One SEO practice that still rules post Panda & Penguin updates is Guest blogging. And the reason why it still works is because it is the best way to build authority links. Also this most effective off-page strategy is a win win opportunity for both the guest blogger and the host blogger. The guest blogger gets a established platform to get introduced to its target audience. On the other hand, the host blogger gets well researched and high quality content for free.
However, even guest blogging isn’t immune to Google algorithms if not done properly. For example, post Penguin update, bulk guest posting will get you in Google’s bad books. So, here are few tips to create a cult guest blogging strategy in the post Penguin era.
1. Frame a Content Strategy
Just like your content strategy helps you create successful content in a structured manner, guest posting too needs a strategic plan to create relevant content. You have to create absolutely killer content to get your guest post to hit the target. First thing you should do is to scan through the targeted blog thoroughly for its content style. Check the popular guest posts the site already has. Try to create content that is tailored to fit the host blog. One way to ensure that is to do your home work on the voice, tone and theme of the host blog.
It’s very important to know whom you’re writing for? Choose the topics that’s popular with the host blogger and its audience. An original and compelling article on a subject is most likely to find its audience.
Also, create post on topics closely related to your blog niche. Instead of targeting any particular keyword, target a range of related key words or key phrase.
Tip: Do not publish duplicate content or reuse old content as it can have a negative impact on both your own and the host blog. Create unique and relevant content for your guest post.
2. Create an Editorial Calendar
Creating original and quality content is a time consuming process. Guest post too demands a good amount of time from your already busy schedule. Before you commit to write a guest post, check out whether your own publishing schedule will be able to accommodate it or not, as you can’t do it at the cost of your own publication.
Once you have decided upon your target blogs, start brainstorming for the probable topics to organize your blogging efforts. Jot down all your ideas at one place, with reference points and thoughts around it. Create an editorial calendar to manage the whole thing effectively along with your own publication requirements. Thinking ahead will not make you more productive, but will also help you produce higher quality content.
3. Follow the Guest Post Guidelines
Many blogs and publications have pre-set guidelines for the guest bloggers. Go through them thoroughly. This will help you frame the story structure correctly and minimize the chance of your post getting rejected. Guest post guidelines generally contain information regarding:
- Content expectation
- Tone and style of the guest post
- Format of the post
- Information related to the editorial process
The guest post guidelines will also influence your content strategy, so pay heed to them before getting your post ready. For example, big publications like Copyblogger prefers content which can benefit their readers like advanced tips, where as Problogger keeps it more open by accepting good quality content on targeted topics.
4. Choose a Topic Related to the Theme of Your Blog
Always choose a topic for guest posting which can easily be streamlined with the theme of your own blog. Remember your ultimate goal is to appeal to the target audience in your niche. This will also give you a chance to add a linkback to your own blog. Considering the audience is already interested in the topic, it won’t require too much effort on your part to turn them into your repeated visitors.
Not to forget, it should comfortably fit in a particular category of the host blog too. For example, if you are a beauty blogger you can choose a fashion topic for guest blogging. Here you will easily be able to link back to couple of your own articles while talking about relevant make-up tips.
Tip: Look for the topics your target audience is demanding, choose one of them which suits your blog theme the most.
5. Focus on Creating Original and Unique Content
There is a tendency of the guest bloggers to spin their old articles. Don’t do this mistake ever. It will ruin your impression permanently. You might be thinking why to spend much time after a post which will be published on others site? Now think of it in a different way, this is the post which is going to introduce you to your potential audience. So you need to put your best foot forward to win them over. This will also help you in getting your content published easily.
6. Proof Read Your Post
Now a days, bloggers and publishers have become pickier than ever. Always make sure to edit your guest post before submitting it. Remember it’s not the publishers’ responsibility to check the mistakes and refine it to make it publish ready.
A post with silly mistakes shows lack of sincerity on your part. On the other hand, it also harms your credibility. Try to revise your article multiple times to check the spelling and grammar, minimize the use of wrong vocabulary, and check the story flow. Do the proof reading and then only submit the final draft.
If you are not comfortable copy editing your own story, take help from the professionals. In fact you can use online copy editing tools to make your piece of content error free. There are many free tools available online to make editing easier for you, like Grammerly and SpellChecker for grammar and spelling check, WordWeb to help you out with right vocabulary, PaperRater to suggest you appropriate title and do the proof reading work for you and so on.
Also don’t forget to run your content through a plagiarism checker, even one percent plagiarism is good enough to get your article rejected outrightly. There are many plagiarism checking softwares available in the market. For example, Copyscape, Plagiarismchecker, Plagium etc. are the best plagiarsim checker tools available.
Tip: Don’t do the editing while composing or right after finishing it. Come back to it some time later. Many a times it happens that you tend to skip silly mistakes while editing a post immediately after composing it, where as you easily detect them later.
7. Get the Anchor Text Right
Guest posting is the new link building strategy post panda and penguin. But anchor text has become a big concern after Google Panda and Penguin. SEO practitioners of the pre Panda era have abused the anchor texting practice to such an extent that it took the whole blogging concept to the verge of getting devalued. Google webmaster guidelines on anchor text links is clearly against any manipulation including too much focus on keyword-rich anchor text links. So, remember to:
- Use meaningful text for anchor text links
- Don’t use words like ‘read more’, ‘here’ etc. in the post for linking back
- Link back to landing pages optimized for that blog’s audience
- Don’t use the same keywords and keyphrases for linking back
- Too many articles that are all optimized for the same set of keywords is a big no no
Tip: If the host platform has an author bio plugin installed, then go for linking your site from there to build credibility. Don’t include more than one or two links.
8. Choose Sites with Maximum Comments
Try to find out blogs which have maximum number of comments on their articles. Target these blogs to get your posts published on. It’s been seen, comments are directly proportionate to the increased referral traffic to your blog. More comments means more active community, where you can get those passionate and active readers.
Tip: Instead of the top-notch sites in your niche, also consider writing guest posts for smaller but good blogs in your industry with active communities. Writing for them will take less time but will help you establish your reach quickly.
9. Reply to the Comments
As a publisher you must be busy for sure, but make sure to check the comments you get on your guest post. Try to respond back and get into conversation if possible. This will help you to connect with this new set of readers. It’s not necessary to acknowledge each and every one individually all the time, but make sure to get back with an answer if you are asked a question or any kind of clarification. This will help you enhance your credibility and get exposure in the first place. If you’ll give importance to your audience they will return you the favor with their visit on your blog site.
10. Promote Your Post on Social Media
Most of the publishers use guest blogging for promotional purpose. If you really want to get maximum out of it, do promote the article once it gets published. Own your content. The more these articles will get exposure, better it is for you. But for that you have to help yourself by promoting the guest post for the host blog. You can do it in many ways:
- Indulge in discussions on similar topics on other blogs and forums
- Link it back in your future posts
On many occasions, the host blogger also does promotion for the guest post. A synergic effort will definitely help in achieving better response in the form of likes, shares, tweets etc. Social signals play a huge role in improving your search engine rankings and earning credibility with the audience on social media platforms.
Finally, use guest blogging as a part of your overall SEO strategy. Guest post is one of the most effective ways to market yourself with zero investment. Use it to build both links and a brand name for yourself.