Organic Link Building Tips: Guest Blogging for SEO

Link building is an important webmaster activity, particularly for young websites. While there are a lot of ideas on the Internet as to how to start getting links, one of the best sources of links is guest blogging. Keep reading to find out what it is, and how to start doing it.

Guest blogging involves visiting a certain blog and then requesting permission from the webmaster to contribute blog posts or articles. Of course, you can include a link from your post pointing to your website. Lots of blogs and websites nowadays are in need of original, useful, quality content, so one strategy is to invite outside bloggers, also called “guest bloggers,” to register with their website and contribute content.

In return, these websites allow you to link to your website, provided your website contains quality content and is directly related to the topic and content of your guest post (also keeping in mind the overall relevance to the website).

While this technique is good, not knowing the best course of action can lead to problems and wasted time — which, in the end, might not be a productive link building strategy.

It is also important to know that “guest blogging” is different from “article submission” as a means of getting links, because:

  • Guest blogging showcases your expertise in a certain topic because you’re contributing content you’ve written yourself. The article submission technique simply involves submitting content that may not be written by you (it could be written by others).

  • Content that is created by a guest blogger will be published on a quality content-based website, while submitted articles are accepted by article submission directories.

  • Links obtained via guest blogging are organic in origin; they are used in context, along with the content, and approved by the website’s editors. Links obtained via article submission may only be seen in the author’s short biography or in the footer section of the article.

Based on the above differences, it is clear that “guest blogging” has the edge in terms of getting quality links to a website.

This tutorial will teach beginning webmasters with expertise in their chosen topic to use the “guest blogging” technique to get links to their website. We’ll take a step-by-step approach.

Step 1. Fill your website first with original and quality content

Lots of bloggers or webmasters set up their website, add just a few pieces of content (say 10 posts), and then immediately start an aggressive link building campaign, including “guest blogging.” This is not a good strategy.

Keep in mind that while you are planning to share your expertise by contributing guest posts, the owners of those websites will be checking your website as well. The best way for them to validate your expertise is to visit your website and read its content. If your website is under-developed and lacks content, your credibility as a guest blogger will be affected.

To make sure those blog owners and editors will believe in you and your expertise, you must fill your site first with original and quality content.

It is recommended that you have the best set of content, something that really shows off your knowledge and skills in your selected niche. It is also recommended that you break down your main niche into sub-categories, so that readers will know and understand the extent of your abilities.

Aim for around 30 to 50 blog posts before you start trying to use the guest blogging technique to get links to your site.

Step 2. Understand and prepare your targeted keywords

Again, it is a big mistake to proceed aggressively in getting links through the guest blogging method without thinking about and carefully planning your targeted keywords. You need to do some research into your targeted keywords.
Make sure that:

  • Your targeted keyword is neither extremely difficult or broad (one word for example). It also should not be too easy (4 or more words).

    The longer the anchor text, the more descriptive it will be, but it can distract from the readers’ attention. Limit yourself to around 3 words in the anchor text, as this looks more natural.

  • Make sure your targeted keyword is optimized for your onsite SEO implementation. For best results, aim for keywords that are used in your title tag and and content.

  • Prepare at least 5 anchor text variations of the main targeted keyword. This is not only used for link building purposes, but to adjust the theme and fit that variation to the topic of your guest posts.

Step 3. Find websites that accept guest blogging

This is one of the most important steps. If you are very good at this step, you will easily find a lot of websites on the Internet in the same niche as your website that accept guest posts at the same time.

You need to use the Google search engine to search for these websites. It is suggested that you use the following search query variations to find candidate websites:

“Submit article”  “Your main keyword”

Other variations are as follows:

“Submit post” + “Keyword variation1”
“Write for us” + “Keyword variation2”
“Submit content” + “Keyword variation3”
“Write post” + “Keyword variation4”
“Write for our website” + “Keyword variation5”

Once you enter the search query in Google, examine the snippets provided and click the most relevant result.

For example, suppose you have a PHP programming and web development website. You would like to use the “guest blogging” technique to get links. You  use the sample query variations above to search for related websites in your niche:

As you can see, the top link is a relevant result that you should check first (although there are also a lot of results that show the keyword “Submit article”).

When you visit that website, it is worth taking the time to examine how the website’s content is created. Is it created by “guest bloggers”? Do they “really” allow submission of content with links? One tip is to check whether the website has a blog section.

It is highly recommended that you read the FAQ, Terms and Conditions and other notices pertaining to submitting content, to make sure you are not violating any rules.

Below are the important things that you need to check on a website for which you’re interested in guest blogging:

  • The website allows submission of content with links pointing to external websites. You can easily check this by clicking and viewing sample published articles done by other guest bloggers, and then checking whether they contain any external links. 

  • To pass link juice, make sure that those external links do not have the rel=”nofollow” attribute and are not redirected to an external website with 302 header status.

  • The most important item to check is the relevance of the target website to your website. Is the content of that website highly related to your existing website’s content? This is recommended for the best results.

For example, after surfing the site pages closely, below I found a sample guest post done by a guest blogger:

http://www.programmersheaven.com/user/jamesbond0007/blog/5988-Both-web-designing-and-SEO-Services-under-one-roof/

Screen shot (the link to the website is inside the box):

Step 4. Write your content carefully and accurately

Assuming you’ve already registered with the website and are ready to submit content, the next thing you need to do is start writing your content. Again, this will depend on the rules; some websites are clear as to the specifications content must meet, such as the number of words, etc.

If such specifications are not provided, writing about 500 to 600 words is recommended. Make sure that the content:

  • Is original, unique and useful to the website’s readers.

  • Contains a single link to your website using targeted anchor text that is directly related to the content you write.

  • Is well-structured and easy to read. Make use of effective paragraphs and even add pictures if this is allowed.

It is recommended that you write the content first. Do NOT use a website blog post submission form, but write it first using a word processing program (MS Word for example). Do not forget to save a copy of your content, because you might be using it in the future.

Now that the content is done, copy and paste it into the blog post submission form, carefully checking all the changes in the punctuation and symbols, as some text editors/HTML text-based editors can be incompatible.

Finally, hit the submit button to submit the article for review.

Step 5. Continue with the process and monitor your progress

It can take some time for website owners and editors to approve and publish your article. So there are two things you should do while you are waiting.

First, using a spreadsheet editor like MS Excel, monitor the websites to which you have submitted, so that there will be no duplicated submissions in the future. You can use the spreadsheet to filter out websites that do not accept your submission, so you do not submit to them again the future.

Second, continue searching for other websites that accept guest blogging. Remember to submit a specific piece of content only once, and write another piece of unique content for a different website.

A final note on guest blogging

Of course, if your article is approved by the website editors, you can say that you have done a good job in writing the content. The links in that content are now considered to be “editorially” given by the website owners – hence they fall into the organic link category, which helps your website in terms of SEO.

There will be times when your content is rejected; this is normal. Feel free to get  feedback if you can. If quality is the issue, you might consider improving your content quality.

Remember that website owners have the right to reject content which they feel is not up to their content standards. You might as well re-submit the rejected content to other websites to see if they will accept it. This is why it’s good to have a copy of your content, so that you can re-submit it later to other websites. Another reason for rejection is that the content may not be appropriate for the website. If you are re-submitting it, make sure you are not “duplicating” content.

Lastly, do not make the mistake of not adding content to your original website. Remember that “guest blogging” is only an activity to market your content, skills and website. You should also continue to add fresh content to your original website for your readers.

A good balance between the time spent building links and adding fresh content to your website is recommended for long term success.

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