Needless to say, guest blogging has numerous benefits. You can promote your website and get referring traffic, make yourself known as an expert in your industry and more importantly, you can build backlinks with guest posts.
The backlinks you get through guest blogging can improve your rankings in Google and other search engines.
If you do guest blogging perfectly, you’ll be rewarded, and you can skyrocket your SEO.
Sounds great, right?
Do you know what Intel, Evernote, Xbox and Klout have in common? Yes, you were right, they all do guest blogging to promote their online businesses.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to do guest blogging correctly and how to build backlinks with guest posts?
How to find guest blogging opportunities
When you are searching for sites that are accepting guest contributors, your main objective is to find relevant sites to your niche and industry.
Below you’ll find the best ways to find sites that might accept you as a contributor.
1. Analyze and spy competitor’s backlinks
You can find lots of new opportunities to build backlinks and sites that are accepting guest posts, by analyzing the links of your competitors.
Grab your most important competitors, and search through their backlinks to see if they are doing guest blogging. If they do, add their URL to your Monitor Backlinks account to get a list of all their backlinks. Every ten days, you’ll get a report with the new backlinks they have built, so you can keep up with their guest blogging campaigns.
To find the best guest post opportunities using this method, you can sort their backlinks by their value. Use Domain Authority, MozRank, Page Authority and Ahrefs Rank.
As mentioned above, don’t waste your time writing for sites that have a lower domain authority than your site.
2. Use Google searches
Besides the popular guest blogging footprints like “keyword” + “Write for us”, you can use Google searches to find many more sites that are accepting guest posts. Below you’ll find the best guest post footprints to use in Google.
- keyword “guest post opportunities”
- keyword “guest post”
- keyword “submit a guest post”
- keyword “accepting guest posts”
- keyword “guest post guidelines”
- keyword “contributor guidelines”
- keyword “write for us”
- keyword “write for”
- keyword “add blog post”
- keyword “submit an article”
- keyword “send your article”
- keyword “send your post”
- keyword “bloggers wanted”
- keyword “want to write for”
- keyword “become an author”
- keyword “become a contributor”
- keyword “guest post by”
- intitle:guest post guidelines + keyword
- intitle:guest-posts + keyword
- intitle:write for us + keyword
You can use the ~ operator before your keywords to search for synonyms. For example, the search for “~animals”, will include words like “dogs”, “cats”, “horses”, etc.
You can also use custom phrases to search for your footprints inside titles or URLs. For example, intitle:write for us + keyword, will search for sites that have the words “write for us + your keyword” in their title tag. You can do the same to search on the URL, with inurl:write-for-us.
Play with all these footprints and be creative.
3. Search for the most popular blogs in your industry
You can send your pitch and ask to become a contributor even on sites that don’t have a “write for us” page. Often, these websites will be more valuable, and they will have a better impact on your SEO and send more referring traffic.
For virtually every niche, bloggers have created lists of the most popular blogs. To find these blogs, use these searches in Google:
- top 100 blogs “keyword”
- most popular blogs “keyword”
- top blogs “keyword”
Here’s an example:
4. Check what other guest bloggers do
Once you find a reputable site that’s accepting guest contributors, grab the name of the last guest authors, and follow them on social media. Do some research to see for what other websites they wrote before.
You can also create a list on Twitter to follow them. Often, when they publish a new guest post, it will be shared on their social media profiles.
Let me tell you how I use this method.
About one year ago, I decided to follow Kristi Hines on Twitter, knowing that she is writing guest posts for various websites.
Among the numerous sites she has contributed, she recently shared a link to her Contently profile. On this website, I can see all the third party websites where she has contributed articles.
If you go to her Google Plus profile, you can find even more websites where she has been a contributor for the last years.
By following popular guest bloggers on social media, you let them to the search for you, and you can concentrate on writing awesome content.
5. Find guest blogging opportunities with social media
For the time being, social media doesn’t have any impact on your SEO. But if you are smart, you can use social media as a tool to help you with SEO.
Just as you would do searches in Google to find guest blogging opportunities, you can do similar searches on Twitter and for some niches on Google Plus.
Repeat the process every week and you’ll find plenty of new sites accepting contributors.
6. Find guest blogging opportunities with Google Images
With the techniques above you’ll find a lot of websites accepting contributors.
But because I know you want to see something new, I will reveal my secret method that I have used for the last months.
The strategy I’m about to show you is something James Bond would be proud of.
You’ll notice that some websites will create a profile for the author, with an image and description included.
Right-click on the profile of the most popular guest blogger you have found, and save the image with their headshot on your computer.
Now go to Google Image Search and click on the photo icon, as in the screenshot:
Choose to upload the image and select the profile picture you have downloaded earlier. Then click search and you’ll get a list of the websites where the blogger’s headshot is found.
Clever, isn’t it? 🙂
7. Search for lists of sites that are accepting guest posts
Just like some bloggers have created lists with the most popular blogs in your industry, some might have built articles with links to websites that are accepting guest contributors.
You can find them running searches in Google like:
- Sites accepting contributors, keyword
- keyword, guest post websites
- keyword, guest contributors websites
- keyword, most popular websites accepting guest posts
How to analyze if a website is worth writing for
If you do the search correctly, you’ll find hundreds of sites accepting guest posts.
But writing for all of them is not recommended and will get you nowhere.
Out of all the websites that are accepting guest articles, only a few of them will be good.
Therefore, you have to analyze if the website you want to guest post on is worth the effort, and if it will help you with SEO and drive traffic.
These are some of the main characteristics that make a site worthy to write for:
- Their website is in the same industry as your site.
- Their content is very good and provides value to readers. If the content respects the user, Google will show respect as well.
- Their audience is engaging with the content by writing comments and sharing their articles on social media.
- The authority of the website is very high. You should only do guest posts for reputable sites that are popular and reputable. A good rule to follow is only to write for sites that have a higher domain authority than your website.
- They are active on social media and frequently publish new articles.
Avoid writing for sites that:
- Are not relevant to your audience and website
- Don’t have a social media presence.
- Rarely update their content
- Have a domain authority lower than 20.
Before sending the pitch for a guest post
You’ve found the opportunities and selected the ones that are worth sending your guest post.
But before you outreach to the person responsible for the content of the website, you have to get familiar with their blog.
Sending your pitch is one of the most important parts of guest blogging. If your email looks spammy, and it’s obvious that you are using an email template, the “spam” button will be clicked faster than you can imagine.
To pitch a guest post, you have to research and get to know the blog’s content. You have to understand the audience and how advanced the readers are. You can’t send a pitch and suggest a beginner’s article to a highly advanced audience.
Spend some time researching the website and see what type of content they write. Is it general or tutorial articles?
Five minutes of researching the website will increase your chances of getting the article approved, and the post will get more social media shares and attract more visits.
You can also see how other guest posts are performing on the website and if they are getting the same engagement as the owner’s posts. You can analyze what posts are performing best and get the most social media shares. Replicate what worked best on their blog.
Guest posting pitch best practices
When you are reaching out to someone you have never talked with, you have to show respect and be polite. If you are expecting to find a guest blogging outreach template here, you are in the wrong place. Email templates are the worst thing you can do to yourself.
Below you can find the musts for any guest posting pitch:
Always read the guest blogging guidelines before contacting the blog owner.
Most websites that accept guest contributors have a page dedicated to the guest blogging rules. See if the owner expects you to send a pitch idea, or they want you to submit the full post. What is the format they prefer and more importantly, what type of posts they accept.
Personalize the email.
When you start the email, you should address it to the owner of the blog. Never start your email with “To whom it may concern”,” Hi Sir/Madam”, “Dear Webmaster”.
You just can’t send an email to someone whose name you don’t know. That’s the most disrespectful way to outreach. Look for the “About us” page and find the owner’s name. For best results, your email has to be personalized.
Keep it short
Long emails are spammy. Your email has to be short and concise.
Why they should accept you as a contributor
If you are an expert in your industry, tell the blog owner in 1-2 sentences about your experience. Don’t talk much about you, though. It’s not the right place to brag about you.
Link to your previously published articles
Always send a few examples of your writing style, to help the blog owner understand if you are a right fit for their website. Send links to previous guest articles you’ve published, or if you are just getting started, a link to articles you’ve written for your website.
Use a signature
A signature can make the email look more professional. Always include a link to your social media profile (Twitter or Google Plus), to show that you are a real person. It helps build trust and you’ll get many more replies.
How to build more backlinks with guest blogging
If you care about your guest articles, and you want them to be very popular, besides writing high-quality content, there are some other things you can do. Some of these are:
- Create an infographic for the article. At the bottom, you can mention that you created the infographic. If the infographic goes viral, and it gets lots of views, you might earn some links from those that will embed it.
- Promote your guest articles on social media and everywhere you would promote your posts. If you are very proud of the article you’ve published, you can try to buy some sponsored Facebook ads to spread the words about it.
- Link out to your guest articles. In your future guest posts or on your website, you can place links to your previously published guest posts.
How to track your guest blogging results
Tracking your guest blogging campaigns is at least as important as running them. With Monitor Backlinks, you can tag the backlinks you are getting from each guest post, and easily keep track of them.
Monitor Backlinks automatically detects your website’s latest backlinks. Once identified, you can add a tag by clicking on the settings icon on the left side and then on “Edit”.
You can then tag your guest blogging backlinks to find them later, and measure their success.
For each of your backlinks, you can check the status of the backlink, the Google index status, social media shares and referring traffic. You’ll get other information that might be useful in the long run, like Trust Flow, Citation Flow, MozRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Spam Score.
You can also use the available filters to sort your guest articles by their value and see which one has performed best.
Monitor Backlinks also keeps tracks of your backlinks automatically and in case any of your links is removed or the status changes from dofollow to nofollow, you’ll be alerted by email.
Frequently asked questions about guest blogging
If you still have questions after reading the article, here are some answers to some questions I often get. If you can’t find your question here, the comments section is waiting for you.
What’s the optimum length of a guest article?
Longer articles are much better for readers and SEO. It’s almost impossible to say much in 400 or 500 words. Your guest articles should vary between 1000-2000 words, but always read the guest blogging guidelines because each website has different rules. I usually stay away from sites that publish articles that have less than 500 words.
Can I get penalized for using guest blogging as a link building method?
Only if you are doing it wrong. If you are guest blogging just for the sake of building backlinks, on bad websites, Google might penalize you. Otherwise, guest blogging is safe, and it’s a method used by many large businesses with great success.
Here’s the proof that guest blogging is not dead.
Where should I place the link to my website?
It depends. If the blog’s guidelines only allow backlinks inside the author bio, then that’s where you can insert the link to your website. If it allows you to add the link anywhere inside the content, make sure your link will look natural. A good tip is always to link to your social media profile as well, so you can get more followers.
Guest blogging is a strategy that can help you get more referring traffic and build quality backlinks to help you with SEO. When done right, guest articles can have a huge impact on your site.
We have a team of experts offering content marketing services, including guest blogging. If you are interested, drop us a note and we’ll try to help.