Guest blogging is one of the common techniques for building backlinks to a website. In fact, it’s one of the truly tried-and-tested methods for increasing search results and driving traffic to your website.
However, guest blogging sometimes comes under fire and may not be the search engine optimization panacea that it once was.
That’s because most of the search engines, particularly Google, have become much more conscientious of filtering out what they consider “low-quality” backlinks.
Google doesn’t frown upon guest posting, but it has in the past issued a warning for sites pushing low-quality and spammy links with the intent of marketing their websites.
Does That Mean Guest Blogging Is Dead?
Far from it, guest blogging is still among the most effective ways to drive traffic and enhance your SERPs. For example, Quick Sprout grew their KISSmetrics blog to over 400,000 visitors a month and their Crazy Egg blog to over 100,000 visitors using guest author contributions.
So, yes, guest posting can be a lucrative venture, but at the same time, it can easily get you on the wrong side of search engines. The trick here is getting pickier about where you choose to guest blog and who you choose to post on your own site.
To learn more about guest blogging, this comprehensive guide outlines the upsides and downsides of this practice.
But first, let’s see why guest blogging matters for your business before looking at how to unlock this powerful content marketing technique.
Why Guest Blogging Matters
When you’re trying your best to create content for your blog and grow your audience, the notion of spending more time writing posts for another business might seem counterproductive.
However, in the ever-changing digital marketing world, guest posting is among the top content marketing strategies for marketers and bloggers looking for new audiences.
Embracing this smart content marketing strategy also offers a range of other impressive benefits.
It Establishes You as an Authority
This is one of the biggest hurdles new bloggers face. However, guest posting helps new bloggers establish authority, and quickly.
When you start a blog, it’s quite normal that you don’t have many, if any, readers. But an established website has thousands, so if you guest post for that website, visitors will be directed to your blog and get to know you immediately.
The more quality content you get out, the more people will trust your brand, which helps you build more authority.
Of course, guest posting isn’t enough; you also need to offer solid information people can trust.
Instant Exposure to Targeted Traffic
Once you have shown you can offer value, readers will quickly seek you out for more insightful content.
The host blog might also have a large number of prospective customers interested in your products or services. That means guest blogging can help you get new prospects and convert them to paying customers without coming across as pushy.
Quality backlinks still matter in SEO, and if you conjure up quality and useful guest posts, there’s a likelihood of gaining a link back to your blog.
The good thing with guest posting backlinks is that when you pick a higher authority website than yours, the “authority link juice” is passed to your website. Also, guest posting allows you to create many backlinks, which will help you rank even higher in SERPs.
However, always ensure your backlinks aren’t spammy or irrelevant as they could hurt your blog’s rankings. That includes all unnatural links from link networks, blog and forum comments, footer links, and article directory links.
More Social Shares
When your audience sees that your content is getting shared, they’ll be more willing to share it with other people, as well.
That means if you’re submitting a guest blog to a site with lots of social media activity, it will most likely get more shares when published.
A Bigger Social Media Following
Guest blogging goes beyond increasing social media shares; it can boost your followers and accelerate your lead generation efforts too.
Guest blogging on an authoritative website means that site vouches for your brand, which in turn makes you look good in the eyes of the host’s audience. And the best part is that you’re given the chance to customize your contributor profile, where you can include all your social media accounts.
Collectively, all the above measures make it not only easy to win the host audience’s trust but to also increase your social media following.
Better Blogging Skills
A fascinating part of guest blogging is you get to learn more about blogging. You get to explore new ideas about how to write a variety of different guest posts.
If you also post on an authority site, you’re likely to receive many comments from readers, which help to show how good your blogging skills are.
Stronger Relationships and Networks
Sharing practical tips that are not available elsewhere piques your audience’s interest and creates a stronger relationship as they note how your business works to solve their problems.
That’s why it’s crucial to incorporate your brand’s voice in every guest post you submit. Doing that ensures your brand gets easily recognized by potential customers and other experts, thereby establishing meaningful relationships and networks.
The Dark Side of Guest Blogging
Guest blogging also has its share of downsides, and if you’re not careful, it could penalize your website in the following ways.
Reduce Your Authority
Quality content has always ranked better, and to ensure only quality posts gain recognition, Google has cracked down on guest posting to prevent rank manipulation.
The measures, including rank schemes such as publishing poor quality content or even paying to get links, will see the rank value of your website deteriorate. Secondly, by accepting a poor quality guest blog, you might damage your reputation and lose your faithful followers.
While guest blogging offers a new twist on how information is presented, it might introduce a different writing style that readers may not welcome. This is particularly true if there are no strict guidelines for guest bloggers.
Content syndication is when a third party republishes their digital content on another website.
Understandably so, webmasters expect to reserve the publishing rights of their guest posts. But unfortunately, you don’t have any control over bloggers choosing to republish their content.
Often, republishing is a form of plagiarism, and may result in penalization of your website; you may rank lower because Google has no actual way of verifying the source of the blog.
Takes Time and Effort
Guest posting is an intensive venture, and it can take up a lot of your time, effort, and resources.
For a start, it takes time to find a blog to submit to, and once you do, you’ll need to spend time coming up with a good article. Once it’s published, which isn’t always a given, it’s still questionable whether you’ll see results.
How to Create a Guest Blogging Strategy
Quality content is the first thing you need for guest blogging. No site wants to publish boring, poorly written posts for their audience.
Once you’re confident that your posts are authentic, it’s time to think of how you can get the most out of every guest post you submit. Let’s look at eight important steps to follow for effective guest blogging.
1. Know Your Goals
An effective guest blogging strategy is based on your goals. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know which road to take.
Typical goals may include:
- Driving traffic to your landing page
- Attracting inbound links for SEO
- Building awareness of your services, brand, or products
- Getting more subscribers
2. Find Sites for Your Guest Blogs
Before writing a guest post, you need to find a site that accepts content from guest authors. The site you choose must also help you get closer to realizing your goals.
3. Establish a Connection with the Owner/Publisher of the Site
Before approaching site owners for a guest posting opportunity through pitching, you need to connect with them. Don’t let all these online pitching templates fool you, as cold pitches never work unless your content speaks for itself.
Today, many webmasters frown at irrelevant pitches and low-quality content so much so that they’ll only accept content from people they know and trust. To build trust, start by understanding their site and the kind of content they post.
Consider reading the site’s content for several weeks and learn what matters to their audience and their business. You can also connect with the publishers on social media and tag them whenever you share content from their site.
The point is to create a genuine relationship with site owners. Faking it won’t help as you’ll not achieve your goals when they figure it out.
4. Choose Winning Topics
After getting a good understanding of what matters to the audience and your target site owners, it’s time to choose a topic to pitch.
Armed with the knowledge of what’s already on the site, think about how you can improve and add value by providing additional information or creating something new. You also need to check out the site’s pitching guidelines if there are any.
5. Let Your Pitch Do the Talking
To increase your chances of success, avoid generic pitches that are readily available on the internet. Do your homework early, and you’ll have everything you need to craft a winning pitch that connects personally with the site owner.
Pro Tip: Keep your pitch short and straight as an arrow. Most authoritative sites receive hundreds of pitches weekly, so the owners can’t afford to waste time.
6. Craft Stellar Content
After your pitch is accepted, you’ll need to write the guest post. It’s essential to make the content better than your best post, especially if you’re writing for a site for the first time.
You can research relevant keyword phrases and incorporate them into your catchy titles and content, as site owners like guest posts that rank well. You’ll also want to include internal and external links for SEO and building site authority.
7. Work That Bio
Your bio is the final payoff for all the hard work you’ve put into your guest post this far. That’s because you get to link back to your website and resources. As such, you can use the bio for lead generation.
8. Promote Your Content
Promoting the content not only makes the site owner happy for bringing in more traffic, but it also exposes you to more people. You can use the same channels where you promote your own site’s content, like mentioning the post to your subscribers in your next email marketing newsletter.
Is Guest Blogging Worth It?
Sure, guest blogging is resource-intensive, but it offers an easy and effective way to establish online authority, improve traffic, and grow your brand.
If you’re willing to take the time to do thorough research – not only when you’re actually writing the post but also to find the right site – then your business is set to reap the benefits of guest posting.