An Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging That Works
“You need backlinks and organic visitors searching for the answers, products, and services you provide. Guest blogging is the best way to do all that…” © Neil Patel.
Each SEO professional knows or should know that the hardest and the greatest part of the SEO process is to create decent content. No SEO tool will help here. Content will lead you through all SERP positions and become a business card of your website. However, you can’t get the highest positions immediately, because people don’t know about you at the beginning. In addition, your competitors already have their places and will not give you a crown for no reason at all. So, how do you make a website visible on the Internet and stand out in the crowd?
The answer is pretty simple and, at the same time, difficult enough: attract more people and increase traffic.
How can you do this? Create content of high quality and in detail. This will definitely attract visitors to your place.
Look at Google. Even though we are angry because of all those Algorithms, penalties, and rank drops, at the same time we are always ready to admit that Google seeks to algorithmically present its idea of quality and tries to give this quality to the users. This has brought Google a lot of customers.
How can other websites make their field of customers big enough and show that they have needed quality? What do webmasters try to do besides keyword research in order to get the highest positions on the SERPs? The most common answer: they do link building. It is hard but future success requires this.
And guest blogging for a long time has been one of those ideas which come to mind almost immediately when we talk about backlinks. Today we are going to focus on this.
Table of Contents
- Get Started with Guest Blogging
- Pros of Guest Blogging
- Cons of Guest Blogging
- How to Identify Your Target Audience
- Where to Publish Guest Posts
- How to Introduce Yourself for Guest Posting
- How to Promote Your Guest Posts
Guest blogging is a great opportunity to show the audience of a well trafficked site with a high domain authority that you are worth their attention and they can bravely come to your website. People trust websites that are already quite authoritative and sometimes don’t want to miss any material they present. From those interested people you can get more traffic: they may share your post, advise their friends, and they may also come to your website looking for more good material. If they are satisfied with the stuff you provide, you can wait for backlinks, because great content is always worth sharing.
Here we encounter the quality content problem. Guest blogging is not just about interesting things you want to share with others; this is your business card for potential visitors. You should use all your talent and power and conduct a lot of research on a chosen topic to prove that you are competent enough for people to want to visit your site.
We have chosen to sort out a huge amount of advantages and make a simple and short list for you with little descriptions.
1. Website Popularity
By posting on another website with a large audience with a well done article, you can extend the borders of your own site’s popularity, which means:
- A lot of traffic comes to your place with people who have read your words, liked them, and decided to explore more material you offer. They may come and go or stay for a little longer, sharing your content and linking to you, which is really great for your rankings;
- You can welcome a bunch of new interests and goals at your place. Such people are a breath of fresh air: they may enter your website and a bit later become your permanent subscribers who wait for new content from you or even offer some interesting topics to cover;
- Social media followers: social media has become hugely popular. People try to develop their social media accounts, and attract more people, by posting a lot of related material – this provokes comments, shares, likes, a lot of new followers, which leads to an extension of your popularity far beyond social media, which means more backlinks. Just don’t forget to communicate with your audience;
- Feedback is the golden apple in your pocket: feedback from ordinary people about how great your content is on your website or others, especially from those who have some authority…all this makes you more reliable and interesting. People like to read a comments section first and then build up their opinion about your product. Bad feedback about you can spread faster than you can even imagine, so be on the ball.
With a well written article, you will build up a reputation as a writer, a good one or bad one. Accordingly, you will create a definite impression of your website throughout the Internet. Google is also watching you.
- By providing readers with great, fresh, and relevant content you will build your own authority and heighten the level of credibility among them and specifically in the niche you perform in. People perceive you as a professional concerning the sphere you are writing your posts about, which actually influences your traffic as well. We go directly to the most clued in people, because we believe them and their content;
- Remember that an earned reputation always works for you. Guest blogging is not a single article. You can guest publish on a regular basis, so be sure to provide quality and meet deadlines. Webmasters will not ever give you any opportunity to write anything for them once again if you can’t reassure them that you are a writer they need and who follows their rules.
3. Guest Blogging Opportunities and Business Benefits
Guest blogging provides you not only with people who come to your website, it gives you much more than you can think about at the moment. Let’s dive into this deeper:
- By posting your article on other websites besides yours, you extend your circle of acquaintance. They can be your potential partners, webmasters for other sites on which you can post your articles, and even candidates for ad hoc link exchanges. This is a widespread fact that your friends can give you more than you think. They are happy to be your accountants as well;
- Guest blogging gives you a chance to spread the word about your products. In your guest posts you can easily present your products, showing their benefits and importance to users. However, be careful, please: people don’t like direct advertisements. Even if they are not going to buy your products as soon as they read your article, people will be informed that such products exist. They can spread this information further, share this, and keep it all in mind. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll come to your website and become your customers;
- Such alink building strategy opens some new business opportunities. This could be a business collaboration with other website owners. With a greater amount of traffic which comes after a successful guest post, you can get the chance to offer webinars, teaching courses, new products and much more.
4. Better Search Engine Rankings
Google likes quality, and when it sees quality it works for you. So, this is one more chance to work on your SEO, for instance, to heighten your domain and page authority. In addition, if there are a lot of backlinks to your website and those are from trustworthy sites, Google can reward you with some extra points. Apart from this, with guest posts you can find an extra opportunity to promote other related articles in the form of anchor links.
5. Personal Benefits
There are a lot of benefits of guest blogging. With this you not only bring success to your website, you can also receive something for yourself:
- Guest blogging for someone who has never done this before is a new and useful experience. While writing for a new source, you will put all your knowledge and talent into each word you use. Creating content for new people always means new ways of writing, because the audience of big sites will be wider, more complex and more diverse than on your site. You should take into account each of these details and write something that fits everybody;
- You will improve your writing skills. When writing a new article, you will put all your talent into the process and make yourself a better writer. The more qualitative content you create, using new words, phrases, sentence structures, etc., the more experience and tips for writing you obtain. In each sentence you will use something new and “communicate” with the audience on a new level. Just compare your first articles and last ones and you will see what I’m talking about;
- You create unique content. Guest blogging is not only posting your material on a popular website. You still compete with people who are already popular in your niche and have some authority which is bigger than yours is. It is a real struggle to write something unique and catchy about topics that have already been mentioned. Outline yourself among competitors and offer something new for even old topics. Once you’ve done this, you can be proud of yourself and get traffic;
- Self-promotion comes with guest blogging. In guest posts you advertise not only your content and company, but also You “sell” your knowledge, skills, products, if they exist, and your name which is given in a bio after or before the post. You create your portfolio as well.
As well as other link building ideas, guest blogging, despite such juicy pros, also has its cons and they should be explored. Again we have a short list that includes a lot.
1. You Depend on Other People
If you write for websites, you should follow the rules and you may encounter not so pleasant consequences sometimes. This means:
- Somebody else may build their own authority using your name and material. If your article is well done, people will read it and spread it with the link to the website that contains the needed article, and this is not yours. People will visit your site only if they read your content till the end, so a significant part of the backlinks your post receives will go to the benefit of the website you wrote for;
- Your article can be rejected. This depends on you and a website owner. If the content you’ve written is pretty poor and boring for a webmaster, he or she can reject your post and next time “look” at you with suspicion and disbelief;
- Editing can eliminate your uniqueness. Webmasters have a right to “clean” your content, change it a little bit, or give it to a professional editor and proofreader, who will investigate your material from A to Z. They can erase a part that sounds great for you and or change things to fit their opinion or business more. This happens more when you are a newcomer and don’t have a name and the needed experience.
2. No Guaranties
Link building ideas can’t guarantee you success, so you should not rely on one strategy. Here are the main reasons why guest blogging can pass you by:
- Because of the popularity of guest blogging, you may not be chosen to write something for websites with, for example, a high domain authority. This can happen because of the low popularity of your name, i.e. an article from an unknown author may not be OK with a big site. However, you can start with websites which are not so widespread and, by a step by step process, reach those you’ve been dreaming about;
- It takes a lot of time to see some results of guest blogging. If you want to see them right away, you should write as a guest more However, it’s unlikely for this to work, because writing of great articles is a long process, as everything should be unique. Great content demands great effort.
3. Harmful Impact
- Harmful associations can’t be avoided on the Internet, where surroundings are not so clean. They appear when you post your articles on untrustworthy or toxic websites, when people who share them have already lost their reputation, or if you decide to go for plagiarism. To protect yourself and your website from a Google penalty you should always check websites you are going to write for and present only unique material;
- Never go to spammy websites or those which are of low quality, if you don’t want to lose link quality, because this may damage your website’s rankings. You can check the quality of backlinks with the help of the WebCEO Backlink Quality Check Tool, which gives full information regarding the parameters and the level of reliability of all your backlinks;
- Spammers are everywhere. No-one will ever beat them. They come to every house and make it dirty. Be aware of this and clean the territory of your website and the post’s comment section after posting your guest post.
4. Great Risks
Nowadays risks are everywhere. However, forewarned is forearmed!
- One of the greatest risks is to not understand your target audience. Make time to analyze deeply who you will write an article for as well as the website itself – whether if fits your niche or not. If you write an article for basketball lovers and put this into the table sports section, this will be your greatest failure: you will never get even a single reader;
- With bad writing you can just forget about guest blogging at all. We don’t even need more words here;
- Content syndication is when your content is published on multiple websites. So the place of your content will not be unique anymore and your article will be spread all over the Internet. For SEO this means duplicate content which Google doesn’t like, but if this is tagged (rel=canonical) and indexed (content=”noindex,follow”) properly, everything will be okay.
5. Personal Losses
Everybody values their resources and people who do guest blogging are not an exception.
- Guest blogging always means unpaid work. This doesn’t matter if your material is great enough to even be published for money in papers or magazines: in this case you will get no money – only web benefits;
- You will spend a lot of time and effort for a single article, making unique and interesting content, and this can be really sad if you don’t get anything in the end;
- Too much time for guest blogging and too little time for your own website. It is always vitally important to find balance between guest blogging and your own website updates. You can be popular enough to guest blog more often, but there is no sense in this if you can’t offer fresh content to your own site’s audience. They will bounce more often this way.
Your target audience will be your potential clients; people who are interested in content you create. Those can be representatives of different ages, locations, and spheres of interest. It is rather important to properly identify a circle of people who can be interested in your further content. Even a single guest post should be prepared carefully and be focused on the needed audience.
There are a few steps you should take to find relevant new readers:
1. Analyze your current audience to understand who is already interested in content you provide. This is rather important because with the help of this step you can find out ways to extend your audience. Learn who they are: age, gender, location, educational level, income level, and their occupation (through fast surveys on your website or during sign up). Then go into personal things like personality, hobbies, and lifestyle.
2. This will come in handy if you conduct such research concerning your competitors’ audiences as well in order to understand who is interested in them and, of course, what they offer to their readers. Why should you do this? Because a competitor’s audience is also your potential audience as both of you provide material/products of the same niche. Learn why people go to their websites instead of yours, do better, and welcome people at your place.
3. Analyze the topic you are going to write about and analyze the statistics regarding its demand among different layers of population, ages and locations. Maybe you should spend more time on research and then think carefully about following a certain writing style and type of presenting information – how exactly you can attract people who are interested in your niche and have them fully satisfied with your content.
4. Write an article, taking into account everything that has been mentioned.
A tool which you can use to get necessary data: Google Analytics, which will disclose both types of data: demographic (age, gender, location) and physiographic (people’s lifestyle). In addition, this will show you information regarding sessions, bounce rate, transactions, and revenue on your website.
There are a lot of guest blogging sites where you can post your material, but the problem is to find the one or several that fit you best. This mission is not so simple, but you are definitely able to do this.
- The first thing you should do is to identify your niche – what you will write about and which topics you can cover as a After this you can bravely look for sites which are of your niche and where you can be useful. The simplest way to do this is to use Google. Type keywords related to your field in a search box and some of the best search results will be your candidates to choose from. Go to those websites’ blog sections if they have them, and start the investigation process: what they write about, who writes for them (businessmen, freelancers, or journalists), which topics are the most popular, etc. Maybe, some of them are looking for guest blogging writers.
- The next way is pretty widespread among those who often go for guest blogging. You just need to type your keywords with the next phrases or similar to them: “accepting guest posts”, “submit content”, “guest post”, etc. in a search box, and you will receive data on more sites for guest blogging. This is pretty simple and a little bit similar to the first variant, because further actions are alike: investigate everything, starting from available material and
- You yourself may be a frequent visitor of a website, where webmasters sometimes allow others to post articles. Then take this chance! This can obviously help you because you already know the audience of the website and, maybe, you even know some users who may be interested in your content/products.
- The next great source is HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a website which provides journalists with new contacts for content they want to write about. This is not a guest blogging opportunity per se, but close to it. You can write a decent text and image outline for a journalist to officially write an article with their own byline, but with a link to your website. You should remember that your content in this case should be of the highest quality, relevant and compelling enough for the journalist to want to put their name on it and link to you.
- Apart from this, you can always try to knock on the doors of the most popular websites which are known to almost every blogger, for example, HubSpot, Marketing Land, Entrepreneur, Alltop.com, and many others. However, take into account your popularity and the direction you want to choose for your article! Small websites are also a valuable source if you are just a beginner and don’t have any experience in this sphere.
- In addition, you can check a list of 200+ websites which are accepting guest posts in 2019 or a huge list of 5000+ guest posting sites, and another one with about 54 guest posting websites, in order to find the best place!
An important thing to remember before you go to the next step: ALWAYS check the quality of websites you’ve chosen to write an article for: domain authority, number of backlinks, security, website’s traffic through Alexa, and even people’s words about those websites, if this is possible.
We have come to the most important part.
After you’ve found a website you want to write for, the next thing to do is to contact its owner in order to get permission for your article to be posted on the website. It is better to choose several topics and then offer them altogether. This will give a webmaster an opportunity to choose from and see that you can master more than one topic. Accordingly, you get more chances to be chosen or at least to be kept in mind. However, as this was mentioned a bit earlier, there is no 100% guarantee that you will be approved immediately, so don’t wait for instant results.
The way you contact a webmaster is pretty simple – through email or social media messaging systems, the most important of which is LinkedIn. However, this also demands some effort. Nowadays there are a lot of writers who want their material to be published, so you should be outstanding starting from the subject of your letter. You have to raise some interest from the very first words in order to be noticed among thousands of similar letters; choose something unusual and catchy, something that will definitely attract some attention to you.
After that you should work on the body of your letter. The same conditions: catchy, interesting, and beneficial for a website owner, not for you. We prefer to communicate with polite people who know something about etiquette, don’t we? So, don’t be cheap on politeness and complements and describe why their website got your attention and which posts particularly, and then write about things you want to give to their benefit. Be direct, short, and present two or three ideas, cogently describing their filling: topic, headline, and word count. If you have some great material on your website, you can leave some links in order to show that you are talented and professional enough to write for somebody. Here is a simple example, which is not obligatory to use:
Subject: Do you have an article about baking fruit into pies and cakes?
I’ve been reading you for a long time, realizing day by day that you provide, undoubtedly, the best material in your niche. However, I’ve noticed that you haven’t published any article concerning baking fruit into pies. I would be really glad to provide you with a great article about this and offer you some other variants:
Headline: “Donuts and Cakes with Fruit Are All You Need”.
Word count: 1500 – 2000.
Headline: “Lemons for Science or How to Start Liking Lemons”.
Word count: 1500 – 2000.
Headline: “WebCEO gives you the best fruit related keywords”.
Word count: 1500 – 2000.
You’d get a lot of traffic with one of these articles. I have a lot of experience in writing, with such articles as you can find here and here: *links*
Thank you! I will wait for your response.
However, remember, that some serious and authoritative websites will ignore you. Let’s take The New York Times as an example here. They accept Op-Ed essays but mostly only from their favored contacts. In this case you should be polite, formal, direct, and cogent, especially in your subject line. It is also better to have a widespread name and high authority in terms of your sphere to have a chance of writing for them.
The next step is to wait. An answer to a good proposal can come after a whole week, if not longer, so don’t give up hope the next day. After you have received an approval message, it’s high time to start writing AND send a “Thank you” letter to the webmaster for the given opportunity.
Here are also some inspiring pieces of advice of How to Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas. Check this out in order to always be ahead of your competitors and not undergo “freezing periods”.
The first variant is to use your own website: leave a link to your guest post, so your visitors will be able to enjoy your content more and may become your constant readers.
The second variant is to use social media. Leave a short and challenging description with a link and your post picture on all your accounts with appropriate hashtags. Going through hashtags, people can notice your post, read it, like it, and share it with others in the end, which means more traffic, followers, and subscribers on your website via the guest post on the other site. In other words, you can increase your traffic via social media, even if you are directly linking only to the other website.
In your social media post you can mention some important people who will be alerted to your post automatically. This is a sneaky but effective way to gain attention from such people.
One more variant is to create a bio or ID that will give you a new image. There you should point out who you are, why you may be useful for readers, and provide a link to your website. Make this bright, interesting, and boasting. Yes, there is no time to be shy. You are selling yourself, so do it properly! You can be a king, a queen, or a cat lover. Write anything that can raise a lot of attention to you and your website!
Be sure to use the WebCEO Chosen Link Watch Tool in order to keep track of the backlinks to the guest post on the other website – those ones which you strived to get with guest blogging. This tool is extremely useful to monitor your links and be aware if:
- a webmaster changed the anchor text of your link;
- a webmaster tagged your link as nofollow:
- a webmaster eliminated your link entirely;
- a webmaster applied user-agent cloaking.
If you encounter these violations you can take appropriate measures. Never give anybody an opportunity to deprive you of an award for hard work!
TO SUM UP, guest blogging has a lot to offer. First, this is a great opportunity to present your content to a new audience interested in your niche and converting people into your readers. Second, this is a rather successful method of building backlinks and getting traffic for your website. Of course, this is not perfect, but in capable hands, guest blogging can bring a lot of benefits.