Be Our Guest: What It Takes to Find Success with Guest Blogging

Be Our Guest: What It Takes to Find Success with Guest Blogging

As far as internet marketing and SEO goes, you feel like your company has done everything. The content on your website is helpful and well-written, plus it contains your keywords frequently. You have included your business on local search engines. Your social media accounts are updated regularly and have hundreds of followers. What more can you do?

In the last few years, guest blogging—writing an article for another site—has emerged as a popular method of link building. Some sources in the SEO industry have questioned the effectiveness of guest blogging, and it’s true that guest blogging, on its own, probably won’t achieve the overall results that you want. But, within your SEO strategy, guest blogging is the extra push that your company might need to get recognized online.

What Do I Have to Do?

The most important thing to realize upfront is that guest blogging takes time, and it is about more than link building.

It may seem like mass-producing articles and using an email template to send out offers to hundreds of sites would be the fastest, most effective way to get links and promote your company. Site owners are smarter than that. They know a form email when they see it, and if you have put no thought into your proposal, they won’t think twice about rejecting you (or never responding).

Becoming a successful guest blogger is possible with the following steps:

Find Sites That Are High Quality

Guest blogging is more profitable when you write for excellent websites. You want sites that look professional, but don’t be fooled by appearances. There are websites with a great design and well-written content that have low PageRank or little measurable authority, which means your link won’t be as valuable. Ideally, the websites you contact will look good and have a high authority, which can be measured through several toolbars online. Beware of websites that seem overloaded with links, as it’s likely that search engines will eventually de-index these sites, making any links you publish there of little use to your site.

Find Sites that Relate to Your Company

Let’s just say that the keyword you want to focus on is “organic shampoo.” Sites about health and/or beauty would be most applicable to this keyword, and sites that contain product reviews or posts about the environment are relevant as well. However, trying to place the keyword “organic shampoo” into an article for a technology site looks spammy and downright tacky. Google wants to reward sites that contribute value to the internet, so try to avoid any practice that makes your article (and therefore your link) more spammy and less valuable.

Personalize Your Pitches

Before you contact the site owner, browse through the website. Seeing the content that’s already posted will help you think of an article idea that fits that site’s niche. Although it’s tempting, don’t just say you’ll write an article about organic shampoo. Give a specific idea, such as “5 Reasons to Purchase Organic Beauty Products.” Site owners are more likely to respond positively when it’s obvious that you’ve considered the type of content that’s going to work best for them, not just for you.

Research

Even if you don’t know absolutely everything about the subject, your article should indicate that you know quite a bit. Choose subjects within your field of expertise and then search online to fill in the gaps of what you don’t know. Writing content that presents legitimate, well-researched information will make your article (and therefore your link) more valuable.

Write Original and Interesting Content

Know which topics have been covered on the website so you do not send articles that are redundant. With the Internet being the giant source of knowledge that it is, it’s likely that your topic has been covered somewhere else, but that doesn’t mean you can’t present the information in a fresh way. Use your voice and personal experience to make the article your own.

Use correct grammar

If your article comes in with a lot of misspellings and other errors, the site owner is the one who has to fix them. And it’s likely that they will throw their hands in the air, curse the heavens, and give up on you and your article altogether. Plus, articles with poor grammar are (naturally) lower-quality than well-written, grammatically correct articles. In order to make sure that you are getting the most link juice out of your article, double-check your spelling and grammar before submitting.

Always Provide a Bio

Most websites allow a short bio around 50 words at the end of your article. A great bio should include the author’s full name and promote the author and his or her expertise rather than the company. You can surely mention the company you work for, but do so by explaining your personal involvement. Using the byline to promote yourself (rather than your keyword) makes your article more authoritative, and therefore more valuable, so use your byline appropriately.

Be Interested in Building Relationships

Remember that the site you contact is run by an actual person. Look for the contact’s name and use it. Try to reply to messages and send articles back within a few days. Always be polite and thank the site owner, whether they accept your article or not. If you’ve proven to be a good writer who is easy to work with, you may be able to write for the site again.

Follow Up

Don’t be afraid to send another message if you have sent off an article and there is no response from the site owner for several days. Sometimes, you have to be persistent to get the post up. Once your article has been published, promote it across your company’s social media accounts and respond to any comments.

If you are guest blogging regularly, you may want to consider accepting guest posts on your company’s blog. This does not mean you have to accept half-hearted pitches and content that’s terribly written, but many site owners are more open to publishing a guest post if you are willing to publish one yourself. Plus, you will also have content for your blog that you’d otherwise have to write yourself.

What Do I Get?

Let’s start with the obvious answer: you get a link within your article. Choose your most prominent keyword to insert into articles so you increase your ranking for that keyword. Remember to only use one keyword, and only create one link per article; anything more than that becomes spammy keyword stuffing. If you have done your job and contacted high-quality sites, that link should pass on some of the site’s authority to your own.

In addition, you have the opportunity to develop your own credibility and reach out to potential customers on niche sites. For example, if you publish an article mentioning organic shampoo on an environmental site, the readers of that site will likely be interested in purchasing organic shampoo. Guest posts are a great way to raise awareness of your business and target the right clients. If you have established your expertise by writing something informative, people will look for your products and services because they know you are qualified in your field.

Guest blogging takes some effort, but with the time and resources it takes to contact sites and write articles properly, a post on someone else’s site can attract a lot more visitors to yours.

Shannon Williams
[email protected]

Shannon Williams was the team lead over Onsite Copy and Onsite Blogging at Boostability.