It’s no secret that link building is one of the crucial components of every successful SEO strategy. Only if it’s done right, of course. And by that I mean, adhering to Google’s principles and guidelines for quality.
This is where guest blogging comes in. And if someone told you that guest blogging was dead, they were misinformed
Guest blogging for high authority websites using quality content is one of the best ways to build valuable links. However, your primary goal from guest blogging should be to build authority and grow your readership.
If you focus simply on building backlinks, you might end up with a bunch of links from low-quality websites. This can do more harm than good. So how do you build links effectively with guest blogging? Let’s find out.
1. Find Relevant Opportunities
First things first. In order to leverage guest blogging for your link building, you need to first find relevant sites that accept guest posts. There are quite a few different ways to do this.
#1: Use Google Search
Many websites that accept guest posts have a separate section or page that talks about it. These are the pages where they list their guest posting guidelines.
So the simplest way to find them is using Google Search. Just type in your niche or industry followed by “guest blog,” “write for us,” “become a contributor,” and so on.
For example, if you’re in the travel industry, you could search for:
“Travel” + “guest post”
“Travel” + “guest blog”
“Travel” + “contributor”
“Travel” + “write for us” and so on.
To find the websites that don’t necessarily have a separate page soliciting guest posts, you can search for:
[Keyword] + “This is a guest post”
[Keyword] + “Contributing Author”
[Keyword] + “Guest Columnist” and so on.
These searches will help you find websites that have accepted guest posts at some point. So even if they don’t proactively seek guest posts, they still might accept them.
#2: Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlinks
This can work best if the competitor you’re analyzing has a small or medium-sized website. For bigger sites having thousands of backlinks, analyzing them can be almost impossible. However, you can use tools like Moz Link Explorer and go through the links on your competitors’ sites.
For example, while going through the link profile of a travel blogger, WanderlustingK, I found a link from www.atlasobscura.com.
Image via Moz
On inspection, I see that this is indeed a guest post she has written for that website. This indicates that Atlas Obscura is a website that accepts guest posts.
Image via Atlas Obscura
#3: Search by Influencers
This is another great way to find opportunities for guest blogging. If you already know of an influencer in your niche who writes a lot of guest posts, you can simply target those sites. Simply search using their names on Google and you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.
For example, here’s what I see when I search using my own name.
And, voila! You now know some more sites that you could approach for publishing guest posts.
2. Refine Your List of Targets
Once you have a identified some websites in your niche that accept guest posts, you need to refine the list further. Why? Because some of them might not be good enough to help you build quality backlinks.
What should you check for precisely? Here are some parameters that you can use to refine your list of websites:
- Domain Authority: Roughly, any websites with a Domain Authority of more than 50 should be a good place to start. The higher, the better. In general, you should not be targeting sites that have a DA lower than 40.
- Quality of Content: Go through the site to check how often they post, and what kind of content they post. As a reader, if you think their content is valuable, definitely keep them in your list. Also, check for the engagement on their posts. The higher the number of comments and shares, the better.
- Author Bio: Check if the guest posts on these sites provide a prominent placement to the author’s bio. Also, check out some profiles of other guest contributors to get an idea of their DA and quality.
You should now have a solid list of websites that you want to pitch to.
3. Brainstorm Content Ideas
It is important for you to come up with a few content ideas that are relevant to the websites you’ll be pitching to. A great way of researching content ideas is to leverage platforms like BuzzSumo. It will give you a clear idea about what’s trending.
Based on those ideas, come up with a few post titles. You can use tools like CoSchedule to come up with really good titles. Make sure to have a mix of beginner-level and advanced-level content ideas. Depending on the kind of website you’re pitching to, these will come in handy.
4. Start Your Outreach
The simplest way to contact blog or website owners is to check their “Contact Us” section on their website. Try to look for an email address if possible. If not, you can use their contact form. Services like Interseller or Anymail finder can also help you find email addresses.
That’s really the easy part. The more difficult part is to get your message across to high-authority blogs or websites. A cold outreach email is unlikely to give you a favorable outcome. Why? Because they receive hundreds of such pitches everyday and likely have an existing publishing calendar too.
Here’s where you need to start building your relationships. Or at least get yourself on their radar. You can follow them on social media and engage meaningfully with their content. That is a great way of making yourself visible.
However, bear in mind that this won’t be easy or quick. You need to really invest a lot of time and effort into building these relationships. Feel free to send them constructive feedback and appreciation for some of their posts.
How to Create the Perfect Pitch?
Here are some general rules of thumb that you should keep in mind when pitching to websites:
- Use a warm introduction and craft a personal message. You can refer to a recent article of theirs that you liked.
- Do not beat around the bush. Be straightforward and let them know why you are reaching out.
- Mention a few post ideas, keeping in mind who you’re writing to.
- Share examples of your work or any other guest posts you have written.
- Offer to promote the content within your social networks for greater visibility.
Most importantly, make sure that your email looks like something you’d want to read and be interested in.
5. Create Your Posts
As soon as you start receiving replies, work on creating those guest posts. A few key things to be kept in mind when writing these posts are:
- Follow the guest posting guidelines of the target website.
- Focus on SEO and try to optimize your posts accordingly.
- Include a link back to your website or a relevant web page, but make sure that it’s non-promotional.
- Pay close attention to the readability of your post, as well as spelling and grammar.
6. Track and Measure
Guest blogging is time-consuming. To make sure that you’re able to do it efficiently, don’t miss deadlines, and follow through with all posts you’ve committed to writing. It can be helpful to maintain some sort of tracking system. This could be something as simple as a spreadsheet where you keep track of whom you’ve pitched to. Include details of your interactions and deadlines for post submissions.
Finally, measure the results of your guest blogging activity and its effect on SEO using Google Analytics. This will help you understand how much of referral traffic you’re getting. And how your link profile improves with time. A free tool like Pro Rank Tracker can help you analyze how your search rankings change over time. Such analysis will help you plan a better SEO strategy and help you keep track of your competitors as well.
Guest blogging is certainly one of the best ways to build backlinks. However, you must remember that building links should not be the primary goal of your guest blogging.
Instead, focus on building authority by guest blogging for top websites. Then quality links will be a natural outcome.
Can you think of any other ways in which you can use guest blogging to build backlinks? Let us know in the comments below.