The Guest Blogger’s Tips and Tricks Guide

SES, SearchLove, and other SEO conferences have included many innovative talks on content marketing and link earning. Useful content is a great signal to search engines that a website is kept up-to-date and offers lots of useful information to its visitors. But great content on its own doesn’t necessarily always attract links.

It’s for this reason that marketing managers are heavily investing in link-building activities, and, in particular, guest blogging in an effort to engage with your audience and gain those valuable links that make younger sites rank among the top competitors.

While big brands don’t require these activities due to their long-established brand reputation, SME and emerging companies can increase their traffic and awareness by using guest posting to boost the authority of their website and gain exposure on related blogs.

Below is a cheat sheet guide for the beginner guest blogger which analyses deeper strategies we’ve implemented at Tug to gain high-quality links easily, with no charge:

Building a list of bloggers

When building a list of bloggers, it’s the quality that’s important, and in SEO, a popular way to measure this is “domain authority.” This represents SEOMoz’s best prediction for how a website will perform in search engine rankings. Use domain authority when comparing one site to another or for tracking the “strength” of your website over time. It’s calculated by combining all of the link metrics—linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc.—into a single score. At the same time, look at the other guest bloggers on the site and what type of links they have and if they are strongly focused on anchor text links. The latest best practice trends for linking out to external websites focus on “co-occurrence,” with a brand link surrounded by the targeted keywords. If you start seeing something, like “pay day loan” as an anchor texted link, this is a red flag and you should avoid listing the site.

When looking at building a list of bloggers, this tool will help provide you with variations of queries to find opportunities.

Other tools that can provide you with a longer list are newsletters like HARO and BloggerLinkUp. I’d avoid submitting an article to MyBlogGuest because it won’t be targeted not would it be focusing on the quality of the content. You can also use Twitter’s advanced search including terms like “guest,” “guest post,” “guest blog,” and “guest blogger” along with relevant keywords.

And if you happen to be concentrating on the UK market, for example, you should make sure to narrow down your list to target at least 90% of the bloggers from that area.

When building a list of bloggers, look at the content you can create for them that naturally includes your client’s website and resources. Also look at where your client’s audience hangs out on the Web. In this way you can come up with other places to target.

For example, in a guest blogging campaign for a bicycle retailer, I wouldn’t just target bike blogs but also sports blogs and green blogs because cycling is a green commuting option nowadays. But don’t stop here; go on to target lifestyle blogs that might cover the most fashionable bikes of the moment. And while you’re at it, why not target life-hack blogs with some simple bike mechanic tips?

The guest blogger’s reputation

When outreaching to the blogger community, your authenticity and professionalism is essential to building your reputation in front of the publisher. The following are some elements that are useful for increasing your reputation:

Find a story to talk about and connect emotionally. For example, if you pitch bike posts, say how much you love cycling, and don’t be afraid to say where you live or where you did your last bike trip. Be real, as if you were on Facebook posting content that is genuinely related to you.

Research your topic extensively and offer content ideas that are innovative and were not previously published. To learn about content from a blogger’s viewpoint, ProBlogger has a few good posts. (And this one.) Start using StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Quora to look at what people share and talk about on certain topics that your client’s audience loves.

Publish one or two hyper-successful blog posts to use as credentials. In particular, bloggers are impressed when you send a couple of posts as an example and they see lots of comments, a nice looking independent blog, or social shares. They will host your content because they think it could go viral or engage with their audience.

Be a social media enthusiast and present yourself as someone who is constantly online talking with other people. This will ensure you have enough followers on Twitter (600+) or another social channel to look like somebody who is an insider/influencer.

Don’t approach bloggers as “link builders.” Rather, choose other ways to sign off your emails, from “freelance writer” to more specific ones, like “bike geek” or “foodie.” Bloggers often hate SEO because they often can’t craft an email pitch, want quick-fix solutions, or they don’t understand certain communication basics.

Blogger relationships

There are several ways you can improve your relationships with bloggers. If you treat bloggers like people and you can find a way to please them, you will gain their trust while securing yourself a source of constant links across your client’s markets. The following are some advanced methods that are simple to perform:

Ensure your content is targeted to what they’re looking for. Avoid pitching to a valuable blogger with article ideas you are not confident you can write about.

When submitting content to a blogger, attach the post with links embedded (more than one to your client’s site if you don’t want to have your post refused); author bio included (sometimes bloggers are okay to link only in the author bio but try to find this out from the guidelines or by looking at previous posters); and a creative commons licensed image—or even better—a video.

Make it clear in your first email that you share the content you publish, mentioning the social media account of the blogger. You can even say you’re going to reach out to influencers to promote the guest post.

Ask blogger to send you an email if they participate in blogger events so you can vote for them.

And finally, be confident to say you’d be happy to share the blogger’s content when it’s something that may be of interest to your followers on Twitter.

In the end…

A lack of high-quality guest bloggers means you have a golden opportunity to form valuable personal relationships in the field. This comes from the experience of chatting with bloggers and by writing your own blog posts. You’ll learn how to brief the content to a copywriter and what works, and what doesn’t work.

Don’t give up when pitching a blog post and always remember that good outreach and good content brings high-quality back-links that improve the SEO authority of the site and, in turn, rankings.

Carlo Pandian is an SEO account executive at Tug.

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