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Publishing guest posts is an excellent way to strengthen your website, boost your referral traffic, and generate more leads. But how can you identify guest blogging opportunities and leverage this SEO strategy to expand your reach? If you want to learn all there is to know about becoming a guest blogger, you’re in the right place. Join us as we take a deep dive into the question, “What is guest posting?” We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide to help you get started with guest posting and shed some light on some effective alternatives to securing backlinks through guest posting.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest blogging is the practice of writing and publishing an article on someone else’s website. The goals of guest blogging include increasing your online visibility and generating more traffic to your website. Writing a guest post can help establish your site as a trustworthy and credible source of information within your industry. It can also get your content in front of a wider audience, enabling you to connect with more prospective customers.
The Importance of Link Building
A guest blogging strategy is also a primary means of acquiring backlinks, which can help improve your Google ranking and boost your domain’s authority. Off-page SEO refers to the search engine optimization tactics you use outside of your website to enhance your search engine results page (SERP) rankings. The most well-known off-page SEO strategy is link building. When you acquire high-quality backlinks from reputable websites, you benefit from those sites’ reputations and authority. The concept of borrowing or sharing another site’s authority through link building is known as “link equity.”
It’s vital that the referring domains you partner with are not just reputable but also relevant to your target audience. Obtaining links from a domain with no clear connection to your industry will not be nearly as worthwhile as working with a referring domain in your same vertical.
Potential Drawbacks of Guest Posting
Before you start working on your first guest post, familiarize yourself with the potential drawbacks of publishing blogs on other domains. The most notable drawback is the fact that you have no control over the rest of the content on the hosting website. If that site turns out to publish abrasive or poorly constructed content, it could damage your reputation and alienate your target audience.
Guest blogging is also a time-consuming endeavor. You must find the right sites, research their audiences, write great content, and monitor the results. All of this for a piece that, while resulting in a backlink, won’t live on your site and drive organic traffic to it. Even if you don’t mind making such a commitment for potential referral traffic and some link equity, you need to remember that there’s no guarantee that your efforts will produce meaningful results.
Lastly, keep in mind that some websites that accept guest posts may have low domain authority. As a result, backlinks from those sites are generally less desirable. If you obtain backlinks from referring domains with low authority, you may even drop your ranking, not raise it. On top of that, Google has warned that writing guest posts purely for the sake of gratuitous link building can actually cause your site to incur an SEO penalty.
How to Find Guest Post Opportunities
Now that you know the potential pitfalls of publishing guest posts, let’s shift our focus to how you can incorporate this tactic into your link-building strategy. If you want to find guest post opportunities, I suggest you follow these six simple steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Websites
The first step toward becoming a guest blogger is to identify your target websites. When determining which websites you would like to write for, consider factors such as their:
- Domain authority
- Industry relevance
- Audience size
Ideally, you will want to publish your content on a host site that operates either within the same industry as you or a closely affiliated one. Take note of sites that have already built up strong domain authority and positive reputations within your vertical and determine what those sites’ monthly or weekly audience sizes are. In terms of accessibility, make sure that your prospective audience can view your article without having to navigate a paywall. Once you see some success publishing on free sites, you can explore posting opportunities on paid sites, but during the early stages of your guest blogging journey, you need to ensure that your content is as easy to access as possible.
Step 2: Research the Website’s Audience and Content Style
Speaking of audiences, make sure to conduct plenty of research into a website’s typical readership. While a site’s audience doesn’t need to align perfectly with your ideal customer personas, there should be plenty of overlap. For instance, let’s say that your core audience consists of male consumers between the ages of 20 and 50. Writing a guest post for a site that has an 80% female audience above the age of 50 probably isn’t the most effective traffic-generating strategy.
Once you’ve verified that a website’s audience matches your own, take a closer look at the style of its content. Consider whether it’s casual and snappy or if it’s more formal, concise, and professional. When you decide to publish guest posts on any site, you need to write content that matches their style and tone.
Step 3: Reach Out to the Host Website
Now it’s time to reach out to the host website. The initial introduction is one of the most critical aspects of guest blogging, so make sure you put your best foot forward to create a great first impression. Submit a pitch that aligns with the host’s audience and content. Be clear about your objectives and the type of content you’d like to publish. Additionally, make it clear that you’d like to include backlinks within your guest content. Share a link to your website and consider providing a few writing samples to demonstrate that you can generate high-quality material.
Also, ask questions about their guest posting policies. Find out what steps they take to promote guest posts and determine how many links they’ll allow you to publish. That information will help you decide whether they’re the right publishing partner for your brand.
Step 4: Write High-Quality, Original Content
Now for the exciting part: Writing high-quality, original content. When creating your content, make it informative, enjoyable to read, and ultimately valuable to your target audience. Insert videos or images into your content to make your guest posts more engaging. Infographics, charts, or even audio clips will make your content easier to digest and maximize its impact.
As you wrap up your content, include a call-to-action (CTA) that provides readers with clear instructions as to what they should do next. Make it easy for them to follow through by providing a link to the appropriate page of your website or your brand’s social media account. Make sure your CTA adheres to the guest post guidelines of the referring domain. For example, some host sites may not allow you to publish a direct sales pitch but will let you encourage readers to visit your site to “learn more.”
Step 5: Promote Your Guest Post
In most cases, the host website will promote your guest posts since doing so helps them generate more web traffic as well — but you should still engage in your own promotion efforts. One way to promote your post is to showcase it on your company’s social media channels. You can also share it in your newsletter.
Step 6: Track the Efficacy of Your Guest Posts
The final step is to track the efficacy of your guest posts. The most effective way to do so is by including a UTM code in your links, which is a snippet of code that tracks how many leads your content generates. Over time, trends will begin to emerge, which you can analyze to determine what sorts of content are making the biggest splash with readers. For example, you might find that how-to guides or numbered lists seem to resonate with your target audience, whereas more generalized blogs don’t get as much traction.
After you develop a picture of what works and what doesn’t, you can refine your guest posting strategy. As with all other SEO-related tactics, guest posting isn’t something that produces overnight results. Instead, it’s a process that requires consistency and persistence.
Alternatives to Guest Posting
While guest posting can help you increase your referral traffic and acquire valuable backlinks, there are other ways to drive more customers to your website. Rather than relying solely on guest blogging for backlinks, identify other useful link-building strategies.
Broken Link Building
For example, you can engage in broken link building, which involves finding sites with broken links and asking the website owners to replace those bad links with links to your helpful content.
Additionally, you can focus on establishing your authority in your industry by doubling down on your content creation efforts. If people view your brand as a source of reputable information, others in your industry will likely link to your content.
Reassess Your Blogging Strategy
Blog writing should already be a core component of your SEO strategy. If you’re not generating as much traffic as you’d like, there may be deficiencies in your content creation strategy. With that in mind, kick off efforts to capture more traffic by reassessing the effectiveness of your blog content. Determine how much traffic you’re generating, identify potential shortfalls that might be impacting your visibility, and make any necessary adjustments to strengthen your reach.
Other Traffic-Generation Strategies
Every business wants to generate more organic traffic, and yours is no exception. There’s nothing wrong with supplementing your SEO-centric inbound marketing tactics with other traffic-generation strategies, especially when you’re just getting started with SEO. If you want to make an immediate impact on your site traffic, consider investing in paid inbound marketing efforts, such as pay-per-click advertising or social media advertising. Cumulatively, these efforts can ramp up your site traffic and help you draw more attention to the content you’ve been working so hard to create.
Guest posting is a valuable strategy for improving your website’s visibility, acquiring backlinks, and driving more traffic. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully find guest post opportunities, create high-quality content, and track your results. Remember to supplement your guest blogging efforts with other link-building strategies and to always reassess and refine your SEO tactics. With persistence and consistency, you can achieve your goals and see meaningful results.