If you know anything about SEO, you recognise that an integral part of SEO optimisation for your website is a solid backlink strategy, well linked internal pages and fast load times for your web pages.
However, it is long past the time where any link you could get was valuable. Search engines today are much smarter and assign value to backlinks based on the authority of the website where it is coming from, and relevance of the page that is giving the link.
Hence, if you are grabbing links from shadowy sources, this may not just lead to a waste of resources, but also negatively impact your brand equity and, ironically, your search engine ranking.
While one cannot always proactively determine the source of backlinks that point to their web pages, it is possible to handpick the quality of backlinks you get through your efforts.
That’s where guest posting comes in as a link-building strategy.
Since you have full control over the sites where your guest post appears, you can target websites that have both a high search engine domain authority and a brand reputation in the industry.
When your guest posts appear on top sites in your industry, the association rubs off on you. Apart from cementing your recognition as a top player in the space, the perception their audience has of your brand steps up some notches. Since the audience of the target site is relevant and ancillary to yours, that boost in your brand equity is not cosmetic as it will lead to some readers checking out your website, especially if you get a relevant link insertion within the body of the article.
Now, let us look at how can you use guest blogging as a vehicle to acquire backlinks for your website.
Set Minimum Standards of Sites You Can Guest Post On
Determining what the baseline is for sites that you can guest post on can help keep your guest posting efforts aligned.
As stated at the start of this article, if random links can come from all over the place, at least the links you acquire deliberately should be of high-value.
So, how do you determine a high-value website?
Think high domain authority, clean design, regular posting schedule and the evidence that site allows guest posters to include at least a relevant link to their website.
Note that my recommendation above is just a baseline, but you can set higher standards, depending on the level of authority that you are seeking and where you are. Bring your content team together and determine what that minimum standard will be – and stick to it.
I can’t emphasise this enough.
It can be very tempting just to fill that form and submit content to a site that does not meet your minimum standards because just because they have a very accessible “Submit a Guest Post” page.
Keep in mind that the easiest path does not lead to the most value – resist the urge.
It is likely that most of the sites that you end up posting your content on may not have a “Submit a Guest Post” link. When you have a solid guest post pitch that promises a unique take on issues, editors of relevant sites would be eager to publish you.
Let Knowledge Lead You Guest Posting Direction
Only send a pitch to a site where you know that your expertise will make you shine. Always keep in mind that guest posting is never just about the link, even when your principal motive is to acquire a high-profile link.
Without the amplifier effect that comes from publishing posts that establish your thought leadership, the authority building aspect of guest blogging cannot be overemphasised. The more you build your authority by publishing on high profile relevant blogs on a subject, the more influence your guest post pitches command. Keep in mind that when you can reference several other high profile industry blogs where your guest posts have featured, resistance from future editors come down, and they are more open to publishing your content.
Keep in mind that website editors are more likely to accept blog posts from you if you are writing from experience, and not just regurgitating what has been told to death.
Do you have experiences that can add value to whatever topic on which you are writing? Add those experiences in the guest post to spice things up – nothing beats personal insights from an industry player who is walking the walk.
To improve the chances of getting your foot through the door, your team may likely have to send pitches out as CEO or as another c-suite level executive instead of having just anyone in the marketing team being the face behind the pitch.
If your marketers are sending emails out as the CEO or other top-level executive in your organisation, you need to ensure that those at the arrow-head of the pitching campaign can be trusted to represent the business and personal brands effectively.
Leverage on Proprietary Data to Get Guest Post Placements
Do you want to make a buzz in your industry category and get relevant websites jumping over themselves to give you a guest post slot?
Publish data from original research that you have conducted that reveal interesting insights.
Here are two ways original data can edify your guest posts efforts:
- Your data gives you information no one else has, allowing you to ideate guest post angles that are unique.
- Your original data published on your website gives you a legitimate reason to place a backlink to your site in your guest post that no editor would want to take out.
While not every site allows you to place a link in guest posts, those that permit the inclusion of in-text backlinks watch out for the following link qualities:
- Point to the source of quotes in the guest post
- Point to the source of data used to arrive at conclusions
- Points to a page that provides supplementary insights
Placing a link to a report on your site that offers original data plays right into what editors need in external links – show the source of the data, or allow readers to go deeper into the topic under consideration.
But when businesses hear that they need to publish original data, they can easily get overwhelmed at the thought of how they can collect this data.
The truth is, every business has proprietary data that others, even within the same industry, do not have access. Here, you can base your report on that unique data that you have arising from the work that you do.
You could also have access to data by sending out surveys to existing customers, readers, subscribers and social media followers. If you have a statistically significant audience, you can create unique datasets at will.
Interestingly, once your data is out in public, if it is unique enough, you will not have to push it aggressively with guest blog pitches. Relevant publications will write about the report and link to your dataset – without your having to ask for it.
Don’t Automate Your Backlink Outreach Emailing
If your idea of an outreach email is to use a software to send mass emails asking to that publications reward you with a link in their next roundup or so, think again. There is almost zero chance that editors at the kinds of websites you should target will fall for that crap. Not when they have spam and delete buttons handy.
As an editor, there is nothing I find as frustrating as having my inbox flooded with random emails from blogs that add no value to what I do, seeking a dumping ground for yet another low-value article. When you use a mass mailing application for outreach, this is often the impression that you create, and deservedly so.
While you can use tools to create a shortlist, manually review the websites and make sure they meet your high placement standards we discussed at the start of this article. Then, for best results, craft personalised outreach emails that show that you know them and follow their work.
That is the outreach emails editors look forward to getting.
And once they open it, if they have a space in their calendar, and your report is of high relevance to them, you can be sure that they will consider publishing your content.
In conclusion, something to keep in mind too is that you have to maintain a site of the quality that you wish to attract. You cannot have phantom high placement standards when your site has an unattractive design, with poorly written articles and a less than clumsy user experience. You cannot fall far from the impressions you leave. As far as guest blogging goes, be the company that you want to keep.