For years people have been talking about building great content. When you think about great content, there is really no better way or marketing this content other than guest blogging.
Ranking in Google still takes links, so even if you build amazing content, you still might not get ranked. In order to get high quality links, guest blogging is the perfect way to combine link building with great content creation. Could anything really go wrong with this?
Well, a few things actually. Guest blogging has led to tons of sites and blogs that are “made for” guest posting. These networks of blogs have led to people believing that Google will crack down on guest posting for the “abuse” that such a tactics are bringing to light.
How Does Google View Guest Blogging for Links?
What is all comes down to is Google continuing to crack down on spam. This will never stop. However, that does not mean in any sense that guest posting is any less valuable. Just remember, there are right ways of doing things, as well as wrong ways.
Guest posting improves positions and gets increased rankings, therefor, there is a great incentive to do it. If you do guest posting correctly, with superb content that drives social sharing and traffic, then you are on the path to success. This is a small guide that will help you on your journey of guest posting the correct way that Google loves.
Guest Posting is NOT Article Syndication
Way back before Panda came and wreaked havoc across the web, content marketing started with a keyword tool. The keyword tool would come up with different keyword phrases that were made into different headlines, followed by an article that was completely keyword stuffed to rank your keyword of choice.
The articles were downright terrible. They were also published on many websites and article directories in an attempt to boost your SEO. Search engines loved this content but the bottom line was that the experience by the user was not great. In fact, it was awful. In response to these techniques, Panda was released in an attempt to clean up these practices.
Creating content is actually not the first step to guest posting. Finding sites that have a high authority and high trust should be your first priority. There is no point is creating the perfect content if the target site is no good.
Finding a Home for your Guest Post
In order to find the best place to guest post, the target site must have three things.
- Relevance: Does the target site belong to the same niche? This is always a hard one because sites that are related to yours might often be your competitor. There is always room to broaden your relevance a little bit to find a suitable fit without contacting your direct competitors to guest post.
- Signals of Trust: Can the information on the target site be trusted? If the first few articles on the site are related to super spammy keyword phrases, you might want to skip it.
- Indexed Regularly: You want to see if the site is getting indexed on the regular. You do not have to pay attention to link juice or target a specific page rank. There is value in sites that are crawled regularly.
One of the best ways to find different sites that will accept your guest post is by using the Google search. These are different phrases that I have used that have worked well in finding targets.
- “write for us” + keyword
- Keyword “guest post”
- Keyword “submit a guest post”
- Keyword “guest post by”
- Keyword “guest post written by”
- Keyword “accepting guest posts”
- Keyword “guest post guidelines”
- Keyword “write for us”
- Keyword “accepting guest posts”
All you need to do is replace the Keyword with the niche that your site currently resides in.
Pro Tip: This will give you lots of results and many of them will be blogs or sites that are not relevant. There is really no tool that you can use to see if the site purely exists just to collect guest posts. There are many people who just post articles on domains that have great domain and page authority but have a lack of theme. While these may work great now, they may not in the future. Make sure you are posting to real and quality sites if you want to pass a manual review by Google.
Sometimes, you can get some better results by using social search engines. Topsy is a good example. You will probably need to use a more general term when searching these search engines but there are still many high quality gems that you may find.
Google is also one of my favorite ways to find sites that accept guest posts.
Pitch Your Idea the Correct Way
After you have found a site that would be a good fit with your guest post, you need to make a pitch. This is one, if not the most important part of guest blogging. Without a successful pitch, you will go absolutely no where.
There are many talented writers on the internet but few of these writers posses outreach skills. Guest blogging pitches and link building pitches are actually very similar.
Instead of the generic outline that webmasters no doubt get every day asking to guest post, consider these tips as the outline of the perfect pitch.
- Subject Line: Pay attention to the subject line of your email. You want to make sure you follow all instructions that are given on their website about submitting a guest post. If there are no directions, you will want to use personal details such as their name and something about a recent post on their site. Do NOT put guest post in the title!
- Credibility: Tell them who you are, what you know, and what you do. Show them the website that you are representing.
- Show caring: Show that you actually care enough about their website that you read some of its content. Be specific! Set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd by doing this, it helps!
- Offer a great reason: You will need to offer a great reason that they simply can not turn down your guest post. Perhaps you are an expert in the related field and their readers would like another point of view?
- Time: Everyone is spending time on their websites. Perhaps they have not gotten the time to write about a specific subject but have not gotten around to it yet. You should offer to write them that blog post.
- Contact information: You will want to make yourself accessible. Make sure to include contact information such as email, phone and possibly Skype. Networking is great and will help you guest post int he future.
Remember, an effective pitch of your idea is going to be short and to the point. Keep it simple and engaging.
Pay Close Attention to the Title
You will want to spend some time coming up with a title that compels people to click on it and read it. If you do not have a great title, you limit your chances of the article going viral. Take a look at headlines from different news outlets. These stations have simply perfected grabbing peoples attention and leading them into the story.
Size Does Matter…
According to QuickSprout, articles that are greater than 1.5k words will get 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes. Take that into consideration as well as top ranking websites in Google having 2k+ words when writing a guest post. Moz also finds a direct correlation in the length of your content and how many people decide to link to that content.
Do not forget about content!
Content of your post actually matters a lot. If your post has a video included in it, it is 50 times more likely to hit the front page of Google. Video is also more likely to be clicked on that text. Little things like this matter and can help turn your guest post into something special.
Try Out Link Magnets
Link magnets are simply articles or videos that people want to link to! Keep these few tips in mind when writing a great guest post.
- Videos: Videos tend to get linked to much more often than normal article posts.
- Lists: Lists such as “Top 5…” are still killing it today. They draw more links than average posts.
To make the title of your posts ideal, you should also be aiming for around 10 to 18 words.
Guest blogging is going to continue to be one of the most popular content marketing strategies. Google is not going to be targeting quality guest posts any time soon. Quality is the key word here. They will continue hunting down blog networks and spammy guest posting. If you take the time to do guest posting correctly, user experience is great, and so are your positions in the SERPS.