Guest Blogging – It’s All the Rave

Guest blogging has been the new Oprah within the interactive community for a while now, and with the increasing changes coming from Google such as Penguin and Panda, this seems like this tactic may be one of the few left to build high quality links back to your site.

So what is guest blogging? Purely just what it sounds like … you write a blog post as a guest or subject matter expert for someone else’s blog or website.  There are many advantages for authors who guest blog:

  1. Branding.  Placing posts on other blogs helps your potential audience start to associate your name with high-quality information.  The more users see your articles, the more authority you will spawn. It’s a cumulative process, but one that can happen quickly if you have the ability to put a lot of work in over a short period.
  2. External links (backlinks).  Driving external links from topically relevant websites can really boost your SEO campaigns and rankings for the particular keywords you use as anchor text.  As stated before, this is one of the few tactics left in an SEO’s tool box for building high quality backlinks.

So what does it take to secure a guest blogging position?  There are three things to remember when looking to engage in guest blogging, the first is selecting the right blog.

Select High Quality Topically Relevant Blogs

There are many websites or groups that offer guest blogging services or have platforms that put the blog owner and guest blogger in the “same room” to create the relationship.  Creating that relationship is key to being able to successfully syndicate your content via different blogs.  One site that allows you to “meet” bloggers looking for guest postings is called My Blog Guest.

MyBlogGuest is a website started by Ann Smarty SEO consultant and author at Mashable.  My Blog Guest allows users to find blogs that are relevant to their topic or industry and request guest posting via their website’s forum-like functions.

Some features offered by My Blog Guest are:

  • Article Gallery
  • Infographics Gallery
  • MyBlogGuest Direct
  •  Email Subscriptions
  •  User Watchlist

Sign up and take a spin for yourself, it’s free for the open forum level, but, for a more streamlined and personal approach, pick up the$30/mo premium plan.  This gives you access to private forums for advanced / secret guest blogging and link building tips, infographics and article statistics.  Once you have secured a relevant target blog/website and created a relationship with the blog owner, it’s time to provide the content!

Provide Relevant, Useful Content That Answers a Question for the Reader

The second thing to remember when engaging in guest blogging is that: users read blogs to find information, even if it’s just dirt on a celebrity, or a review on the latest tech gadget hitting the market.  Your job as a guest author is to provide the information the user is looking for and become the subject matter expert on all topics relevant to your industry.  This builds that authority that we discussed before and opens doors for more guest blogging opportunities on more authoritative sites:

Words from Ann Smarty:

“It somehow happened without me trying too much. I started blogging and was invited to guest post at Search Engine Journal. I didn’t even know what a guest post was and was too humble to even include an “About author” page. Then guest posting invites kept coming. I saw traffic and more people recognizing me as an expert. I saw the benefit! So I started guest blogging actively. Then the idea of MyBlogGuest was born and my name became associated with “guest blogging” because of it. I started to guest post even more promoting MyBlogGuest. It was promoted 100% with my guest posts: no paid reviews, no ads, just “free” guest posts. And it started growing! I guess that’s the best evidence of the benefits of guest blogging.”

The more you guest post, the more you are asked to guest post, and the more branding and exposure you and your website are able to generate in the process.

Matt Cutts touches on this, as he answers a question from a user on guest blogging.  In the video, Cutts explains how authoritative bloggers are often asked to write for multiple blogs/websites due to their notoriety with-in their respective industry.  He gives the example of Danny Sullivan who is the editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, a blog that covers news and information about search engines, and search marketing.  Cutts also explains how bloggers that are not huge figures in their industry can use guest blogging to build their authority.

Cutts also speaks about “low quality article banks” and outsourcing of writings which can be taking to the extreme, and he advised that Google will not count these links.  Cutts also dropped some information in reference to articles that Google views as “just enough to get by”.  These are articles that only contain the bare minimum in reference to word count, number of links within content and quality.

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This just adds to my point that good solid content is not only good for the reader, but is also good for the search engines.  This is one of the signals with-in the search engine’s algorithm for ranking sites with-in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page); unique, fresh content!

Once you have secured a guest blogging position/spot; and provided the unique, relevant content – it’s time to secure the link juice!

Securing Links Back To Your Site or Blog

The primary style/process for guest posts includes a bio box and byline (collectively known as the resource box) about the author.  Most blog owners will attempt to restrict you links to this section of the post, however, if you are an authoritative figure within your vertical, you can request that you be allowed 1-3 contextual links within the body of the post.

Contextual links are clickable text links made up of a keyword phrases within the content of an article.  A contextual link can only work if it links to a page primarily about the keyword phrase. For example, the phrase “wooden furniture” should link to a page about furniture made from wood, not to the FAQ section of a furniture sales site.  Once you have posted your post and embedded your links back to your site, it’s time to track the results.

Tracking You Results

Although we are guest posting for links and link juice passing through to our site, the one added bonus that I purposely forgot to mention earlier was the traffic benefit.  If you did your homework well when selecting high quality topically relevant blogs, your post should be sending you daily unique traffic.  This is traffic that you would have never seen had you not positioned your content on others blogs.  Use your analytic tool of choice to gauge how many new users are visiting from your post and how many of these new users you are able to convert into paying customer, subscriptions, bookings, leads and sales!