Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get good quality backlinks, which, in turn, help boost search engine rankings for the pages the backlinks are pointing to.
But there is more to guest blogging than that.
As well as acquiring a backlink, the author is tapping into the world of the publisher. A site with an active community who find a guest post engaging could send lots of traffic to the guest bloggers site. Some of those visitors will stick around and read more content, or look at the services offered, others, unfortunately, will leave and never return.
How guest blogging works
Guest blogging works like this – Person A has a website (it doesn’t matter how old or busy it is, even sites with high traffic are looking for more links), he/she writes a post, or has a post written for them, on a topic related to their business. In this post there is at least one link pointing to a page on Person A’s website (sometimes it’s the home page, sometimes it isn’t). The anchor text of the link usually contains keywords relevant to the page – dog beds, leather sofa, ladies shoes*.
Upon completion, the article is offered to the owner, Person B, of another website, which Person A has no control over.
If Person B likes the article and thinks it is a good fit for his/her website, and feels it will resonate with its audience, Person B publishes the post and Person A gains at least a backlink, and possibly some traffic.
It’s a win win situation.
That’s not the end of the story
All too often Person A submits a guest post to a site and after publication does very little to promote it. They may tweet it and Like it on Facebook, but that’s it.
If Person A or B has lots of Twitter followers or Facebook fans, they may pick up on the article and share it with their networks, but if the article isn’t shared by many other people, it could drop out of Google’s index and the backlink that was so hard to achieve disappears, forever.
How to make sure your guest post stays in Google
First of all, make sure it is great! Mediocre doesn’t cut it any more. Articles must be well written, informative, engaging, shareable. If you are not creating content that people can use or want to share, you may as well pack up your laptop. Ultimately, Google decides if a page is worthy of staying in its index. Nobody outside of Google knows exactly what factors it uses to determine the quality of a page, but sharing is certainly one of them, so too, probably, is the length of time a person stays on the page.
If a high number of people click through to a page from the search results, before quickly leaving again, Google determines that page as irrelevant to people searching for the phrase they entered. All of these decisions are made by Google’s very complicated search algorithm.
Second, publish guest posts on sites with a good reputation. By doing so there is a better chance of the page containing your article being indexed and staying indexed. There are easy ways to check the authority of a domain, PageRank is one factor, but there are others too. When you first start looking for guest posting opportunities it’s best to avoid new sites. Look for sites that are at least a couple of years old, perhaps sites you already use.
Third, once published, promote your article through as many social media channels as possible and try to find ways to link to it. Ultimately, the goal is for people to link to it because they find it useful and not because they were asked to.
Finding Guest Blogging Opportunities
As we have been guest blogging for a while, we already have lots of connections to good quality websites and blogs. However, in the beginning, we spent a lot of time searching on Google and reading sites specifically catering for guest writers.
We actually still do this, but believe me, it’s a slow and sometimes painfully boring process, with many dead-ends.
There are a lot of low-quality sites with owners who are looking for free content. We avoid these and look for higher quality sites with a good reputation and good people behind the scenes.
A lot of bloggers have cottoned onto the fact that guest bloggers are mostly after one thing and one thing only; a link. In the past they have wasted time with online marketers offering up articles that were obviously written by someone from a foreign country, and who have little or no respect for the site owner, the site’s readers’ or who care little about quality control.
We don’t like wasting our time or anyone else’s. We only create content we are proud of and we offer it to people we respect and like doing business with. Mostly it’s other small business owners who take their business seriously and who don’t publish articles just because it’s more content.
Getting a Guest Post Published
Most site owners who accept guest posts publish a page on their site detailing their requirements and how to approach them, which is usually by email or through a contact form. If the site owner is unknown to us, we follow their requirements and compose our pitch.
More often than not, we receive positive feedback and enter into dialogue with the site owner. Typically, our guest post is published a day or two later.
If we have an article to place and we know of a good site already in our network, we send an email to the owner asking if they would like to use it.
Some of our connections accept every article we send, so we attach it to the initial email.
*Keyword relevant anchor text is currently an even hotter topic than guest blogging. Google recently released a change to its search algorithm that penalises pages that are “over optimised”, this includes pages that have an unnatural (man-made) link profile or too many links that have exactly the same anchor text pointing to it. The jury is out on this one.
Picture – ScottieT812