As any savvy inbound marketer knows, blogging is a vital tool for attracting the right visitors to your website. If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you might’ve begun toying with the idea of guest blogging, too.
And if you’ve been wavering with that idea, we’re here to let you know: You absolutely should.
What is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging, also called “guest posting,” is the act of writing content for another company’s website. Generally, guest bloggers write for similar blogs within their industry in order to:
Attract traffic back to their website
Boost their domain authority using external links to high-authority domains
Increase their brand credibility and awareness, and
Build relationships with peers in their industry.
Almost always, guest blogging offers mutual benefits for both the guest blogger and the website hosting the guest content. In other words, guest blogging is a two-way street — so when you decide to hop on the guest blogging bandwagon, you should consider featuring posts by guest bloggers on your own website, too.
Why Is Guest Blogging Important For Your Business?
Guest blogging offers a number of benefits for any business. By sharing your expertise on other companies’ websites, you can establish yourself as an authority figure within your market, build relationships with other thought leaders in your field and expose your brand to an entirely new audience.
Additionally, featuring guest posts on your own blog will help you deliver new perspectives and fresh content to your audience. We’re all guilty of falling victim to a routine and growing tired of the same old stuff, so featuring guest posts is a great way to keep readers engaged — not to mention the promotional boost that occurs when your guest bloggers share their blogs with their personal network.
Some blogs, like OpenView, source the majority of their content from other leaders in their industry. Even if you don’t have the resources to stick to a robust blogging cadence, guest bloggers can help you offer new content to your readers without much additional time and effort needed by your team.
How Do I Get Started With Guest Blogging?
Before you get started with guest blogging, make sure you’re clear about what you’re looking to get out of the guest blogging experience. Look for industry blogs by non-competitor companies where you can deliver real insight to readers.
Guest blogging for your partners is a great place to start. At New Breed, we write guest blogs primarily for our partners as part of our co-marketing strategy. We also tend to use guest blogging as a way to develop relationships with companies we hope to partner with in the future.
Regardless, research is essential for successful guest blogging.
It’s no secret that there is a lot of spam surfacing the web. It’s your job to make sure you’re not posting to these types of blogs — or publishing any spammy content on your own blog.
Focus on finding writers within your niche, within your market and from a respected business or background. You should also agree with what they’re saying in their post and ensure that the message aligns with your personas’ interests. If the content doesn’t align with your business, personas or brand voice, guest blogging can have a swift and negative impact on your company.
Here are a few things to look for before offering to guest blog or vice-versa:
Does this blog or blogger have a slew of followers who are actively posting comments, sharing blogs with their networks and otherwise engaging with content?
Do they have a Facebook or Twitter account where they share their own blog posts regularly?
Do they have high domain authority that would amplify my own SEO ranking?
Is their industry and expertise complementary to my own?
Pro tip: When searching for blogs to publish on, search for a relevant industry keyword + “guest post,” “write for us” or something similar. For example, if you wanted to write about inbound marketing, you could Google:
Inbound marketing guest post
Inbound marketing guest post guidelines
Inbound marketing seeking guest posts
Inbound marketing write for us
Inbound marketing guest post submissions
… and so on. This will help you find relevant industry blogs who are interested in the topic you’re writing about and currently accepting submissions from guest bloggers.
How Does Guest Blogging Impact SEO?
The short answer is: As long as you’re careful and considerate about creating high-value guest blogs for legitimate websites, guest blogging can be a great tool for building your domain authority and moving up in SEO rankings.
It’s understandable, though, why many have questioned whether or not guest blogging will hurt their business. With the risk of “spam bloggers” who try to bribe blog owners into letting them post low-quality content for their own link-building and SEO benefit, many marketers have decided to opt against it entirely.
Ultimately, developing an SEO-boosting guest blogging strategy comes down to providing genuine, helpful and relevant content to educate readers — not low-quality content used as a mere container for links to your website.
So as long as your content is of high quality, guest blogging is a great way to increase your site rankings. The way Google sees it, if other people are linking back to your blog on their own websites, then the content on your blog must be relevant and interesting. When individuals comment, share, like or link to your blog, it moves up in Google’s PageRank — that means, it’s much more likely to pop up first when someone googles a similar topic.
But Google PageRank is only an algorithm, so it can’t tell the difference between dynamic content and spam! So while cramming your guest blog posts with links and keywords will push you farther up in the ranking, it probably won’t generate any new, high-fit traffic, and it definitely won’t establish you as an authority in your field.
What Does High-Quality Guest Blogging Look Like?
The key to writing a high-quality guest blog is to think of it as a value-add for your audience — not as an advertisement!
As with any type of inbound content, your guest blogs should be intended to educate your reader, not promote your own product or service. If the topic is relevant to your product or service, then of course there’s no harm in featuring it in your blog. But there’s a big difference between selling yourself and offering helpful, actionable information to your readers.
Instead, write guest blogs with the purpose of establishing yourself as an authority figure in your field, introducing your name to a new audience and building genuine relationships with other bloggers or businesses.
Here are a few other quick tips to help you enhance your guest blogging strategy:
Write a clear, concise author bio. Although some companies allow you to include links back to your website within the main body of your blog, many prohibit it or change the links over time. Your bio, then, is likely the only place in your guest post that will include a permanent link back to your website.
Try to include at least one relevant internal link back to one of the company’s previous blog posts within your guest post. They’ll appreciate the research you’ve done and this small act helps increase their own authority and traffic.
Conclude each post with a call-to-action that asks readers to leave comments. Remember, the more people to comment on and share your blog, the more popular your post will become in a SEO search.
Promote your guest blog post on your own social media networks. This is a nice gesture that will also generate more traffic back to your guest blogger and their business. By now, it should be second nature for you to share your content — and it’s a good way to say “thank you” for publishing your guest post. The team behind classic gaming site Solitaired takes their guest post promotion to one more level. When they post high quality solitaire or game related content on other sites, they also actively market and drive links to those articles. It’s great for their publishing partner, and it improves the strength of their backlinks.
Use Google Analytics to track how much traffic your guest post is generating. This will give you a broader idea of what readers want to hear about and see what is working for your business.
Following these tips will help you avoid writing or accepting spammy content and, in turn, reap the true benefits of guest blogging. To increase your SEO rankings, boost the credibility of your brand and reach new audiences in your industry, follow our recommended steps and only associate your business blog and posts with well-respected marketers.
And as always, keep developing content that's remarkable and consistent!
This post was originally published April 25, 2014.
Elizabeth is a former New Breeder.