This guest post is written by Joseph from GuestBloggingTactics.com
Guest blogging is all the rage now; it’s easily the #1 marketing technique used by both individual bloggers and online corporations.
Unfortunately, most people are seeing guest blogging to be different from what it was originally painted to be.
It’s no longer the sure-fire, high-traffic formula. It’s no longer the thing you must do if you want to increase traffic to your blog. In other words, guest posts on blogs that would have sent you 500 visitors a year ago will barely send you 50 today.
Well, what if I told you you’re doing it wrong?
What if I told you I was able to get 120,000+ visitors as an indirect result of guest blogging to one of my websites in one year? And that from less than 50 guest posts?
You’ll probably want me to share the sites I guest posted on so that you can write for them, too.
But it no longer works that way. Even if there was a magic site that sent thousands of visitors per guest post, it’ll barely be able to send ten per post in a few years time once everybody bombards it with guest posts.
The good news is: it’s not about the site you choose, but the approach you use.
Most people see guest blogging as something that has to be direct, and that has to deliver results instantly.
However, by seeing guest blogging in a new light—by focusing on using guest blogging to build links instead of direct traffic—I was able to triple traffic to my blog in one year. To be specific, I experienced a 340% increase in search traffic—over 100,000 visitors—in one year.
Here’s a screenshot showing traffic to my blog a year before I started my guest blogging campaign:
Here’s a screenshot showing traffic to my blog a year after the guest blogging campaign:
How did I do it? That’s the question this post will answer.
Guest blogging and SEO
While there are many reasons people build links to their websites, the #1 reason is often to increase their search engine rankings.
Search engines are the number one traffic referrer online.
When most people have problems or issues they want to solve on the Internet, they visit Google and type a keyword that can provide solutions to the problem they’re experiencing. You do it and I do it too, every day of the week.
That’s why search engines, especially Google, are the top traffic source to almost every website on the Internet.
Getting ranked well for your desired keywords in Google and other search engines can be left to luck, a game of waiting and praying that things get right, or you can try to take control by actively building high-quality, high-value links that will improve your rankings.
One of the best ways to build these high quality links today is by guest blogging.
When most people guest post, they do it for the traffic and often ignore the link aspect. I’ve observed that the links you can get from guest blogging are much more powerful than any traffic you can get.
Why not start actively building links to your blog from your guest posts?
A personal guest blogging case study
I dedicated a month to writing and getting guest posts published for one of my sites last year. I started a guest blogging campaign to publish over 30 guest posts on several quality blogs.
The guest posts were written in a way that ties the topic of each blog I approached to the topic of my blog, without sacrificing quality, and with a focus on getting quality anchor-text backlinks instead of traffic.
In other words, since every blogger has to get an author bio below their guest post, instead of just linking back to my homepage, I used my guest posts to link to internal pages and posts on my blog with specific keywords.
I knew that doing this would be very effective, but I never knew it would be much more effective than I anticipated.
While most of the guest posts I submitted didn’t result in a single visit to my blog, and every guest post I submitted, combined, resulted in less than 50 visits, I saw a significant jump of 100 additional daily visitors in my search traffic a week after the campaign ended.
Ever since, without any active SEO effort on my part, traffic has grown significantly to up to 340% more visits a year after the challenge.
For me, that was an additional 120,000 visitors.
Of course, the guest posts I wrote in that month alone weren’t the only factor contributing to the increase in search traffic, but when I did the math I estimated that each guest post I wrote then would have attracted at least 2,000 search engine visitors in the span of a year.
Even if I’m not accurate and it’s half of that, receiving 1,000 visitors for a single guest post is very rare these days.
The campaign enlightened me and made me realize that guest blogging doesn’t always have to be for direct traffic and an instant boost in subscriber count. A link-building guest blogging campaign can also be very effective.
It doesn’t have to be “immoral”
Due to how widely abused guest blogging for links is today, most people immediately come to the conclusion that guest blogging for links is a bad thing.
It doesn’t always have to be. It’s just like SEO: there’s good and bad SEO, but when most people talk about SEO they talk about it as if it’s unethical. Does that mean you should ignore SEO? Not if you want your online business to survive!
Guest blogging is a natural thing for bloggers and it is okay to expect something in return when you write guest posts; instead of ignoring the real estate you have in the author bio of every guest post you write, why not focus on getting a high quality backlink or two that can improve your own blog’s ranking?
With that said, whether you’re a blogger or a company utilizing guest blogging, quality should of course be your number one focus. This is especially important for agencies using guest blogging, and something Georgina recently talked about here at ProBlogger.
So let’s look specifically at the steps you’ll need to follow to make this tactic work for you.
5 Steps you should follow to guest blog for backlinks
Here are the steps I take when trying to guest blog for backlinks.
1. Have effective content marketing in place
While guest blogging is effective, doing it alone won’t help you get results.
Guest blogging should be a part of a bigger content marketing plan.
In other words, before you get started, you should have a blog that constantly publishes relevant articles; you should then develop a campaign focused on ranking your landing pages and pillar articles on your blog.
For a business, this might sound like something that won’t be very effective. After all, why put all that guest blogging effort into blog posts?
However, recent changes to Google’s algorithm and those of other search engines have made it very clear that content and social are the future of SEO. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for static web pages to rank well in the search engines—and that’s where you come in.
Of course, to really get the best from this you’ll need to ensure that articles published on your blog are properly aligned with the goals of your business; this could be getting leads, selling a product, or getting readers to take a particular action, for example.
The point is it’s easier to rank a detailed blog post that can get comments and social shares than it is to rank your blog’s homepage.
2. Prepare a set of keywords you want to rank for
Based on the content of special blog posts you’ve written as well as key pages on your website, prepare a set of keywords you want to rank for.
In most cases, these keywords should be centered on a particular major keyword.
So if I’m trying to rank for “guest blogging”, for example, instead of letting all the anchor texts I use in my author bio be “guest blogging”—which can be very dangerous—I’ll target a host of other keywords such as “guest blogging tactics,” “guest blogging tips,” “guest posting,” and so on.
If possible, try to avoid using the same keyword twice—even if it’s the main keyword you want to rank for. Instead, develop a set of keywords that center around your main keyword and use them in your author bio.
By using them, you’ll be able to rank for both those keywords and the main keyword you really wanted to rank for, giving you double benefits for your effort.
3. Research and select a list of blogs you want to guest blog on
They don’t always have to be as big and massive as Problogger.net, but in choosing the blogs to guest on, try to avoid link farms and poor quality blogs as much as you can.
If you can find a relevant authority blog in your niche, great. If you can’t find a relevant blog, however, you can look for a way to write content that’s relevant to both your audience and that of the host blogger to benefit.
For example, if I were to start a guest blogging campaign to rank ProBlogger for major blogging keywords, I can easily benefit from targeting entrepreneurship blogs and even law blogs by writing articles along the lines of:
- “7 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should Blog”
- “Why Not Having a Blog for Your Law Firm Could be a Disaster”
You get the idea?
The focus should be on quality. You don’t have to worry about the relevance of the blogs; your focus should be on making your content relevant and this is very easy.
4. Write great content for your guest posts
Now, don’t get this wrong. Because you’re writing a guest post ostensibly for the purpose of gaining a quality backlink, that doesn’t mean it has to be poor content.
On the contrary. Look at this particular guest post I’m writing here on Problogger.net; it’s helpful to you, and I’m able to get a quality link back to my blog at the end of it.
By focusing on quality for your guest posts, you’ll benefit. Social signals are starting to influence how Google and other search engines view any post published today; this includes the number of social shares across various social networks, the number of comments and engagement on the post.
These are things you can’t achieve by writing poor posts; you may get links, but that’ll just be it. The real value of this strategy I’m talking about comes from the value of your post months after it has been published, not in the few days it spends as the number one post on the homepage of the blog you submitted it to.
5. Spend some time on your author bio
While it’s important that your post is great, it is also very important that your author bio isn’t neglected. Don’t let your author bio look as if all you want is a link. It doesn’t have to!
Make your author bio as professional and descriptive of you as possible, and also include the link; when adding that, here are a few tips you should follow:
- Don’t use the same keyword in all your author bios. You might want to rank for “health blog” but that doesn’t mean you should use only that keyword in all your guest posts. You can use variations such as “health tips blog,” “top health blog,” “professional health blog,” “best health blog,” and so on. Do you notice how all those keywords are variations of “health blog”? That will have much more impact on your rankings than just targeting a single keyword.
- Don’t use the same author bio in all your guest posts. Search engines don’t list duplicate content, and duplicate content isn’t about your articles alone. Using the same author bio in 40 different guest posts makes your bio duplicate content; it’ll be the same in all 40 guest posts and will be seen as unnatural, thus making it difficult for you to even get the value of one of those links.
- Not all your anchor text has to include keywords. Feel free to use generic keywords such as “click here,” “check him out,” “visit his website” etc. as they make your links look more natural than focusing on keywords.
- Limit the number of links you include in your author bio. Depending on the blog, don’t have more than two or three links in your bio. If you include three links, include two to your blog and one to your social profile. Anything more is unnatural and makes it clear that you only want the backlinks.
Tools of the trade
Guest blogging outreach and research can be very difficult; knowing what to write, which blog to contact and who to pitch is tricky. Here are my favorite guest blogging and content tools:
If you’re a guest blogger, especially if you’re guest blogging on a massive scale, then outreach can be difficult and sometimes stressful.
Of course, sometimes, reaching out personally is great but you can also save time if you have access to a platform or directory of blogs that not only accept guest posts but that make the process easy; PostJoint removes the hassles that comes with pitching guest bloggers and waiting for weeks for your guest post to be published.
The premier guest blogging community online, MyBlogGuest can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of any blogger.
MyBlogGuest is a guest blogging forum where you can collaborate with other bloggers for guest blogging; it’s effective whether you want to publish or get published and there are bloggers in almost any niche.
Customrank is a better alternative to Google pagerank and Alexa rank; unlike Pagerank and Alexa rank, Customrank isn’t overinflated.
Every website is ranked from 0–100 and the higher a blog’s Customrank, the more value you will get from guest posting on it.
Quora might seem just like an ordinary question-and-answer site, but to the discerning blogger it is a goldmine.
Whether you want to get ideas for blog posts on your own blog or ideas for guest posts, having an endless source of content ideas is important. By browsing questions related to your niche on Quora, you’ll be able to get more ideas than you need for your guest posts.
Before writing my guest posts, I come up with a list of keywords that inspire my writing and that I can also use as anchor text. There are a lot of quality tools online but a lot of them are expensive. The Google keyword tool is free and reliable and it provides data from Google.
What you just read is practically all there is to building links with guest blogging for beginners. It was what I did a year ago to experience the kind of increase I gained in my search traffic; I still do it for myself and my clients today, and it’s phenomenally effective.
Have you ever had an experience guest blogging for links or traffic? How did it go? Please share your tips and thoughts with us in the comments.
Joseph is a guest blogging professional with over 2 years of experience. He writes about all things guest blogging at GuestBloggingTactics.com. If you want to take your business to the next level by guest blogging, especially for links, you should hire him! Joseph is also available on Twitter @gbtactics