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Everything you need to know about writing blog posts for other websites
Some marketers say guest blogging is a waste of time. Others believe it is an essential part of a marketing strategy. The first group is right: it is a waste of time if the goal is getting backlinks.
Guest posting as black hat SEO
Once upon a time, when Google’s AI wasn’t as smart as it is today, many SEO techniques were used that nowadays result in penalties from Google. And rightly so, because these websites were irritating to readers due to the excessive usage of the same keywords in each and every sentence. Such techniques produced spammy sites.
Guest posting, or writing guest blog articles, was another common SEO strategy at the time. Companies would make deals with each other to publish a guest blog on each other’s website that included a backlink. Nowadays this is considered black hat SEO. Just don’t do it.
Google’s John Mueller on guest posting (Twitter, June 11, 2020):
“The part (of guest posting) that is problematic is the links – if you are providing the content/links, then those links should not be sending signals and should be given rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow. It’s fine to see it (the blogs) as a way to reach a broader audience.”
What are the benefits of guest blogging?
If you are using guest posting in the right way and based on a sound SEO strategy, then you can boost your brand awareness and visibility on the Internet, gain more leads and expand your customer base. If these are not promotional articles and if the links you are using get a rel-sponsored/ rel-nofollow attribute.
So you can write and publish guest posting articles without a problem, but it is tricky. Guest blogs on topics related to your industry, that demonstrate your expertise, are of high quality and useful to the reader, can be published on other sites just fine, if they do not qualify as stealth advertisement for your services.
The links used in your guest blogs may take readers to a particular page on your own website, but they do not have any SEO value. This also applies to the information about you as the author of the blog article: you can mention your name and the link to your website, but these too will get a no-follow tag and therefore it won’t get any link-juice.
Guide Guest Posting
If you want to use guest posting as an SEO strategy to become more visible on the Internet in order to increase the brand awareness, this guide provides the information on how to use the guest posting strategy. This guide outlines the essential steps for creating a successful strategy:
- Set specific, achievable goals.
- Choose topics that will benefit your own business goals.
- Find reputable guest blog post sites.
- Write the article.
- Track the results of your posts in the statistics.
Before we discuss the guest post strategy, let’s look at the definition of guest blogging.
What is guest posting & blogging?
Guest posting is a content marketing tactic in which you write one or more blog posts to be published on other websites.
You mention your name as the writer of the featured article and then the website owner mentions you as a guest author or contributor and includes a link to your website. This link should be given a rel-sponsored/ rel-nofollow tag, even if there is no payment for the publication of your blog.
Many companies have freelancers writing blogs for a fee, but do not mention the author’s name. Therefore, these blogs do not qualify as part of the guest blog strategy, because you will remain unknown. Consequently, these blogs do not provide any benefits for the freelancer, except that they get paid for their work.
Usually, if you agreed to write a blog article as a guest author, you won’t get paid for it. The purpose of guest blogging is to get more exposure for yourself and your online business.
Benefits of guest blogging
If you are into guest blogging, here are some of the major benefits:
- build a profile as an industry expert/authority
- increase your brand awareness
- get more audience (more followers on social media/ more visitors to your website)
- build relationships and stimulate new partnerships
- stimulate organic traffic to your website through referrals
- increase the chance of getting more leads
This is a neat list of benefits, but it still tells us nothing about why people write guest blog articles instead of spending their time on other SEO techniques.
Why do people write guest blogs?
Guest blogging can result in a win-win situation where both parties involved get something:
- The website owner gets quality content for free that will help their site rank in Google.
- You get more organic traffic to your website through your guest blog.
Just because you’re not writing a guest blog to get financial compensation, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the effort. On the contrary, websites with a high domain and page value, only post high quality content, otherwise they can harm their reputation – and their Google rankings.
The best goal for writing guest blog articles
Many bloggers pay attention to the number of followers they have on social media, and how many comments and how many visits they generate on their (guest) blog article.
If you have your own business, your strategy should focus on the growth of your business; not on the likes and followers of a blog for another company.
After all, extra traffic to your website and more visibility on the web is great, but what good is it if you can’t use it?
Guest blogging should yield something for your business that will allow you to get more leads and increase your customer base. This is the smartest purpose you can have for writing guest posts. By doing so, you create the opportunity to build a strong relationship with your audience.
Guest blogging should provide something for your business that will help you to get more leads and grow your customer base.
How to become a successful guest blogger
To become a successful guest blogger, there are a number of steps you can follow that are outlined below.
As with many other goals you can successfully achieve, step 1 is:
1. Set specific, achievable goals
The first step to begin a successful journey as a guest blogger is to set achievable, measurable goals. These goals can be related to your business performance (such as getting more leads or customers) or to improve the performance of your website (such as improving discoverability or the number of visits to your site).
Whatever your goal is, make it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-bound. When you have a clear goal, it’s much easier to choose the topics you write about, what sites you want to publish on, how often you write, and so on.
Most importantly, a SMART goal will show you if this tactic is the right one for your business and how much time you need to invest to achieve your goal.
4 Examples of measurable SMART goals for your website
- Get X visits from the guest post referral OR Increase traffic to your website from your blog by X%.
- Get X leads from traffic to your website via the guest blog OR Increase the number of leads generated from your guest blog by X%.
- Get X customers out of your guest blogging OR Increase the number of customers from your guest blogs by X%.
- Improve the SERP visibility of your site by X%.
Customers and leads are important to your business and your guest blogs can have an impact on this, but they are harder to pinpoint in the statistics because the links are tagged with no-follow.
2. Choose topics that benefit your own business goals
Because many bloggers focus on publications rather than content, they don’t see positive results and stop after a while. Keyword research boosts the process for writing good content that shows SEO results.
A keyword research is a good strategy to ensure that your publications can be found. In fact, your guest blog articles can only be found by using a strong SEO strategy unless someone accidentally sees your blog on that website. Also, the owner of the website on which you post your blog will benefit from your article with strong keywords that are relevant to them as well.
To have a successful guest posting strategy, pick topics that serve your SMART goal – whether that’s referral traffic, SEO performance, leads, or customers. But make sure your article is not a sneaky advertisement for your business. In other words, don’t promote your services. A guest post is aimed at providing users with useful information on a particular topic. Not to promote your services or products. For this you have to use ads. If you do promote your company in your guest blog, then the article will have less or no value for the Google rankings.
3. Choose the web pages or the landing page that should generate conversions
Create a short list of your most visited website pages for which you would like increased conversions and that you can use for your guest blogs. Instead, you can also create a landing page that allows readers to sign up for emails and/or news updates.
Analyze the current status of each page, such as the number of monthly users (new and returning). Set a goal that you want to reach X number of users through your guest blogs within a certain time frame. You can set a goal for gaining traffic to your website or for specific pages.
For each target page, choose an overall topic that is relevant and useful to the readers. Next, use an SEO tool to search for keywords for your blog posts.
Let’s take an example and say we are building a guest blog strategy around the overall topic of “Website SEO. We can create different types of content under the umbrella of this topic, such as how to articles, knowledge sharing/informative, case studies, and tutorials. For each type of content, we can use tools to find relevant keywords for the guest blogs.
4. Find reputable blog post sites for your guest posts
Now that you have your keywords covered, it’s time to find relevant publications.
Start by compiling a list of websites that are relevant to your topic and that accept guest blogs. You can find these sites by searching Google for: “intext:guest blog posts”, or look in listings of top websites that accept guest blog entries.
5. Pitch your guest blog ideas
Now it’s time to think about how to pitch your guest posting & blogging ideas.
If the website has a thorough editorial process, they will have guest posting and blogging guidelines on their site. Make sure you meet these and then prepare your pitch.
It’s best to approach your outreach process for guest blog articles strategically based on your keyword research and your list of websites you want to publish on.
Before pitching your blog idea, research is fundamental. Research the website publications (type into Google Search: “site:URL”) you have in mind for your guest blog and see if there is a topic that has not been covered or if you can describe the topic from a different angle. Next, prepare your pitch with the publication guidelines in mind.
While there are many tactics you can use to get your guest post published, a good question to ask yourself is, “does my blog provide value?” and, “why should the people visiting this website be interested in my article?” You can use the answers to these questions for your pitch.
When your pitch is ready, it is time to contact the website owner or the editor. Note that some websites have included in their guest blogging guidelines that you send them a full draft article along with your pitch.
Once your pitch is approved, it’s time to work out your idea and write a good article.
6. Write the guest blog
Write the article on topic including your keywords and follow the guest blogging guidelines of the website on which it will be published.
If you are not sure if your concept is good enough to meet your goal, it might be a good idea to hire an editor to review your concept. This is not a bad thing anyway – even for seasoned writers – because an editor will see your concept from different angles and can offer suggestions for improvement.
Recommendations for writing guest posts (and other articles)
- Write long, engaging texts (at least 1,000 words).
- Match the tone of voice to the other publications on the host site.
- Divide the text into paragraphs.
- Apply on-page SEO optimization.
- Use original images and graphics to make the content attractive for sharing and backlinks.
- Link to your other published guest blog articles.
- Link to your own relevant articles on your website.
- Link to other publications: case studies, guides, etc.
- Link to other articles from the website on which you are publishing your guest blog.
- Include your name and company name (with link) and explain why you are an expert on that subject.
7. Use statistics to monitor the results of your blog posts
This is the final but perhaps most important step of the guest blogging process.
You want to make sure that you always compare your results to a “0 point”: the moment you started with step 1 of this process. Depending on your goals, you can use different SEO tools for both conducting research for your guest blogging and for keeping track of the stats. Below you can find a list of guest blogging tools that you may want to use. Some of these tools are free, others offer a free trial.
10 Useful Tools for Guest Posting & Blogging
SEO for guest blog posts
All your articles that you publish on the internet need good SEO.
Relevancy of your blog post
Your guest blog needs to be relevant to the content of the site on which you publish it. If you have a blog entry that is about the best skin care, then you can publish it on, for example, a beauty clinic’s website. A blog about the best smartphone apps can be posted on sites that sell or repair cell phones. Your own online business should also be related to the content of your guest blog. A construction company won’t publish a guest blog that is about sporting goods.
Write high-quality guest blogs
Google is strict when it comes to link building, even through guest blogs. If you publish blogs solely for the sake of link building, which are of low quality and ignore the user experience, then this can be harmful to both your SEO ranking and your reputation, as well as the reputation of the website you are posting your blog on. Website owners who care about quality and their reputation will therefore reject such guest blog posts.
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