Guest posting has long been practiced in the blogosphere, but it’s only in the past year that commercial websites started to take it up in an effort to ramp up their link building and SEO campaigns. The advent of Google Panda (which emphasized the importance of quality content) and Google Penguin (which penalizes sites for over-optimization) further increased the value of guest blog posting. It accomplishes several things at once: gives you additional backlinks, advertising and branding opportunity, funnels traffic to your site, and fosters partnerships with the host sites.
Guest posting is not as easy as simple as it sounds though, and there are things you must be aware of before you jump into the bandwagon.
1. Guest posting at blogs that implement no-follow is counterproductive to the cause.
The purpose of guest blogging is to gain exposure for your written work or brand name you are carrying to a different set of audience. If your post is so excellent and the readers are so impressed that they would voluntarily look for your blog or website, then good for you. However, if you haven’t inspired such a reaction from them, there’s a very good chance they won’t bother to look you up if there’s no live link provided conveniently on the guest post page.
Keep in mind that majority of Internet users easily lose their enthusiasm the more mouse clicks they have to make or the longer they have to wait to get to the page they want. Make things easy for them and provide your links. The latter’s very presence can already be an incitement for readers to click and visit your own blog or website. So before you agree to write a guest blog post for another blog or website, ask first if they implement do-follow and allow your links to go live on the page.
2. Nothing is sure in guest posting.
In theory, guest blog posting is uncomplicated. You choose a blog with a large readership, write a post and introduce yourself as another blogger or whatever it is you are representing, include links back you our blog or website, and do your best to impress the readers and your host site. Since ideally the host site has an impressive page rank, your backlinks will contribute to your own site’s link profile. By impressing the readers, you gain more followers to your own blog and consequently, higher traffic. Moreover, by impressing the host site with your blog posting skills and work ethics, you’ll gain a very valuable, long-term partner.
Unfortunately, this will not always happen for every guest post. Some posts will be a success; some won’t produce results that are as good.
3. Blog research is a must.
Although there is no formula that guarantees excellent results for every single guest posting you do, it doesn’t mean you can choose just any blog to guest in. If you want all guest posts to be fruitful, conduct blog checks first. Researching the stats and making logical predictions of the outcomes of your guest post may give you at least a close picture of what the outcome will be if you agree to spend time and resources to write a guest post. If the research shows that you can gain very little from guest posting at a particular blog, you can then decide whether to continue with it or to divert your energies to a more profitable host site.
4. Monitoring guest posts is very important.
Most guest postings don’t really require the guest blogger to linger because the host will be entertaining readers and commenters on his or her behalf. There are times, though, when readers will direct a question or a comment to the guest blogger. If you think it best to personally answer the readers, you should definitely do so. Of course, it is good manners to inform the host about it first so that it won’t appear that you’re suddenly taking over. Let’s face it, if your presence will make readers and commenters frequent the guest post page, it will benefit the host site too.
If such a scenario happens, it will be a great opportunity for branding and securing new, regular visitors for your own blog or website.
5. Keywords and key phrases are necessary, but should not be excessive.
As a blogger you should already know all about Google Penguin, and the consequences of being in the radar of these two content and page quality watchdogs. Keywords and phrases are always a must in any written content. Their presence alerts Google and other search engines that a webpage contains information that’s relevant to the search query. Without them, your content will have a hard time appearing on the SERPs.
However, keyword stuffing will also net you a penalty. To be specific, the host site will be the one to suffer the penalty. Ideally, the host will read and review your blog post first before making it live, so something like keyword stuffing should be avoidable. To be sure though, make sure your keywords are inserted sensibly and not done excessively. Doing so will reinforce your credibility as a top-notch blogger who writes high-quality content.
6. Do not make the mistake of submitting guest blog posts without prior agreement from host sites.
It is considered rude and presumptuous for a blogger to submit blog posts to random sites without invitation or prior communication, hoping to be published as a guest blogger. Niche blogs are not like article directories where things are automated and people won’t care so much about content quality and topic relevance. Just like you, bloggers have plans and schedules. You cannot just barge in and disrupt those plans, especially since you have no existing relationship to back you up.
Searching for related blogs and sending emails to ask for a chance to guest post is not the right way to do it either. That’s still too abrupt. “Cold submitting,” as bloggers call it, will only end up in rejections and wasted time and effort.
7. Outreach leads to friendship, which in turn leads to partnership.
Since cold submitting is out of the question, how does one go about searching for blogs to guest post in? This is where outreach comes in. Outreach is reaching out to fellow bloggers with the genuine desire to build relationships and mutually-beneficial partnerships. You don’t start out telling another blogger that you want to guest post. You want to become acquainted with the other party first. Becoming friends may be a stretch, but you’ll want to break the ice first so that you’ll be more comfortable in your conversations. This may take time, but there’s a good chance that you’ll get an invitation to guest post (possibly more in the future; outreach, after all, builds the framework for long-term partnerships).
8. Having very good credentials can make it easier to find guest posting opportunities.
Serious bloggers require quality in all their content—and that includes content provided by guest bloggers. It is easier to get a yes from the blogs you want to guest post in if you have an impressive portfolio. If they see that you’ve written a lot of guest blog posts already, and that several of them are on major blogs, they will be more amenable to agreeing to let you guest post. This is also why you shouldn’t underestimate starting with smaller blogs. It gives you the opportunity to build your credentials, and practice your skills in guest writing and interacting with host site administrators.
Nothing can educate you about guest blog posting more than actual experience, though. Each attempt may or may not be what you expect. The important thing is to learn something out of each guest posting experience, and apply those experiences to future endeavors. You may learn things that you can apply to your own blog or website as well.