What is Guest Posting in SEO? – A Beginner’s Guide
If you are a blogger who is not happy with the traffic driven to your website, you should consider investing in guest posting. Otherwise known as guest blogging, guest posting is a practice of contributing a post on someone else’s website to boost authority, exposure and links. It offers a great opportunity to secure links from other websites and improve search engine rankings. Guest posting helps establish relationships with influencers hosting your blogs, establish authority in a niche and tap into audiences for more exposure.
The concept of guest posting is quite simple – You write a blog post, adhering to the requirements laid out by a specific blogger. In return, you get a back link in the author bio. It is a win-win solution for website owners looking to increase search engine rankings and those who are interested in attracting more traffic to their blogs.
How Guest Posting Contributes to SEO
Backlinks are an important factor in search engine optimization and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Securing new links to websites you contribute blog posts to goes a long way towards boosting your site’s search engine ranking. Google uses different aspects to gauge links including the domain and page the link is on. The anchor text and placement of link on page are also considered when analyzing a specific link.
This is the hyperlinked or clickable part of the text. There are different types of anchor text including:
- Keyword rich – specific keywords to rank for e.g. “blogger outreach service,” “blogger outreach agency,” and “blogger outreach company.”
- Branded text e.g. your brand’s name
- URL – full or partial URL of a page
- Partial match
- White noise – click here, here, this, link e.t.c.
The purpose of anchor text is to clue readers and search engines into what a page is about. It can have a huge impact on SEO rankings, but its success requires more than just inserting keywords in every link. Building links with a natural anchor text profile requires links that are not just SEO focused. You need links that add value and make sense, which means you can’t use the same anchor text repeatedly. Otherwise, search engines view your acquisition efforts as manipulative.
Links should be placed naturally within the body of the article. They should be relevant to the topic and support your blog post. Guest posts usually have a biographical that speaks about your brand or background. It is known as an author profile and often includes a link. You should make an effort to ask website owners for a link within the article. This is particularly important if it adds value to the readers, and makes contextual sense. A link in the body of text is important because it is more natural, better for SEO and more likely to be clicked on by readers as compared to the link in author bio.
Finding Guest Post Targets
There are many ways of finding a website to guest post on. The most popular and simplest technique involves using Google search strings. In addition to the usual “keyword” + “write for us” string, below are more search strings to get you started.
|Your keyword “submit blog post”
Your keyword “guest article”
Your keyword “accepting guest posts”
Your keyword “become a guest author”
Your keyword “submit blog post”
Your keyword “guest blogger”
Your keyword “accepting guest posts”
Your keyword “become a contributor”
Your keyword “guest post opportunities
Your keyword “contributing writer”
The Google Reverse Image Search Technique involves finding someone in your niche that writes a lot of guest articles. Once you do, you copy the URL of the headshot used in their author bio.
Paste the link onto Google’s reverse image search. You will get a list of websites they have guest posted.
Twitter search is quite untapped and offers access to guest posting opportunities you would never find on Google. Its results are fresher than Google’s index and as such, it’s easy to find sites that are actively hunting for guest articles. Go to Twitter Search and enter a guest post search string. Look through the search results to identify guest posting targets.
Reverse engineering your competitor’s backlinks is another effective solution to identifying guest posting sites. For instance, AudienceBloom ranks a lot of keywords in content marketing. If you take the homepage URL and blast it into Ahrefs Site Explorer tool, you will get a list of all of their backlinks. It is important to note that this is a paid tool and that not every result you get will come from guest posts. However, it’s a great way to find high quality websites with guest posting opportunities.
AllTop.com is a website that lists all of the best blogs on the internet. Simply head over to the site, find your niche and you will get a list of the best blogs in that category. While you won’t be able to submit to all of the sites, you can find a few that accept guest posts if you dig deep enough.
An advanced guest posting strategy you could try is the blog comment bonanza. This is a technique you’ll want to avoid if you’ve never published a guest post. That said, those who comment on guest posts aren’t always random people. Some are bloggers who run successful websites, probably in your niche. After replying to their comments, consider sending them an email. Here is a template that you can edit accordingly.
Thank you for taking time to comment on my guest post at Website. I never thought of the fact that something they said in comment. That’s a great point.
Anyway, I have another guest blog idea that would be perfect for your readers. It is called Guest article title and explores brief detail about the post.
I can send it to you this well.
Either way, I appreciate your insights.
Your First Name.
This simple template can land you incredible guest posting opportunities from websites that don’t even have a “Write For Us” page. The reason why this method works so well is that people who leave comments obviously like your work. They will say yes so long as you send them an amazing post.
Separate the Wheat from the Chaff
Having a list of websites that accept guest posts is not enough. You need to identify the sites that are a good fit and worth writing for. To be clear, this is not about being too picky. In fact, it’s better to focus on websites that aren’t too popular if you are just starting out. They will be more likely to accept your guest posts and as you increase your portfolio, you can level up to more popular sites. The websites you target should meet the following criteria.
- Be in your niche or a related one
- Have a significant number of social media followers
- Have an authoritative link profile
- Only post high quality content that’s of value to readers
Below are a few factors to consider when auditing a website to estimate its quality.
Any website you consider should have decent traffic. After all, you want links from sites with an actual audience. The best way to determine how well a website is doing in this regard is to use Google Analytics and Search Console. Unfortunately, accessing these tools isn’t always possible. The next best thing is Ahrefs or SEMRush. A good website should be visible in Search Engine Results Pages. It doesn’t have to appear on the first page, but it should certainly be within the top 50.
Domain name and history
Reviewing a website’s domain history should also take precedence when analyzing it. The domain name should be understandable. Use a backlink checking tool like Majestic to check its historical profile. Don’t forget to review the website with the Wayback Machine. This tool archives websites so that you can view past editions. Below are screenshots of the same website using Wayback Machine.
A good website should have an equally good link profile. Ahrefs is pretty good at evaluating live and dropped links. Moz’s Domain Authority is also a good tool for analyzing the authority of a website.
Getting Your Guest Post Ready
Now is the time to warm up to your targets and get on their radars. This way, they will be better inclined to accept your guest post when you pitch. But how do you do it? A good way to get your name etched on a blogger’s brain is to share their posts on social media. You should also take a few moments to leave insightful comments on their site and email them to explain how a specific article helped you.
The next step after warming up to a blogger is to identify the perfect guest post topic. There are different ways to go about this.
- Check out the site’s most popular posts. They are sometimes listed on the sidebar.
- Tools like Ahrefs list a blog’s best performing stuff
- BuzzSumo helps find trending topics in your niche
- Guest posts already published on a website can give you a clue as to what specific bloggers look for when vetting articles.
- Check the guest post guidelines. Some bloggers are very specific about what they want and it’s crucial that you take their guidelines to heart before pitching an idea.
Send Your Guest Post Pitch
I’d imagine that if I am the owner of an authority website with an overflowing inbox, I’d delete any generic guest pitch. The same goes for most website owners. No one wants to waste their time on generic ideas that won’t benefit them. Below is an email template that you can use.
I am a long time reader and have commented on a few posts. My favorite piece is the post on Article.
I am writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post on your site. Here are a few ideas I’ve been working on that I think would be valuable to your readers.
The piece will have information that can’t be found anywhere else.
This link to a guest article I recently published at website will give you an idea of the quality I’ll bring to your readers.
Your First Name.
What makes the above email so effective is that:
- Starts off with something specific
- It offers three guest post ideas to choose from
- Touches on your experience and published work
- It is short and sweet
Writing Your Guest Post
Now that a blogger accepted your pitch, you actually need to send them something. But if we are being honest, you can write a 3000-word post for every site. This is the reason why you should separate target sites into two categories.
The first category is made up of top 10-20 undisputed authority websites in your niche. You can name them off the top of your head. These are the sites you actually read and follow. The other category consists of websites that are acceptable enough to warrant a quality article. However, they are not authoritative enough to spend a week writing a masterpiece for.
Websites in the first category are authorities because they only publish high quality articles. Any content you write for them should be as good as what you post on your site or better. It should be mind blowing, change minds, spur action and spark conversations. That is the kind of content that will force editors to hit “publish.” Keep the following in mind when writing for these sites.
- Longer posts are perceived to have more value as compared to shorter ones. Aim for a minimum of 2500 actionable words unless otherwise specified.
- Include custom visuals like flowcharts, screenshots and more. These add value to articles and make them stand out.
- Internal links to some of the site’s other content show the owner that you went an extra mile to make the guest post as valuable as possible.
This doesn’t mean that websites in the second category don’t deserve some love. Make sure that your guest post adds value to the readers. Include visuals and internal links. After all, they must have something going for them if they are in your list of targets.
There are a variety of things you can do to ensure you get the most out of every guest post. For starters, don’t just publish and run. Take time to reply to comments. In fact, you can just leave a comment to let your readers know that you are hanging out to answer questions and respond to their comments.
Sharing your guest posts on social media is win-win for you and the site you published on. You get to share something of value to your followers and the site you posted on receives more traffic. If publishing on highly authoritative sites, you should send a follow up email. Let the owner know that you appreciated the opportunity. It’s a good way of keeping the line open for the next time you want to publish a guest post.
One thing you should never forget is that guest posts can rank highly on search engines and give your brand more awareness or website traffic. This requires writing an SEO optimized article that engages readers and sparks conversations. That said, guest posting is something we do quite well. Whether you want to write better author bios or find guest posting opportunities, we’ve got you covered.
Get in touch and let’s talk about optimizing your blog for search engines with guest posts.