Guest posting is still one of the most powerful link building techniques we have in the SEO world. Like many other online marketing techniques people have taken advantage of the power and automated the process, creating low-quality content on low-quality websites. Because of this, guest posting has fallen by the wayside in this era of “content is king.” However, a well-placed, high-quality guest post is still powerful on and off the search engines. Before jumping into our tips for writing an effective post, let’s cover exactly what a guest post is and why it’s important.
A guest post is simply a post you write for somebody else’s website. You’ve probably seen a guest post on a blog or site before. The other website hosts your content because they believe it will be useful to their readers. Generally, a guest post is on a site related to your business, most often a blog. Preferably, the readers will be an audience interested in what you are offering, but not yet familiar with your organization or services.
The power of a guest post is twofold. First, when you write a piece for another website you’re likely to get a backlink. You may get it in the context of your post, or in the author bio. Either way, you’ve secured a link back to your site, giving your site a little SEO boost (learn more about how SEO works here). In addition to providing some link juice, you’re getting exposure for your business. Every guest post doesn’t come with a link. Whether or not it does, you’re getting your name out there, building authority, and connecting with a new audience. If it’s a highly trafficked site or has a dedicated reader base, you’re likely to get some new engaged users.
Writing effective guest posts isn’t as simple as just writing a piece for any website on any subject. We offer these nine tips for you to create good content, reach good websites, and be successful in your guest posting endeavors.
1. Find Opportunities
The first step in this process is finding opportunities. There are many ways to find guest posting opportunities. You can go the manual route, simply searching through websites in your industry and looking for an opportunity to write for them. This can yield good results, but may be time consuming. Another method that works well is looking at the backlinks of your competition. You can use a tool like Moz or ahrefs to look at the backlink profile of competing websites. Although very effective, this method often requires a paid account and some time.
For the newcomer to the game, our preferred method is using Google. You can use search operators to find websites that accept guest posts. A search operator is something you type into Google to look for something very specific. For example, you may type in site:MindfulMktg.com SEO to look for pages on MindfulMktg.com that contain the term SEO. The search operator to use for finding guest posts is intitle:”write for us” + keyword. Fill in “keyword” with a key term related to your business. If you’re a therapist, you may type in intitle:”write for us” mental health. The results you find will be websites related to mental health that have a page that contains the title Write for Us.
2. Check for Quality
After you’ve found some possible opportunities, you need to weed out the lower-quality sites. There are a few things to look for. First, the site needs to be relevant to what you are offering. If you’re a financial advisor, you probably don’t want a guest post on a site about home gardening. Not only will this not convert to traffic, it won’t help your search engine rankings. You must stay topical and find sites that are related to your own site.
As you narrow your list down to sites that accept guest posts and are relevant to your industry, you want to find high-quality sites in your list. A guest post on a spammy website that accepts every post submitted without reviewing probably won’t be a good place to target. Take a look at the other content on the site and see if you like what you see. You may also use Moz or Majestic to check Domain Authority and TrustFlow, two metrics that show the power and reputability of the site.
3. Engage First
Instead of just asking bluntly for a guest post, try interacting with the site first. One of the best ways to do this is to find them on social media. Like their posts, comment, and share. Get your name out there and engage. This way, when you go to ask for the opportunity to write for their website, they already have some familiarity with you. We’ve found this to greatly increase the acceptance rate of our guest post submissions, and website owners are likely to have a pleasant association with your name/organization by the time you make the ask. You may also engage by commenting on their blog posts, emailing them to let them know you appreciate their page, or tagging them in one of your own posts on social media.
4. Write for Users
This is perhaps the most important tip in our list. Don’t write something that is stuffed with keywords or comes across too promotional. Write for the users of the website. A well-liked post that drives traffic and brands your organization is much better than a keyword-stuffed guest post that people skim over. Take a look at the content on their website and see what does well. What posts have comments and shares? Write something that will generate some interest and conversation. If your post is well-liked, people will share it on social media, are more likely to visit your page, and you will create a pleasant association for them with your brand.
5. Get a Link
This is somewhat obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Not every guest post opportunity will come with a link, and it’s our opinion that a guest post without a link is absolutely still worth pursuing. There’s some debate about brand mentions and nofollow links for SEO, but at the very least you’re getting your name out there and building awareness for your company. However, get a link if you can! Don’t be shy; ask for a link in the post. Ideally, try to get a contextual link with strong anchor text. If your only option is to get a straight link to your website with the URL as the anchor text, that’s still great (again, read more about understanding SEO here). As a bonus, see if you can get some links to your social media pages so if people like the post they can follow you!
6. Know When to Post
You don’t have control over when the site chooses to publish your post of course, but you can ask. Hopefully you have an idea of when your users are online, and you can ask for the publisher to put your piece up around this time. Regardless of the time that they ultimately choose to share it, you can control when you let your fans know it’s up. Choose wisely when sending an email blast or sharing on social media. Share it at a time to maximize exposure and traffic to the post.
7. Index the Page
Especially if you get a backlink, you want to make sure search engines index the post. Even if you don’t get a backlink, you want the search engines to know your brand is being mentioned. Just by the site posting your piece, it doesn’t guarantee Google and Bing will pick the post up. One of the best things to do to get the site indexed quickly is to use Bitly when posting about the link. Because Bitly is a huge and reputable site, search engines will index links through Bitly much more quickly than they would otherwise. The best and fastest way to do this is to use a Bitly link and post on Twitter. You may also submit the site manually to Google via Search Console.
8. Drive Traffic
It may seem counterintuitive to drive traffic to a website other than your own, but it’s a must with guest posting! There are a few reasons to do this. First, the more that people see you’re writing on other blogs, the more clout you are building for yourself. Guest posts show that you have something worth saying, and help build authority in the eyes of your followers. Let people know you’re participating in the bigger picture, that your voice is important to other websites, and that you’re active.
Second, driving traffic will make your publisher super happy. When you drive your followers to visit the page, the publishing website will be grateful for your contribution. Just like you, they’re reaching a new audience and building authority. If your post generates traffic for their website, you’ll make the owner happy and be more likely to get asked for future contributions.
9. Follow Up
Most people seem to forget this piece when guest posting. There are two separate ways in which you should follow up when writing a guest post. Follow up with the publisher, and follow up with your social media accounts. If your post did well, there’s a chance the website may be willing to host a piece from you in the future. You’ve made the effort to cultivate a relationship here, so don’t let it go to waste. Stay in contact, follow up, and don’t waste the relationship.
In addition to following up with the publisher, you can follow up with your social media pages to maximize exposure. Don’t just post once when the piece goes live. Repost about the guest piece on social media a few days later, a few weeks later, and int he coming months. Continue to drive traffic to it, bring it to your followers’ attention, and reap the benefits from your post. When you do post about it, make sure to mention the website’s social media handle if they have one so they see you’re posting about it!
These are our tips for publishing guest posts. If you want help finding good opportunities, creating content, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to use the contact form below or contact us via live chat in the corner!
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