Guest Posting: What is it and How it Fits Into Modern Link Building?

Making a Time-tested Tactic Work For You
Published on 
March 2, 2024
Updated on 
March 2, 2024
Posted in 

Guest posting, or guest blogging, is one of the oldest and most time-tested link building tactics out there. It’s also one of the most hotly debated, especially over the last several years. 

Done well, a good guest blogging strategy can be a fantastic way to build high authority backlinks from relevant websites in your niche that are going to pass on real SEO value and contribute to a stand-out backlink profile. 

Done lazily or trying to cut corners, and guest posts can either have no effect or even damage your search engine optimization. 

example of manual action on search console

The above image is what a manual action penalty looks like. These are handed out by Google when they believe backlinks to your site have been created solely with the intention of gaming the PageRank algorithm (i.e., trying to convince Google that your site and content is more high quality than it really is). 

That is why it’s so important to know what you’re doing when it comes to guest posting. At dofollow, we’ve pride ourselves on our ability to find relevant, high quality guest posting opportunities, landing our clients links on sites like: 

A lot of these opportunities come about as a result of long-term relationship building. We know what kinds of sites and guest posting opportunities are going to make sense for the kinds of clients we handle, which allows us to avoid wasting time and money. 

In the below article, we’re going to share what we know about guest posts and guest posting with you. We’re going to walk you through what you need to do to find high quality guest posting opportunities, how to capitalize on those opportunities, and how to write guest posts that provide value (both to readers and to your website). 

We’re also going to spend some time discussing what to stay away from. There is plenty in the realm of guest blogging SEO that you need to know how to spot and stay well away from. 

With that said, let’s get into it.

Why you should pursue a guest blogging strategy

There are a lot of compelling reasons to incorporate guest posting into your link building and link acquisition strategies. 

You can: 

  • Amplify Your Reach: By writing guest posts for other site owners in your niche, you tap into existing audiences that might not have discovered you otherwise. It's like extending your digital footprint to new territories, exposing your expertise to a broader demographic.
  • Build Credibility and Authority: Becoming a guest blogger allows you to associate your name with reputable blogs bolsters your credibility. Readers are more likely to trust information coming from established platforms, and when you contribute valuable content, you position yourself as an authority in your field.
  • Enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is what dofollow specializes in. Search engines love fresh and relevant content. Guest blogging not only provides valuable backlinks to your site but also signals to search engines that your content is authoritative. This can lead to improved search engine rankings, increasing your visibility and attracting organic traffic.
  • Drive Targeted Traffic: Crafted strategically, your guest posts can act as a gateway for readers to navigate back to your own site. If your content resonates with the audience, they're more likely to click through to learn more, generating targeted traffic and potential leads.
  • Forge Valuable Connections: A guest blog article is a two-way street. Establishing relationships with other bloggers and influencers in your niche can open doors for collaboration, cross-promotion, and networking opportunities. These connections can be invaluable for your personal and professional growth and help you find future guest blogging opportunities. 
  • Showcase Your Expertise: Writing for other platforms allows you to showcase your knowledge and skills to a diverse audience. It's an opportunity to highlight your expertise, share insights, and demonstrate that you have something valuable to offer.
  • Adapt to Evolving Algorithms: With ever-changing algorithms, relying solely on one platform for your online presence can be risky. Diversifying your content across various reputable sites not only mitigates this risk but also ensures that you stay visible even if algorithms shift.
  • Content Syndication: A guest article allows you to repurpose and syndicate your content across different platforms, reaching a wider audience without the need to create entirely new material. This efficiency in content distribution can save you time and effort.

Now that you know why guest posting can be worth your while, let’s explore how you can go about finding guest post opportunities. 

How to find guest post opportunities

Finding guest posting opportunities is easy enough because so many sites offer them. Finding ones that actually make sense to pursue is another issue. 

Understanding Your Target Audience and Niche

Before diving into guest blogging, it's essential to understand who you want to reach. Identify the demographics, interests, and challenges of your ideal audience. What questions are they asking? Where do they hang out online? Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of an effective guest blogging strategy.

Knowing your niche intimately is half the battle. Sticking to it is the other half. What are your areas of expertise? Where do your passions align with your audience's needs? Be specific and focused, as a well-defined niche establishes you as an authority in that space.

Aligning with your niche ensures that your content resonates with the right audience. It's about quality over quantity. When your guest posts are closely tied to your expertise, you create a more impactful and memorable impression.

Researching and Identifying Reputable Blogs

Harness the power of Google's advanced search operators.

Use phrases like "write for us," "submit a guest post," or "guest post guidelines" along with your niche keywords to uncover relevant opportunities and then refine your search by combining operators, using quotation marks for exact phrases, and excluding irrelevant terms. 

write for us search on google example

This is how to quickly filter out the search results that you’re after.

It can also make a lot of sense to spy on your competitors in order to find out where they are sourcing their guest posting opportunities. Odds are, if a website is willing to give one of your competitor’s a chance to write for them, they will be open to you becoming a guest writer  as well. 

Evaluating Blog Authority and Relevance

When it comes to deciding on whether to pursue or ignore a guest posting opportunity, being able to evaluate websites based on their SEO metrics is essential. Google has quite specific things in mind as to what constitutes a good guest post, so it’s important to make sure you’re focusing on quality instead of quantity. 

This might be the most important part of modern guest posting, so it is the one we’re going to spend the most time covering. 

SEO metrics serve as an evaluative criterion, helping you identify websites that can genuinely enhance your online presence. 

Websites with high domain authority, a robust backlink profile, and healthy organic traffic are indicative of a strong online presence and sticking to these metrics not only reflect the website's credibility in the eyes of search engines but also amplify the potential reach of your guest post.

Here is a list of metrics you can use to help evaluate safe and effective guest blogging opportunities: 

  • Domain Authority (DA): Domain Authority is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. It's based on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a stronger ability to rank. Choosing websites with a higher Domain Authority can contribute to the authority and credibility of your own site.
  • Page Authority (PA): Similar to Domain Authority, Page Authority measures the strength of a specific page rather than the entire domain. A higher Page Authority suggests that the individual page has a better chance of ranking well on search engines.
  • Organic Traffic: Examining the amount of organic traffic a website receives provides insights into its popularity and reach. Websites with a substantial amount of organic traffic are more likely to expose your guest post to a larger audience.
  • Relevance to Your Niche: It's crucial to assess whether the potential host website is relevant to your niche or industry. Posting on websites that align with your content ensures that your message reaches a targeted audience interested in your subject matter.
  • Engagement Metrics: Look at engagement metrics such as average time spent on the site, bounce rate, and the number of comments on posts. High engagement indicates an active and interested audience.
  • Backlink Profile: Evaluate the website's backlink profile to ensure it has a healthy link profile. A diverse and authoritative backlink profile suggests a website with a solid foundation and reputable connections.
  • Social Media Presence: Assess the website's presence on social media platforms. A strong social media following and engagement can extend the reach of your guest post beyond the website itself.
  • Publication Frequency: Check how often the website publishes new content. Consistent publication indicates an active and regularly updated platform.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: With the increasing use of mobile devices, ensure that the potential host website is mobile-friendly. A responsive design contributes to a positive user experience.
  • Readership Demographics: Understand the demographic information of the website's readership. Ensure that the audience aligns with your target demographic for maximum impact.

What to stay clear of

Just as you need to know what makes for a good guest posting opportunity, equally, you need to know what makes for a potentially bad one when you find guest posting opportunities. These are the kinds of links that can result in harm to your SEO, meaning a loss of ranking, traffic and, ultimately, business. 

When evaluating guest posting opportunities, it's crucial to be vigilant for red flags that may indicate a less-than-ideal or potentially harmful collaboration. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Low-Quality Content: If the host website consistently publishes poorly written, grammatically incorrect, or irrelevant content, it may negatively impact your brand's reputation. Ensure that the content aligns with your standards.
  • Unrelated Niche: If the website's niche is entirely unrelated to your industry, the guest post may not resonate with the target audience. Ensure that the content fits naturally within the website's theme.
  • Overly Promotional Content: If the host website encourages overly promotional content with a primary focus on product or service promotion, it may diminish the value of the guest post. Guest posts should provide informative and valuable content rather than being blatant advertisements.
  • Lack of Engagement: Check for signs of engagement on the host website. If there are few comments, social shares, or evidence of an active audience, it might indicate a lack of interest or a small readership.
  • Questionable Linking Practices: Be wary of websites that engage in suspicious linking practices, such as excessive use of keyword-rich anchor texts, link farms, or other black-hat SEO tactics. Google penalties for such practices can negatively impact your site.
  • No Author Attribution: If the host website doesn't provide proper author attribution or a bio section, it could diminish your ability to showcase your expertise and build personal brand recognition. A lack of transparency may also be a red flag.
  • Poor Website Design and User Experience: An outdated or poorly designed website with a subpar user experience may indicate a lack of investment in maintaining a reputable online presence.
  • Inadequate Social Media Presence: A lack of social media activity or an insignificant following on social platforms may limit the reach of your guest post. Consider the overall online presence of the host website.
  • No Editorial Guidelines: Websites without clear editorial guidelines or standards may result in a lack of quality control. Lack of guidelines could lead to inconsistent content quality and relevance.
  • Unresponsive Communication: If the website owner or editor is unresponsive or uncooperative during the outreach or negotiation process, it may be a sign of potential communication issues throughout the collaboration.

Leveraging Social Media and Professional Networks

This is something that can really pay dividends, because it is one of the best ways to find mutually-beneficial link building opportunities–and those are often the ones that turn out to be the most helpful in the long-run. 

This would include things like utilizing LinkedIn for guest blogging opportunities; joining relevant Twitter and Facebook groups to stay updated on potential openings, and exploring industry-specific forums and online communities where bloggers and editors might be actively seeking contributors.

Engaging in these platforms not only expands your network but also positions you in the radar of blog owners and editors scouting for fresh voices.

Building Relationships with Blog Owners and Editors

Crafting a personalized outreach strategy is essential when you’re looking to publish guest blog posts. 

Always start by introducing yourself and expressing a genuine interest in the blog. Spend some time actually reading through their published articles and look for examples of things that actually stood out to you. You would be amazed by how many people try to feign interest. 

If you’ve had it happen to you, you know how easy it is to see through. 

Instead, explain how your expertise aligns with their audience's need. You can also meet people with whom to cultivate relationships at networking and virtual events, and by participating in discussions and connecting with influencers in your niche. Building genuine relationships opens doors to guest posting opportunities and collaborative ventures.

And remember, approach blog owners and editors professionally. Follow guest post guidelines diligently–high quality sites are sticklers about their editorial policies being followed–and be respectful of their time.

If you can showcase your enthusiasm for contributing valuable content to their platform, a site owner is going to be much more receptive to your efforts and, even if they aren’t current looking, might be open to other guest posts in the future. 

Creating a Compelling Pitch

Crafting a personalized and attention-grabbing email pitch is your ticket to securing guest post opportunities. Tailor your pitch to the specific blog, addressing the pain points of their audience and highlighting the unique perspective you bring.

Showcasing your expertise and unique value proposition is non-negotiable when going after high quality guest post backlinks. No one is going to even entertain the idea of working with you if you are unable to convey how your guest post will benefit their readers and enhance the overall quality of their content. 

What’s more, you need to be able to demonstrate that you've done your homework and genuinely understand the blog's ethos. Think about it this way: how would you respond if someone reached out with a generic guest post pitch for your own blog? 

Crafting an effective guest post

Let’s break down some of the things you need to do in order to make your guest post effective and worth the time and money it takes to create it. 

Selecting your target page

If you’re writing guest blogs as a link building tactic, then you’re doing it in order to send link equity to pages that you want to rank in Google in order to increase your organic traffic. 

More organic traffic means more visitors means more conversions (in theory). Through our guest blogging efforts and other link building tactics, we’ve helped clients dramatically increase the number of people finding them via search engines like Google. 

You can take a look at this client’s more detailed case study here.

The idea behind guest content is that other sites link back to a page of your choosing on your website. This is really the be all and end all of your guest posting efforts. 

But, most website owners are not going to want to link their readers directly to your commercial pages. You have to choose informational pages (resource pages, interesting blog article, etc.) that you can then, through good internal linking, use to distribute the aforementioned link equity. 

This is how modern link building is done and it’s what will land you the best results while keeping you in good stead with Google. 

You need to have your target page and internal linking strategy in mind before trying to become a contributing writer or you’re just guest blogging for the sake of it which, while it might land you some nice referral traffic, isn’t maximizing the SEO value of the link. 

Link placement

Link placement can significantly influence the reader's journey as well as signal to Google what the most important link on a page is. 

Effectively placed links serve as signposts, guiding readers to additional, relevant information and enriching their engagement, communicating to search engines that your content is well-researched and trustworthy and letting you distribute maximum link equity ot the target page.

Anchor text placement and selection

Anchor text, the clickable text within a hyperlink, plays a pivotal role in the SEO landscape and user navigation. Its careful selection and seamless integration can wield significant influence, contributing not only to search engine rankings but also to the overall user experience.

Well-optimized anchor text aids in boosting a page's relevance (your target page) for specific keywords, thereby positively influencing search engine rankings, and clear and descriptive anchor text enhances user understanding, facilitating smoother navigation through your content.

The key to optimization lies in ensuring that the anchor text aligns contextually with the surrounding content, reflecting accuracy and relevance, as well as the target page you have chosen for your guest post link

The importance of outbound links

Outbound links serve as your digital handshake with the wider online community. By linking to reputable sources, you not only bolster the credibility of your post but also foster a sense of community within your niche.

These links showcase your engagement with the broader online conversation, positioning you as an active participant in your field and search engines view outbound links to authoritative sites as a positive signal, elevating your content's perceived value. 

A good guest post should not only focus on the target page it is being designed around but buttress and augment the information with relevant, high quality external sources. 

Sticking to a site’s editorial guidelines

Every website is a unique ecosystem with its own set of editorial guidelines, and adherence to these guidelines is paramount for the success of your guest post.

Aligning with a site's editorial guidelines ensures a smooth submission process, minimizing the need for extensive revisions and expediting the approval process. This adherence showcases your respect for the site owner's rules, laying the foundation for a trusting and collaborative relationship.

It also makes sure that your guest post isn’t rejected. Your guest post ideas might be eagerly accepted, only for the finished product to be turned down. 

You could spend time and money crafting an article, only for the site owner to determine that you haven’t adhered to their quality guidelines strictly enough and they no longer want it on their site. 

Wrapping up

Guest posting is a controversial link building tactic with a lot of SEOs and link builders. Google’s recent link spam updates have certainly made it harder to find worthwhile guest posting opportunities. 

There are a lot of sites out there that accept guest posts from anyone, anytime, anywhere, so long as money is on the table. These are not the kinds of websites you want links from 

If, however, you’ve got a good guest post idea, know what kind of website would a) make sense and b) mutually benefit from your guest blog article, guest posting is still a tried and true way to build backlinks, authority, trust and recognition in your niche. 

Get in touch with dofollow today and find out more about how our years of experience building user-centric backlinks using guest posting and a range of other proven tactics can help take your off-page search engine optimization to the next level.

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

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