In the last few years, Guest Posting has emerged as a powerful and impactful digital marketing strategy. Brands and individual bloggers are using guest blogging to increase traffic to their website. Google’s emphasis on white hat strategies is also contributing to guest posting’s popularity amongst agencies and bloggers.
Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting: A Brief Introduction:
Let me begin the article with a personal experience.
Ever since I became part of the digital marketing industry, I have been fascinated with Guest Posting.
However, the first two years were impossibly hard, given the fact that I did not know how to make the approach.
I struggled a lot, and somehow none of the tips or advice on Neil Patel, Backlinko, or Quick Sprout seemed to help.
I came to realize that when you are starting out in the world of Guest Posting, it can be a daunting task. Almost all experts write on issues that are helpful for established bloggers. Not so much for individuals and brands just starting out.
For two years, I kept following their advice and failing miserably. They narrate stories of their successes on industry authority sites that are ‘huge’. However, they miss one crucial aspect- no one who is starting out can achieve that right from the get-go.
For those two years, I kept researching and submitting articles to some of the industry’s best digital marketing blogs. I was faced with rejections, dejections, and then some more.
This article is dedicated to everyone who has failed in guest posting or guest blogging. If you are starting out, do not even try to follow an advanced guide to guest blogging from MOZ or Ahrefs. You will not succeed; trust me.
Nevertheless, if you are starting out, you will need to know about the basics of guest posting. I will also tell you about some of the benefits of guest posting, and how you can, get the most out of it. This is why I thought about compiling an ultimate guide to guest posting for beginners.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest Posting or Guest Blogging is a digital marketing strategy. It is a practice wherein you create content that is then published on a different website. Now, you might want to ask a pertinent question- why I should create content for some other site. You are not wrong, and anyone new to guest posting always has this question.
However, in exchange for publishing your content, you might get certain benefits from the host website like-
- The host website might offer you backlinks that will redirect users to your website
- The host site can offer ‘No-Follow’ as well as ‘Do-Follow’ Links
- You get access to the readership base of an industry authority website
- You grow your credibility and establish a name for yourself
- Your name and bio will be mentioned in the author’s bio section on the host website
These are some of the tangible benefits of guest posting in a nutshell. Besides the above, guest posting helps in increasing your SEO score, build strong backlinks and climb the SERPs.
Guest Posting is different from link building. If you are planning to do guest blogging with the sole intention of building links, you should change your strategy.
For individuals, who are starting out, guest posting should always have the right intentions. This means-
- It should be done with the intention of attracting traffic to your website
- Slowly building your online credibility and reputation
- Trying to be a part of a digital ecosystem
- Building you and your website’s brand.
Setting your intentions right from the start is like building your foundation. With the right intent, you will be successful, with the wrong one, Google will keep hovering over your head. This is why it is critical that you follow this ultimate guide to guest posting in letter and spirit.
Google and Guest Posting: The Relationship
Think of Google as a ‘Class Monitor’ (sorry Google).
What does a class monitor do when one of the students goes astray?
The student is reported, and appropriate actions are taken.
Google is very serious when it comes to doing guest posting just for spammy link building. In 2014, Head of Google Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts, created a furor when he stated, “Stick a fork in it: Guest Blogging is dead!”
This created a lot of controversies, with Cutts having to come out again and clarify that he meant spammy guest posting.
Nearly all digital marketing strategies can be white hat if you try hard enough. Even after 2014, do you think guest posting is dead? No. On the other hand, quality guest posting is thriving more than ever before.
If you are new to the field, always remember to keep Google as one of your friends. Your inherent intention behind every article should be-
- Providing useful content
- Contributing to the already existing information
- Helping readers and viewers
- Helping the host site with quality content
- Building your reputation
According to Google, you should set these white hat guest posting goals for yourself. Once you are sure that your content fulfills the above five points, link building becomes an after-thought.
Sure, you will get the backlinks, but securing just links should never be the goal according to Google. Once you have set the right priorities, Google will award you accordingly. In this guide to guest posting, I have only looked at white hat guest posting.
At least you will not get lowered metrics, or worse, the site will not face deindexing by Google.
The Correct Guest Posting Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide
How often have you heard ‘experts’ speak about reaching out to authority blogs? What they do not realize it is that it is practically impossible to get your content on one.
Therefore, this is not an expert’s guide to guest posting.
Rather, it is a practical and simple guide to guest posting for beginners.
Without further ado, let us begin-
1. Build a strong Social Media Profile:
In 2019, if you are not going to have 1000 followers on Twitter, no one is going to take you seriously. It is unfair, but that is just how the world has become.
If you want to get into guest blogging, you will need to build up your social media presence. This involves posting regularly, engaging with others, and increasing your audience base.
Once you have a sizable presence on social media, you are ready to take the next step.
(Our Tip- Follow, Like and Comment on at least 100 industry authority sites and authors every week)
2. Go for the Low Hanging Fruit:
I am sure all of you have heard about something called a ‘portfolio’. Almost every brand that you will approach (high authority ones) will ask you for a guest posting portfolio.
Rather than going for the authority blogs, go for the low hanging ones. This will give you exposure, familiarity and you will learn about the tips and tricks.
I personally recommend guest posting in at least 50 blogs/content sites with DA between 20-30. This will help you build your portfolio.
(Our Tip- share all your publications on your social media handles).
3. Create Quality Content at all times:
No matter what the quality of content on the host site is, you need to be different. Some not so good sites who accept guest posting have a word length limit of 500-600.
At all times, you need to build a habit of writing long format content. Even when you are asked to write a 600-word article, write at least 1000 words. This is a habit thing, and you need to build it.
The article should be of high quality and completely original. It should have sections breaks, sentence breaks, and headings/sub-headings. Take the help of WordPress Publishing Dashboard to optimize your article.
(Our Tip- Use Content writing help software like Copyscape, Hemingway Editor, and WordPress to optimize your content).
4. Do not Haggle for Do-Follow Links:
When you are establishing your online presence, do not push for do-follow links. Take no-follow links, as they will help you. A published article with a no-follow link is worth more than a non-published article with no link at all.
This will also help you build your relationship with the publishers/bloggers. I have seen countless times that a deal fell through simply because the do-follow link was the issue.
Unless you are someone huge in the industry, you should always do well with a no-follow link. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the right step in your direction. no-follow link will help you divert traffic to your website. It will also help you build your credibility overtime.
(Our Tip- Press for your own Author Bio on the article plus the link in the author bio section)
5. Money sometimes becomes a Necessary Evil:
I agree that the ideals of guest posting do not permit transactions involving money. However, we are not living in an ideal world. Money plays a big role, even when the best of publishers are involved.
Even if you do not want to, you will have to take recourse to monetary transactions. However, the key not to let your quality suffer simply because you are paying for it. At all times, you will need to treat this as a genuine case, and not something related to money.
This will help you maintain the quality of your article, be genuine, authentic, and add to your portfolio. I know I stated that all the strategies in this guide to guest posting will be white hat. However, in order to maintain it, quality content is a great strategy to push ahead
(Our Tip- Rather than money, try asking for a link-exchange as a form of barter).
6. Avoid Private Blog Networks and Link Resellers:
Once you are stuck in the rut that is the world of PBNs and Link Resellers, you might never come out. Try to avoid these two entities at all times. Not only will they severely damage your reputation, but they will also invite Google’s wrath on you.
There are three checkboxes you can tick to check whether a site is a PBN-
- Does the site has an About Us section or not.
- Check whether the site has active social media pages or not.
- You need to also ensure whether the logo is there or not. (right click the logo and open in a new tab)
There are several other checks too, but the above three are fairly simple and direct. Again, you should go for the low hanging fruit, but not fruits inside the ground.
(Our Tip- DM the site privately asking for guest posting. See the response. If money is involved bail out immediately).
7. Be Patient:
Ever have that feeling that things are not tuning out even though I am doing everything. You will experience this, many times over. Talk to yourself, pick yourself up, dust it off, and keep writing.
White Hat Guest Posting takes time, effort, discipline, and dedication. Expecting results in a month, would be the wrong thing to do.
However, if you are doing all the steps right continuously, for at least a year, the results will start to show. If you want to take up guest posting seriously, you need to exercise patience at all times.
(Our Tip- If your article is rejected on one site, take the same article, and move on to the next blog site and apply).
8. Take the Next Step:
Once you have built your portfolio (at least 50 blogs), you are ready to move into the next stage. This means you can now approach sites with a DA of 40+.
The process is easy (I assume by now you would have picked up a lot of experience).
- Make the initial approach
- Introduce yourself and your portfolio
- Come up with a topic
- Pitch an idea
- Email follow-ups
If the article is good, useful and your online reputation has been somewhat well established, you will get positive feedback. However, you need to keep doing it all, to move to the next step here as well.
(Our Tip- You need to reach out to the authority sites more on social media than on their website contact us section or the blog’s comment section)
9. Quality Trumps Quantity:
You do not need to write a guest post for an article every day. The focus should always be on quality over quantity.
Your aim should be to submit a guest post to a site once every week. Not more than that. This will give you time to research, reach out and network. Remember, writing is just one aspect of guest posting. The other dimensions matter a lot too.
According to my estimates, you would be submitting 4-5 blogs every month to sites for guest posting. In one year, you will have more than 50 blogs with your author bio, all over the internet.
(Our Tip- Create an MS Excel, put out your plan with leads, topics, suggested articles, and status. In other words, maintain a tracking sheet).
The Final Word:
If you compare this article to some other article on guest posting, chances are you will find the two to be as diverse as possible.
At the very outset, I had stated that this article is for individuals and brands who are novices. Novices cannot listen to a Neil Patel or a Backlinko and follow their best practices. Honestly, they are not at that position yet.
This is a Starter Pack to Guest Blogging. All the steps have been written keeping in mind someone who is starting out. You can might as well re brand this article as the ‘Ultimate Beginners Guide to Guest Posting’!
If you need any other information on guest posting or guest posting services, feel free to reach out: [email protected]