2012 can be considered a groundbreaking year for anyone looking to make a fortune online as Google triggered somewhat of a Tsunami of discussion on the future of SEO as the search engine behemoth effectively demolished traditional forms of “link building” with the release of its much dreaded penguin update.
Prior to the penguin update, SEO as we knew it was largely driven by buying or trading links through various forms of mass article marketing, building artificial “links” via private blog networks and also forms of web spam links on independent blogs.
As we now know that many of the websites that entirely relied on this form of link building to climb up the search results have since disappeared or been completely de-indexed from Google’s search results.
So, the big question now is, is any form of link building safe for legitimate website owners without risking a penalty from Google?
The answer is an emphatic yes. High quality links still form the backbone of any successful SEO campaign albeit a little harder to achieve. One of the highly effective and often underrated form of building high quality links is guest posting. It essentially involves you (the guest writer) and another established blog or content rich website. A guest writer provides the content and in return receive a high quality link (or two) pointing back to your website.
So, why is this method of acquiring links so highly effective? The answer is quite simple.
Many established websites and blogs that accept guest posts are already trusted by search engines and have strict guidelines for publishing guest content. Consequently, any links emanating from such websites will be seen as the most natural form of vote for your own blog or website backed by solid content (always perceived favourably by the search engines).
Now the big question is, how does one go about finding prospective blogs and more importantly have a guest post published on these blogs.
Let’s look at some answers:
Finding a blog to submit your guest post request
There are a number of ways you can find prospective blogs to request publication of your guest post. Ideally, you would want to target sites that are somewhat related to your own niche or topic. One of my favourite ways of finding high quality websites is to look at the adage power 150 blog list which provides a comprehensive list of some of the most influential marketing blogs across the world across a range of different topics (if you are in the marketing niche).
Adage uses a series of metrics based on traffic, social media and recognition to rank these blogs. While, not all of the blogs on this list may accept guest posts, you are more than likely to come across ones that do by simply browsing through the list.
A similar method of finding potential blogs for guest posting to look at technorati.com list of most influential blogs. Technorati is often considered the benchmark for blog and website ratings and only features the most influential websites from around the world.
Another simple strategy is to submit a search query in Google using strings such as (where “industry” is your target keyword or niche):
[Industry] guest article
[Industry] guest post
[Industry] guest author
[Industry] write for us
I have personally had a number of guest posts published on popular blogs such as famoubloggers.net, smartbloggerz and problogger.net by simply browsing through the list of blogs using a combination of methods mentioned above.
An additional criteria for picking a website to submit your guest post requests is to look at the quality of content and the overall reputation of the site. Writing a good quality guest post is going to require a significant effort on your part so it’s worth putting in the extra effort to ensure that your content is getting published on a highest quality website possible.
Submitting Your Guest Post Request
Most websites that accept guest posts will often have a guest posting guidelines page with clear instructions on how to submit a guest post request for publication. If not, you can contact the site owner via the “contact us” page to submit your request. Before submitting such a request, I would highly recommend, taking some time to read the existing content on your prospective blog to get a good feel of the subject, quality and style of content that is being successfully published.
Additionally, develop a basic framework for your post including subject, examples and relevancy before submitting your request. This is more likely to attract attention and interest from the site owner.
In many cases, aspiring guest bloggers submit cold requests without having a clear understanding of what they would like to write about. This often leads to rejection or worse you may never get a reply at all. If you are trying to submit a guest post on a high profile blog and already know the individual behind the blog, it may be worthwhile developing some form of mutual relationship with that person. This step is not absolutely essential but may improve your chances of a successful publication.
Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz published a video not so long ago on the SEOMoz blog with some useful tips on how to get a guest post published on the SEOmoz blog!
Making The Most Of Your Guest Post Backlinks
Most blogs will allow guest writers to include two or even three backlinks pointing back to their own site by means of a “resource box”. One or two backlinks from a quality PR 5-7 blog can be worth more than hundreds of links from low quality sites so it is imperative that you get the biggest bang for your buck from the resource box links. Remember, such a backlink is not only an opportunity for you to get some valuable link juice for the search engines but also attract some highly targeted referral traffic.
Here are a couple of tips to help you make the most of your guest post resource box:
Tip #1: Always include a clear and concise call to action in your resource box. This can be used to either direct your visitors to a specific opt-in landing page within your site with an which offers a free report in exchange for their name and email address or direct them to your homepage which may have an opt-in splash box. Many high traffic blogs attract hundreds or even thousands of targeted visitors every single day so a carefully crafted resource box can potentially land you many hundreds of subscribers in a single day.
Tip #2: Always plan your guest content to target specific keywords and include at least one exact anchor text link in your resource box. This is contrary to popular conception that using too many exact match keywords can harm your rankings in the search engines. Remember, a high quality anchor text link can far outweigh hundreds of low quality links and is likely to pass significant link juice to your site.
Using third party services to submit your guest posts
Many third party websites also offer a slightly more convenient alternative to finding guest posting gigs yourself. The only drawback with this approach is the quality of links you may get is probably not going to be as good as manually submitting posts to hand picked, high quality websites.
Here are few of the services that are worth a mention and can help you find and even publish guest posts with other webmasters.
A word of caution here. If you intend to use a third party service to help you find publish guest blogs, I recommend staying away from mass link building service that promise to publish your guest posts to multiple blogs as this may be teetering on the edge of web spam and may affect your site’s reputation.
Guest posting is a highly effective link building tool strategy that is and will continue to remain an effective SEO tool for websites of all sizes and scales. If you had success with guest posting and would like to share your tips, please leave your comments below.