I often receive emails and tweets from my followers on Twitter who ask me what is the best way to get backlinks to their sites. All too often I see people recommending blackhat or ineffective link building techniques that will often see little return on the time or money invested by the individual concerned. So this brings us to guest blogging or guest posting, it is a great form of link building because it’s organic, it also gives exposure to you and your brand. I can’t recommend guest blogging as a scalable and long lasting link building technique enough.
So in order to help people find out more about Guest blogging I have taken the time to write this guide to guest blogging so that hopefully I can quell a few myths and help make the internet a better place with fewer spammy articles and more quality content.
So what is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is the process of you writing for another website as a guest author – it is that simple.
It is very important to know that guest blogging isn’t only for promoting a blog but it can also be used to promote your website and business. You can get a professional copy writer to help write the content for you but to be honest it’s much better to write the article yourself so that you can put across a bit of your personality and possibly explain your industry knowledge a little better.
Why Should I Guest Blog?
Quite simply I always answer with the same 4 things to businesses. Business owners want to see figures attributed to any investment so I always quote the following which can be measured quantitatively:
- Web Traffic – Let’s be honest the most important factor in running a website is traffic. You can be top of the SERP’s for lots of keywords but if those keywords aren’t bringing people to your site then what’s the point in them! Guest blogging allows you to get in front of a new audience and often on very busy websites and some of these people will read your article and come to your blog/site to learn more about you.
- More Customers – It is very important that once you get a person on to your website you convert them into a customer or a prospect whether that means they buy your product/service, join your mailing list or simply just subscribe to your RSS feed.
- High Quality Links – If you want your blog or website to get good rankings in the search engine results pages, then you need backlinks. Guest blogging is one of the simplest and most legitimate ways to get your keyword rich anchor text links to your website from high authority sites. I am yet to come across a simpler and more effective white hat method for getting good rankings.
- Exposure – As any business owner knows it is all about getting your business or brand name out in to the world. Building a good reputation in your field will help you achieve so much more. Opportunities may well arise for you to speak at business conferences to share your knowledge with other people in your community.
Guest Blogging offers a real win-win-win opportunity for all involved – the reader gets some great content from a new perspective, the blogger gets a day off as well as some content to enrich their own work and you get access to an audience as well as a good quality link.
The benefits of Guest Blogging vs. Article Marketing
One thing I have noticed is that many people compare guest blogging to article marketing, this is such a great misconception. I have yet to see an article directory that has sent over 1,000 visitors to a website in 24 hours.
Many article directories have been downgraded following the Google Panda update and with good reason too as many had become a haven for dodgy SEO practitioners who spun content until it was unreadable. Article directories are not designed for people and offer very little SEO value.
Guest Blogging Strategies
Guest blogging has principles and one of the principles of guest blogging is that you must set goals before getting started. Don’t burn yourself out writing lots of articles for too many sites, so make sure you stick to your goals to get the most “bang for your buck”. This is why you need to also think more strategically.
I see guest blogging opportunities as 2 key tiers:
- Contributing to high-quality; high-authority sites
- Contributing to good quality, less authoritative niche sites
If a guest bloging opportunity does not fit in to the top 2 types then I don’t bother with it, after all we are looking for decent links that will provide our sites with traffic and good rankings. I don’t write articles for lower quality sites simply because a) they are more likely to disappear and b) blog posts become more and more hidden over time so if the blog I am contributing to does eventually hit the big time my article will be under layers and layers of pages and have very little link juice.
Write your post first – I always recommend writing the article first before pitching your ideas to the blog owner. There is nothing worse than pitching an idea, agreeing a deadline and then struggling to hit it.
Respond to Comments – Because guest blogging is about writing on relevant websites, it’s important to stay professional and friendly with the influencers in your niche that you interact with. Not only should you try to keep in email contact with the blogger you’re writing for, but respond to as many comments as you can once your guest post goes live. This will show the blogger (and their site readers) that you genuinely want to give people genuine advice on whatever it is you write about.
Don’t forget about your blog! – After all let’s not forget that once you have had lots of new visitors to your website you need to keep them coming back. So make sure that you write some great articles in advance of any guest blogging campaign so that any new RSS / email subscribers will stick with you.
How To Find Guest Blog Opportunities
There are lots of great ways to find guest blogging opportunities and I recommend that you start out by reaching out to your business contacts, friends and social networks to see if they would be prepared to let you write an article on their site. But as I said above it is important to find websites with lots of traffic and good authority so I recommend the below techniques too:
Google Search – Here are some Google search tips that will let you find valuable guest posting opportunities in your niche.
Firstly do a search online for Guest blogging opportunities. Here’s more or less complete list of phrases bloggers use to invite people to guest post:
- “Submit a guest post” / “Submit post” / “Submit blog post”
- “Add blog post”
- “Submit an article”
- “Suggest a guest post”
- “Send a guest post”
- “Write for us”;
- “Become an author”;
- “Guest bloggers wanted”
- “Contribute to our site”;
- “Become a contributor”;
- “Become guest writer”
- “(Write for our) guest column”.
Now, you may have noticed that all the phases are used in the quotation marks – this is to force Google to search for the exact match because otherwise you will get too general results randomly mentioning “post”, “contribute” and “guest”.
For example type into Google: “Submit an article” credit cards
Now if you are a little more Google search savvy you can try some more advanced search strings.
More often than not it is hard to describe your blog topic with just one keyword. For example, your blog may be about money, credit cards, loans, finance etc. The more words you use, the lesser results you will get, because Google will do its best to show you only those pages that have all of those words listed.
To get broader but relevant results, we should instruct Google to search for any of the words – for that we can use OR operator between the words: “money OR loans OR finance OR credit cards” because, essentially we are interested in guest blogging on sites covering any of these topics.
To go even further in this direction, we can use ~ operator before a word that may have many synonyms and related words and thus instruct Google to look for all those synonyms. For example, “~money” search will include words like “currency”, “finance”, “financial”, etc. Also there is the wild card operator “*” as many bloggers may use a phrase differently e.g “submit a guest post”, “submit your guest post”, “submit us a guest post”.
So if we were to combine all the above tips you would get
“submit * guest post” ~Money OR Credit Cards OR Loans
Guest Blogging Community – There are various blogging communities out there. MyBlogGuest is my personal favourite guest blogging community as it has a wide variety of niche blogging opportunities and a very healthy number of members. Simply visit their forum and post that you are looking for guest blogging opportunities in your niche.
Technorati – A great way to find the top blogs in your niche is by making use of the technorati blog directory. Even though this isn’t a great way to find smaller blogs, it is one of the most effective ways to discover the big blogs in your niche should you decide to start guest blogging on big blogs.
Guest blogging is a numbers game so always aim to write good quality blog posts on 10 great blogs rather than on 50 lower authority blogs.
Approaching Blog Owners
Once you have found the blog you want to write for there are some basic steps you have to take to make sure your request is noticed:
- Read the Guidelines: it may sound obvious but big blog owners are busy people so make sure you follow their submission requirements.
- Get to know them: read their previous articles and guest articles, comment on the website and join in the conversation, follow them on Twitter – play to their ego
- Make it easy for them: most of the time I send an email with the blog post in a .txt notepad file with my copyright free images attached. I use a .txt file so that the html stays intact and my links are exactly how I want them.
Writing Great Guest Blog Posts
After all the work you have put in so far you want to make sure that your guest blog is accepted and published on the site you are targeting. So I guess the following tips will help you to make sure you write a great post:
Research - use as many tools as you can to write a great article. Use Google Insights, Blog Comments, popular blog posts on other websites, Yahoo Answers etc. to research your topic. Try to find out what questions people are asking. I always find it is better to write an article that people want rather than just to throw up an article that “I think” they want!
Headline – make sure your headline is catchy and clearly describes your article. Remember you want people to read your guest post so be sure to spend some time thinking of great ideas.
Write your best content – This goes without saying, take your time and put some effort in to making the blog post look great and read well. Stay on topic and don’t waffle.
Images and sub headers – Split up your article with headings and images
Word Count – not too short and not too long… I have found that most people want to read a guest post around 600-1200 words.
Proofread – I can’t stress this enough; make sure you take the time to read and re-read your guest blog post for silly spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. At the end of the day you don’t want your work to be rejected after you’ve spent hours researching, writing and flirting befriending the blog owner.
What to Do If You Get Rejected
You have to accept now that you will get rejected. But don’t feel bad, move on some bloggers may give you a reason others may not. The main thing to do is keep trying and learning. I would urge that you don’t keep pestering the blogger if you are rejected and take any feedback they give you on board.
Go and Take Action
Now that you have read this article I want you to identify some key blogs in your business area and write some great guest blogs for your website. I hope this guide has been useful and please leave some comments below to share your thoughts and experiences of guest blogging.
I would also be grateful if you could share this article with your friends too