Ever called a person you barely know and invited yourself over?
Guest blogging for SEO could feel similar but if you provide value and do it thoughtfully, it’s a great content marketing strategy with a ton of benefits. Kind of like calling an acquaintance and inviting yourself over but offering to cook dinner or bring a takeout meal. Also, you might explain that you’re interested in sharing a mutually beneficial business idea. Doesn’t sound so bad then, right?
What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging or guest posting means writing content for other websites, usually in exchange for a link back to your own website. It is a great way to build relationships, get exposure for your own website, and drive more traffic to your website.
Guest blogging is an effective way to boost your website’s visibility and increase your search engine rankings. By writing content for other websites, you draw attention to your own business or blog through link-building techniques or by giving other people a platform to discuss topics related to their industry.
Benefits of guest blogging
Back in 2014, former Google engineer Matt Cutts said guest blogging was dead (and spammy), but he was proved wrong. Guest blogging is still alive and well in 2023! In fact, guest blogging has evolved as a content marketing technique and 53% of digital marketers believe it’s a great way to build a backlink profile. Plus, it offers a host of benefits to help you climb higher up the search engine rankings.
Build your brand profile
By writing content for other websites, you establish yourself as an industry expert and build brand awareness. Guest blogging gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise, build relationships with other bloggers, and become an established voice in the world of SEO.
Guest blogging also helps you reach a wider audience and attract prospective customers. When you demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, you build a following and readers seek other content written by you, which means you’re building your personal brand.
For example, if you are a financial consultant, you could write a guest blog post for a personal finance website, providing tips on budget planning or retirement savings. If you don’t have the same old run-of-the-mill tips and truly provide valuable guidance, readers will find you on social media or your website, and consume more of your content.
Increase website traffic
With guest posting on other websites, you tap into their audience and drive that traffic back to your website. This will not only help increase your website's visibility but also drive qualified leads who are interested in what your business has to offer.
In creating content for other websites, you leverage their existing readership and give them content that is relevant to their interests. This makes it more likely for the readers to click through to your website and become potential customers. For instance, if you are a home decor retailer, you could write an article for a digital lifestyle magazine about the latest trends in home decor, include a link to your website, and drive more readers to your website.
Improve search engine rankings
Done right, guest blogging improves your website's search engine rankings. Search engines like Google recognize when other websites link back to yours, and will reward you with higher rankings if they see that your content is valuable and relevant.
Tread carefully, though, because guest blogging can backfire and lower your website's search engine rankings. If you churn out low-quality content, or are constantly getting backlinks from spammy websites, Google’s algorithms will catch on and lower your rankings on the SERP (search engine results page).
So if you want to stay on Google’s good side, make sure your content is top-notch and your links are squeaky clean.
How to create a successful guest blogging strategy
There are more than 600 million blogging sites in the world. How do you find the right ones to be a guest author on?
Plus, guest blogging can be a time-consuming activity, and you don’t want it to be counterproductive and result in little traffic or zero leads. You need to spend time researching and finding the right guest posting opportunities to focus on, and write high-quality content that will resonate with the target audience. Here’s how:
1. Set SMART goals
Outline goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For example, set a goal to create five guest posts with a minimum of 1,000 words each in your industry, within the next two months. That way, you can measure your progress and adjust your strategy if needed.
SMART goals help you narrow down your search for the right guest posting opportunities and ensure that you are targeting the right audience. They also keep you on track to create content that is both relevant and engaging to the target audience.
2. Focus on quality, not quantity
When researching guest blogging prospects, look for reputable sites that are related to your industry and have a high domain rating (DR) and viewership. Use a tool like Google’s search engine or Moz’s Link Explorer to find websites that accept guest posts. You could also connect with other bloggers in your industry who have high authority and offer to write guest posts for their sites. This will help you get more exposure and build relationships with other experts in your niche.
To shortlist websites, analyze each one and study their design, content topics, editorial guidelines and recent blog posts to get an idea of what type of content they accept and how well your article would fit in with their existing content. As a general rule of thumb, the sites on your wish list should have a DR of 40 or higher and a spam score lower than 30%.
Make a list of a few guest posting sites to focus on and remember that it’s better to have three high-quality guest posts on reputed sites than six blog posts that are unoriginal and ‘meh.’ Even if it feels like that SMART goal you set will come back to haunt you.
Repeat after me, quality first!
And, if you’re stuck on ideas or struggling with writer’s block, use a trusted AI writing assistant to deliver quality and add flavor to your work.
1. Use advanced search operators to refine and filter your search.
2. Use Google Reverse Image Search to stalk your favorite guest bloggers. That’s a joke but seriously, use the headshot of a reputed blogger to see where they get published. Then, target the outlets because they are more likely to accept guest blogs.
3. Choose topics that overlap with your niche
No matter how passionate you are about growing plants, it won’t work for a finance blog. Unless you’re talking about growing your own vegetables to save money. Use keyword research to find topics that your audience is looking for and will serve your marketing goals and SEO strategy, whether it is referrals or qualified leads.
And, carefully study the website you plan to pitch to evaluate existing content and how you can add value with guest blogging. If a website already has a comprehensive guide or a thought leadership post on a topic, they won’t be interested in your pitch. The best guest blogs are those that fill existing gaps in information and serve the reader’s needs.
4. Craft your pitch and reach out to prospects
Once you identify the topics you want to write guest posts on, it’s time to write a solid pitch and start your outreach. In your pitch, outline why your blog post would add value and fill knowledge gaps, or how it might disrupt existing ways of thinking and functioning in the industry.
Blogger outreach isn’t just about sending one email and then waiting for a response. Companies and influencers get so many emails in a day — you need yours to stand out. Ideally, you are already a familiar name, either through social media comments, testimonials on their website, or reviewing their podcasts or books. Once you have a foundational relationship, it will be easier for your pitch to be considered.
5. Write your post and measure success
Now is the time to show the world what you've got! Unleash your expertise and write a blog post that your readers will connect with and engage with.
Make sure to optimize your post for search engines. Include meta tags, use relevant keywords in the title and body of the post, add visuals, and create a compelling headline. Don’t forget to add an author bio that links to your own blog too.
Keep an eye on the metrics for your posts — use Google Analytics or Ahrefs to measure organic traffic over time, referring domains, keyword rankings, and quality backlinks. Document the growth and build on it to create your future guest posts.
Adopt a trial-and-error approach to guest blogging
Guest blogging isn’t an exact science. You need to keep at it to see what works and where you need to adjust your strategy. A key thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to be that guest who overstays their welcome or leaves the house (website) worse than you found it.
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.