What is a “guest post”?
It's increasingly difficult to acquire high quality, relevant backlinks in 2017. Sure, if you create great content on your website, it will eventually be indexed by Google and sites will find it organically and link to it.
It does happen; however it usually takes many months, or years for sites to stumble upon your content.
Guest posting is the process of producing content that will be hosted on another site, or Blog.
The destination site is most often a site that is more powerful than yours own, and one that has considerable traffic and readers.
Is a guest post risky?
Google has been advising for over four years that guest blogging for SEO purposes is considered "spammy". Google's former head of the web spam team detailed his concerns clearly in this blog.
Google is adamant that it will seek out and penalize sites that use guest posting for purely SEO purposes. The old "spammy" method of guest posts that Matt Cutts is referring to is posting links to unrelated content and guest posts purely for the purposes of SEO and rankings. These kinds of guest posts are (and should be) a thing of the past.
To answer the question, a legitimate guest post for exposure, reach and branding isn’t risky at all. As long as you follow the advice presented below.
Having cleared up the concerns from Google, there are 6 great reasons I believe you should guest post:
Exposure- Guest posting allows you to demonstrate your authority on a subject. It enables you to stand out on a platform you usually don't have access to. For example, when starting a new business (and website), you'll usually have only a small audience. Guest posting helps you gain this exposure.
Reach- Let's be realistic, shall we? For a new site, it will take months or years for your website to gain traffic and rankings to the point where you'll start receiving readers and organic traffic. Why not leverage off an existing website that has readers and traffic already?
Branding- you may wish to promote your brand by appearing on high profile sites that allow guest posts. If your guest post makes it to Forbes or Entrepreneur.com, this will have a tremendous impact on your branding.
Traffic- Most guest posts will allow some links in your article (where relevant), as well as a link in the author bio. If you guest post on a site with many visitors, it's likely some will click the links to read about your products or services and to find out more about you. This traffic essentially brings referral traffic to your website and should result in more leads and sales.
Relationships/community- Guest posts serve as an introduction to people you wouldn't have met otherwise. Often, great things happen as a result of these relationships. Everything from cross-promotion leveraging synergies to joint ventures and beyond!
- SEO- Although Google has made it clear that guest posting for SEO is dead, the draw-card of increasing rankings is a major fringe benefit of guest posting. It's been clear for many years that links are one of the most important ranking signals for a website. Quite simply, whoever has the strongest backlinks to their website generally ranks highest.
Where should you blog?
To avoid any penalties, and to get a significant return on your investment for your effort, you need to find sites (that offer guest blogs), that:
Have a good domain authority - The Domain Authority of a website is a metric that compares the overall strength of a website (from 1 to 100). The domain authority of the site you wish to guest post should ideally be higher than your website. I'd also recommend you only guest post on a site with Domain Authority > 30. You can check domain authority of websites here.
Are reputable. The website must have a good reputation for publishing high quality, authoritative content. They shouldn't accept payment for guest posts either.
Have significant visitors. You'll only want to publish on a site that has more than 100k visitors per month. Check the site's visitors and traffic using similar web.
Are related to your website- it's no good guest posting in a different industry or unrelated genre (unless you want a Google penalty!). Pick relevant and related websites that allow guest posts.
Have a significant amount of social media followers- Social media is critical for all businesses. When a guest post is published, it should be promoted to the social media followers of the guest post site. For your engagement to be maximised, significant social media followers are essential. I'd say 10k combined followers (across all social media platforms) should be the minimum.
How to find guest post opportunities
Let's say you are a lawyer in Australia that specialises in trademarks, and want to increase your reach and exposure. You could use a combination of the below in Google search to find sites that allow guest posts:
Australian trademark law “guest post”
Australian lawyer “write for us”
Australian lawyer “guest article”
You then need to write a convincing email to the site you wish to submit to. Below is a great example from Backlinko:
Thanks for taking the time to comment on my guest post at [Website].
I never thought of the fact that [Insert something they said in the comment].
That’s a good point.
Anyway, I actually have another guest post idea that would be perfect for your site.
It’s called: [5 Tips X…]
I could have it sent to you this week.
Either way, thanks again for your insights!
[Your First Name]
- Spend some time creating your author bio. Make your author bio as professional and descriptive of you and your experience as much as possible. Ensure you tailor your bio for each site. Google hates duplicate content, so don’t re-use the same bio across multiple sites.
- Link from your own on-site blog to the guest post. Reciprocal links are a nice touch and are appreciated by webmasters.
- Publish your post on social media several times. You need to promote your brand, and there’s no better method to do this than social media. Re-post your guest post periodically.
- Thank the webmaster at the guest blog site for allowing your guest post. It’s important to build relationships in life and this is no different.
- Answer any questions following your post. This creates engagement for readers of your post.
Google has warned that Guest posts for the sole purposes of SEO are finished, and will be penalised. If used correctly, guest posts are a great mechanism to display your authority, promote your brand and build valuable connections amongst your peers. The fringe benefits from guest posts include increased traffic and powerful links which will help your SEO and will be great for your business.
You need to ensure you do the research first and find suitable sites to publish your guest content. Also, be open to allowing reciprocal guest posts if the opportunity arises.
Do you agree with guest posts? Have a better approach? Leave a comment!
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