When you start a new blog, the most difficult challenge you face is getting people to visit it. In most cases, search engines will be your main ally, but even they won’t pay that much attention to your website at first. If you want everyone to know your blog exists, you’ll need to spend a lot of time working on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There are a ton of aspects to consider when it comes to SEO. However, for this article, we’re going to focus on backlinks and how to get them through guest blogging. With a good guest posting strategy, you’ll be able to poach some of your competitor’s traffic and rise faster through the SERPs.
In this article, we’re going to talk a bit more about what guest blogging is and why so many people recommend you do it. Then I’ll walk you through three tips to help optimize your guest blogging strategy. Let’s get to work!
What Guest Blogging Is (And Why You Should Consider Doing It)
Guest blogging is what we call it when a writer from outside your website wants to contribute with a post to your blog. That’s usually a good thing because it means you get to relax for a bit and still publish new content. As you might imagine, guest bloggers don’t go through that effort just out of good will. In most cases, they get one (or more) of three things out of the deal:
- A piece they can add to their freelance writing portfolio, showing they were published on a successful blog.
- A link back to their website, which can help with SEO.
- Getting their name out there and building a reputation in a specific niche.
Let’s focus on reason number two. There are several factors that search engines take into consideration when determining your blog’s ranking. There is keyword usage, as well as overall loading time, domain authority, and more. However, even if you knock it out of the park with all those factors, search engines still want to see other sites pointing towards yours with links.
To put it another way, successful blogs don’t exist in a vacuum. If you publish engaging content, then people will want to link to it. So if search engines don’t find many backlinks to your site, they see it as a red flag.
There are a lot of ways you can go about link building, and if you’re patient, you can wait for backlinks to come organically. However, I’m more partial to a proactive approach, which is where guest blogging comes in.
3 Tips to Get Started With Guest Blogging
Before we get started, it’s important you understand guest blogging isn’t a magic bullet. To maximize your blog’s growth, you’ll want to try out several link building techniques. However, guest blogging is a great place to start.
1. Identify Sites in Your Niche With a Similar Target Audience
If you run a blog about cars, then it wouldn’t make much sense to publish a guest post on a website about jogging. In other words, the first thing you need to do to get started with guest blogging is to identify websites with a similar audience, where your content will be well received.
Unless you’re focusing on a very specific niche, I guarantee you’ll find other websites that target it as well. The best way to identify those blogs is to make a list of popular keywords within your niche and see what sites pop up in the results.
At this stage, I like to keep an eye out for blogs that keep coming up over and over again. Those are the ones you want to focus on since it stands to reason they might have a larger audience. Once you identify some targets, check them out to see if they look reputable and check on their traffic.
If you find a site that looks like it’d be worth submitting a guest post too, then you’ll need to pitch them a proposal, which is where the next section comes in.
2. Work on Your Guest Blogging Pitch
Asking someone for the opportunity to write for their blog is much like pitching a client. You need to prove that you understand what they need and that you can provide them with valuable content.
In this scenario, you can assume that a popular blog receives tons of guest blogging proposals. The best way to stand out is to study their style and the type of content they focus on. Then, I try to look for topic ideas they haven’t covered, which they are more likely to accept.
Once you have a list of potential ideas – two or three should be enough – it’s time to send a pitch via email. In most cases, you should be able to find a contact email or form to submit your pitch on their blog.
I recommend keeping your pitch short. Mention your experience in their field, include a link to your website or portfolio, and then move right on to talking about ideas for your guest post.
A lot of people won’t get back to you at all, but that’s no reason to get discouraged. If that happens, don’t insist. Instead, identify new targets and keep trying to pitch them.
3. Don’t Go Overboard With the Outbound Links
When you write a guest post for a blog, it’s considered normal for you to include a link back to your website. The owner of that blog will still have to approve your guest post, so it’s not something underhanded.
However, some people go a little overboard at this stage and pack their guest posts full of links to their blog. That’s what we call ‘not cool’ and it’s a quick way to get blacklisted from ever writing another guest post for a specific site.
While it’s true that more backlinks are usually a good thing, you don’t want search engines to think you’re trying to game the system. Instead of just trying to force links into any nook and cranny within your guest posts, focus on finding the best opportunity to include them organically.
What I like to do is link to one of my most successful blog posts instead of my homepage. That way, I maximize the chances of getting people who click on that link and then stick around. Even if they don’t, you still got a brand new backlink from a reputable website, so can count it as a win!
Guest blogging can be a bit frustrating since you end up spending so much time working on content that won’t end up on your website. However, each guest post you manage to get published means more links to your website. The more backlinks you have, the more seriously search engines will take your content, so the effort usually pays off in the long run.
Here are some quick tips to help you get the most out of your guest blogging efforts:
- Identify sites in your niche with a similar target audience.
- Work on your guest blogging pitches.
- Don’t go overboard with the outbound links.
Do you have any questions about how to get started blogging? Check out our Start a Blog guide and let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.
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