Guest blogging is still one of the best ways to improve your website’s SEO profile and drive traffic back to your site. There are other methods for boosting your search rankings, including shady tactics such as buying backlinks, but guest posting is much safer and more effective than most of these “black hat” strategies.
Google rewards sites that feature good original content. Despite industry experts’ predictions that guest posting is on its way out as a method for improving SEO, websites still publish millions of guest posts every year. This means guest posting still matters, not just to the algorithm that Google uses to arrange search results, but also to blog readers and site owners. Read on to learn some of my top guest posting tips to get the best results possible.
Why Guest Posting Still Matters
Doing guest posts is not a quick fix to lackluster search results. You don’t see the results the morning after your article is published. You’ll need to contribute guest posts to different sites consistently for your efforts to make an impact on your search rankings.
Here are some reasons you should contribute guest content to other sites:
- Backlinks from credible sites improve your search rankings.
- Guest posting helps you build relationships with other site owners.
- A guest blog gives your brand exposure to new audiences.
Whether you’re trying to reach out to consumers or are doing B2B marketing, guest posting is not going away any time soon. So feel free to write and publish away!
7 Factors You Need To Consider Before Contributing Your Guest Articles
Part of ethical guest posting is choosing the right websites to contribute to. Despite what some guest posting tips once implied, all backlinks are not created equal.
Fortunately, we now have different metrics and methods to help us choose the best sites to submit a guest article. Once you identify that a website good to move forward with, you can perform the following steps:
- Find the email address of the editor/marketer from the website
- Create a catchy cold email. Pay attention to a solid subject line, add a GIF in your email, design a perfect signature, etc.
- Find several subjects that go well with their audience.
- Write an insightful article
- Wait for the publish
Authenticity Of the Website
Many websites seek to profit off the popularity of other sites, so they take on names and URLs that are confusingly similar to the ones they seek to imitate. However, if you want to maximize the impact of your guest posts, you should always aim for authentic websites.
Contributing to a site like BBC101.com (a now-closed fake news site supposedly run by a Betty B. Cole) doesn’t have the same impact as contributing to BBC.co.uk, the real website of the British Broadcasting Corporation!
It’s easy to check a website’s authenticity. Most reputable websites use a secure connection, which is indicated by an “https://” in the address bar. You can also click on the padlock icon to show information about the site’s connection security, its SSL certificate validity, and the certificate issuer:
You wouldn’t buy knockoff Nike sneakers, because they’re not likely to be of the same quality as the real thing. In the same way, you should not contribute articles to inauthentic websites, either. Stick to trustworthy sites so you also keep your trustworthiness high.
The Overall Design of the Website
A lot of thought goes into the content of a website. But did you know that good content and design are both required for strong SEO performance? Any guest posting tips that don’t consider website design won’t get you very far.
A poorly-designed website will have a high bounce rate, which means it won’t help pull your own site up the search rankings. Here are the things you should look out for in the website design of the sites you are considering writing for:
- Unique images: A website that uses too many stock photos is probably not worth your time and effort.
- Ease of navigation: You want your audience to find your content easily.
- Mobile responsiveness: Google indexes mobile-friendly sites first, so if the site isn’t responsive, you risk missing out on a lot of traffic from mobile devices.
- Professional design: The sites you contribute to should look sleek, modern, and professional.
A website’s design contributes to its viability as a guest post target, so always go for those that are well-designed and properly laid out.
SEO Metrics Of The Website
Since you plan to do guest blogs as part of a link building strategy, you need to aim for sites that also have great SEO. The best SEO analytics tools track several metrics you can use to measure a site’s suitability for guest posting:
- Domain rating: A link from a single site with high DR is worth more than multiple links from sites that have low DR scores. As long as your target site is relevant to your niche and has a DR of 50+, go ahead and send in your contribution.
- Trust flow: A site with high trust flow has plenty of backlinks from other high-credibility websites. In other words, people trust its content.
- Referring domains: This refers to the number of links from unique domains that go back to the site. The higher the number of referring domains for a site, the more credible it is to the audience.
- Spam score: You should avoid building links from sites with high spam scores. Low-quality, spammy links to your content won’t help you achieve your goals.
If your target site doesn’t follow SEO best practices, you’re better off moving to the next site on your list.
Previously Published Content & Their Performance
This is probably one of the most important guest posting tips you’ll receive, so take note! Before you send your article pitches or completed piece, you need to check out the content that is currently published ON your target site.
Blogs don’t like it when writers submit content that discusses topics that have already been covered. However, if you can find new angles for previously-covered topics, that can be a great way to get your contribution approved. For example, if your target site has covered email marketing for B2C companies, you could provide a companion piece for B2B marketers.
Site editors typically follow a set of content guidelines. Aside from having the guidelines in front of you as you write your piece, reading the content that’s already been published will give you an idea of the tone, format, and approach to topics that your target site follows.
Social Media Accounts
When you write a guest post, you want it to reach as many readers as possible. A site’s social media following is a good indicator of its reach and influence and is very easy to measure. Here are some metrics you’d want to check:
- Follower count: This lets you estimate how many people could potentially see your guest post. Remember that follower count alone doesn’t tell you everything, though, so consider it alongside the other metrics on this list.
- Engagement: This is all about how many people like or comment when the site shares content. If they post lots of content with little or no engagement, that’s a red flag.
- Post frequency: If a brand posts frequently, it’s clearly active and continues working to reach its audience.
- Relevance: A site’s social media posts will give you an idea of the topics it discusses.
One of the best guest posting tips I ever received was to determine target sites’ audiences before contributing an article. Checking these sites’ social media accounts will give you an idea of the readers they seek to attract and how successful they are.
Check If It’s A PBN
Google has been cracking down on private blog networks (PBN) as these networks seek to game the ranking system by exchanging backlinks without providing much value to users. In fact, engaging with a PBN will get you into trouble with Google. Your search ranking might go down as a result.
A PBN consists of a group of websites with the same site owner that all link back to the same main site. Most site owners use PBNs to boost the main site’s search rankings quickly and cheaply. But it comes at a cost. Since PBNs don’t offer much relevant content and aren’t very active, even with internal link building, Google usually catches on to them pretty quickly.
Most reputable companies don’t bother using PBNs at all. Instead, they only do guest posts on high-authority websites with high traffic and social media engagement. Doing the same thing will protect your brand and increase your credibility.
Contribution Guidelines & Backlinking Policies
Many guest posting tips tell you how to find good target websites for your guest posts. However, they tend to leave out how to write a great guest post once your pitch gets approved.
Before you start writing your guest article, read the guest site’s contribution guidelines and backlinking policies first. Some sites accept only posts in American English, while others are notorious for rejecting articles that don’t use the Oxford comma. Stick to the guidelines to give your article the best chance of getting published.
Reviewing the site’s backlinking policies will also give you an idea of the number of backlinks you can add to your article. Many sites allow one or two only, while others allow backlinks only in the author biography.
Following the site’s contribution guidelines and backlinking policies will ensure that your efforts in writing and pitching your guest piece will not go to waste.
Guest posting is still a great way to build your community and boost your site’s search rankings. When you use guest articles to build backlinks to your site, you need to be very careful about the sites you target. Always choose relevant, high-authority sites over low-quality sites and PBNs if you are serious about building links properly. Once your post gets accepted, you’ll need to follow the guidelines and write the best post you possibly can.
Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Always do things the right way and keep on running!