The Easy Guide to Better Blogger Outreach
There’s been a lot of talk around guest posting recently and whether it remains a valid tactic when it comes to SEO and link-building. It does of course, but does require more care than before with regard to where links are placed (bio or in body), as well as if any cold, hard cash has exchanged virtual hands when it comes to placing the post.
The reason for this is of course due to paid links, which are considered to be a black hat SEO tactic. If you pay an ‘admin fee’, then yes, you are essentially paying for a link. Whilst guest posting has been devalued slightly by Google, especially with regard to author bio links, it’s still good if you can build relationships with editors, rather than just pop the odd blog on sites you fancy with a high DA here and there.
How to Prepare
These are difficult to come by if you’re dealing with a reputable site and what’s more, it’s very easy to build up a trail that looks highly suspicious to Google which may result in a penalty. In order to build up a good link profile, it should appear very natural, beginning with sites that are of a similar Domain Authority to your own site and gradually working up higher until you are getting links from more authoritative sites.
Saying that, if you’re enrolled in the Google Authorship program and you produce regular content for others, then this can be disregarded to some extent so long as the content that you produce is excellent.
This shows that your site is authoritative as it is distributing content in such a way that is not overtly about getting that link. Again, it’s more about building relationships and using this as a traffic driver rather than the link itself. It’s also useful if you can write for external sites more than once, so that it again appears completely natural and shows that you have a relationship with the site.
A bio that appears in a footer, even if you are a part of Authorship, shouldn’t have too many links in it – one or two max – or it will appear more than a little fishy to the omniscient Google and you risk a penalty. The very best way to carry out links in guest posts is the use of long-tail keywords, but only if the target site agrees. It’s also useful to use generic anchor text, such as ‘click here’ or ‘this article on…’.
Finding Relevant Sites
It’s important that you find sites that are within your industry and you can do this with simple Google searches using phrases alongside your industry such as:
- Write for Us
- Guest Posts
- Write for
- Submit a post
You can mix these up a little and see what works best for you. So, if you are in the business of estate agency for example, you could use:
- Estate agents write for us
- Real estate guest post
And so on. You can use CRM software to help you with this too and download tools such as Moz’s toolbar (see fig. below), so that you can check domain authority and page authority. It’s also worth looking at Google Page Rank to check out what the search god thinks the site is worth.
To look for sites that you can guest post on, then the first thing to understand is that it’s vital that the site is relevant to your niche. In other words, if you run an online clothing site, don’t go posting on technology review sites. It’s not in the interest of your readers, or yourself and appears as if any old link will do.
You must only approach sites that are within your industry niche or it’s a pointless (and dangerous) exercise. You can use an agency to carry this out for you, or you can do it yourself. Personally, I’m of the opinion that it should be carried out organically, rather than using software that uses templates – usually ones that sound completely unbelievable, such as:
I happened to stumble across your site today and love what you do! I would love to contribute and would only ask that you link back to my site (site.com) as payment for the article that will be 100% unique.
Or even worse:
I can offer you a highly relevant and useful article for your site for free! I can write good and I love what you do … blah, blah, blah.
Getting it Right
Do your research. Try to find out the name of the editor first and read writer guidelines thoroughly. If you submit a guest article that is nothing but ‘fluff’, with no useful information and in a different format than the site asks for, then you will be rejected.
Introduce yourself, preferably with samples of your writing that are provable. Many SEO firms churn out badly written articles and have nothing real to give to the editor of a quality site. Be aware too that many editors get literally dozens of guest post requests on their desks and 98% of these will be dross, so ensure you and your work stand out.
If you can’t write, don’t do it. Get a writer to do it for you and pay them accordingly; the only way you will build relationships with editors is through decent content. Don’t be tempted to spin content either, it will appear rubbish for a start and for a second, it’s going to draw negative attention.
It’s too easy to get caught out and penalised if you use guest blogging as just a SEO tactic. Whilst of course it is a tactic, it’s most effective if you can build relationships that leads to traffic, especially with good sites that are likely to share your blog across social networks.
Links are great, but social signals are becoming increasingly important, so ensure that you promote your own guest blogs and offer to post on your own site too. However, beware of advertising for guest posts as you will soon find your inbox bursting with content that is well below the standard you should be aiming for on your site.
Quality is everything when it comes to guest posting and what appears on your site. If you can get a link in there, especially in the body, then great, but think PR rather than SEO when doing so and you’re much more likely to succeed in your endeavours.