If you visit any blog online, chances are, you’ll come across articles written by people not affiliated with that blog.
Those are called guest posts, which are ideal for link building.
Guest blogging is one of the most effective link-building techniques.
This strategy is usually a part of a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign that lets you earn high-quality backlinks.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
- You provide a high-quality guest post for a blog or business.
- In return, you get a backlink to your homepage and/or 1-2 other articles.
The backlinks help you rank higher on Google, and your guest article adds value to their blog.
But if you want to get the most out of guest blogging and learn new things such as:
How do you find niche websites for guest-posting opportunities? And what does it take to write effective guest posts to land backlinks to your business?
Read on to find out the answers to these crucial questions. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Everything you need to know about guest blogging when it comes to SEO link-building
- How to find guest-posting opportunities on the right sites (2 main steps)
- How to get started for email outreach
- 4 steps for creating high-quality guest post articles that every blog owner will love
What You Need To Know About Guest Blogging For Link Building
First things first, what does guest blogging involve, exactly?
Simply put, this SEO strategy entails writing articles for other websites to add value to their blog and gain backlinks to your business.
Guest blogging is usually a part of an off-page SEO campaign, anything you do outside your website to market your brand. It’s also one of the most popular white hat link-building tactics that you really can’t go wrong with.
According to Aira’s State of Link Building report, guest posting is the third most popular link-building tactic (at 47%) after content marketing (68%) and competitor analysis and link targeting (54%).
And according to ReferralRock:
- Half of managers perform guest-post outreach to ten or fewer contacts monthly. About 7% of them pitch to 100 or more blogs per month.
- About 60% of guest bloggers write between one and five monthly guest posts.
How does guest blogging work for link building?
Now, how does this work with link building?
In a nutshell, you look for a relevant niche site and pitch your topic to the site’s point of contact.
Depending on the company and the size, this can be their content manager, SEO person, or whoever does marketing there.
Then, you write an article for them and include links pointing to your website.
Pretty straightforward, right?
In theory, but you still need to:
- Find relevant blogs that are open to guest posts.
- Make sure they’re a relevant place for your guest posts.
- Pitch them in a way that makes sense.
- Write quality guest posts.
So, let’s now take a look at how to do all that for your next link-building opportunities.
Link Prospecting: How To Find Guest-posting Opportunities
Before you can get your article published on a website, you should first look for sites that accept guest posts.
This is called link prospecting.
Link prospecting is the process of finding potential sites that offer guest-posting opportunities.
This process includes website research and inspection.
Essentially, you need to find websites that:
- Accept guest blogging.
- Are relevant to your niche.
You can’t just start guest blogging on any website.
And just because a site accepts guest posts, doesn’t mean they’re always relevant.
In fact, links from the wrong kind of websites can harm your SEO.
For example, this site doesn’t look very reputable. And they’re writing about everything from rental property, trading opportunities, craigslist alternatives, and so on.
So, if you run a fitness blog, for example, a backlink from here wouldn’t make sense.
Now, let’s take a look at how to find niche-relevant websites and start building backlinks from reputable websites.
How to do website research for guest blogging
Guest blogging begins with website research.
But instead of searching for any website that accepts guest posts, you’ll want them to be in the same niche as you. And they should also be “healthy” from an SEO standpoint.
Let’s take a look.
1. Google Search
Looking for guest blogging sites?
Google is your friend. It’s a goldmine of potential websites for guest-posting opportunities.
All you need to do is type in the following search query:
“(niche) “write for us”.
Or similar ones such as:
- “(Niche) “guest post”
- “(Industry) “submit post”
- “(Niche) blog “guest post”
- And so on.
Here’s an example.
Keep in mind though, you’ll want to find very niche-relevant websites.
Then, analyze the sites in detail to see if they’re relevant, like so.
2. Reverse-engineering competitor backlinks
This technique lets you reverse-engineer the backlinks of websites in your niche for guest-posting opportunities.
In other words, you identify websites linking to your competitors and:
- See if they accept guest posts.
- Or consider reaching out to them to write for them
For this, you’ll need an SEO tool of your choice (can’t go wrong with Semrush or Ahrefs).
- Check your website and the services you offer. Examine your existing backlinks before analyzing your competitor’s backlinks.
- Search for competitors in your niche. Google what websites rank for the same services you offer.
- Check and analyze the domain of each competitor in Semrush. That will give you an idea of whom to connect with for guest-posting opportunities.
Keep in mind though, just because the SEO tool says they have 21,500+ backlinks, doesn’t mean all of those links are valuable and relevant!
At the very least, you should filter for active and do-follow backlinks to find relevant ones. Also consider discarding ones with a low authority score (E.g. 0-7) and ones that are from irrelevant blogs (wrong niche, link farm, not in English, etc.).
3. Link intersection (Ahref’s Site Explorer)
This guest blogging tactic enables you to search for competitors and identify websites linking to them.
Then, you can narrow in on the sites that haven’t linked to your website yet for guest posting. Follow the steps below:
- Check your website on Ahref’s Site Explorer.
- Search for competing domains.
- Open “Link Intersect.” Then, add three competitors and mention your website in the “But doesn’t link to” field. Finally, click “Show link opportunities.”
Website inspection for guest blogging
Now, you should have a list of a few potential websites for guest blogging.
However, before doing outreach you first need to inspect the website.
Here’s how to do that.
1. Start with basic SEO inspection
The website research performed earlier lets you create a list of potential websites for guest-posting opportunities. However, you need to filter them down further.
Then, you should do some basic inspection and look at:
- The site’s niche – should be close to yours.
- How reputable they look – I.e. not a scam.
- How likely they are to accept your guest post – You can remove governmental websites and non-English ones.
2. Conduct batch analysis
The second step involves sorting your list of websites by batch analysis using your set criteria for guest blogging.
You can eliminate some websites from your list that don’t match your standard metrics.
Here at Jolly SEO, we follow the metrics below for our white hat link-building service:
- DR 55+.
- Traffic 3k + per month.
- Traffic not decreasing.
- Niche relevant.
- With legitimate product/service pages.
- No spammy “all topic” general blogs.
- Link ratio of 1:3 (inbound to outbound).
- No link selling (Note: Use Linktegrity to see if websites sell links).
You can analyze site metrics using an SEO tool of your choice and/or double-check some things manually.
It’s important to note that SEO metrics do NOT exist in a vacuum.
For example, a site might have very high domain authority (DA).
But if they don’t have consistent, healthy monthly traffic, chances are, they gamed the DA and you do NOT want a guest post on there.
3. Finish with deep inspection
The final step involves performing a manual site inspection. This means visiting and examining each website to see if they are best for guest blogging.
At Jolly SEO, we ask critical questions, such as the following:
- What niche does this site fall under?
- Is it selling something?
- Or Is it just an informative blog?
- Do they have a blog?
- Is the blog active?
- Are the topics on this blog a good fit for us?
Email Outreach For Guest Blogging
After finding niche-relevant websites for guest posting, it’s time to reach out to the relevant person.
Now, this step will be different for everyone and depend a lot on the specific site.
Depending on the company size, the person you should reach out to can include:
- Their content manager or writer.
- Marketing/SEO team.
- Operations/admin department.
- Business executives/CEOs.
If they’re a large company, chances are, they’ll have a full-time employee for this. And typically, their role will fall under SEO, content marketing or writing, or webmaster, or link-building.
Pro tip: You can check how big a company is via LinkedIn.
You’ll know better who to reach out to this way.
Then, you can use a tool like Hunter to find their contact information and reach out via email or your outreach tool.
See our guide on journalistic outreach for SEO for a more detailed overview of this step.
Now, let’s get back on topic.
How To Write High-Quality Guest Posts For Link-Building (4 Main Steps)
Welcome to the most crucial part of guest blogging.
The quality of your write-up will determine if it will be published or not. So, you’ll have to create a sure-fire masterpiece if you want your link-building to succeed.
Typically, creating high-quality blogs for link-building involves:
- Examining the website.
- Coming up with a unique, relevant, and valuable topic for your guest post.
- Writing a quality article.
- Optimizing it for SEO.
Now, let’s break down each step.
1. Examine the niche website for guest blogging
Depending on what your link-building operations look like, the link prospector and outreach manager might have already done the legwork for you.
This means the target website for guest posting is most likely relevant to your business or niche.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you no longer need to check the site.
The thing is, you still need to examine the website and check what it offers.
Of course, your article must align with the brand and should even subtly promote the site’s products or services.
More importantly, you should study the site’s readers or target audiences. You want to ensure you write a blog post that answers their questions and meets their needs.
This means, you should also:
- Research their target audience.
- Link to their other blog posts.
- Double-check the the blog owner that your content is valuable.
2. Come up with a unique, relevant, and valuable topic
When doing guest blogging, it’s important your content is relevant to the blog’s target audience.
After all, you can’t just come up with a topic that you like. Because, it’s NOT about you.
So, when writing the guest post, consider the following key elements:
- Uniqueness: It won’t hurt to check the website’s blog posts where your article will be published. That way, you can offer something new to the table or find an angle different from what has already been posted. Otherwise, your content piece will be rejected.
- Relevance: Of course, your topic should be relevant to the website’s industry and business. It doesn’t make sense to come up with a food review when your article will be published on a tech website.
- Value: You write an article not just for the sake of earning a guest-posting opportunity (plus quality backlinks). You create a masterpiece that offers real value to the site’s readers or audiences.
3. Write a quality guest post for the niche website
Now, what DOES quality content look like?
Well, it should be valuable, yes. But this is the step most SEOs, marketers, and writers get stuck on.
So, Google’s own Search Quality Rater Guidelines might come in handy here, which include the following elements:
- Experience: Do you have actual experience on the subject? If not, have you researched enough on the topic?
- Expertise: Do you specialize in a specific niche? Are you a subject matter expert allowed to discuss a particular subject?
- Authority: Have you asked yourself whether you have the right to discuss a particular topic? Do you support your claims with credible sources like statistics, case studies, and expert quotes?
- Trust: Does your article resonate with your target audience? Do you think you’ll earn their trust and confidence after they read your content?
4. Optimize your guest-post article for SEO
Now, you’ve reached the final step of guest blogging.
In addition to making sure your article is valuable, you should also optimize it for SEO.
The goal is to ensure that your piece ranks on the search engine results pages (SERP) and resonates well with your target audience. Here are some best practices to keep in mind for your guest post:
- Keep it short and simple (KISS). Most web readers are looking for online information at a snap of a finger. Likewise, not all of them are academicians or writers themselves. So, make your content clear and concise, which a sixth grader can understand.
- Edit and proofread. Aside from providing accurate information, ensure your content is free from grammatical errors. Those lapses can be such an eyesore; They can shoo your readers away. Some professionals might even question your credibility!
- Employ content formatting. Include headings and subheadings, as well as break blocks of texts into bullet lists. Doing so makes your content easy to read via the web or mobile devices. Remember, you’re writing for busy people looking for information online!
- Conduct keyword research. Keyword research involves searching and using terms your target audience will most likely enter on search engines. It is a crucial part of your SEO strategy for high search engine ranking.
- Ensure proper keyword placement. Insert keywords in the URL, title tags, meta description, headings, subheadings, content body, and image Alt attribute. However, use these words or phrases sparingly. Keep in mind that keyword stuffing is a big no-no in SEO!
- Build link equity. It’s best to practice internal linking by linking your article to related blog posts on the website. Not only does it help establish the site’s link juice, but it also adds value to the readers.
- Employ external linking. What is your guest post for if you won’t earn quality backlinks? Of course, you should link your article to your website or blog. Just ensure those links are relevant and valuable!
- Add a call to action (CTA). A CTA encourages your readers or audiences to take a particular action, whether purchasing a product, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter. Don’t forget to include this at the bottom of your page.
To recap, guest blogging is a proven and tested link-building technique.
It helps you earn high-quality backlinks to boost your SEO ranking for online visibility and website traffic.
However, you can’t just publish one guest post and call it a day. You must put in the work to achieve your SEO goals over time.
Follow the link-prospecting techniques outlined above to find relevant websites for guest-posting opportunities. More importantly, consider our practical tips for writing compelling guest posts. With these steps and tips, you can make the most of guest blogging for effective link-building.
Keep in mind though, the process can be quite time-consuming.
At Jolly, we’ve built over 15,000+ links with an average of DR 75, allowing our clients to see traffic increases upwards of 1,200% working with us.
Ready to dominate your search, skyrocket your traffic with link-building, and get featured in household publications?
Our clients have appeared in publications such as Forbes, HuffPost, Business Insider, and more.
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