Guest blogging is an old standby in the SEO book which has stood the test of times and is still considered as one of the best practices to build your online brand. Considered as one of the best off-page strategies, guest blogging too has been through Google’s surveillance to keep a check on those abusing this technique to build links for their sites. But unlike the other SEO practices, it hasn’t lost its importance after the introduction the dreaded Panda & Penguin updates. Google has though brutally punished the malpractitioners.
The three elements that have evolved as game changer after the search engine updates includes, high quality content, authority back links and a prominent social presence. Guest blogging has the power to originate and drive all three of them.
You have to be extremely strategic in using this success formula, else it can hit you back like a boomerang. Quality, authenticity, authority, sincerity and consistency- make this Five ‘Y’ part of your guest blogging rule book.
Why to do Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is not a quick and easy solution to all your blogging problems. In fact it’s a high commitment job. It requires your valuable time to formulate a strategy, build the relationship and most importantly create a well researched post of supreme quality on a relevant topic which is not even going to get posted on your own site. Its pretty natural to get scrupulous about the real worth of it. Let’s see how it helps:
1. Create Brand Awareness
It’s always difficult to get the initial traction. Specially at a point of time when the field is already crowded with bloggers targeting the same niche as yours.
” As per a survey, there are 42,000,000 Blogs in the US alone.”
In the prevailing scenario, guest blogging gives you an opportunity to create noise where the audience is already present. It not only helps you in brand visibility but it also helps you in improving the credibility of your content.
2. Driving Referral Traffic
Guest blogging on the authority sites in your niche is a great way to drive referral traffic to your site. Most importantly, it’s already a group of people who are interested in your topic, so turning them into repeated visitors is comparatively easier this way.
3. Earn Back Links
“When it comes to SEO, guest posting on other sites is five times as valuable as creating new content on your own site.”
Guest blogging is great for the health of your sites’ organic SEO. Besides creating brand awareness, it also fetches you much desired authority back links for your site. Backlinks are the real currency of the web. Earlier SEO experts used to indulge into various malpractices of buying links for a site, but with recent Google updates, all those link trading and other similar practices have taken a hit. Getting backlinks from other authority sites in your niche is now more important than ever before. Cumulatively, these back links will help you a lot in getting a higher search engine rank in a comparatively small span of time.
4. Networking with Other Bloggers
Building a network is a key to the success in the blogosphere. Guest blogging is a great way to start your blogger outreach program and build relationships with your fellow publishers. If your article manages to get good response on their site, they will definitely get back to you for more. And, if any of the leading bloggers or publishers tweet about your guest post or even retweet your article on their social media platforms, which they mostly do, it will further help you in getting exposure to their huge followers base. This will add to the bit of your marketing which is not bad. You also can mention some of the leading bloggers in your post and drop them a note, which will open your way to approach them in future. This kind of professional relationship can accelerate the growth of your blog potentially.
How to start with Guest Blogging?
Now when you have enough reasons to start with guest blogging, the big question appears- How to start? Most of the publishers and bloggers have a perception that it’s all about creating a post, submitting it to other publishers and get them publish. Somehow similar to what they do on their own blogs.
But this is not really going to work. Specially keeping in view the steep competition and ever growing complexity in the field of guest blogging, you need to work out a strategic plan to achieve desired results. Start with writing your goals.
What’s your guest blogging Goal?
Ask yourself what exactly you want to achieve through guest blogging. What are the objectives you want to full fill through this? Within what time frame you want to see the result? Whether it’s a short term venture or you want to continue with it? Some of the things you might be looking forward to:
- Creating brand awareness
- Expanding your reach
- Increasing readership of your blog
- Getting authority back links
- Building connections with fellow bloggers and industry leaders
You may also do it just to try your hand in different topics and styles or purely to add it to your portfolio. It can be anything but it has to be definite. This is extremely crucial for chalking out the whole plan as everything will be decided keeping the goal in mind.
How to Select Blogs for Guest Blogging?
It will take a lot of your time, energy and effort to create a high quality, relevant blog post which will be of value for the host blog. You can’t afford to start sending articles to every other blog accepting guest articles. You have to strategically search and churn out few blogs from your niche, which should not essentially be identical to your blog topic but related to it or something which interests you. Here’s what you need to do to find authority blogs in your niche:-
- You might have them in your RSS. These can be the ones you regularly follow, try them out if they have the provision for guest posts
- You can also visit the sites like MyBlogGuest, Guest Blog Genius, PostJoint which specifically cater to the needs of those looking for guest blogging opportunities
- Search on Twitter with accurate phrases related to guest blogging opportunity and follow the real time updates to get the desired result. You can conduct the search on other popular social media sites to find out the latest buzz on the topic
- Go to Google, select ‘Blogs’ or ‘Discussion’ option and find out the most ‘talked about’ sites
- You can go to Google and try to search “Top 10 blogs” of your niche, or randomly search with other related keywords to get the result
- You can also check their Alexa rank as it has fairly good search rankings system
Make a mixed list, where you have the top blogs of your niche, also the ones which have a growing readership base but don’t rank very high in popularity or search engine result. In general try to target those blogs with any of the following characteristics:
- An impressive readership base
- High page ranks in general
- Active community both on site and social media
- An audience demography of common interest
Tip: Try to reach out to the industry leaders or the publishers who have never accepted guest posts on their blogs. Approach them with a compelling proposal and offer something of great value. If you crack through them you’ll get the extra benefit for sure.
How to Approach Other Bloggers for Guest Posts?
Once you have zeroed in on the prospective blog sites you want to write for, you have to frame a strategy to reach out to them. There are blogs which have a predefined process for the guest bloggers to submit their posts. All you have to do is, to follow the steps and guidelines carefully and you are done with your submission.
It becomes a hard nut to crack, when there are no particular guidelines available for the guest bloggers except from a contact email ID. You have to be tactful when approaching this kind of bloggers. Remember they might receive 10s or 100s of mails every day with a guest blogging request, you have to stand out in the crowd to win the opportunity. Study the host blog thoroughly to get a good understanding of its style, topicality and quality of the published content. Think how you can contribute to the blog for its best and communicate your thought in a convincing manner, keeping the content expectation in mind.
Tip: You can promote their articles on your own social media pages, which can help you get noticed. Also try to get back with an exact time limit within which you will send the post.
Finally, use guest blogging as a part of your overall SEO strategy. Guest blogging 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.