I’ll get straight to the point.
Guest blogging fails when it’s done strictly for SEO.
Even if your primary goal is to boost your rankings, the “link juice” is only one part of the potential ROI you can get.
If you’re guest posting purely for SEO, you’re missing out on revenue. Not to mention, this mindset may cause you to pursue the wrong sites.
With the right approach, guest blogging can deliver more than “dofollow” backlinks. It can bring highly relevant traffic to your site and generate new email subscribers and even customers.
In this post, you’ll discover 7 ways to optimize your guest posts to get 10x the value you normally get.
Let’s start with my biggest beef with the SEO industry.
1. Don’t outsource your content
We’ve all heard it a trillion times-
“Content is king.”
And yet, when SEOs need content they throw cash at the lowest bidder. Huh?
If content is king then treat it like royalty.
You could take this as “pay more for content,” but I think it makes more sense to write the content yourself.
As a subject matter expert, you can write articles with insights that a freelancer can’t possibly think to include after their 5 minutes of Google research.
Furthermore, writing it yourself means that:
- Your name and credentials give your article more credibility
- You build your personal brand with the company brand simultaneously
- Using your own brand helps you keep the scent and boost conversions
The only reasonable alternative is to hire a ghostwriter with experience in your industry and then edit it to match your personality.
Beyond the branding opportunities, the main benefit of this approach is that the article will come out substantially better.
If the article is basic and boring, no one will read it and you won’t get any traffic.
You have to put the energy into creating a worthwhile post or accept that you’re writing strictly for the backlinks and missing out on traffic and sales.
2. Target a keyword
It’s an open secret that guest posts normally don’t drive many visitors.
These results make sense because most SEOs approach guest blogging as a linking strategy and not a traffic strategy.
There are a few ways to get superior results from your posts. The first is to write a post that’s worth reading (see optimization #1).
Another way to get traffic from your articles is to optimize them for keywords the same way you would for your site.
Beyond a burst of traffic when the post hits the homepage and is shared on social networks, you’ll also get a steady stream of referral visits due to the search traffic the article gets.
Furthermore, if you have a new website and you’re struggling to rank well, this can be an excellent way to land a top ranking. You can use the authority of another site to rank for your keyword instead.
It’s not as good as ranking your own site, but you will still get relevant click-through traffic.
And don’t worry about competing with yourself for your keywords. You won’t.
In the unlikely event that that the guest post ranks #1 and your site #2, it means you’ve got 2 rankings instead of 1, so what’s not to like?
The obvious reason to write for an authoritative site is that the link will be more valuable in terms of the “juice” it sends your site.
But there are other implications too.
For one, an authoritative site is also a popular site that has the potential to drive traffic. It’s also more likely to be read by people at other publications in your niche, so an attention-getting post can have a ripple effect with more sites linking to the guest post and your site.
Furthermore, a serious publication will have high editorial standards making their site inaccessible to low-effort guest posters. These links will be more difficult for competitors to copy.
And lastly, these publications are easier to work with since they have refined processes for publishing content from third parties.
4. Include a call-to-action
As marketers, we understand CTAs and their purpose just fine.
But for some reason, when it comes to guest posts, we forget everything.
If you have a keyword anchor text link in your article and a plain link to your homepage in the bio, is it any wonder you’re not getting visitors?
This is especially true if your article is only tangentially related to your business.
If you want traffic and subscribers, you need to write an article that is relevant to your business and includes a call-to-action in the bio.
While most sites won’t accept promotional offers within the article, they’re perfectly fine with a CTA inside your author bio.
By promoting a relevant offer instead of simply linking to your homepage, you’ll get interested prospects that will subscribe and engage with your site.
Of course, this does introduce a new issue…
If you use your bio to link to a landing page, doesn’t that mean you miss out on the SEO value?
Not if you follow this next tactic.
Most publications don’t care if you include relevant links to your site inside the article as long as they’re not promotional or irrelevant.
Use the link in your bio to include a CTA, and add 1-2 links in the body of the article for SEO value. These in-content links are more valuable for SEO than a link in your bio anways.
Just make sure that these aren’t the only two links in your entire article. You should link out to other authoritative sites and includes lots of relevant internal links for the site you’re writing for. This will make your linking appear less self-serving.
If a site won’t allow you to link the way I’ve outlined here, or if they “nofollow” everything, the solution is simple: don’t write for them.
Why write for a site that will hurt your ROI and devalue your time when you can write for a site that helps you maximize your results? You’re writing a detailed article as a subject matter expert; you deserve more compensation than a line with your name in it after the conclusion.
The funny thing is that larger publications tend to care less about this stuff. It’s the small sites that already have less “link juice” that will add crazy rules like “no links in the article” or “1 dofollow link” in the bio.
Before writing for anyone, take a look at the existing guest posts. Have these authors included their own links in their articles? Are they tagged with the nofollow attribute?
It takes a lot more time to prospect when you add in this type of research, but this is a “quality over quantity” approach to guest posting.
Speaking of which…
7. Only write for sites that openly accept posts
This rule can be broken if you build a relationship with another site owner, but for the most part, stick to sites that openly accept guest posts.
I say this for two reasons.
First, you won’t have to send a bunch of email requests that get ignored. You can save time by starting with sites that definitely accept outside content.
Second, you can research prior guest posts on their site to see how links are handled. This saves you the hassle of writing an article for a paranoid site that strips out all of your links before publishing.
Armed with these tactics, you can take a “quality over quantity” approach to guest posting that will give you a much higher ROI than the standard approach.
The criteria outlined here will give you a much smaller pool of sites to write for, but you’ll likely get more value writing three posts this way than publishing 30 low-quality posts.
If you want a faster way to get links to your site, you might like this guide next:
It’s a concise collection of no-nonsense backlinking tactics that work for real websites—no snake oil and no begging for links.
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