Whether you’re a freelance content writer or find yourself as part of a marketing team, guest blogging is one of the most common link building tactics out there. What’s link-building you ask? You may want to check out this blog first… Otherwise, we’ll talk about how basic guest blogging strategies can help you generate higher traffic and better SERP rankings for your websites! It’s not always a fool-proof method, but if you know where to start you can only make “helpful” mistakes along the way:
As many startups or digital marketers will tell you, good content along with strategically placed links are essential to building domain authority. Along with organic links, directory links, and specifically requested backlinks, guest blogging is one of the strongest strategies for several reasons. First off, most websites (especially those with smaller marketing teams) are always looking for fresh content to keep their audience and Google happy. When new blogs on hot topics get crawled, there’s a greater chance they’ll be seen in SERPs. That ultimately means more traffic or sales.
Since backlinks are (essentially) free, many influential blogs would rather link to your website than compensate you monetarily. Honestly, for many up-and-coming bloggers and companies, hefty backlinks from high ranking websites are worth their weight in gold! So what basic guest blogging strategies should you know?
5 Essential, Yet Basic Guest Blogging Strategies:
1. Ensure Your Own Blog is Loveable
Before you can pitch your content writing skills, you’ve got to have plenty of examples to pull from. Whether it’s a company or personal blog, make sure your posts are worthy of the types of sites you’ll be targeting with your outreach. Whether you’re using common blogging sites like Medium or WordPress, it’s important to design your posts to be both visually appealing and SEO friendly.
One great tool we use to guide our efforts is the Yoast SEO plugin. This free plugin can tell you all sorts of useful information when writing a blog to ensure it’s up to modern SEO standards. Adding elements like heading tags, alt-text in your images, and previewing your meta description are essential to helping your own blog be successful. Then, once you’ve got great examples of your own SEO-friendly work you’ll be able to pitch similar content!
2. Prepare Content to Pitch
Sure, having great ideas for content isn’t a bad thing but most of your guest blogging targets will want something concrete. Before writing anything, be sure to analyze the style and voice of the top outlets in your field to understand how your piece should sound and feel. What makes their content appealing? How do they engage readers? At the same time, get a handle on what keywords they are ranking for and how you can incorporate these metrics into your pitch as well.
Tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer or Answer the Public are great starting places for understanding the types of terms and phrases to include in your guest blog. In addition to writing great, engaging content including information about how well a piece can rank for certain keywords is an incredible selling point. To really make each pitch worth your time, we recommend having at least three pre-written guest blogs on hand.
3. Find Your Guest Blogging Targets
Now that your own blog is looking great and your guest pieces are available, it’s time to choose your targets. An easy way to start is with specific Google searches:
- Search ‘guest blogging opportunities + keyword/industry’
- Search for ‘inurl:write-for-us + keyword/industry’
This second example uses what’s called a search operator and these provide lots of advantages depending on what you need to turn up in a SERP.
In addition to making sure a website will accept your content, you must also be acutely aware of things like Page Authority and Domain Authority. One way to judge this is with the Moz’s Open Site Explorer. Pages with high PA and DA are generally better sites to target, as long as they have low span scores. There’s a bit more to this, but this is plenty for those just starting out. For now, just focus on finding blogs or sites with a DA around 20-40 with estimated traffic of 10K+ per month. As long as you find quality websites to accept your posts, these basic guest blogging strategies will hold true!
4. Pitch Your Blog or Article
Now that you’ve done all of the proper legwork, it’s time to make that leap! Contacting editors can be a bit overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be impossible if you include all of the necessary information in your email:
- Introduce Yourself and Company
- Try noting something positive about their blog or company
- Suggest several blog topics or potential posts
- Include clean, clickable links to your previous work
- Include an email signature with your contact info, a photo, and full name
After your initial email, it’s usually standard to check back in a few days. A simple, friendly reminder is usually enough to get the ball rolling. Just be sure to avoid annoying people — you can always try again in the future until you land something great!
5. It’s Time for Publishing!
After someone has agreed to post your blog it’s important to meet all of their specifications. They may request author photos of a certain size, a bio, and that you share the piece a certain way on social media. Nonetheless, this is all part of closing the deal so be sure to follow their considerations closely.
Another huge aspect is ensuring that the links you provided are ‘follow links’ rather than ‘no-follow links.’ These links are what will pass authority to your own site in order to help you build your own ranking. Of course, this is something to agree upon beforehand, but it doesn’t hurt to follow up after a blog is live.
Overall, following these basic guest blogging strategies allow you to make great connections and strengthen your blog, content writing skills, and SEO acumen! Have any suggestions for aspiring content writers? Let us know in the comments below!