Guest Posting: The Why and How

Guest posting has grown to become one of the top SEO tactics for any website, from small blogs to huge companies.

One of the most difficult problems for a digital business is getting your messaging to potential prospects, and while a good social media plan will always be useful, seeing the rewards of your effort can take time. This is when guest posting comes in handy.

Learn how guest posting can benefit your business and how to do it correctly in the sections below. I share these tips that made me write for some of the top digital marketing blogs:

  • SEMrush blog

  • Search Engine Land

  • Search Engine Watch

searchenginewatch luca tagliaferro

  • SmartInsights

searchenginewatch luca tagliaferro

Before we get into the benefits of guest posting, let’s check the definition. What is guest posting?

According to Neil Patel:

Guest posts (or guest posting) is publishing and article on someone else’s website.

It’s that simple.

How does guest blogging work

Although guest posting is part of link building services and despite the fact that someone has warned us about the negative effects of guest posting for links (and by someone I mean John Mueller in 2020), in reality, this practice is not only still alive and well but also brings excellent results from an SEO perspective.

Someone on Twitter speculated as to whether penalties were coming.

John Mueller tweeted that there was nothing different on the way:

“….there are new people starting on SEO all the time (yay!), but it’s all years old in the meantime & nothing has changed there at all. Unless this storm in a teacup triggers a lot of people to start, I don’t see a need for the webspam team to jump in.”

The important thing, however, is to create a guest blogging strategy in a structured way and not as a mere exchange of links because this could really penalize you – or even make you disappear from Google’s search results.

It may appear counterintuitive to spend time producing articles for other sites (that you may even consider rivals) when you want to create material for your own site. Also, experts confirm that there is a minimal chance to receive any referral traffic back to your website.

However, the benefits that guest writing can provide you, could be enormous for your SEO and sales goals. Here are some of the benefits of guest writing for your website.

Introduce you to new audiences

Writing blog articles for other blogs helps you to bring your brand in front of their readers, increasing brand awareness among prospective customers who are unfamiliar with your company.

Increase your trust and social proof

 

People will return for more if your brand delivers high-quality content. That’s all there is to it. Building authority in your business is inextricably linked to increasing consumer trust.

Guest blogging on other relevant sites helps you to demonstrate your expertise in your industry.

Earn backlinks to your website

Despite what Google said back in 2014 that guest posting is dead for SEO, another benefit of guest blogging is that it helps you to generate a backlink to your website, which is an important component in SEO ranking.

Why? Because backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO, the more backlinks a website has, the better it ranks in Google search results.

 

Building a good Domain Authority

As explained by Spider-Link:

the Domain Authority is a metric created by MOZ that measures the success of a website, expressing it with a value between 0 and 100.

This score is calculated by measuring multiple parameters, such as the number and quality of domains linking to your site, how long the domain has been active, social signals and other factors.

If you are creating valuable guest posts and building great relationships with other websites, guest blogging helps to greatly increase your Domain Authority.

Quick recommendations for cold outreach

  • Start by making a list of 50-60 websites that accept guest posting in your niche.
  • Search on LinkedIn the person in charge for content/ blog. Usually they are people working in marketing.
  • Message them on LinkedIn and outreach with your proposal

How to make your pitched read

Once you’ve identified the sites for which you’ll be writing, you’ll need to figure out how to craft an incredible pitch that will ensure the blogger you’re contacting says yes without fail. Here are a few suggestions.

Explain why they should give you a chance

This is your opportunity to explain the reason why these websites should give you a chance in writing for them.

I like to say that I have 9 years experience in SEO and that I only write about real case studies and from own direct experience.

Because I am an SEO consultant, I come as credible to blogs when I promise that my posts will rank high on search engines.

Craft your email pitch

 

An example of an email I often send:

Hi [name],

I hope you don’t mind me sending you this message. I saw on LinkedIn that you are the [Job title] at [Company], which I assume means you’d know who the best person to contact regarding a guest post submission.

If there’s an opportunity, I’d be really interested in writing for the [company] site.

I’ve written for sites like [sites names] and others in the past. I have [number] years of experience in digital marketing behind me. I always write content based on my first-hand experience. I’m also using either [SEO tools names] to optimize my content for relevant keywords so it has a good chance to rank.

Let me know if you are interested and we can take it from there.

Kind Regards,

[Your name]

The first contact must be a way to enter into communication with the person, to create a relationship with him or her.

Offer something before you demand. Make valuable content available before seeing the opportunity as a mere request for a backlink.

And don’t be disheartened if you get some no’s at first or if you don’t get any answers at all – this is completely normal.

Keep blogging so that you have content to show bloggers you ask to host a guest post and keep contacting them, trying to build authentic and lasting relationships with them.

Make your ideas stand out

There are literally thousand of content ideas you can pitch, so how do you know which idea will win? Here are a few quick tips:

  • Read their blog and figure out which topic they haven’t covered yet but their competitors have. This is their content gap
  • Enquire and find out which content calendar they have and propose ideas linked to their current calendar for a perfect match
  • Check out who their audience is: B2B, B2C, SaaS or something else. According to their audience needs, you can craft 3-5 content ideas to pitch.
  • Always be personable, use the first name in your pitch and don’t use “Hi there” or “To whom it may concern”. Make an extra effort to find out who is in charge of the blog.

Frequent mistakes with guest blogging

Finally, there are a couple of tips that I would like to share with you, before creating your guest posts and they are the mistakes that are made most frequently.

Always try to avoid them in order to multiply the chances of being published and build stable and lasting relationships with bloggers.

1. Don’t research the blog (and the blogger)

A really annoying thing when someone contacts me to write a guest post on my blog is to read an email that starts with something like “Who’s in charge of the blog”.

If you don’t know me, my blog and my audience, I doubt you’ll be able to write suitable content.

And therefore, I reject the proposal regardless.

It is therefore important to always know who to contact and write a message that is as personalized as possible. Show that it is not a copy-paste email sent to 2,000 bloggers, that you know the blog you want to write for and that you want to contribute by writing quality content.

2. Don’t follow the guidelines for creating the guest post

As we mentioned, many bloggers offer guidelines, often very strict, for writing guest posts. These guidelines are sometimes present on the same website, other times they are sent after agreement on the guest post.

The important thing is always to follow the instructions given to you, such as the minimum number of words, the formatting of the article or the position of the backlink.

3. Propose content already on the blog or not in target with the audience of the blog

Of course, you can’t post an article on dog grooming in the UK on a blog that talks about car insurance in the Netherlands.

Proposing an article that has already been covered on the blog or a topic that has nothing to do with the site hosting you will result in only a big NO and will probably also preclude the possibility of future collaborations.

So do thorough research on the blog’s content and target audience in order to identify the best topic that has not yet been covered.

To do this, you can also use SEMRush by going to the left menu and selecting Gap Analysis> Keyword Gap and see which topics are missing in the host blog that is present in blogs of the same niche.

This is exactly what I did when I wrote a guest post for Search Engine Land (SEL).

Through SEMRush I discovered that SEL had never dealt with the topic of scraping softwares, so I proposed it to them.

4. Write too general content

If you want to really capture the attention of a new audience who may not have heard of you yet, it is important to write content that answers exactly a specific question, that can solve a specific problem.

So avoid generic or juice-free contents: get straight to the point.

5. Propose non-original content

When we do guest blogging, it may happen that some bloggers will ask for a guest post on the same topic. Obviously, you can’t share the same content with everyone.

Even if you will probably find yourself dealing with the same topic several times, especially if you specialize in something specific, you must always be able to tell the same thing in a different way.

And never, never, never copy content. Often bloggers do cross-checks with tools like Dupli Checker or Plagiarism Detector and you would really look bad.

Conclusion

Guest writing may be a fantastic opportunity to connect with and learn from other bloggers, promote your material to new audiences, and gain essential SEO backlinks. When performing your outreach, keep in mind to be personal, straightforward, and distinctive. At the end of the day, it’s all a numbers game.

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