benefits can guest blogging offer you?
- You foster a relationship with the site that accepts your guest post
- You increase your clout as an authority in your niche. People start to notice and remember you
- Over time you’ll be able to use your influence to grow your business faster
- Think of the links as the icing on the cake!
Are you convinced of how guest blogging can help you grow your business?
Then let’s get started and review the steps involved in becoming a proficient and successful guest blogger.
Creating a guest blogging strategy
The best strategy, in my opinion, is to stay consistent when it comes to guest blogging.
You want your business to succeed, and quickly. But how quickly? And how often should you go with guest blogging? Once a month — or once a week? That’s the first thing you’ll need to decide. Once you’ve come up with a possible schedule, stick with it and make a commitment to it.
There are two primary reasons why you want to write guest blogs. One is the number of visitors that are likely to view your site. The other is the backlinks you get from the author bio or the article itself.
Those visitors can turn into loyal customers. And links can boost your SEO, so your site ranks better with every article you post.
No matter what you do, there will be posts that will gather dust on someone’s site and with time fade into oblivion. But I don’t necessarily consider that to be a failure. You’re still getting the linkback from this authority site.
Combined with other links, that will help you rank higher.
Some SEO experts advocate that before you pitch, connect with the blog editor first. While you should strive to do that, it may not always be the most practical approach if you’re pitching a lot of blogs each month.
It’s better to get down to action as soon as you can. Start by writing quality stuff and letting blog editors judge you by your past work. That could help you form a connection with editors after you’ve worked with them. That approach makes a lot of sense.
It’s important to connect and form new relationships, although that takes up a lot of time. And since time is our most expensive commodity, you can exclusively reserve it for the editors and bloggers that you want to form a long-term and genuine relationships with. You want to spend your time as productively as possible.
Lastly, promote your guest posts the same way you promote the posts on your own site. One very effective way to do that is to regularly reference your guest posts in your new articles.
I do that with all the posts I’ve written in the past.
You’re essentially building links to the articles you’ve written, helping to improve their rank in the future.
But most importantly, stay consistent with your guest blogging schedule.
“Guest blogging is, indeed, one of the powerful ways of building strong, high-quality relationships that may help you in multiple ways, including developing business opportunities and professional connections, setting brand value and, of course, acquisition of link juice. But, there are many people in the industry who aren’t grasping the real worth of guest blogging. They tend to view guest blogging as just another link building tactic. Because of this, they continue to build low quality content for submission to blogs that accept guest posting. Sadly, I estimate that one out of ten blogs actually publishes this junk, polluting the web with garbage.” — Moosa Hemani, in his article “The REAL Benefits of Guest Blogging.”
Finding the Right Guest Blogging Opportunities
There are a few ways you can search for sites that accept guest posts. But you don’t want to offer your article to any site that comes your way.
I do believe it’s crucial to understand which sites are the most valuable — and which ones you should avoid.
Ideally, you should aim for sites with higher user engagement. Look at the number of social shares their content generates. Are people commenting on the articles?
If their figures are reasonably good, that’s the ideal site to write for.
Additionally, you want to check each domain’s authority to ensure you’re working with a high authority, trusted site.
It used to be that we’d gauge a site’s importance by checking its PageRank (PR). PageRank was created by Google and this metric was publicly available.
People understood that PR was passed on from the linking site to the linked site. And people started to buy links, manipulating link building methods, and abusing it to such an extent that Google had to finally put it to rest — or at least made it unavailable.
Now we have Domain Authority (DA) which is a search engine ranking score and has been developed by Moz. It is quite similar to Google PR and helps you to gauge the importance of the other site.
You can use this free tool to check the domain authority of any site. I use it quite often because it doesn’t require you to register, and there’s no cap on the number of times you can use it.
Ideally, you want to submit your guest post to sites that have a similar or higher DA than your own site. Links from higher authority sites will elevate your site’s Domain Authority and help it rank much faster.
“By improving your domain authority, you are also increasing your chances of improving your search engine ranking. Think of DA as a manner of calculating how competitive a website is in a Google search. The higher the domain authority of a website, the harder it is to outrank it. Similarly, when you are working on link-building for your blog, you should try to gain links from websites having good domain authority.” — Harsh Agrawal in his article “What Is Domain Authority (DA) ? – A Complete Guide For Beginners”
Searching for blogs that accept guest posts
I am sure you can jot down a few quality sites in your niche right off the top of your head. But to expand the list, let’s look at how you can find sites that are unknown to you — in particular, sites that are blogging consistently, have decent user engagement and have a DA similar or higher to your site.
And most importantly, sites that are actively looking for guest post authors like yourself.
Here are a few strategies to consider:
- You can use a competitor link analysis technique, where you look at your competitor’s backlink profile and analyze the links that are helping them rank better. If you know the main competitors in your field, make a list, then type the keyword you want to rank for in Google. Suppose you want to rank for “web marketing agencies London.” Write it in the search bar and hit Enter. The agencies that come up for that search term are your competitors. Leave out the sponsored ones; it’s better to analyze sites rank well in the SERPs.Add these agencies to your list as well.Should you come across local directories and resources, jot them down onto a separate list and use them for citation building so you also rank better locally.You can repeat the search using other search terms until you have 7-10 competitors listed.Then you can use a free tool like Open Link Profiler to see where they’re getting their links from.
Just enter your competitor’s domain name as shown above and press “Get backlink data.” You’ll then get a results page.
Additionally, you can click on the arrow next to the “LIS” so the results are sorted with the most influential links posted up top.
You can analyze the links to see the ones that have been acquired using guest posting. Make a list of those sites.
If you do this with all your competitors, you should end up with a significant number of high-quality sites that are accepting guest posts.
Then reach out to those sites with a smart pitch on why they should post your guest blog on their site.
- Prospecting the internet is another great technique, where you use Google search string or search operators to refine your search results. You can search for an exact match by putting your search term or phrase inside quotes. For example:* “Your Niche” “write for us” (Your Niche will be the industry you want to write for.)* “Your Niche” “Become a contributor”* “Your Niche” “Submit guest post”* “Your Niche” “Guest post guidelines”* “Your Niche” inurl:contribute* “Your Niche” allinurl:write for us* “Your Niche” allintitle:write for us
For example, when I use the search string ”Web Design” “write for us”, I get the following results.
The results can be awesome: a host of high authority sites at your disposal to pitch your offer to. You can, of course, try a different combination of Google search operators to see which ones fetch you the best results.
The results may vary depending on the industry you’re in.
- Another great method is to follow regular bloggers and publishers on social media. That way you can quickly discover the sites they’re contributing to. It means those sites are actively seeking contributions, so the chances of your pitch getting accepted are higher.
Pitching for guest blogging
My suggestion is to keep your pitch short, to the point and personal. Learn the name of the editor and address them that way.
Blog editors get a lot of pitch emails every day, especially if they run a higher authority, well-known blog with lots of readers. That’s exactly the kind of blog you should be aiming for.
The editors are busy and pressed for time, so it’s a smart idea to go straight to the point. Let them know you’re offering them a guest post. Suggest a few topics so that the editor can choose the one that resonates best with their audience.
If you have an article ready, let them know of that.
Don’t forget to include samples of guest posts you’ve written for other sites. If you haven’t written any guest posts, include links to your own blog.
If you haven’t started blogging on your own site yet, I recommend doing that first, and postpone your guest blogging efforts for the time being.
You need to create content on your own blog first as a part of an inbound marketing strategy that pulls customers to your site.
Once you include all this relevant information in your pitch, it will help them gauge the quality of your writing and make a faster decision.
Regarding the format of the pitch, I believe that you don’t really need a particular format or template to follow. The more personal the pitch is, the better. If you use a prewritten copy taken from somewhere on the web, be sure that others are using it too.
Besides, if you can’t write your own pitch, how will you write an article?
So go with the flow and draft your own unique pitch. Be honest about why you want to write for them.
Remember to include sufficient information to help them make a decision on your pitch. Be brief and to the point.
Once you get a go ahead, it’s time to show off your creativity.
Writing the guest post
This is the part most people struggle with — and for good reason.
Writing a strong article requires knowledge of the subject matter and your area of expertise.
Knowledge can be acquired by researching the subject as much as possible. Writing skills can be developed by writing, and writing, and writing … as much as you can. This is something one can learn with practice.
Keep writing and with time you’ll get better and better at it.
Guest post guidelines
However, some of my tips for writing a strong guest post, one that has a good chance of getting accepted, also include:
- Write with your main audience in mind
- Add value. Make sure what you write is actually going to benefit the person reading it
- Break down the article into Headings & Subheadings. Make it structured so it’s easier to read
- Keep paragraphs short, preferably one or two lines, since they’re easier to read
- Use images, screenshots, charts, and graphs — anything that helps explain your point without words. An image can be worth a thousand words. And it can help break the monotony of a long-form article, too
- Regarding the length, write long-form articles. Google and blog editors love them. It takes time, but it’s worth it. It also shows that you’re knowledgeable about your field. You can’t write in-depth if you don’t understand your subject.
- Some experts advocate linking to a well-optimized landing page from your author bio, instead of always linking to your homepage. And you can use any lead magnet or give something away for free to capture visitors’ email addresses when they arrive on your site. That way, you won’t lose them forever.
If you keep those “article writing points” in mind and follow them, there’s a good chance your article will be accepted for publication.
“(T)he latest hoopla suggests guest blogging is dead, but that’s not necessarily true. As with the backlinking, guest blogs can be tremendously beneficial to the SEO of your website. If you work with reputable writers who are indeed experts in their industry, their popularity can only help you. For this tactic to work, you must be vigilant when screening potential bloggers. Interview them, research their backgrounds, and compare their submission to everything they’ve written before to make sure you get truly unique content. If you follow Google’s quality guidelines, your guest blog from a well-known source will bring you tremendous traffic and boost your search engine rankings.” — Jennifer Barry in her article “9 Reasons Why Blogging Is Essential To Good SEO Results.”
When done well, guest blogging is the best form of marketing for your site. It is win-win for both the author and the publisher.
The publisher gets a great article for their audience. And you get recognition as well.
Numerous sites may have articles that are similar to the one you submitted. However, with a different author comes a different perspective, unique opinions, and an entirely new way of approaching the subject. So your ideas, opinions, and expertise can still add value to their site.
On the other hand, as the author, you’ll get acquainted with an entirely new audience. People get to know you, recognize you as an expert in your field, and this builds brand and authority.
The more people know you, the more you can use your influence and brand to help grow your business and make more money.
If you’re just starting out, the number of rejections could initially be high. But don’t get discouraged. There are thousands of eligible sites and it’s not hard to find a few that will give you the break you need.
The more you blog, the better you get at it. The key here is consistency.
Remember, blogging helps build links to your site. And links remain one of the primary Google ranking factors. The more you guest blog, the more authority links you build to your site.
Authority links will help you rank in the SERPs much faster. It’s an incredible tool that you have full control over. Use it to your advantage.
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