One of the most effective ways of getting links and traffic to your website is by guest blogging. In the past year or two it’s become the most popular link building tactic and it’s currently the trendy way to attract links to your website in a Google-friendly way.
It sounds easy, and it is – you just need to find a few blogs that will allow you to write content for them and then send it to them to publish. However, it’s still possible to do it badly so I thought I’d put together a few simple guidelines to help you get the most out of it.
Firstly you need to find some blogs that are relevant to your business and that are likely to want to publish something you’ve written and be willing link back to your blog. It’s unlikely that your direct competitors would do that but there are plenty of other relevant options out there. A simple way to find opportunities is to do a search in Google for the sorts of keywords you’d like to rank for and then add the word “guest blog”. You’ll find sites in your niche that have already accepted guest blogs so you can approach them with your ideas for the guest blog.
Having said that, it’s more valuable to get a guest blog from a website that doesn’t openly advertise guest blogs, or at least a website that’s very choosy about who it allows to blog. You’ll find that the hard you have to work for a blogging opportunity, the more valuable it is.
Taking that last point, you want to make sure that if you’re going to approach a high quality, prominent blog, that whatever you’re pitching to them is something that’s going to meet their quality requirements.
This brings me to what I use as my golden rule for blogging – write for a guest blog as if you’re writing for your own site. Don’t use your low quality ideas for your guest posts and save your best work for your own site. Don’t think of your guest blogging as an opportunity to only get links, think of it as an opportunity to showcase your expertise.
For example, if I was given the opportunity to write an article for the BBC website, I’d spend ages doing my research and re-writing until I was happy with it because I’d know that it’s a great opportunity to promote myself.
This last point is very important. A few blogs on high quality, high profile sites are worth much more than hundreds posts on low quality sites. Forget about the links back to your site – they’re nice to have, but the chance to raise your profile is incredibly valuable – probably more valuable than a few links to your website.
Once you’ve agreed the topic, written it and you’re happy with it, you can now add a link back to your site. Firstly don’t be afraid to link to other sites. If you reference another blog or article and you think it’ll be useful to the reader then link to it. If it was really that useful then the author of it deserves the credit and secondly it’ll look a little weird if the only link in this article is back to your website. It’s not impossible but most blog posts link out to other content so you should do too.
Secondly, don’t litter the blog post with links back to your website. The days of having rich anchor text pointing to your blog and helping your rankings are quickly disappearing. My recommendation would be to have a short biography at the bottom of the post with the business/website name linking back to your website. That’s all – one link is all you need.
One final point is to expect the unexpected. As an example, I pitched Microsoft with a guest blog idea. They agreed to go with it so I spent quite a while writing it and went quite a way over what they’d asked for in terms of content length. I sent it over to them and offered to cut it down, but they liked it so much that they promoted it to one of the resource areas on their main site where guest blogs don’t exists and the value would be so much higher.
So to summarise, don’t treat it purely as a way to get links. Yes you’ll get links but you’ll be missing out on so much more. Instead, treat it as a way to increase your profile and showcase your expertise in front of a very discerning audience. You’ll benefit from it in ways you won’t expect.
(Image by Bahman Farzad)