Most of us think of Search Engine Optimization as a feat of technical wizardry, and it can be. From using proper keywords to using tools to automate publishing to social media, being tech savvy plays a big role in getting traffic. The mistake is forgetting that readers don’t just have favorite blogs; they have their specific interests. Taking your content and commentary beyond your blog can help build authority and drive a lot of traffic your way. That’s where guest blog posts can be an effective tool. In 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts declared guest blogging dead because it had become “too spammy.” So why do it? Because Google rewards quality, and a comprehensive, high-quality guest post that links back to your site is at least equally good for SEO as a great post on your own site. Here are five tips for generating great guest blog posts:
1.Write for the audience you’re reaching
Don’t presume the audience that reads your own blog is the same as the one where you’ll be guest posting to because – even if your buyer personas overlap – it’s not. Assuming so would be not only ignorant but also arrogant. Read the blog you’re writing for. View the top posts. Are they listicles? Long-form narrative? Are they filled with images and infographics? Be prepared to deliver a consistent experience to the reader who shows up to your post. If the content is either unfamiliar— or worse, unhelpful — expect not to get invited back.
2.Use relatable examples
Once you know what your reader is interested in, use relatable examples to teach. Say you want to write the perfect guest post for Positionly. A quick review of the home page shows articles fit in any of eight different categories: SEO, Updates, Content, Inbound, Social, Infographics, Copywriting, and SEM. Say you have the expertise to share in social media marketing. Write a post that gives your best advice to Positionly readers — for example, how to use qualitative research to give your audience the content they most desire — and then submit to the right category, using keywords that reflect your knowledge of the subject.
Once you’ve demonstrated expertise, as a guest author, it’s your job to also demonstrate the expertise of the site owner and other guest contributors. For a social media marketing article, you could reference Jini Maxin’s advice for how to handle Facebook Instant Articles or Rohan Ayyar’s tutorial on Pinterest marketing tactics. Adding these links will not only boost the SEO of your host — but you’ll also be adding the reflected authority to your own site, which gets the backlink. Everyone wins.
4.Promote your work and your partner’s site
Speaking of social media marketing, manners and common sense dictate that you share what you write as a guest blogger. After all, the site owner has lent you space and rightly expects that you’ll lend the eyes and ears of your network in return. For example, you could excerpt a portion of your article to share as a full post on LinkedIn and then cross-post to Medium. You could also share these gateway posts several times on Twitter or host a chat about the topic using Facebook Live. Remember: the failure of some bloggers to extend this courtesy—opting for spam over service to a captive audience—is at least part of the reason why Google’s Cutts declared guest blogging dead two years ago.
5.Be the first to comment, and then encourage more discussion
Finally, don’t let the publication of your post be the end of your work. Start a discussion about the topic and help your site partner engage their readers. Post your comment as a question on social media and link back to your post. And then respond to every single question that comes in. At the very least, you’ll earn the well-deserved gratitude of your host. At best, you’ll start a discussion about a crucial topic and win massive amounts of traffic to your partner, and an instant invitation to write again — and perhaps for a few related sites, as well. What’s more, you can also distribute your article organically on various platforms such a growthackers.com, inbound.org or any other … to give it some additional buzz.
Either way, this kind of guest posting will give your SEO a serious boost without you having to alter a single line of HTML code.