Using Guest Posts to Build Links for SEO

Link
building is one of the most difficult aspects of search engine optimization
(SEO). Yet to rank well in the search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to
acquire quality links from trusted websites since inbound links are a
significant ranking factor
.

Link building can be even more difficult if your business is on the mundane
side, since companies that sell interesting services or products have an easier
time getting talked about and mentioned by bloggers and online
journalists.  For example, a company that sells guided road bike trips through Europe’s most storied and romantic regions is
potentially more interesting to write about than, say, a local car insurance provider.

However, if you’re that auto insurance company, or a company in a similarly
humdrum niche, you still need links to compete in the SERPs. Fear not, there’s
one strategy you can use to build links regardless of your industry: guest
blogging.

How Does Guest Posting Build Links?

Guest posting on blogs is, in effect, trading content for links. You give
publishers free content–in the form of articles or blog posts you’ve
written–and in return they allow you to add a link back to your company
website in the “About the Author” bio section of the guest post.

Besides building links, guest posting has other benefits as well, which include:

  • However,
    for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on guest posting to build links.

    How to Find Guest Blog Posting Opportunities

    Now, there are some really excellent guest post services out there
    that will handle the process from end to end, from writing the guest article to
    getting it published on an authoritative and relevant website. However, if
    you’ve got the time, guest blogging is definitely something you can do
    yourself. So let’s look at some really effective tips to locate guest blogging
    opportunities.

    Advanced Query Operators

    One of my favorite ways to locate websites that accept guest articles is to use
    advanced search query operators. An advanced query operator let’s you really
    refine and qualify your searches in Google. For example, say I’m looking for a
    guest posting opportunity for a company that specializes in Web
    application security
    , I would probably use the following advanced search
    query operator:

    “Web applications” intext:”write for us”
    OR intext:”write for me”

    That
    query operator produces these results in Google and
    more than two million results for sites that meet my criteria. I can
    further refine that query and get even more specific by using the
    “intitle” query operator, such as:

    This
    further refines the results to only websites with “Web applications”
    in the “title tag” and produces almost 6,000 Google results.

    Now, those are just a few examples of advanced query operators you can use and
    just replace the term “Web applications” with your companies target
    keyword(s), industry, service, product or niche.

    Some other helpful advanced query operators you can use include:

    [your
    keywords] “become a contributor”
    [your keywords] “contribute to this site”
    [your keywords] “submit a guest post”
    [your keywords] “submit a blog post”
    [your keywords] “submit an article”
    [your keywords] “send a guest post”
    [your keywords] “write for us”
    [your keywords] “become an author”
    [your keywords] “guest bloggers wanted”
    [your keywords] “contribute to our site”
    [your keywords] “become a contributor”
    [your keywords] “submit a guest post”
    [your keywords] inurl:contributors
    [your keywords] inurl:guest-post
    [your keywords] inurl:guest*post
    [your keywords] inurl:guest-posts
    [your keywords] inurl:guest*posts
    [your keywords] inurl:guest-blogger

    NOTE:
    Hat tip goes out to link luminary Garrett French for many of these
    examples.

    Guest Blogger Community

    In addition to advanced query operators there’s a guest blogging community run
    by Ann
    Smarty
    called My Blog Guest that I would highly recommend. My Blog
    Guest is a forum that connects guest bloggers with website owners and
    publishers who are looking for guest post content. It’s fantastic because the
    forum is organized into specific niches, which allows you to drill down into
    any topic, from healthcare to Forex trading, to find guest blogging
    opportunities in any industry.

    How to Qualify Guest Post Opportunities

    Not all guest blogging opportunities are created equal. Once you’ve found
    websites that accept guest posts, the next step is to qualify those sites, so
    that you’re getting the best return on your contributed content investment.
    When appraising a guest posting prospect, I look at a range of factors that
    include:

    Do they allow you to link back to your website? This is the million
    dollar question. Most websites that accept guest posts have a policy page that
    spells out whether or not they allow links and how many links you can include
    in a guest post. If they don’t permit outbound links, then cross them off your
    list.

    Can you to use keyword anchor text links? Some publishers only
    allow a hyperlinked URL, like http://www.yourwebsite.com/. Many times this is
    explained on the guest posting policy page. If not, take a peek at the bios of
    other guest bloggers to see what you can and can’t do with links. For SEO purposes, you really want to build keyword-rich anchor text links vs a hyperlinked URL.

    Do they “nofollow” links? Careful here. More and more
    publishers are slapping a rel=”nofollow” tag on author bio
    links, which tells Google to ignore the link and extinguishes the SEO value of
    that link to your website. You can use a free plugin like SEO for Firefox to determine whether or not links are tagged
    nofollow.

    Are older posts still in Google’s index? Articles on many websites
    disappear from Google’s search index as they age and fall further into the
    website’s archive. When this happens, links on those pages no longer pass SEO
    value. To uncover any indexation issues, find a few guest posts that are six
    months to a year old, grab the URL, plug it into the Google search box and run
    a query? Do the URLs show up in a Google search? If not, cross the site
    off your list.

    Getting Your Guest Post Published

    The final step in the guest blogging process is to get your article published.
    After you’ve found sites that accept guest articles and you’ve qualified them,
    you can contact the website owner and submit your guest article for review.
    Once your guest article is accepted, it may take time to run since the majority
    of websites have busy editorial calendars. When your guest article does go
    live, I recommend emailing the editor and nice note to say thanks. That way,
    you’re building a relationship with the editor, so you can improve your chances for publishing more
    guest articles on that site in the future.