Building backlinks is one of the most effective tactics your business can use to boost your website’s presence. The more backlinks you acquire from relevant, high-quality websites pointing back to your website, the greater the signal to Google and other search engines that your site offers quality info to visitors.
The question is, however, how do you do build these backlinks?
There are a number of ways you can do this. Within this article, I’ll focus on one of the more popular tactics – Guest Posting.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest posting is when the experts on your team create high-quality, informative content that is intended to be published on a website other than your own. In exchange for providing the site’s owners with great content, all you ask in return is a backlink to your website.
You gain by earning some exposure of your experts and brand to a new audience as well as a backlink, and the receiving site gains by receiving free content and then gaining exposure themselves as you share the content with your own followers. Both parties gain visibility, so the benefit is mutual.
To help you understand how guest posting should factor into your SEO strategy, let’s first take a deeper dive into the benefits of the practice.
The Importance and Benefits of Guest Posting
Guest posting can benefit any type of company, and although many companies question the reasons for investing time in producing content only to publish it on another site, the benefits of guest posting are enormous.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top benefits of guest blogging.
One important benefit is the ability to generate traffic to your site from your guest posts. This traffic is logged as referral traffic in Google Analytics, and referral traffic is a solid ranking signal that can help your SEO strategy thrive.
Google can see the quality of the site from which the referral traffic is coming. If you have a large amount of traffic coming into your website from other quality sites, that’s a good sign that your site is worthwhile as well.
Expand your reach
Guest posting on other sites shows a sense of authority from your team on the subject in question. If your team members are contributing content and their insights are showing up on other sites, they must be valuable, right?
As you continue to publish quality guest posts on authoritative sites, you reach all of those sites’ readers as well. This can be a huge boost for your brand recognition and can send interested parties back to your site who might ultimately become customers.
As I mentioned earlier, link building is possibly the most valuable benefit of guest posting. Guest posting can give a huge boost to the link building part of your SEO strategy. Make sure when you submit a guest post that the site owners are willing to give you a link back to your site – preferably dofollow.
You’ll ultimately want to ensure you get as many dofollow links as possible, but even nofollow links can be valuable in many ways.
And as you are building these links, take care to ensure you are varying your anchor text (the hyperlinked text). If you earn 100 links with the same anchor text, Google will get suspicious.
These are just a few of the many wonderful benefits of guest posting. If done properly, your business can reap serious rewards.
Now, let’s look at how to set goals for what you expect your guest posts to achieve.
Tracking the Value of Your Guest Posts
Just like with any marketing tactic, you’ll want to have a way to ensure you’re tracking the value each guest post offers. To do this, you’ll want to set achievable and trackable goals.
The three biggest goals you should be looking at are:
- Establishing authority and recognition in the market that you want to target
- Increasing the visibility of your business by generating a lot of traffic
- Earning external links to your website.
If you end up managing to publish guest posts on websites or blogs that are already established in the market, you can achieve all three of these goals in one shot. To ensure you’re gaining value, you should be tracking the following results from your guest posts:
- Number of high-authority websites you’ve gained links from
- Number of dofollow links vs. nofollow links
- Referral traffic generated by each post
- Actions visitors from these sites take once they land on your site
You can use a tool like SEMrush or Moz to track the site authority and the types of links you’re earning in your efforts.
And you can use Google Analytics to track how the traffic is performing. For example, you can create a goal such as an ebook download on your site, and then you can track how many people from that backlink ultimately end up on the “thank you” page for the ebook download.
By tracking the value each guest post brings, you can determine whether your efforts and working and make necessary adjustments to improve your results.
How Can I Find Websites that Accept Guest Posts?
Now that you have a grasp on the value of guest blogging, the next thing to do is figure out what sites to target and just how to make it happen.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to do this. First, you’ll want to understand what types of sites you want to target. To do this, you need to answer the following questions:
- What subject matter do the sites cover?
- Is that subject relevant to my site?
- What is the domain authority of the website?
- How much traffic does the website receive?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will have a better idea of the sites you want to target. You’ll be able to pull together a list of sites you want to look at simply based on understanding your industry
But once you have your list, you’ll need to take it a step further. If you only focus on top-of-mind sites, you’ll miss out on a ton of opportunities.
Try these additional tactics to build your list of guest blogging targets.
Search “Write for Us”
One great way to find sites is to Google a query such as the following:
My Industry Blogs > Write for Us
For example, in the marketing space, I would Google:
Marketing Blogs > Write for Us
You could also try something like:
My Industry > Guest Blogs
Lots of blogs that accept guest posts have a “Write for Us” or “Become a Contributor” page on their website. So, if you conduct a search like this, the results will return a huge list of high-quality, targeted sites within your industry that you can add to your guest posting list.
Digging around social
Another way to find blogs and websites that look for guest posts is to follow experts in your industry on social networks, such as Twitter for example. Find some leaders in your industry and then look at their accounts.
If you scroll through, you’ll likely find that they’ve written content for tons of sites outside of their employers’ or outside of their own thought leader or consulting blogs. As you come across relevant sites, you can add these to your list as well.
Now you have two simple resources at your fingertips, search engines and social media, to uncover some great guest posting sites.
You have your list, and you are ready to start targeting. But before you jump in, you’re missing one thing. Great content.
Without great content, your guest posts will be denied no matter how targeted your inquiries.
Here’s how you can create great content that will get accepted more regularly.
How to Write an Excellent Guest Post?
Keep in mind that if you want to get your content accepted, you need to add value to the publication you’re targeting. The first step to ensure you’re on the right track is to review the publication’s guidelines.
Follow the rules
A typical website that accepts guest posts will lay out their guidelines, which could include direction such as:
- Required word length
- Number of links you can add
- Bio and other accompanying info you must submit
- Important formatting information
- Rules that can shut your post down if you break them
- How to submit the content (email, form, etc.)
Make sure you thoroughly read the guidelines for each of your targeted sites. The requirements will be slightly different for each site, and if you don’t adhere to each site’s specific instructions, you’ll get a ton of denials, or just plain be ignored.
Next, you’ll want to dig around the site and try to develop a topic that hasn’t been written about. Or at least a unique spin on a concept that expands on other pieces that have already been published on the site or adds additional value beyond what’s been discussed.
Sites aren’t in the business of publishing 1000 articles on the same subject, so the more differentiation you can add and the more value you bring to the site’s readers, the better-positioned you’ll be to get accepted.
Focus on quality
The final thing you will want to do is to ensure the content you create is top notch. To make this happen, you shouldn’t be the only one with eyes on the content before you send it over.
Get feedback from your team and ask for improvements. Run the piece by the best proofreader or editor on your team to catch any mistakes you may have missed. Publications will typically return guest posts that require too much work, as they will have limited staff, or the staff will be too busy focusing on publishing and scheduling the polished posts that come through.
If you follow these three steps above when creating your guests posts, you’ll seriously increase your chances of getting accepted.
Be Persistent, But Be Patient
If you’ve followed along this far, you’re serious about guest posting. You understand the value, and you’ve got tips in hand to craft content that will get accepted and to make sure you’re targeting the right sites.
With all that in hand, there’s one more thing you need to know.
Guest posting is a long game. You won’t always get your work accepted, and when you do get it accepted, your posts can go live anywhere from the same day to a few months.
Never be pushy if your content isn’t published right away, but don’t be shy about follow up. I get tons of guests posts on my site, and there are two things that are just as true about guest posting on my site as there are about guest posting on any other site:
- I’m going to ignore your emails and requests to guest post if you are too pushy or downright rude
- I’m also super busy, so if you don’t hear from me in a while, please follow up so your post doesn’t slip off my plate (but do it nicely, as kindness can go a long way)
If you are patient, as well as persistent when necessary, you will succeed as a guest blogger. It can take some time to get things rolling, but once they do, your site and your business will benefit immensely from your efforts.
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