As you develop your blog strategy, one of the first things to look at is, building external links back to your site. Guest posts are everywhere for a good reason as they can:
- Increase your site traffic
- Create Google search visibility
- Establish authority in your industry
implementing a process to successfully submit guest posts will set you ahead of the pack.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Start with a Keyword
Begin with keyword research. Tools you can use:
Google Analytics to review keywords currently performing well for you that may provide opportunities for increased rankings.
Google Search and Google Keyword Planner for related keywords people are actively searching on Google.
Research competitors’ high ranking keywords and backlinks using RankWatch.
Whatever content you build ultimately needs to be around the anchor text, which is the keyword containing the link back to your site. Then, you should incorporate related long-tail keywords/LSIs in the article and headline.
To view related long-tail keywords, type in your targeted keyword and see Google’s suggestions in the search toolbar. Search for your targeted keyword and view more related searches below the organic results.
For example, one of the related keywords for this article I want to target is “how to increase domain authority.”
Step 2: Review Competitors
You’ve got keywords you are looking to rank higher on. Great ! Now you need to dig into the top ranked pages for each targeted keyword on Google.
Take thorough notes reviewing how engaging the content is. Use tools like Buzzsumo to measure how much people are sharing each page.
Note any supporting visuals and whether they are generic photos (like a picture of someone sipping coffee versus informative images directly relevant to the actual content).
One study showed that when an individual hears information as opposed to seeing it, they’re likely only able to recall 10% of it. However, when providing information through an image, people retained 65% of the details three days later.
And if you are looking to create a guide or powerful list, ask yourself this: What is the juicier information you can incorporate from other sites to create a better guest post? Most content marketing writers will know this as the “skyscraper technique.”
Step 3: Identifying Websites to Place Backlinks
Roundups are the lowest hanging fruit in finding great backlinks. Many industry niche news sites will have a weekly roundup post containing multiple links to content on other websites.
Sites that Accept Guest Posts
If you want to quickly find which websites accept guest posts, look for:
- Guest post guidelines on their site; Google intitle:guest post guidelines, “keyword write for us,” intitle:guest blog guidelines
- Sites with list-based posts; Google “top lists,” “submit a list”
- Guest post mentions on Twitter; search “niche guest post”
Many sites tag posts by author name, so you can see how many times a contributor wrote articles on a site.
Find this by clicking the author’s name.
If some authors only have one post and their bio contains external links, that’s a strong indicator they accept guest posts.
While it’s far easier to place backlinks on brand new sites, they aren’t anywhere near as valuable as websites with domain authority. Sites with top rankings of highly competitive keywords in your industry usually have domain authority.
You can hire a virtual assistant or create a spreadsheet to compile potential backlink opportunities.
Step 4: Compiling Contacts
After you’ve identified who you are looking to target through a spreadsheet, divide your outreach strategy by who has guest post guidelines and who doesn’t.
Most sites containing guest post guidelines have those for a reason. They want you to follow them, or they will likely ignore your outreach.
For sites without guidelines, you’ll want to track down the blog editor you are looking to get a backlink from. If their email address isn’t on their site, check out tools like Hunter.
Or, use some Google-fu skills. Search by “@theirdomain.com” to either find their email address or the basic structure of everyone’s email address at their company (i.e., is it firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
You may also find an editor’s email address on social profiles. Manually checking their Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social sites can help you in developing a more effective, personalized outreach.
Step 5: The Art of Pitching
Before we go into what to do, it’s important to note what not to do and some of the common mistakes people make in attempting to generate backlinks.
Mistake #1: Lack of Personalization
High domain authority websites get a ton of inquiries. If you don’t have time to research their content and who writes it, hire a virtual assistant to do the legwork.
Mistake #2: Your Outreach Sounds like a Self-Centered Friend
Have you ever received a cold email where nearly every sentence starts with the word “I”?
Here is an actual (terrible) follow-up email I got to a guest post request. How long did that last in my inbox? Not long.
Also, unless your product or service contains a literally earth-shattering feature, don’t lead your outreach emails or proposed guest post content with it.
Mistake #3: Keep It Tight
You need to make your pitches concise but informative.
Now, more importantly, let’s look at best practices for contacting blog sites to submit guest posts. Outreach is incredibly important to help you raise your search rankings, so let’s make sure we get it right…
Look, some people will be creeped out you looked them up on social profiles before you contacted them. But even if it’s a brief mention about a television show they like, they’ll at least know it’s not a blanket email.
You can also look for other potentially simple ways to help, such as pointing out minor site bugs or spam comments on their blog.
2.Provide Context on the Content Topic
It should be crystal clear after the first time they read your pitch what you are hoping to have placed on their website. To make your pitch more concise, including bullets.
Keep what your company does to no more than two sentences. If you don’t already, include your website and social profiles in your email signature.
4.Lead Them To Take Action
At the end of your outreach message, it should be clear why they would want to have your guest post on their site. Whether it’s because you are publishing something of great value to their readers or you have previous blog posts with high amounts of traffic, it needs to be easy to take action. You can move the conversation forward by placing a question at the end of your email.
5.Provide Further Incentives
You can also mention what you’ll do in return to make sure valuable content is published on their website. You can talk about replying to any post comments and promising to share across your entire social network.
Step 6: Promoting the Post
Should you start thinking about how you are going to promote a post before writing it? YES. And here are a few reasons why:
Many high-performing pieces contain original content based on interviews from experts. And of course, you should reach out to your industry’s experts to gain insights on a topic you are looking to write about. It not only provides more valuable information to the post’s audience, it creates sensational opportunities to reach out after publishing and ask for a share.
Bottom line? Most high authority folks are always looking for helpful content to share on their networks.
For sites with regular roundups, ask them if they are putting together a future roundup. Briefly, discuss the topic you are looking to write about and ask if they’re interested. You create a micro-commitment here confirming they are interested in the topic. That way, you can send them a link once the post is live.
Planning your outreach can also help generate additional viewers through social sites like Reddit. Research specific subreddits to see the most popular content and how it’s positioned.
Day of publication, you can make sure your team boosts the visibility of content on sites like Reddit by having each person upvote, like, or share posts.
In sum, when you implement a policy for guest post submissions and follow that structured, nuanced plan consistently, you’ll find in time that your efforts will bear great fruit, rocketing your domain authority and rankings upward.