Blogging websites are some of the most lively spaces on the internet. Even websites that wouldn’t be considered blog sites maintain blogs. Many companies and organizations do so as a vital part of their SEO strategy.
Blogs are updated frequently and often contain helpful information, which keeps readers returning to them repeatedly. However, if you run a blog, you know what a challenge it can be. Creating and publishing content that attracts readers in the first place isn’t easy.
Guest posting, also called guest blogging, might be the solution you’re looking for. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, keep reading. We’ve put together this beginner’s guide to guest posting to help you get started.
What is Guest Posting?
A guest post, quite simply, is a post that one party authors and another party publishes on their blog. It’s a little like a guest lecturer visiting a classroom.
When you post as a guest on an external site, you can reach more people. If they like what you wrote, they’re likely to visit your website. As far as marketing tactics go, it’s incredibly effective.
Google and other search engines have strict standards when it comes to guest blogging. Disreputable marketers trying to take shortcuts use blogs for link posting purposes.
Backlinks are supposed to act as endorsements of a site. When someone tries to use guest posting as a shortcut, search engines step in and immediately devalue the links.
Search engines are quick to enact penalties when the links aren’t relevant. They have a low tolerance for anything that even looks like spam. We’ll cover how to avoid running into trouble today, too.
What Are the Benefits of Guest Blogging?
Guest posting benefits both the host website and the guest author. The host receives fresh content for their blog from a new perspective that their readers may appreciate. The writer and the organization they’re associated with have access to a broader audience.
Both parties benefit from being associated with one another. Guest blogging is a helpful tool for reputation marketing.
Hosting a piece of content is a way of endorsing it, as is writing for an organization. When potential customers see this, they’re more likely to view both parties as trustworthy.
Guest posting has other benefits, too. If you have been reaching SEO and wondering how to get backlinks, guest posting is one way.
- Helps increase awareness of your brand.
- Aids in relationship building.
- Increases domain authority.
- Allows you to reach a wider audience.
- Increases traffic to your website.
- Boosts your site’s SEO by creating backlinks.
- Increases the number of subscribers to your email mailing list.
- Increases your following on social media sites.
If you’re looking for a way to improve engagement metrics, guest posting can help.
The Basic Guidelines of Guest Posting
If you want to start writing guest posts, there are a few basic guidelines you will want to follow. Doing so raises your chances of success and makes the work you put in more valuable.
- Make sure your post is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Stay on-topic. Guest posts are usually informative. Don’t meander around your point.
- Write content that readers will want to share with their friends and coworkers.
- If you include outbound links, make sure they’re relevant to your topic.
- Work with high-quality host sites. They should be as discerning when it comes to partnerships as you are.
Always follow SEO best practices when writing content for the web, whether for yourself or a host website.
Crafting and submitting blog posts takes time, but you don’t have to write guest articles in-house. Many companies choose to use a guest posts service like Guest Post Tracker.
These services will write your guest articles for you for a fee. Some will do outreach to find a host website, while others will not.
Be wary of cheap, too-good-to-be-true services. You get what you pay for.
Poorly written posts are less likely to find an audience. You may also find search engines penalizing you for low-quality content.
Commonly Used Headline Ideas for Guest Posts
Writing headlines for blog posts is an art. They’re the first part of a post that a reader sees. When done well, they draw readers in.
When you write a headline, there are three primary ways you can go wrong. The first is making the headlines too short. Shorter isn’t better. Would you still have clicked on this article if the title was simply “guest posting?”
The second common mistake we often see people make is writing overly complex, boring headlines. You’re writing for the web, not an academic journal. Your headline should reflect that.
Finally, the potential for easy clicks sometimes tempts writers to use misleading headlines. You want readers to be excited about what you’re writing about, not whatever you implied. That means no clickbait, even if it would improve your click-through rate.
Coming up with an exceptional headline isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Consider the following ideas if you’re feeling stuck:
- What is…
- How to…
- Tips for…
- Examples of…
- Best examples of…
- Benefits of…
- How to fix…
- How to use…
- Alternatives to…
- How to integrate…
- How to cancel…
Do you see a pattern when you look at that list? Your reader has a question, and they came to your guest post looking for answers. By turning the question into a “how-to” headline, you’re letting the reader immediately know the value you’re providing.
How to Embed Relevant Links
Links are what connect different web pages. They’re what gives the world wide web its name. The theory behind embedding relevant links is simple. In practice, it’s more complicated.
The HTML code you need to embed a link is simple. It looks like this: <a href=”url”>anchor text</a>.
You paste that entire line of code into your HTML document. From there, replace where it says “url” with the URL of the site you’re linking to. Leave the quotes.
Where it says anchor text, write out the text you want the link to appear on.
If you’re using a site like WordPress, creating a link is even easier. First, highlight the text you want to use as an anchor. Then, click the icon that looks like a chain link.
Choosing Your Anchor Text
SEO experts disagree about which kind of anchor text is best to use. In general, we recommend using a brief, relevant phrase as your anchor text.
If you’re linking to a source for a statistic you’re citing, use the statistic. If you’re writing about something another organization said, you can use “according to X” as your anchor text.
We don’t recommend using “here” or “click here” as anchor text. It’s too generic, and your readers’ eyes will skate right over it.
Selecting a Site to Link to
If you were in high school or college after the internet became easily accessible, think back to those years. Do you remember writing papers? Specifically, do you remember what your teachers told you about finding sources?
Selecting sites to link to is a little like that. You want to use sites produced by experts. Your choices should be relevant to your topic and trustworthy.
The acronym EAT stands for expert, authoritative and trustworthy. It can help you remember what to look for in outbound link candidates.
If you’re still unsure, use an online checker to look at a candidate’s domain authority. The higher it is, the more reliable a search engine is likely to consider it.
Tips in Finding Guest Posting Prospects
You’re almost ready to start writing guest posts. We only have one step left to cover, and that’s how to find a host site. Before you get excited and start writing, you have to have somewhere to post your content.
You don’t have to look far to find guest blogging opportunities. However, finding the right opportunity for you is a little more complicated.
1. Get Organized
If you like spreadsheets, you’re going to love this step. Set up an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet to keep track of prospective host sites.
You’ll want to include each site’s guidelines for posting and their homepage’s page rank. You might also want to include their social media following and domain authority.
2. Google Search Strings
Searching Google doesn’t seem like it should be a skill, but it is. Knowing the right combination of keywords and operators can change your life.
Quotation marks are the most essential. They let you search for exact phrases. Start with “write for us” and a keyword relevant to your topic. The keyword or phrase should also be in quotes.
Don’t give up if you don’t get the results you want right away. Instead, try different keywords.
3. Google+ Search
Google+ is Google’s social networking site that allows you to search for opportunities within. Because Google+ contains fewer results than Google itself, you will want to start with less specific keywords and phrases.
4. Twitter Search
Twitter is an underrated way of discovering new opportunities.
You can’t follow everyone in your industry, but luckily, you don’t have to. Instead, execute a search similar to what we discussed for Google+.
Doing so will turn up companies that accept guest posts and recently successful guest authors.
MyBlogGuest is a site dedicated to helping websites find the guest bloggers they’re looking for. If that sounds too good to be true, you’d be almost right.
Google penalized MyBlogGuest harshly several years ago because of concerns about spam content. The site is still live, but its reach isn’t as extensive as it used to be.
Now, it’s more beneficial for the information it offers about guest posting. It could be worth looking into if you’re looking for more information. And who knows? You might stumble across the perfect prospect while you’re at it.
You should have a relatively comprehensive list of prospects in your spreadsheet by now. Your next task is researching which of your options will benefit you the most.
SimilarWeb is a phenomenal tool for doing so. Without an account, you can only compare two sites at a time. Treating your list of prospects like a sports bracket, however, will work.
SimilarWeb will tell you a site’s:
- Global traffic rank.
- Traffic rank in the United States.
- Traffic rank within its specific category.
- Engagement metrics like the duration of the average visit.
- Where online the traffic is coming from, whether that’s direct page visits, referrals or social media.
SimilarWeb is fast and easy to use. You don’t have to register or use the premium version unless you want more features.
7. Blog Comments
Nebulous metrics calculated by a website aren’t the only ways to judge a prospect’s value. A lot of people like to do their own research. We recommend looking at past guest posts on the sites you’re interested in.
Blog comments, especially positive ones, indicate that readers have more than a passing interest in the content.
The more interested readers are in the content, the more likely they are to look at the guest author’s website. Since that’s your goal as a guest blogger, you want to see a decent number of comments.
8. Social Shares
The number of times a post on a prospective site is shared is helpful to look at, too. Sometimes, this information is readily available on a blog post’s page. Other times, you’ll have to dig for it.
Many companies and organizations share their blog posts on their social media platforms. You can browse their profiles to see how often their followers interact.
The two most significant social media platforms to look at are Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn may prove useful too.
Do you feel ready to submit a guest post? Whether you’re excited to get started or still want to do some research, we hope this guide has been helpful. Guest posting is a valuable marketing strategy, and we want to see more people take advantage of it.
Selling Revolution is dedicated to helping you increase leads through guest posting and various other strategies. We want to improve your sales training and see you hire talented new team members when necessary. Book a call with us today!