Guest Posting: The Definitive Guide (2023)
By: Shreoshe Ghosh
November 18, 2022
Table of Contents
Guest posting is a popular backlink-building strategy that outreach experts widely use. Although it is a pretty straightforward process, it takes more than just outreach knowledge to make guest blogging strategies successful.
Guest blogging offers plenty of benefits to websites that practice it. It brings relevant referral traffic to your website from the site where your guest post is published. As more people read your content and visit your website, your brand awareness increases along with your credibility.
Guest bloggers write guest posts for websites or blogs that are within their niche industry. When you add contextual links from your website to your guest post, it adds value to your site and boosts the domain authority.
Before we discuss the do’s and don’ts of guest posting, let’s explore the endless benefits that guest posting activities can bring to your site.
There is a common misconception that guest posting is a mere link-building tactic that’s fast getting outdated. Even though it’s a link-building strategy, guest post offers a lot more, and let me clarify it to you, it’s not going to kick the bucket anytime soon.
Link building is essential because Google considers it as one of the crucial factors to rank your website on the SERP.
This post will be a guide to those who are just starting with guest posting and want to learn more about the strategy. If your guest posting proposals are often overlooked or if you find it challenging to connect with guest posting prospects, this post will be useful too. Hopefully, it will help you overcome the hurdles you face with your current guest blog strategy.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest posting is publishing articles on someone else’s website. Outreach experts carry it out to increase brand awareness as well as earn backlinks to a site. Earning backlinks through guest articles on high-authority websites can help improve organic ranking.
What are the Benefits of Guest Posting?
Getting your guest posts published on high-authority niche sites can give you several benefits, such as:
- It builds brand awareness
When you guest post on other websites, more people will learn about your brand, contributing to better brand awareness.
- It builds authority
Writing high-quality content on other websites builds your credibility as an author and establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.
- It improves SEO performance
You can improve your website ranking through link building with quality guest posting, contributing to better SEO performance.
- It helps you reach new audience
The more you write guest posts on other sites, the more you get exposed to a new audience who learn about your business.
- It drives referral traffic
With quality guest blogging, you can attract new visitors to your website, which leads to high referral traffic.
- It builds authoritative backlinks
Guest blogging helps you build high-quality backlinks to your website and increase its authority.
- It drives new leads
When more people reach your website through referral traffic and show interest in your business, they become new leads for you.
- It builds relationships with fellow niche bloggers
During guest blogging, you not only get in touch with fellow guest bloggers in your niche but build a long-term association with them.
How to Execute Guest Posting Strategy in Eight Steps
Guest posting is an extensive stepwise process that can lead to success when appropriately followed. Let’s explore all the steps of a well-planned guest posting strategy below:
1. Determine your guest posting goals
A smart guest posting strategy starts with identifying your goals. You can build a clear roadmap knowing what you want to achieve through your guest posts. Identify your top three reasons why you want to do guest posting.
First, it can be carried out to build backlinks. Additionally, it may be helpful to build brand awareness, improve your overall SEO strategy, drive referral traffic to your website and build lasting relationships with the experts in your industry.
If your primary goal is to build quality backlinks, you shouldn’t be running behind websites that don’t have much authority since Google only values backlinks from high-quality sites. Similarly, if you want to get more referral traffic to your site, you should choose to guest blog on a site with a vast audience base.
2. Find guest posting opportunities
Finding the right guest posting opportunities can make or break your strategy. I’ll share some simple ways to help you find guest posting opportunities. First, start by looking for guest blog sites that will interest your audience. If you are unsure what your audience likes, get in touch with the sales and marketing team to understand buyer personas and discover sites that match them.
Another way to find guest posting opportunities is to use guest post tools to analyze where your competitors get backlinks. For example, if a specific site links back to your competitor, it may give you a backlink, too, if your content is good enough.
If you want to build a guest posting sites list for the future, you can run a Google search to find sites that accept guest articles from your niche. This will help you reach out to sites that your competitors might have missed to outreach.
3. Qualify guest posting sites
Once you have a list of potential guest blog sites, sort them based on your requirement. Not every guest posting site will quality your needs.
Build a set of criteria to measure it against every shortlisted site. Find out whether a site has the right audience you want to target, enough authority to give you a backlink boost, if it drives a certain amount of traffic every month, or has enough audience to meet your guest posting goals, etc. Once a site ticks all your qualifying criteria, create a final list of sites to outreach.
4. Develop blog ideas
After you shortlist sites that match your criteria for guest posting, it is time to develop interesting blog post ideas. Think of blog ideas that will help establish your authority in your niche and, at the same time, interest the readers.
You don’t want to pitch content ideas already covered on a blog. What you can do instead is find content-gap ideas and pitch them. Content-gap ideas help bridge the gap between existing and missing content, so there’s a high probability of such content ideas getting readily accepted by blog owners.
5. Create a guest post pitch
Guest blogging doesn’t guarantee that your content will be readily accepted by publishers and posted on their sites. You have to catch the attention of publishers through custom outreach emails and put forth your guest blogging proposal.
To craft a compelling guest post pitch that has the probability of getting noticed, you can take the following steps;
Find the right person to get in touch with
When you want to send an outreach email to a publisher, don’t go to their general contact information and drop an email to the email address mentioned there. Instead, do your research and try to get hold of the publisher’s business email address so that it gets noticed when you mail them your proposal.
Read the site’s guest posting guidelines
Before you contact a publisher, ensure that the guest blogging guidelines on their website are easy for you to follow. It’d be a waste of your time to contact publishers with stringent guidelines that might be difficult to follow.
Create a compelling subject line
When you pitch the publisher, several other outreach experts do the same thing. The first thing that the publisher will notice in their inbox is the subject line of your email. So, ensure you create an eye-catchy subject line for your email that stands out in the sea of other similar emails. Avoid using generic subject lines like “Guest Post Submission Request” or “Collaboration Request for Guest Posting.”
Don’t copy-paste guest post outreach templates and send them across to publishers. Customize your pitch by giving it a personal touch so that the person reading it feels that you’ve taken the time to research them and their website. Don’t play around with your words, be gentle but specific about your request.
Explain the benefits
Don’t complete your email with your introduction and the request to guest post only. Your email should have enough information to highlight the benefits of accepting your deal. Explain what benefits the publisher will gain if they post your content on their website. Support your claims with screenshots that will explain how your content will fill the existing content gap on their site.
Prove your value
To further strengthen your guest posting proposal, add links to previous guest posts that you’ve published on other sites and showcase the improvement in metrics brought by such activities. The more proof you add to your email, the easier it will be for the publisher to understand your potential.
6. Write a guest post worth publishing
Once your pitch gets accepted, you have to write the guest post that the publisher would like to publish on their site. A publisher will be interested in working with you repeatedly if you can deliver quality content on time.
For writing guest posts, the first thing you need to do is understand the guidelines. Every publisher will have its own guest blogging guidelines in place, and you need to follow them if you want your guest post to be accepted. Your content should be informative rather than promotional.
By adding value to the content, you give the readers something new to learn about. When people find your content unique and interesting, they’ll be interested in your site and would like to learn more about what you have to offer. Proofread your content repeatedly to avoid grammatical or spelling errors.
When it comes to backlinking from the guest post, check if you are permitted to add a backlink to your site within the guest post. If not, you may be asked to add a link to your site in the author bio section.
Finally, write a bio that intrigues the readers to learn more about you and your website. Add a compelling CTA that drives readers to visit your site. This will help to get more traffic to your site.
Once you have completed writing a guest post, don’t assume that your work is over. If you want to maintain a good relationship with the publisher, follow up with them about your post publish date. Once the post is published on their site, help them promote the post for better reach and visibility.
Here are a few things you can do once your guest post is live. To engage in guest post promotions, share the link on your social channels. You can mention the publisher’s name and site when promoting the content as a good gesture.
Keep an eye on the comment section of your guest post and respond to all of them. You can also add a portfolio on your website with links to all your guest posts published to date.
8. Track your guest posting results
You cannot understand how a guest post has benefitted you unless you track the results. Some of the metrics that you may want to track for your guest post include:
- Amount of referral traffic
- Number of social shares
- Number of comments
- Number of new website visitors
- Number of new leads
- Number of brand mentions or links
- Changes in SERP placement
You will understand which site has benefitted you the most from guest posting by measuring these metrics. This will help you determine which sites to reach out to for your following guest posting requirements.
How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities?
Finding guest blogging opportunities is one of the initial steps of the process. Outreach experts usually build their repository of publishers who accept guest posts. Below, I’ll discuss some of the most effective ways to find guest blogging opportunities.
Searching for “your niche+blogs” on Google search is one of the simplest ways to find guest post opportunities. Once you find a list of blogs that accept guest posts, check their websites to see if they accept content from your niche.
Find the domain authority and domain rating of these blogs to determine where posting on these sites will add value to your own website. Shortlist the blogs that satisfy these criteria and contact them to pitch your guest post ideas.
Master the Advanced Search Operators
There is a long list of Google advanced search operators that you can use to find guest blogging opportunities. Most of these search commands are a combination of words or phrases related to guest blogging opportunities. Here is a list of commands below:
“[your keyword]” +”write for us”
“[your keyword]” +”write for me”
“[your keyword]” +”become a contributor”
“[your keyword]” + “guest post”
“[your keyword]” +”blogging guidelines”
keyword + “guest post guidelines”
“[your keyword]” +”contribute”
“[your keyword]” + “guest column”
“[your keyword]” +”submit a guest post”
“[your keyword]” + “accepting guest posts”
“[your keyword]” + “Now Accepting Guest Posts”
“[your keyword]” +”contribute to this site”
Guest Posting Communities
There are many online communities to help guest writers connect with niche bloggers. While you may not be able to connect with the biggest blogs in your niche on these platforms, they can be a great place to start your guest blogging journey.
Blogger directories are another useful source for guest authors to find the best and most relevant blogs in their niches. These directories also mention the total traffic received by their list of blogs each month, making shortlisting tasks even easier.
Interact With Blog Commenters
Once your blog is published on a site, you’ll receive a lot of comments from the blog readers. This is a great opportunity to network with new readers and, at the same time, grow your authority, which will help in opening more avenues to earn backlinks in the future.
Social Networking For Guest Posting Opportunities
Take advantage of social networking to find guest post opportunities. Be it Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter, keep seeking guest posting opportunities. You can join various groups on these social networking sites to get in touch with relevant bloggers or webmasters willing to accept guest posts.
Nudge Your Personal Connections
This is perhaps the simplest way to find guest posting opportunities for yourself. Most people have connections with a handful of bloggers in their niche. This can be their starting point for seeking out good opportunities for guest blogging.
Get in touch with your blogger friends with requirements. They can connect you with relevant bloggers and get you going.
Analyze Competitor Backlinks
Like you, your competitors will also find guest blogging opportunities to build their backlink profiles. You can analyze their backlinks to determine where they get the backlinks. SEO Tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush are very useful in extracting backlink profiles.
This will help you find sites that have recently given backlinks to your competitors. If they have accepted guest posts from your competitors, chances are, they’ll also accept your guest post proposal.
Find Sites That Interest Your Audience Using Online Marketing Tools
There are many useful online marketing tools available at your disposal that you may use to find sites that interest your audience. I’ll discuss some tools below.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
This tool allows you to find hundreds of prospects in your niche for guest blogging. You need to go to Content Explorer, enter a broad keyword or phrase related to your niche, select “in title” from the drop-down menu, and run the search. Now select the “one page per domain” filter, “exclude homepages” filter, and “exclude subdomains” filter.
This will give you the list of blogs that have published content on the keyphrase you’ve entered, and there is a high probability that they’ll accept it if you propose to write a guest post on a similar topic.
You can use SparkToro to check if the prospects you are shortlisting really get views from your target audience. All you have to do is log in to SparkToro, go to profile search, enter the publisher’s social link, and analyze whether to add them to your prospect list.
Semrush helps you find guest posting opportunities in not one by two ways. Using Semrush’s Domain Analytics, you can search a domain and find its competitors. You can then reach out to these organic competitors for guest posting opportunities.
Next, you can use the Backlink Analytics feature to find the number of backlinks received by a page. You can even filter these links by choosing only nofollow or dofollow.
Reverse Image Search
Using Reverse Image Search method, you need to find a guest post in your niche and scroll down to the bottom. There you will find the author’s bio with the image of the author. You then have to right-click on the image and click on “Search Google for image.” A new tab will contain a list of all pages where this image is found. These are the pages where the author has submitted their guest posts. You can use this information to discover new sites to guest post.
Why Do Guest Posts Get Rejected?
Usually, outreach specialists target websites that have very high authority. There are many ways you can analyze the authority of a website. Some use Domain Authority as the metric to understand the authority of the website, while others might use Domain Rating. Ultimately, there is a lot of effort put in by these websites to gain authority.
These websites have shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get into Google’s good books. In addition to this, fan-followers of these sites look forward to reading content that has set a certain quality benchmark.
So, why would such a website accept a guest post from someone who is a total stranger?
A majority of the guest post opportunities are denied because of the fear of losing the hard-earned credibility, both with Search Engines like Google and the target audience.
Is Money the Primary Reason?
No, but money is indeed a significant factor. Things are a little different if you’re reaching out to genuine websites to serve the audience. Though they might ask for money initially, these websites may accept a free guest post if you can prove the worth of the content you’re going to offer.
These sites want to add a lot of value to the content they provide to the target audience. At Stan Ventures, we are well-versed in making such website owners understand the worthiness of our content. It isn’t rocket science- all you need is the credibility and authority these site owners are looking for.
For example, we would never reject a guest post by Marie Haynes or Barry Schwartz in Stan Ventures. We know they are SEO experts, and we have no reasons to turn down the offer.
What About the Credibility of the Author?
Definitely! The author’s credibility is something that all website owners look for before accepting a guest post. With Google now using E.A.T (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) as one of the significant ranking factors, websites are looking more for content written by experts and not somebody who is doing it just for links.
How can someone become an expert or have a profile that can excite the website owners?
Ideally, the outreach specialist must be knowledgeable in the niche they are doing outreach services.
How Does Guest Blogging Impact SEO?
There are many ways guest blogging impacts SEO. The primary impact of guest blogging is earning new backlinks to your site. Backlinks are one of the most crucial ranking factors for SEO. Google analyzes a link value based on factors such as the site’s domain authority the link is coming from, the placement of the link on the page, and the anchor text.
When you guest post on a high-quality site, it tells Google that the piece of content is important enough to be accepted by such a site, and when the site gives you a dofollow backlink, it passes its authority to your site. The more authoritative your site is, the better are its chances of ranking on the SERP.
Ideally, your link should be placed with the content body with contextual content surrounding the link. Guest posts also commonly get a link in the author bio section, which is fine. But, it would be best if you tried to negotiate with the site’s publisher and ask for a link in the content body.
A link within the content body looks more natural, is more likely to be clicked by the readers, and gives more SEO value.
Anchor text clues search engine what a link is about and can impact rankings. For example, if you want a page to rank for the keyword “social media trends,” you should build many backlinks through guest blogging with that particular anchor phrase pointing to your site.
However, it should be noted that using the exact anchor text for your backlink building might not be possible every time, so you can use anchor text that are close variations of your target keyword.
Mistakes People Make When Guest Posting
1. Setting unrealistic / no goals
Before you even go ahead with your campaign, you want to have a blueprint in place. Having unrealistic goals or no goals whatsoever can cost you time and effort.
You can’t compromise on your goals if you need to build user traffic. Say, if you’re rooting for a specific keyword, your content needs to justify that by creating a write-up that revolves around it.
Start by having your content published on blogs that rank for keywords in a particular niche and have a high metric score, like Trust Flow, Domain Authority, and Page Rank.
If you’re looking for richer outreach and increased user traffic, you want to put your money on blogs that already have a huge fan following.
2. Don’t try breaking barriers with the blog’s guidelines
You don’t want to mess things up by overlooking the crucial guidelines of a blog you’re targeting. Ignore this, and you’re already on your way out.
The guidelines will help you come up with an ideal post for that blog. Information such as what to do and what to leave out from your post will help you deliver content that’s perfectly aligned to the blog’s metrics.
Most blogs will only publish your contributions if they are flawless and true to the guidelines. You want to make sure that you have lapped up their do’s and don’ts thoroughly before sending it across.
However, if the blog doesn’t have a set guideline in place, make sure you read through the existing posts to get a feel of what they are looking for regarding writing style, linking policies, and sorts.
3. Not knowing your audience
It’s customary that you understand who you’re writing for and who’s your audience before you get down to writing.
Unless you understand your audience and their preferences, guest posting won’t be doing justice. It’s the very same theory that holds well in the blogging community.
When you’re posting on someone else’s blog, your audience might differ, and so will their preferences.
This is challenging but not impossible. All you have to do is align your posts to the blogger’s audience and not your current audience so that they can relate to it.
Say you provide B2B services, but now you want to take the plunge by taking it to consumers. To make this work, you’ll need to tweak your approach and make sure you write with the new audience in mind: consumers, not businesses.
4. Don’t recycle your content
If you think since it is not your blog, you can go easy with the quality of the content you submit, think again!
Quality cannot be compromised on any account; your content’s texture, tonality, and presentation need to be sublime and top-notch.
Guest posting is a way of driving traffic to your website or blog and seeing them converted. That’s not possible without excellent content that your audience will find helpful.
Unless something on your post is helpful and informative, people wouldn’t be interested in exploring your handy work.
5. Not giving enough time and ample prospects
Guest posting doesn’t happen overnight! Instead, it demands time, a whole load of time that could stretch over days or weeks.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response at the get-go; publishing a post takes time. Give adequate time, and while you’re waiting for an answer, make sure you’re also keeping busy outreaching out to other blogs.
It takes about four to six weeks to get a blog published. Don’t lose hope; keep writing, and make new connections with other bloggers while you’re at it.
6. Follow up with emails
Your task as a guest blogger does not end with sending across your blog post; you need to follow up with emails if you don’t hear from the blogger.
Remember, they are dealing with hundreds and thousands of guest posts, and it’s possible that yours got overlooked.
There’s no harm in checking on the status after about two weeks; be sure not to spam the blogger.
7. Not responding to comments
So you think it’s done and dusted after submitting a fantastic post? Absolutely not! The real deal demands that you stick around to respond to comments and participate in discussions.
You can’t disappear into thin air when somebody has taken the trouble to leave you a comment. Furthermore, here’s the chance for you to get up, close, and personal with your audience.
It’s a fantastic way of building a relationship and establishing trust. Also, remember to reply to the follow-up comments. They are equally vital for developing a good rapport with the audience.
8. Being laid back with maintaining records
Ensure you keep a detailed record of your blog posts; blog title, date of submission, URL, contact details, Page Rank, Domain Authority, and much more, and the date it was published.
It’s a great way to understand what works and what doesn’t, and you want to work around it. So you need to iron out and perfect your posts so that they generate the maximum user traffic.
How to Scale Your Guest Blogging Using Stan Ventures?
SEO is no magic. It’s a pure strategy. We have over ten years of experience doing blogger outreach and have live connections with over 70,000 bloggers. Each one was manually contacted, and the relationship was built with a win-win perspective. The interesting part is most of them keep asking for blogs as our content drives a lot of organic traffic to these sites.
The first time we contact a blogger, we ensure that the language used while pitching for an article is not salesy. To be frank, it spoils the broth. We identify the websites and do in-depth research on their existing content and target audience. Once we understand this, our outreach specialist drafts a series of emails, which usually discusses how our content can add more value to their business.
Generally, the dofollow link just comes as the by-product of building a relationship. We usually don’t have to ask for it as it’s naturally placed within the content we provide.
I hope the guest blogging tips in this guide will be helpful for all marketers who want to ensure maximum success in it. Read through this advanced guide to learn about the tricks and tips to make your guest blogging efforts successful. If you cannot implement the strategies due to a lack of time and resources, contact a guest post service provider to assist you.