A Guide to Guest Blogging for SEO
What if you were able to reach a larger audience in your industry while also adding credibility to your brand? Contributing to guest blogs is a great way to gain the trust of potential customers, increase your exposure and ultimately boost your SEO. Adding guest blogging to your own content marketing efforts is a crucial step to produce unprecedented online marketing success.
Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about guest blogging for SEO, including how to get started.
What is Guest Blogging for SEO?
So what is guest blogging for SEO? Guest blogging is commonly known as a marketing tactic whereby someone writes an article (or guest blog post) to be posted on a third-party website or blog. Typically, you’ll be labeled as a “guest contributor” and your blog will be scheduled to be posted on the website at a later date. Along with your name, you’ll usually be able to include a picture of yourself in your bio, a small description, as well as a link to your website and social media profiles.
What are the Rules of Guest Blogging?
One important thing to note is that each website that allows guest blog post contributors usually has their own set of “best practices” that must be followed in order to post on their site. Some of the ground rules for guest blogging on other sites may include the following:
- No self-promotional or sale pitches in the article about your company – must be purely informational
- Must be relevant to the reader base of that site and provide value
- Needs to be a certain word count
- Should be formatted a certain way to follow that site’s writing style guide
- May need to include images or ideas for images
- Usually can’t include links in the content back to a page on your website (outside of the one link you’re given in your bio)
- Must be submitted by a certain date and is subject to revisions by the site editor
While this is not a comprehensive list of guidelines that come along with guest blogging for SEO, these are some of the most common. Being familiar with traditional rules that come along with guest blogging on other sites can help you to make sure you’re not spending time on areas that will have to be changed later anyway. Once you do find a website that allows for guest blog posting, then you’ll want to read through their style guide and adhere to it in your writing. More on that later.
Why Guest Blog?
There are many reasons to write a guest blog post, but some of the most compelling reasons are to create links back to your site to help with rankings on SERPs and also to get exposure to another website’s followers and reader base.
Guest blogging has been a subject of much debate in the world of internet marketing, yet it is still considered one of the best content marketing strategies that you can cultivate. It has the potential to bring awareness to your brand, expand your network, and increase traffic to your business website. Guest blogging is beneficial for both your business branding and your authority as a writer. It can be a powerful tool if you use it right.
What are the Benefits of Guest Blogging for SEO?
First, it’s important to understand the benefits of guest blogging as a whole, then we’ll get into the specifics of how to get started. Here are some of the many benefits of guest blogging in general.
1. Expand Your Network
Guest blogging on sites in your niche is a great networking tactic to use in any content marketing plan. By contributing to niche blogs, you have an opportunity to engage with audiences you may never have had access to on your own. The more guest blogs you contribute on, the more readership bases you can reach. If your content is helpful, engaging and provides real value, you may have people following you directly on social media to see when your next post drops.
Not only that, you have the opportunity to potentially collaborate with other authors on other industry sites. Getting the attention of other industry influencers and quoting them, and subsequently getting them to quote you back, gets you in front of their loyal followers.
Getting active in the community through commenting, sharing, and posting is a great way to build relationships in your niche, establish yourself as an expert and attract attention to your own blog.
2. Increase Social Media Following
Social media presence is one of the leading content marketing methods that attract customers to your business. Guest blogging for SEO can boost the number of eyes that see your content and help deepen your pool of followers. Often, guest blogging enables you to link to your own social media platforms in your contributed piece. Not only that, many guest posting sites will promote your content through their own social media channels as well, tagging you in the process.
The number of shares your content gets through social media establishes trust and credibility. There have been some cases where writers gained as many as 200 followers a day after contributing to a blog with their social media links attached. Quality content builds the trust of your target audience, which can spread more easily through these social media channels. Enabling feedback and engaging with your audience also helps build a trustworthy relationship.
The key is that your content is shareable and useful to an audience. Once you’ve checked that box, you stand a greater chance of gaining a larger social media following through writing guest blog posts.
3. Gain Authority
Trust begets loyal customers. Your audience may respond to your content if you establish credibility as an industry influencer through other blogs within your niche. Guest blogging for SEO gives you the opportunity to appear on any number of trustworthy sites in your industry. Appearing as a guest blogger may add authority to your own information on the subject and draw positive attention to your brand. The more you post, the more recognizable you become and the more people will trust you as an expert.
Not only that, guest posting leads to MORE guest posting. As you add to your portfolio of sites you’ve written a guest blog post for, it’ll open up doors to other sites that were once off-limits.
4. Bring Awareness to Your Brand
Brand voice is an important factor to keep in mind as you write guest blog posts. Once you’ve become a recognizable voice within an industry, your audience will look for that voice in your own brand. This is your chance to show your audience what you have to offer and what sets your business apart. Bring something fresh and exciting to the table! It will help keep customers interested in your brand and allow them to connect on an emotional level
. If you’re having a guest blog writer help you, you’ll want to make sure you find one that can accurately convey information the same way that you would.
To gain your target audience, you must contribute to blogs that already have an established flow of traffic. Your contribution to a blog should be relevant to the kind of content you provide on your own site. This helps the audience maintain interest in what you have to say. Building better backlinks will help optimize your success in gaining relevant traffic. Contributing to popular blogs in your niche is a great way to introduce your content to an audience rather than waiting for them to find you.
5. Increase Backlinks
Backlinks are a metric used by search engines to show that a site is relevant, popular and an authority in a certain space. When it comes to links, this benefit is true both singularly, as well as compositely. Singularly, just the number of backlinks you have to your site from different domains is looked at positively by Google. If lots of other sites are linking back to your site, despite what their site content is about, search engines assume you are a reputable site with shareable content.
Compositely, if the blogs/sites that are linking back to your site have to do with the products and services that you offer, it can help to raise your rankings specifically with industry keywords. This is the best of both worlds. So if you sell clothes and have lots of links coming back to your site from fashion websites, Google takes into account you must be an expert on fashion. Even though most of these links to your site are just in the form of your main domain name, they are still valuable when it comes to diversifying your backlink profile.
6. Boost Direct Traffic
Lastly, if you can contribute to guest blogging sites that already have a lot of authority and have a huge reader base, just by nature of being a “contributor” you raise your level of authority to readers. They immediately look to you as an expert in the industry. The more your name is seen through guest posting and the more valuable your content, the better chance you have of people coming directly to your site to get expert help from you, the expert. This type of direct traffic is incredibly valuable, as the potential customer already views you as an expert and trusts you’ll be able to help them.
Ultimately, guest blog writing for SEO increases your chances of getting backlinks to your website, raising your rankings for targeted keywords and upping your traffic levels as a whole. More website traffic to your own site leads to more potential chances to make a sale. Links aren’t given out freely though (aside from your main domain name) so getting guest posts that include anchor text links on targeted keywords can be pretty hard to come by naturally – but that’s a topic for another day.
Still, getting links to your main domain still raises the floor of your website authority as a whole and is a worthwhile endeavor.
How Do I Find Sites that Allow Me to Write Guest Blog Posts?
Now that you understand the wide-ranging benefits of guest blogging for SEO, the next step is to find places that allow you to submit authority guest posts! This is also known as learning how to leverage guest blogging networks. There are a few easy ways to get started with this and you aren’t limited to just one – many companies take advantage of all of these guest posting methods and more in order to get a jump on the competition.
Identify “Information Wells” in your Industry
First, you need to find where people within your industry are getting their latest news/trends and important information. Obviously, there are major business sites like Forbes that would be fabulous to get on, but you likely won’t be able to post on a site like that in the beginning (unless you’re willing to shell out some dough for a sponsored post). One pro tip is to start smaller, local even. Are there local business news sites that you could publish on? When you google keywords related to your “industry” news, what comes up?
Start compiling a list of these different sites and the contact information of who you might need to reach out to (or a link to their contact us page). Many of these sites may already have established contributor guidelines, where others may not and it will be something you set up in a custom setting.
Build Relationships with Online Journals That Allow Guest Blogging for SEO
Next, you need to identify which of these sites allow authority guest blogs from contributors. Likely, you’ll have to go through a vetting process to become a regular content contributor, and you may need an existing writing portfolio before you’ll be considered. This is where writing on your own blog comes in handy because it is at least one published source of your writing you can show off to a site.
Once you get access to a site as a contributor, you’ll usually be given the green light to write guest blogs a few times a year, if not more. This is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your space, since you’ll be in front of many more eyeballs than a typical business website, and you’ll have multiple chances to write about topics they may be interested in.
Build Relationships with Other Site Owners That Complement Your Products/Services
This method of guest blogging for SEO is the most organic of them all, and the strategy is slightly different than the one we just discussed. Essentially, you are working to develop relationships with other site owners related to your industry and writing guest blogs for them. On the flip side, you are also potentially letting them write for you as well. You’ll want to make sure you’re genuine in your guest blog post pitches and that you’re trying to appeal to their reader base instead of just wanting a link back to your site.
The idea is to find another company that has complementary products and services in your industry that you don’t compete with directly. If you are competitors, you’ll never work out a deal to swap posts/links. If it’s a business site that does something similar to what you do but isn’t the same, these are the best to reach out to. In a sense, you can scratch each others’ backs to get in front of each others’ reader base. You also can probably work out a deal to get the coveted “anchor text” backlink from one of your highly targeted keywords as well.
The only con to this method is you may only get one or two guest blogs published before you’ll want to move on to a different site. That being said, one or two posts is a huge win if you can get an anchor text link utilizing a top keyword.
Employ a Guest Posting Service (aka Link Building Service)
A form of guest blogging can also be done through guest posting services that have developed their entire business model around helping business owners get guest posts and backlinks. The quality of the sites that your guest blogs will be posted on may not be the best, so your link value may not be as high, but typically the volume of posts and links you get makes up for that.
Link building companies typically get you “anchor text” links as well, meaning the actual keyword you’re trying to rank for will be the one being sent back to your site. This is the most coveted of all backlinks because it’s an obvious indicator to Google and other search engines that this other site sees you as an expert for that exact keyword. Otherwise, they would not have created a hyperlink using that text.
Backlinking using a guest posting service can be a worthwhile avenue to go down, but it doesn’t usually increase the branding, reputation or authority of your site on a human level. Because of this, you likely shouldn’t replace the direct guest blogging you’re doing on your own to establish your brand. Rather, these two things can complement each other very well.
How Do I Get Started Writing Guest Blog Posts?
OK, so we’ve outlined the major benefits of guest blogging as a whole as well as how to identify sites that will let you contribute. So what’s next? How do you get started writing a guest blog post? Do you use a guest blog writing service? While you definitely need help with the writing, you also need to make sure you have a content marketing plan and some keyword research in place.
Get Your Content Marketing Ducks in a Row
Before you can write a blog or properly utilize a guest blog writing service to help you craft high-quality, authoritative guest blog posts, you need to make sure your content marketing campaign is set up and you have metrics to help measure success. You are writing to target a specific audience (or audiences). Identifying the right niche and tailoring your post to gain that audience’s attention are important factors in getting successful results.
Utilize Keyword Data
Content writing with keyword research in mind can help you when developing the guest blog posts that will bring customers to your business. As we’ve outlined here, guest posting offers wider opportunities for search engine visibility and lets an audience get familiar with your brand. Because guest blogs usually incorporate links to your own blog, using relevant keywords may pad your backlinks and make them more visible to search engines.
Consider your keywords and content carefully before you start to write; to generate the best results, you need to make each word count.
Hire a Guest Blog Writing Service
Last of all, just because you know you need to write guest blog posts it doesn’t mean you have to write them yourself. In fact, in many cases you SHOULDN’T write them yourself. If you don’t have a background in writing and editing, writing a guest blog post can not only be incredibly hard but can take you a very long time. As an industry expert (or someone in the process of establishing themselves as one), you need to spend your time being at the cutting edge of technologies and trends in your industry.
Take a cue from some of the top industry influencers worldwide and get yourself a ghostwriter to help take your thoughts, bullet points and ideas and translate them into a flowing, engaging blog post. This provides you with the opportunity to scale your guest blogging for SEO and make your efforts much more worthwhile. There are many guest blog writing services that exist (like us!) to help pair you with a writer (or writers) of your choosing that have experience in your industry and can learn to speak in your voice, style and tone.
Guest Blogging for SEO Recap: It Can be Done!
So while there is a lot to know about guest blogging for SEO, it’s also something that every business can start venturing into. Start small, make your writing count, and start building your guest blogging portfolio from the ground up. The longer the go, the more your brand will benefit and the better chance you have of increasing traffic, leads and ROI.
Have any other great guest blogging tips? Leave them in the comments below!