Many years ago, guest posting on another person’s website was considered part of a solid SEO strategy. Not only did it get you a link from another site, but it also exposed you to other audiences. If you guest posted on another site, that site got content they didn’t have to create – and if you posted guest posts on your site, you gave your audience fresh new content without having to do much of anything. There’s been much debate over the value guest posting offers – and now, we definitively have the answer.
Google’s John Mueller has said on Twitter, “Those [guest post] links have zero value. It’s a waste of time if you’re just doing it for the links.” Unfortunately, this isn’t new. Google has been telling us for years that these links don’t add any value – and they’ve even said you need to add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to them if you choose to use them on your website.
Google has said since 2014 that guest posting is a dead approach to link building, and yet there are still plenty of people out there who believe it offers some value in terms of SEO. However, just because it doesn’t do anything to build your backlinks, is it still a waste of time? Not necessarily.
Rather than focusing on what value it brings to the search engines – focus on the value it brings toward building authority with your brand and expanding your community. While it may not boost your search ranking, when people read the blog posts, they may choose to click the link to visit your site – so you should at least get a bit of traffic from each link. The more quality traffic you get, the better your rank will become over time.
Building the Right Kind of Guest Posting Strategy
- With guest posting, your goal should be to target the top blogs in your niche and in related areas. Ideally, they will have fairly large audiences who are engaged.
- Once you determine what those websites are, you need to craft pitches and produce quality content that the host site will find useful and of value to their audience.
- After the pitch is accepted and the content is published, actively promote the content, and participate in conversations around it.
- Rinse and repeat.
Finding Guest Posting Opportunities
If you’re a manufacturer of cast iron pots and pans, then you’ll want to focus on blogs that are related to cooking, health and wellness, and bloggers who are reviewers. You can connect with the people who provide the most value in terms of following and engagement with an influencer/outreach campaign, and pitch topics to the others for use on their blog.
Start with a Google Search
Google is a wonderful place to start because all you have to do is search for things like:
- “guest post guidelines”
- “guest post by”
- “accepting guest posts”
- “guest post”
- “submit a guest post
Simply swap out keyword with your chosen industry keywords. You’ll be taken directly to pages on sites that address guest posting so you can learn more about their process. Some sites only want pitches, while others are willing to accept fully written pieces right away.
Beyond Google, you can also search on social media platforms to see more potential sites to work with. This works because many people share their latest guest posts with their followers. Run a Twitter search with “guest post” and you’ll see all the latest tweets about guest posts in your industry. From there, you can follow the links to see if there are any blogs still accepting guest posts.
Preparing to Pitch Guest Posts
While it may be tempting to go straight from finding the sites you want to guest post with to making contact right away, this isn’t the way to go. First, you need to do a bit of research. Taking the time to get to learn more about the blog you’re pitching not only helps you craft a pitch that is more likely to be noticed and accepted but also prepares you for what and how you should write.
Look through the Existing Content
Take time to read through some of the content that is already on the site. If you have a particular topic in mind, search to make sure it hasn’t been covered, or that you can find a different angle or way to add value without repeating what’s already there.
As you read through everything answer these questions:
- What level is the audience they are writing for? Beginners? Intermediate? Expert?
- Are they writing for a business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B) audience?
- What kind of content is most prevalent? Are they posting general overviews? Detailed tutorials? Are they a fan of list posts? How much are they linking to other sites? Are their posts full of images?
- Which posts are getting the most interaction from people? Are the most popular posts all centered around one topic, or written by the same person? Are they all the same type of post?
Use what you gather here to help you when you craft your pitch.
Take time to read the guidelines. Failure to do so just makes you look bad and frustrates the blog owner. Follow the guidelines in your pitch. Double-check everything before you submit.
Personalize your pitch to the site owner. If you can, refer to them by name in your greeting. Most people make their names known in the About section of their website. If you can’t find it there, look around the social media accounts to see what you can come up with. Use their name in the greeting whenever possible. Nothing says “spray and pray” like “Dear Sir or Madam.”
Remember, some of these blogs get hundreds of pitches for guest blogs every month. They’re used to generic pitches, so if you can make yours stand out, you have a better chance of getting them to work with you.
Introduce yourself and your blog, if you have one, but focus on your blogging skills first. Include why you should be a guest blogger, along with some samples of your work that has been published elsewhere. If possible, go with the posts that have the highest engagement levels so the site owner can see the potential value you bring to their audience.
If the guest post guidelines ask for an idea, don’t be afraid to pitch a few different ideas so they can tell you which one they’d rather have you do.
When you submit the post, make sure it’s formatted like the ones already on the site – and around the same word count. In other words, don’t submit a post with 500 words and one image if all the others are 1,000+ words with images throughout. Don’t forget the call to action to encourage people to interact with you, and most importantly, be there to respond and promote once the post goes live.
What are your thoughts on guest posting? I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below.