If you’re a blogger and you’re not completely satisfied with the level of traffic going to your site, you need to ask yourself a simple question: is it worth spending more time on guest posting?
If your head is on and you know what you’re doing, the answer should be a resounding yes.
Despite some speculation about the longevity of this particular inbound marketing strategy (we’ll get to this later), guest posting is still one of the best ways to grow your audience and drive traffic to your site.
So what is guest posting in SEO, how is it done, and what should you know about it?
The basics of guest blogging
The basic definition of guest blogging is pretty straightforward: it means posting to someone else’s blog as a guest.
You contribute content to someone’s blog, and in return, you get an external backlink to your blog and more exposure.
It’s a simple concept with clean-sounding win-win logic, but why exactly is it a good idea to post as a guest?
What does guest posting accomplish?
For starters, what does guest blogging accomplish from the guest’s perspective?
First of all, guest blogging is about building relationships. You’re networking with other bloggers and making new connections that might come in handy later.
Bloggers can be influencers and their talk makes up a large proportion of conversations on the Internet.
Through guest posts and meeting people, you could indirectly end up increasing your influence in the social media world.
Second, guest blogging introduces you to a new audience. Basically, by leveraging the host blog’s audience, you’re pitching to an established community, ready to hear what you have to say.
If you’re adding value to their reading experience, they’ll likely head over to your blog to see the rest of your content. A great focus of guest blogging is on the next, third point, but the effect of actual clicks on your blog should not be neglected.
Third, guest posting is important in the world of SEO (search engine optimization). This is the context in which it is most often discussed, and guest blogging is indeed an undeniably important way to drive traffic to your blog.
When you post to someone else’s site, the one thing you should be adamant about is including a link to your blog.
This can be embedded in the text or it can be included in the author’s biography. Regardless of how it is embedded, generating these links is one of the main goals of guest blogging.
Getting referenced on a reputable, quality site is a big factor in how the big search engines decide to rank your blog.
Over time, generating these backlinks will help you improve your search engine rankings. This is why people refer to guest blogging as “good for SEO”.
But what does guest posting do for the host site?
It is primarily about generating new and interesting content. This is why your guest posts will have to be good, especially if you are a young child looking to post to a more reputable platform.
From a host’s perspective, guest blogging is essentially free content, and who doesn’t love free content? Of course, the most prominent the blog, the most demanding they can afford to be.
There is also some community vibe to guest blogging further down the food chain. For small to mid-sized bloggers, hosting other people’s blogs is about helping each other.
If you are posting to other blogs, it makes sense that you offer the same courtesy to others. It is a win-win strategy, and both will benefit from cooperation.
How to proceed with guest posting
So guest posting is good for SEO, introducing you to a new audience, and helping you make friends. How do you start?
The first step, you need to find a blog that will host you. There are a few ways you may want to do this. Some sites actively list blogs that you can guest post. However, the links may not be reliable. Also, you may not get the quality hosting that you want.
A good Google search is probably the most obvious thing to try. Just type in “top blog list [in your industry]” and see what comes up.
Alternatively, you can try an advanced search, specifying phrase strings such as “write to us” and “blog”. This will help you find blogs that are actively looking for guest contributors.
If you are using the tried and tested search engine method, it is simply a matter of crawling and passing judgment on the blogs you find.
It’s about balancing the need for quality with the likelihood that the blog in question will accept you.
Ultimately, you just need to send a ton of emails. Like any application process, it will be largely a numbers game and you should expect to be rejected many times.
You can also find good guest blogging hosts by looking for people who guest post on sites you read regularly. Check out the author and see who else he’s writing for.
Basically, once you’ve found a good spot, pull the string and go where it leads; You are essentially benefiting from the hard work of the other guest bloggers.
You can even Google using the author’s name and specifying the search term “guest post.”
Something to think about when you are a guest on a blog
The main thing to keep in mind when writing as a guest on a blog is the nature of the links you embed in your text. When you include links in your content, the actual hyperlinked words are called anchor texts. When you link a URL, you must ensure that it contains useful words.
What words are useful? Google uses anchor texts to assess the relevance of a page, so include keywords in the anchor texts you link to.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it, as Google penalizes links with spam too. As with most SEO strategies, the most important thing is to do everything you do organically if that makes sense.
Don’t be too clumsy or artificial with the links you insert. Above all, make sure the links are relevant. And if they are relevant, they are likely to include keywords anyway.
But isn’t guest blogging declining?
In recent years there has been a lot of publicity about the decline of guest blogging as an SEO strategy.
When guest blogging began, getting a post on another site was a mark of achievement. Search engines ranked accordingly, and backlinks became a sign of quality.
As guest blogging became an established and well-known method of boosting SEO, bogus bloggers started spamming to get backlinks. Therefore, the backlinks themselves are less prominent in the mix when it comes to ranking.
But that doesn’t mean that guest blogging is on the decline. When Google’s Matt Cutts cautioned against using guest blogging to improve rankings, he meant that guest blogging should not be abused.
All of this means to you that you need to be careful about what you host on your site and where you host your material.
No SEO expert knows exactly how Google ranks. However, it is well known that Google’s algorithms are excellent at detecting junk and discerning quality.
They can distinguish spam posts and mass-produced links from original quality content posted on burgeoning and reputable platforms.
So if you are an honest blogger looking to write great content and improve SEO at the same time, you have nothing to worry about.
A few more words of caution!
Before you go, there are one or two more things you need to be careful about when trying to publish your posts.
At some point, they will probably ask you to pay to post something on a host site. In addition to the question of whether this strategy pays off financially, you also run the risk of getting caught.
In reality, paying for links is explicitly against Google policy, and if you are discovered, you could face a steep manual reduction in search engine rankings as a result.
Another thing to keep in mind is private networks and discarded domains. These are just expired domains with a link profile. People buy these old domains, add cheap content, and sell links.
Not all blogs are what they sound like, so it might be worth using a website called the Wayback Machine, which can check the history of a domain.
Other than that, guest posting is a pretty safe and secure way to improve your rankings and gain new audiences, so happy hunting!