The Definitive Guide: Using Guest Blogging as a Link Building Strategy

Guest blogging has been around for ages, and it’s still a great way to earn links. It is one of the most challenging link building strategies because they can be difficult to find and often require personal connections with the sites you’re looking to get interviewed on. That being said, guest blog posts are often seen as an endorsement opportunity but if executed properly should not be too much trouble in gaining high-quality backlinks from authoritative domains

Guest blogging is a great way to build links without the need for links. It’s also an effective strategy for guest posting on other websites. This article will give you all the information you need to know about using guest blogging as a link building strategy. Read more in detail here: guest blogging seo.

“Guest blogging is a thing of the past!”

How many times have you seen this remark repeated on marketing blogs and forums? Despite evidence to the contrary, there are still a lot of misconceptions regarding guest blogging, particularly when it comes to using it as a link-building tactic.

In the previous ten years, I’ve written over 1,400 articles for myself and my clients. Guest blogging, when done right, has shown to be really fruitful in my experience.

In this piece, I’ll debunk all of the fallacies around guest blogging and walk you through a step-by-step process for using guest posts to increase your reputation, authority, and visibility via backlinks.

Let’s go back to January 20, 2014, when Matt Cutts released The Decline and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO, which has since become a classic.

Here’s the famous phrase that everyone loves to cite:

“So put a fork in it: guest blogging is over; it’s just become too spammy… As a link-building approach, I wouldn’t advocate depending on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO.”

By all accounts, there seems to be a strong rejection of guest posting as an SEO tactic. Why are renowned blogs like ProBlogger still accepting guest articles if this is the case?

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Matt Cutts’ initial anti-guest blogging piece has the solution to this question.

Matt specifies that he is referring to a certain form of guest post. He even included an email from a spammer who writes guest posts:

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The highlighted areas demonstrate that this is essentially a mass-spammed email with no personalisation or goal of producing high-quality material. If you operate a popular blog, you’ve probably received similar emails.

You can understand why such guest postings would be troublesome from Google’s standpoint. The text is of poor quality, lacking in understanding, and has no connection to a genuine author. The majority of links in this kind of material go to spammy affiliate sites that have been optimized for SEO.

This, on the other hand, refers to obvious spam, the type that you can smell a mile away. What about less obvious forms of link spam, when the material seems authoritative and even passes a spam sniff test?

Google made another post regarding “big scale article marketing” for similar guest pieces (read: mass guest blogging). According to Google, the following three strategies are especially frowned upon:

  • Stuffing your posts with keyword-rich links to your website.

  • Using or hiring article writers who aren’t well-versed in the subjects they’re writing about.

  • Using the same or comparable material in all of these articles; or, copying the whole content of articles on your site.

The first point is self-evident, but the second and third points highlight a current trend that many marketers are following. They hire inexpensive writers to create material and ask them to produce variants of the same piece, which they then distribute as guest posts.

Such information isn’t created by authors who are actually knowledgeable about a topic. A short check reveals that this article is designed to generate connections rather than provide insight. This strategy is clearly unpopular with Google.

So, what’s the answer to this conundrum?

Simple: don’t guest blog for the sake of getting links. Instead, guest blog only when you have a unique perspective to provide on a subject you already know about. If you’ve spent your whole career working in SEO, go ahead and produce a piece on a new SEO approach; neither Google nor publishers will object.

To put it another way, be genuine. Share personal case studies, outcomes from your work, and strategies that worked for you. This is also my method, and it produces fantastic results in terms of rankings and reader pleasure.

Take a look at the feedback on a guest article I published for another site recently:

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To summarize:

  • Guest writing for the sole purpose of gaining backlinks is a thing of the past.

  • Sharing personal expertise and perspective is beneficial and welcomed.

  • Don’t use low-cost writers to generate your content, and don’t pack your guest articles with keyword-rich anchor links.

Backlinks from guest articles should be a side effect of your content, not the primary goal.

To respond to this question, I’d like to share another Matt Cutts quote:

“While Google gospel should always be taken with a grain of salt, it seems to confirm what we already knew (or suspected) about authorship: quality and trust signals are increasingly surrounding material and the people who create it.”

Here’s the video that inspired it:

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The idea of this comment is that Google is increasingly associating authority with persons, not just websites.

For example, if Elon Musk wrote an essay on developing electric vehicles on a brand-new, unranked domain, Google would want to give it a better ranking. Although the domain lacks authority signals, Musk’s personal authority makes the content worthy of appearing on the first page.

This concept is in line with Google’s objective of providing value to its consumers. This objective is so vital that when the Wall Street Journal ceased giving value, Google punished it.

The challenge is, how do you establish personal authority?

The answer is simple: via guest posting. Consider this: if you claim to be a “marketing expert,” but your material only appears on your website, your claim is dubious.

If your material appears in reputable marketing journals, though, your claim gains some credibility. In the same way that the amount of citations in a research article is a measure of academic authority.

This is why, in addition to backlinks, you should consider guest posting. The more sites where your content and name appear, the more authoritative you (and your sites) are in Google’s eyes.

In fact, one of the main reasons I started JustReachOut was to assist startups with their own PR and being noticed on other websites.

Aside from that, there are the obvious advantages:

  • You will get targeted traffic.

  • Guest articles may be used to generate leads.

  • Authority domains provide you with high-quality backlinks.

  • You establish a reputation for yourself and your company.

  • You create social evidence for yourself.

Plus, successful guest writing is difficult enough that all but the most dedicated of your rivals will avoid it.

Guest posting is effective. In fact, I utilized it in under 90 days to rank a site #1 for a competitive, high-volume keyword. I’ll use examples from this piece to demonstrate how guest blogging may help with SEO. I’ll also teach you how to leverage guest blogging to help you build links.

Here’s how to develop backlinks by guest blogging, step by step:

There are three things you should know before you begin your guest blogging campaign:

The first rule of guest blogging for backlinks is that you should not utilize it for that purpose.

I know it seems contradictory, but great guest blogging is never about the backlinks. You blog in order to establish authority and gain a following. Any backlinks you get are entirely coincidental.

This is a critical mentality to develop. If you just think about guest blogging to gain a link, you can wind up targeting low-quality sites or sacrificing on content quality. This will inevitably have an influence on the strategy’s effectiveness.

Before you begin, embrace this concept. Take up guest blogging for the sake of increasing your impact and authority, not merely for the sake of SEO.

Consider this: would you connect to a guest blogger with a site like this?

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The design, authority signals, content, domain, and emphasis of your site will all influence whether or not your guest articles are approved. Even if the guest post is fantastic, most editors will be hesitant to connect to spammy affiliate sites with low-quality material.

Make sure you have a credible brand before you begin. This includes the following:

  • The logo and design are simple and contemporary.

  • Following social signals such as Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others.

  • Trust signals include things like references in authoritative sources, testimonials, and so forth.

  • Content that is both relevant and of great quality

  • About us, contact information, legal information, and so forth.

Essentially, you want to seem as a legitimate company owner, not an SEO spammer.

You’ll need at least one great guest post published on a reputable site if you want to earn a chance at guest blogging on top publications. This will serve as a sample of your writing style and quality to editors.

If this is your first time guest blogging, I suggest producing the best piece you can and submitting it to a well-known site in your industry. It doesn’t have to be a high-ranking authority site; simply anything that people are familiar with would suffice.

Another option is to compose a fantastic piece and put it on your own site. When pitching editors, use this as an example of your writing quality.

To begin a guest blogging campaign, you’ll need a long list of potential guest bloggers.

You may look for these chances in a variety of ways. I’ll share a couple of my favorites with you below:

Many blogs include sites where visitors may submit guest articles. Because their guest blogging requirements are made public, they are generally easy targets.

Use Google search operators like these to discover these pages:

“Write for us” + [your keyword]

“Guest post/blogging rules” + “[your keyword]”

“donate” + “[your keyword]”

This may be used in almost any niche.

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The issue is that this strategy often produces low-quality candidates. Although this isn’t always the case, most high authority blogs don’t actively seek submissions since they already have a large number of individuals interested in writing for them.

Try the following searches to identify sites that don’t have public “write for us/contribute” pages:

“This is a guest post by” + “[your keyword]”

“[your keyword]” + “this is a contribution from a visitor”

“[your keyword]” + “guest column/post” + “[your keyword]” + “[your keyword]” + “[your keyword]”

“contributing writer/author” + “[your keyword]”

This will show you blogs where a guest author has authored at least one post. Even if they don’t have a “write for us” page, if they’ve accepted guest articles previously, they may accept yours.

Following in the footsteps of an influencer is one of my favorite ways to get guest writing opportunities.

Basically, you must:

  • Find a notable influencer in your field who regularly produces guest blogs, and…

  • Every site where they guest blog should be targeted.

If you’ve been working in a niche for a while, you’ll already be familiar with a few key influencers. The next step is to discover their guest articles using a basic Google search:

“[influencer name]” + “guest post”

For example, when I search for my own name, I get the following results:

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If you type in the influencer’s name, you can get results from his or her own website. By adding the following to your search query, you can get rid of them:

“[influencer name]” + “guest post” -site:[influencer’s website]

This will provide you with a large number of non-obvious choices. You’ll also obtain some high-quality prospects since major influencers like to write on authority sites.

This one is the simplest: search up a competitor’s backlinks and see whether they’ve guest blogged somewhere.

When I search up JustReachOut.io in SEMRush, for example, I can see some of my backlinks from guest posts, such as this one from Entrepreneur.com:

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Small to medium-sized rivals benefit the most from this strategy. HubSpot, for example, has simply too many backlinks to examine efficiently.

Backlinks for any domain may be tracked and analyzed.

Analytics for Backlinks

ADS illustration

Buzzsumo is useful for more than simply coming up with content ideas. It also offers a tool that allows you to discover guest posting possibilities.

Here’s how to put it to use: Go to your Buzzsumo account and sign in. Go to “Content-type” on the left sidebar and just tick “Guest posts.” Then, look for your target head keywords. Top-performing guest posts will be shown on Buzzsumo.

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Add all of these objectives to a separate spreadsheet after you’ve found them all.

You should have a list of dozens of guest blogging prospects if you followed the steps above. Some of these goals would be more significant than others. There will be a mix of high-quality authority sites and low-quality blogs.

Look through your list and come up with the following:

  • Metrics at the domain level: Domain Authority/Rating, referring domains, and backlinks.

  • Quality of material: Read a few blog entries to determine what sort of stuff they usually publish. If you see a lot of spammy 500-word articles, you should probably avoid them. Based on this criteria, label your goals as “poor,” “moderate,” or “high-quality.”

  • Is the guest author’s profile prominently displayed above the fold on the site? Is the profile buried at the conclusion of the article? Do you receive a photo and a bio for your profile?

  • How many times does an average post get shared? Is there a lot of discussion going on? A receptive audience is a positive indicator.

  • Is the site’s material relevant to your specialty and is it updated on a regular basis? If so, what is the average degree of interest in such topics?

  • Authors who contributed as guests: What kind of guest writers has the site previously hosted? Are these from reputable websites or spammers? You don’t want your backlinks coming from a shady area.

Sort your list into four groups based on your responses to these questions:

  1. Top-tier blogs that are extensively read and followed in your field are known as authority sites. The majority would have a DA of 60 or above. You’ll want to add these blogs to your “published in” list.

  2. Mid-Tier: These are decent, but not outstanding, blogs, most of which are operated by single bloggers. Their DA ranges from 50 to 60. When it comes to subject selection, they often go to authoritative blogs for inspiration.

  3. Low-Tier: These are blogs of ordinary quality that lack significant authority (DA 40+).

  4. Low-quality blogs that often entertain spam, generally with a DA under 40, are rejected. These blogs should be avoided at all costs; they may really harm your search engine results.

Targets in Category 1 will expect a lot of high-quality information. These should be your main focus, however keep in mind that publishing material on authority sites takes a long time.

Your bread and butter will be under category #2. Good material is required on these sites, but it does not have to be your greatest work.

If at all possible, stay away from sites under category #3. You may come seen as a spammer if you have too many links from such sites. In addition, the domain authority is insufficient for link development.

You’ll need to discover email addresses for each target before you can start delivering proposals. You may need to create a connection with the editor first for certain authoritative sites (though this isn’t always essential).

Below, I’ll show you how to accomplish both.

It’s never been simpler to locate someone’s email address thanks to a variety of new technologies.

I’ve already covered a lot of these tools and strategies, so I won’t go over them again. You won’t need anything more than Interseller.io or AnyMailFinder to locate emails for the most part.

For example, using Interseller.io, you just need to input your target’s name and domain name, and it will take care of the rest.

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The amazing thing about Interstellar is that it will also validate your emails for you, ensuring that you always get the correct ones. It’s also inexpensive; paid plans start at $15 per month.

Clearbit is a good option if you need something with greater industrial strength. Their database is quite accurate, and they can quickly do mass lookups.

This work should be outsourced, in my opinion. On Upwork, you can easily find someone to do it for around $10.

For the most part, you may adopt a chilly approach. Top-tier authority blogs, on the other hand, often do not accept unsolicited contributions or are too preoccupied with their current schedule to consider your proposal.

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You’ll need to establish a connection with these targets first, or at the very least register your name on their radars.

The following process, in my experience conducting PR campaigns, works well:

Of course, you don’t have to accomplish everything in the precise sequence. Simply develop a consistent communication cadence. When you give them a guest post proposal, they’ll see “Dmitry from JustReachOut who leaves amazing comments,” not “random blogger #239.”

The more authoritative a site is, the more work you’ll have to put in. This is especially true for sites with a large number of visitors.

In any situation, you should establish a contact channel with the editors and proprietors of the most authoritative websites. Even if you’re not guest posting, keeping in touch on a regular basis might lead to new chances.

You’ll need to come up with guest post ideas after you’ve compiled a list of email addresses.

Your strategy should be to avoid being unique – at least for the bulk of the websites on your list (barring a handful of top-tier authority sites). Instead, you should develop ideas based on what has already been shown to work for their site.

Recognize that the blogs you’re targeting want more readers as well. They are more likely to award you a space if you submit them a concept that has previously worked for them.

To locate the most shared material on a blog, start by inputting the blog’s domain into Buzzsumo. Consider the following for each item of content:

  • Whether it’s a listicle, a how-to, a step-by-step instructional, an opinion piece, or something else entirely.

  • What is the article’s main point(s) of discussion?

  • What kinds of terms and phrases do you see in the headline?

Take a look at Copyblogger’s top material, for example:

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It’s worth noting that two of the top four articles deal with writing. Take note of how “how-tos” dominate the list, as well as how every title contains emotionally charged power terms (“power and authority,” “nobody,” “vividly,” and so on).

This demonstrates that Copyblogger’s readership responds favorably to how-to information about writing with emotionally-charged names. If you pitched a proposal along these lines, the editor would most likely be interested.

There are a few extra recommendations you should follow in addition to the ones listed above:

When sending a pitch, keep the audience’s degree of knowledge in mind. Expect to be unable to develop a “beginner’s guide” to SEO and have it accepted by SEMrush.

Examine the site’s current content. If you see a lot of advanced-level material, adjust your plan.

Because your goal is to create backlinks, you should try to come up with concepts that are relevant to your site.

Find a concept that combines the two themes (for example, “How to utilize huge content to unleash exponential growth”) if you operate a site about “growth hacking” and your target blog has a lot of entries about “content marketing.”

For each blog, come up with at least three suggestions. This should contain a title and a brief 1-2 phrase summary of the article’s topic.

The next step is to propose your guest post ideas to the blogger/editor through email.

Here’s a chilly email template that may be used in a variety of situations:

Hello, [Name],

[An individual remark]

Anyway, I’m writing to express my interest in writing a guest article for your website.

Based on what has worked in the past for [Site name], I believe your viewers will like these suggestions:

  • [Idea Title #1] [Idea Title #2] [Idea Title #3] [Summary of Content]

  • [Idea Title #2] [Idea Title #1] [Idea Title #2] [Summary of Content]

  • [Idea #1] [Idea #2] [Idea #3] [Ide [Summary of Content]

Here’s a recent guest post I made for [Guest post link] to give you a sense of my writing style and quality.

Do you think these concepts would work well together?

Best,

[Your name here]

The customized remark might be about something they just publicly shared on Twitter, their most recent blog article, or something else entirely. For tiny blogs, you may skip this step, but it will help you stand out to busy bloggers and editors. For additional cold email templates, see this post and this one for ideas on how to make your email ends more memorable.

Wait a week before following up if you don’t receive a response to your original pitch. To automate follow-up, use a technology like MixMax.

You may begin generating content after your concept has been accepted. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind while creating content:

While content quality is clearly vital, you need also make it more readable.

To accomplish so, try the following:

  • Keep sentences to a minimum of 10-15 words.

  • Paragraphs should be no more than 2-3 sentences long.

  • Including a plethora of sub-headers.

  • Use bullet points and blockquotes to break up the text.

Take a look at this Pipedrive article about sales management, for example:

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This big (3,000+ words) article is made easier to read by the use of subheaders and blockquotes.

Three things are accomplished by images:

  • They aid with the illustration of concepts and instances, making the content simpler to read and comprehend.

  • They aid in the division of the article into parts.

  • They boost a blog post’s perceived worth.

The final point is very crucial. Images might help you stand out from SEO spammers. For guest blogs, few guest bloggers bother to generate high-quality photos. You will quickly stand out if you take the time to accomplish this (and earn instant approval).

You can either hire an in-house designer to develop these photos or outsource them for $5 per image on Fiverr – a bargain given the added value.

Remember how I advised you to come up with concepts that are relevant to the content of your website? This is significant since it aids in the acquisition of contextual connections to your website.

While you should definitely include a link to your site in your profile bio, you should also include a link inside the text for optimum SEO effect. This serves as an editorial link and provides a significant amount of SEO value.

Look at this blog article written by Pipedrive’s co-founder. It’s worth noting how it incorporates a link to Pipedrive’s sales management piece utilizing keyword-rich anchor text.

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In your article, try to provide comparable contextual connections to your goal website. If it does not provide value to the reader, it will be rejected by the editor.

Wait a few days after sending the information to the editor to hear back from them. Make any necessary adjustments, then wait for the article to become live.

It’s worth noting that some major blogs have a 1-3 month waitlist. Make this a part of your marketing.

You may quickly acquire some high-quality backlinks if you do this correctly. More significantly, when you guest write on a blog, you build a connection with the blogger that you may use to pursue future possibilities.

It’s not simple to do good guest blogging, which is why it’s so powerful. Few of your rivals will have the time or money to have their work published on high-profile blogs.

Of course, guest writing just for the sake of gaining backlinks isn’t a practical option. When employed as part of a larger marketing plan, though, it may result in some excellent backlinks. You might notice a huge increase in traffic and rankings if you can publish even a modest number of guest articles on authoritative sites.

Create dependable connections to your pages.

To succeed, use SEMrush’s tools.

ADS illustration

Guest blogging is a great way to build links and guest posts can be used as a link building strategy. In this article, I will cover the steps that should be taken when writing an article for a blog. Reference: how to write a guest post.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is guest blogging strategy?

A: Blogging is a strategy of publishing opinion pieces on websites, such as The Huffington Post.

What is the best link building strategy?

A: This is a difficult question to answer as every market has different requirements. The best that I could do is give you some general links-building tips. Please note, these are just my personal ideas and they may or may not work for your industry.

What is guest post link building?

A: A guest post is a blog post published by one person or company on the website of another. When you write a post, its usually that your own content has been approved to be posted on someone elses website without requiring them to pay anything. The goal with every article should be providing useful and interesting information for site visitors so they will want to share it out in their personal networks. That way, more people will read your articles just as much as visit your site!

Related Tags

  • guest post link building
  • guest blog post examples
  • guest post guidelines
  • does guest posting still work
  • guest post backlinks

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