Why your Link Strategy Should Involve Guest Blogging and Tips for Success
Guest Blogging is hardly front page news, yet does this mean it shouldn’t be at the forefront of your link strategy?
Nichola Stott, one of our fellow State of Search members, examined the ratio of brand versus keyword anchor text in her study over at Search Engine Watch. After reading this post it really reinforced the importance of guest blogging as a tool to manipulate a link profile. Now, when I say manipulate, I don’t simply mean for exact anchor text, but for brand, phrase and synonyms. I will go over this reason a bit later. Guest blogging is the perfect way to gain control over your link graph as you can decide; who you want to target (geographic location of the site as well as industry), where they link (link placement) and also how they link (anchor text)
Now, there is and has been wide discussion over whether the value of anchor text has been devalued slightly. The speculation is that this shift has seen the evolution of ranking signals and the devaluation of previous important metrics such as anchor text. So where does Guest Blogging come into this? What better way do you have of manipulating what is being said about your brand and influencing how you get linked to? By featuring on high quality blogs you get the traffic and social interaction from regular readers, and the possibility of being tweeted about or liked by visitors. And if you pay attention to the shifting change of ranking factors such as social signals affecting rankings (tweeted briefly about by Rand Fishkin this week where a web page which had 0 links but 100s of tweets and was ranking 1st , above URLs that have 100’s of links) this may become more important in the not too distant future.
If you have a property on a piece of land whose value is increasing then the value of your property rises in correlation.
Guest Blogging allows you to cover 2 major metrics, the power to harness links and establish important and valuable relationships. Building these relationships can lead to future opportunities and can be as important as links themselves. Here are some tools to strengthen your armoury before you go into battle.
Advanced Search Operators:
Knowledge is power and if you can harness the power of these search operators you can filter out unwanted search results and find that diamond in the rough.
• [insert keyword] + “guest post”
• [insert keyword] + “guest blog”
• [insert keyword] + “guest blogging”
• [insert keyword] + “guest posting”
• [insert keyword] ~ “guest blogging”
~ searches forces search engines to find and include synonyms of the word after it
• [insert keyword] ~ “various guest blogging synonyms” +submit
+forces the word ‘submit’ to be included in the results pages
• Inurl:guest post
• (inurl:guest post) “keyword”
allows you to drill down to topic specific as well as sites that allow guest posts
Guest Blogging Platforms:
Guest blogging platforms are essentially communities that are distinguished by people looking to write content and publishers who want content. Sounds easy? It is. I have the most experience with My Blog Guest, run by Ann Smarty and it is very good. The community is growing and will also improve in due course but as a foundation of guest blogging it can give you some great websites looking for good content.
Other sites that are out there are:
Additionally, return to the first step and use a Google search command to find related websites to the ones mentioned above.
Guest Blogging is at its most powerful when you can write pieces of content for widely recognised and popular blogs with a large amount of readers. Here are a couple of tools that you can use to research blogs by category and value. These should only be used as a secondary method to researching and identifying blogs.
Finding your Niche:
This is a piece of paid software ($99) which helps you locate blogs in any genre or niche. Using this helps you compile a list of blogs which are active in producing content around your keywords. The blogs that the tool produces are not guaranteed to accept guest blog posts but like they say… if you don’t ask you don’t get.
GB5 = More Links & More Relationships
Think outside the box. For example – One way you can improve the amount of quality links you can obtain is write a guest post on Site A surrounding 5 unique gifts. Now, one of those spots will be taken up by you but SITE B, C, and D are up for grabs. Try targeting sites which you know have linked out previously with an email that says that you are in the process of writing a blogpost about 5 of the best gifts out there at the moment and you would love to include them. This not only let’s you build a relationship with them which could lead to an opportunity at a later date but in return for giving them exposure they might provide a link to your site or let you guest blog for them too.
Read the Blog Where You Want to Submit a Guest Post
Ok, this may be at the bottom of the post but it may be the most important tip. Once you have identified your blog target if you want to have any chance at convincing another blogger to publish your guest post then reading their blog is a must. Immerse yourself within the blog; learn what tone of voice they like and what guest posts they have published previously as this will help you when you approach them. One tip that always works is to insert a link into your guest blog to an internal page within their site. Simple yet effective as it shows that you have read their blog and can relate your post to one they have already published.
Don’t reinvent the wheel:
Try to find already established lists of places to blog:
Or use the search commands above to find more relavant ones to your niche. Ones you begin to search for lists of sites that accept guest posts you begin to see patterns of commonly used words. Once these have been identified, use them along with a search command above.
Just this one search displays 3 sites on the 1st page that highlight travel websites (68 to be precise!) that want guest posts.
Eyes Down For a Full House:
If you are guest blogging with the objective of increasing brand awareness then the amount of eyes that see your post would be important. You can use Quantcast to check the blog’s RSS subscriber counts if it is not available elsewhere:
What You Put in is What You Get Out
Guest Blogging is successful because everyone benefits. The more engaging and compelling content you write the more publishers will ask for you to write again and the more you are able to develop your network of publishers.
The community is built on trust and as soon as people start abusing that or try to submit recycled content then the whole house of cards falls down.
Thanks go to Claire Carlile and Nick Williams who have made Guest Blogging fun and helped towards the collected resources. If you know of more resources add them to the list so we can create a resource people can bookmark.