Google has promoted the idea of community and cooperation online for years, though most marketers still opted to try and use cheaper link building alternatives readily available. Recognizing this, Google and other search engines have issued increasingly strong crackdowns and algorithm updates aimed at targeting artificial SEO methods that clog search results with useless spam or low quality content. Some unethical individuals still may scrape by for now, but the current trend makes it obvious that online businesses must either adapt or fade into obscurity. If spinning articles and posting them to directories is no longer a viable source of back links, what is? Guest blogging is now one of the most powerful ways to build natural-looking links while still keeping control over your SEO efforts.
Why Guest Blog?
At first, contributing free content to a competitor’s blog might sound like a terrible business practice, but the gesture is mutually beneficial. The blog owner receives a post written in a new and refreshing voice, without having to do much work in the process. The contributor, meanwhile, is exposed to an interested audience and also gains potent back links. A link from a highly ranked blog is seen as an endorsement by Google and will improve your own ranking. It is one of the few remaining link building strategies that search engines favor.
Finding Other Blogs
The best blogs for guest posting are already ranked well. They have the greatest influence in their niches and a link from their domains is worth far more than from a website no one has ever heard of. Start finding potential partners by running searches on your primary keywords. The top five blogs for each are preferred, but don’t be afraid to look lower if necessary. Check for active blogs and whether or not they have hosted guest posts before. Make a list of candidates and begin the research process.
Before sending out any emails, look over every blog to get a feel for its general tone, topics and readership. Come up with a list of posts that it hasn’t covered yet, and don’t repeat them for multiple blogs. This prevents a conflict should both accept the same idea. The blog owner will appreciate your taking the time to personalize your email and is more likely to respond if you already have a plan. Don’t expect a perfect reply rate, but with any luck you will get a least one or two offers.
Writing the Post
Once everything is arranged, begin writing. It may be helpful to have the posts pre-written, but it usually isn’t necessary. Remember that your name will still be attached to this content, so don’t go cheap or lazy. Let your voice shine through; a guest post can provide more than just link juice. If your post impresses readers, they may click through and become loyal new followers or even customers. Double check everything, including spelling and grammar, before submitting a copy to the blog owner. He or she may request some edits which, if reasonable, should not take long. After that, it is up to the other blog to decide when to publish.
In particularly competitive niches, or when a blog is very new, it may be necessary to start at lower-ranked blogs and work your way up. This is just another part of developing SEO. Stay in contact with any bloggers who make guest posts an easy process and inquire periodically if they would like another. On the same note, be amenable to others seeking to either swap or contribute their own guest posts. Google’s vision of bloggers assisting and recommending each other is a two-way street, and you never know which friends will one day take off in the search results. Guest posting is unavoidable in modern SEO, so don’t hesitate to begin making plans today.