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Guest Blogging: The Ultimate SEO Guide for Guest Posting

Table of Contents

+ Introduction
+ Benefits of Guest
Blogging

+ How to Find Guest Blogging
Opportunities

+ How to Establish Your First Guest
Post

+ How to Tell if a Site Accepts
Guest Posts

+ Guest Blogging Best
Practices

+ Ways to Succeed at Guest
Blogging

+ Why Quality Guest Blogging
Will Always Be Effective

+ Can Sponsored Guest Blog
Posts Hurt Your Rankings?

+ Guest Blogging Sites to
Avoid

+ Conclusion

Introduction

Many business owners are passionate about their product or
service, but assume they lack the expertise in the online marketing
sphere to gain visibility and website traffic.  This is a common
challenge faced by many of today’s businesses and
entrepreneurs.

But in reality, you don’t need to be an SEO professional or
online marketing expert to succeed with your online marketing
initiative. In fact, if you have the skills to start a business,
you already likely have all the skills necessary to exponentially
increase your website traffic while building your brand equity for
the future.

The secret to success in the online marketing world, and the
solution for business owners struggling to generate website
traffic, is to establish your brand (and yourself) as a credible
authority within your niche, and the best tactic for doing so is
called guest blogging.

Guest blogging has become the darling of the SEO industry, but
that doesn’t mean that only SEO professionals can do it. In fact,
in the competitive world of online marketing, it’s necessary for
business owners to do, or risk being burned by the competitors who
are.

This article is meant for business owners who want an
easy-to-follow, understandable guide to building their business
online through guest blogging.

Why Guest Blogging, and What are the Alternatives?

It’s important to note that guest blogging is not the only
tactic business owners should pursue. Online marketing is a diverse
and rapidly-changing field that currently consists of tactics
including (but not limited to):

PPC (paid search)
Paid ads
Social media marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Content marketing
Email marketing

With the exception of paid search and paid ads, all the other
tactics intertwine and affect each other. For instance, a strong
social
media marketing campaign
will positively affect your organic
search rankings, improving your SEO. And a strong content marketing
campaign will provide fuel for social media marketing and SEO
campaigns.

While paid search and ad campaigns can yield great ROI in the
right situations, they usually amount to short-term gains with
little or no long-term impact. A good SEO campaign, on the other
hand, is like
building equity in your business
that lasts for the long haul.
It’s similar to the difference between buying a house and
building equity vs. just paying rent.

So, why do I so strongly advocate guest blogging? Because a
properly-executed guest blogging campaign yields the strongest and
safest ROI while simultaneously supporting your SEO, social media,
and content marketing efforts. It builds the most valuable,
long-term equity in your business, and, most importantly, requires
nothing more than a computer and an Internet connection to execute.
This means there are no excuses; if you’re reading this, you
already have everything necessary to start a guest blogging
campaign and grow your business online.

Don’t have time? Hire staff and assign them some of your
duties to take things off your plate. Trust me, this is an
initiative you should be making time for.

Guest blogging is relatively simple to get into, though the
process may seem intimidating to those unfamiliar with the
strategy. All you need to do is identify a publisher or blog that
might be a good fit for your industry, reach out with a guest post
or post idea, and hope to get published. The wider your network of
guest posts and the more authoritative your sources are, the
greater effects you’ll see. The benefits are diverse and
many.

Referral Traffic

One of the most immediate benefits of guest blogging is the
referral traffic you’ll receive. Assuming you include at least
one link pointing back to your root domain on each individual post,
you’ll see an increase in referral traffic from those
external sources. For example, if your guest post gets
1,000 views and 10 percent of those readers end up clicking on your
link, you’ll end up with 100 free visitors to your site. Since
those links (and posts) are permanent, your referral traffic will
continue to increase and compound over time.

Brand Recognition and Reputation Building

One of the less measurable effects of guest blogging is the
increased brand recognition and reputation you’ll receive. As
people start seeing your name and your brand popping up on more
publication outlets, and as you are seen more consistently,
you’ll start to be seen as a greater authority. This, in turn,
will attract more people to your site and increase the
likelihood that your new site visitors will eventually
convert. You can even call attention to the fact that
you’ve been published on these external sites on your homepage to
strengthen your perceived reputation and credibility.

Link Building

articleimage1114 link building

One of the most popular reasons for guest posting has been the
opportunity to build external links. Since its inception,
Google’s search algorithm has used the number and quality of
backlinks pointing back to domains as a go-to resource for
determining that domain’s total authority. In essence, the
stronger the backlink profile, the more authoritative the site will
be, and the more authoritative a site is, the higher it will rank.
Guest posting gives you the perfect opportunity to build
high-quality links on external sites, giving you higher search
rankings—so the theory goes.

Social Audience Building

Social media marketing is becoming increasingly important as
more and more consumers rely on social media platforms for their
communication needs. A larger social audience means greater
influence, greater search ranks, and greater brand visibility, and
including your social links on all your guest posts is a surefire
way to increase your following. In a self-perpetuating
relationship, a greater number of followers means more traffic for
your posts, and greater traffic to your posts means a greater
number of followers.

What’s Changed?

The benefits of guest blogging listed above have served as the
justifiers for a guest blogging strategy since its rise in
popularity several years ago. However, a number of changes in the
market—including Google’s algorithm updates and a shift in
consumer preferences—are influencing guest blogs’ effects.

Overcrowding

Guest blogging’s popularity has been a burden for
those practicing it as an ongoing strategy. Because the
demand for content is finite and consistent and the amount of
content available is constantly growing, there’s been a slow but
measurable oversaturation of guest content getting published. As a
result, each guest post published today is slightly less valuable
than an equivalent post published three years ago. As time goes on,
this effect may become more severe, but for now, as long as
you’re posting the best possible material you can, oversaturation
can be overcome through sheer quality.

The Slow Death of Link Building

Thanks to Google’s Penguin algorithm and repeated assertions
by Google that link building is not an effective strategy, many
search marketers are shying away from link building
altogether. Fortunately, link building is only a small part of what
makes guest posting effective. Instead of using links, rely on brand mentions to
pass authority
—they’ll build your domain authority just as
much, and they don’t carry a risk of penalty. Plus, you
can still use links to increase your referral traffic—just use a
nofollow tag if you want to mitigate your penalty
risk.

Guest Blogging Benefits

There are many benefits of guest blogging:

Builds and improves Author Rank (editor’s note 4/29/16:
Google Authorship is
no longer a thing
, but it’s not known if Author Rank still
is)
Creates links to your website
Strengthens awareness of your brand
Aligns your brand with industry leaders
Builds your personal brand
Generates leads and traffic
Creates social signals

Here’s the breakdown on each of the benefits.

Builds and improves Author Rank:
Author Rank
is how Google calculates the credibility of the
author of a particular page, affecting how well that page ranks in
search. Credible, authoritative, trusted authors receive “bonus
points” in the rankings for articles they write related to their
niches of expertise. I believe Author Rank will grow significantly
in importance in the ranking algorithm over the next few years.

Creates links to your website: Inbound links have the heaviest
weight of all the ranking factors in Google and Bing. Inbound links
are considered much like “votes” by one website for another.
Links from more credible, trusted websites will be treated as more
important votes, so it’s best to spend your efforts focusing on
getting inbound links from authoritative publishers.

Aligns your brand with industry leaders: Aligning your business
name and website with brands that Google already ranks at the top
in search engines is the best way to become a part of Google’s
inner trust circle. This results in higher rankings for your
website, driving more traffic, leads, and sales.

Builds your personal brand: After a while, if you publish enough
great content that your readers love, you’ll start to become an
authority in your niche. Once you become a niche authority, this
opens the doors for many more opportunities, such as:

Speaking opportunities at events (for which you can get paid
and further build brand recognition)
Easier access to guest posting on more, higher-quality
publishers in your industry
More leads from your target market
Higher quality website traffic

Generates leads and traffic: Give advice or solutions to
problems, and you’ll come to be recognized as a trustworthy
source for further help, resulting in leads and sales.

Creates social signals: Social signals include Tweets, Facebook
Likes, LinkedIn shares, Google +1’s, and more. Together, social
signals represent a quality signal to search engines, because pages
that are shared and discussed more often in social media channels
are usually higher-quality. They are growing fast in importance as
one of Google’s many ranking factors, so it’s important to get
lots of social activity associated with your brand in order to
stand above the rest in search engine rankings.

How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

Guest blogging, as an SEO tactic, has long been considered an
expensive, time-consuming endeavor. It’s also been considered one
of the safest, most “white-hat” methods of link building in the
SEO’s arsenal, but over the last several years, has largely been
put on the backburner as most SEOs pursued more powerful (albeit,
more risky) tactics.

But with the rollout of Google Penguin, everything changed.
Guest blogging services are cropping up everywhere (including here,
at SEO.co) as the industry begins to realize that guest blogging,
as a link building tactic, is one of the few safe havens left after
Penguin demolished many of the lower-cost, higher quantity tactics
that SEOs came to rely upon over the course of the past several
years.

As the new darling of the SEO industry, the popularity of guest
blogging is growing exponentially. But while many SEOs are just now
learning about the benefits of guest blogging, many are still in
the dark about how, exactly, to do it.

There are lots of great guides
available
on the Web that offer nuggets of information about
guest blogging, but I haven’t been able to find any that really
dig deep into the most difficult part of guest blogging: Actually
finding the blogs to guest post on. This guide is meant to provide
a thorough, step-by-step walk-through of exactly how to find guest
blogging opportunities. And I’m going to show you how to do it by
using one of my favorite internet marketing tools: Scrapebox.

Saddled with an unfortunate reputation for being a tool useful
only for propagating blog comment spam, Scrapebox is actually one
of the few internet marketing tools I use on a daily basis—and
for only ethical, white-hat purposes.

What You’ll Need:

Scrapebox (download it
here
for a one-time fee of $57. TOTALLY worth it.)
Private proxies (Get them from
Proxybonanza
for a small monthly fee. I recommend going for the
“Bonanza” package from the “Exclusive Proxies” section.)
Note: That Proxybonanza link is an affiliate link. I’d really
appreciate if you’d buy through my link!

How are We Going to Use Scrapebox to Find Guest Blogging
Opportunities?

Scrapebox will execute multiple search queries simultaneously in
Google and Bing, automatically harvest all the results, and allow
us to manipulate, augment, and export the data.

For example, let’s say you want to find good guest blogging
opportunities for your website about canine epilepsy. To find other
websites that rank well for the term (and similar terms) which
might be good targets for a guest blog post, you’d want to
examine the top 100 search results for the following search
queries:

Dog seizures
Canine epilepsy
Canine seizures
Seizures in dogs

Without Scrapebox, you’d have to perform each of those
searches manually (via Google.com), manually click through each of
the top 10 pages, and copy/paste each URL into a spreadsheet for
future follow-up. This process would easily take you at least an
hour.

With Scrapebox, you supply the search queries, and it will
perform the searches, collect the URLs of the top 100 results, and
supply them to you in an Excel spreadsheet. Additionally, you can
use Scrapebox to automatically find the PageRank of the domain of
each search result, allowing you to filter out low-PR domains
without having to manually visit them. Scrapebox also offers myriad
other filtering options, such as the ability to ignore results from
domains that would never accept a guest blog post, such as
facebook.com, amazon.com, etc. All of the above processes can
easily be completed in under 60 seconds.

Ready to take your link prospecting capabilities to a whole new
level? Let’s get started.

Step 1: Load your proxies into Scrapebox

After obtaining your proxies, load them into a .txt file on your
desktop in the following format:

IP:port:username:password
IP:port:username:password
IP:port:username:password

Here’s an example:

123.456.789.012:01234:jayson:awesomepassword
123.478.759.032:01234:jayson:awesomepassword
123.446.899.012:05274:jayson:awesomepassword
129.486.749.012:01234:jayson:awesomepassword
176.495.989.016:01637:jayson:awesomepassword

In Scrapebox, click “Load” under the “Select Engines &
Proxies” area. Select the text file containing your proxies.
Scrapebox should load them immediately, and look something like
this:

proxies

Click “Manage” and then “Test Proxies” to test your
proxies and ensure Scrapebox can successfully activate and use
them.

test proxies

Be sure that “Google” and “Use Proxies” are both
checked.

Step 2: Choose a keyword that best represents your niche or
vertical

For example, let’s say I’m trying to find guest blogging
opportunities for my website about canine epilepsy. I would select
“dogs” as my keyword. I could go for a more targeted approach
and try “canine epilepsy” or “dog seizures” as my keyword,
but I’m likely to find much less (albeit more targeted)
prospects.

Step 3: Define your search queries.

Copy and paste the following search queries into a .txt document
on your desktop, and replace each instance of [keyword] with your
chosen keyword from Step 2.

Note: The following is my personal list of search queries that I
use to identify guest blogging opportunities. Google limits queries
to 32 words, which is why these are broken down into many chunks
rather than one long query. Enjoy!

“submit blog post” OR “add blog post” OR “submit an
article” OR “suggest a guest post” OR “send a guest post”
“[keyword]”

“guest bloggers wanted” OR “contribute to our site” OR
“become a contributor” OR “become * guest writer”
“[keyword]”

“guest blogger” OR “blog for us” OR “write for us”
OR “submit guest post” OR “submit a guest post”
“[keyword]”

“become a guest blogger” OR “become a guest writer” OR
“become guest writer” OR “become a contributor”
“[keyword]”

“submit a guest post” OR “submit post” OR “write for
us” OR “become an author” OR “guest column” OR “guest
post” “[keyword]”

inurl:”submit” OR inurl:”write” OR inurl:”guest” OR
inurl:”blog” OR inurl:”suggest” OR inurl:”contribute”
“[keyword]”

inurl:”contributor” OR inurl:”writer” OR
inurl:”become” OR inurl:”author” OR inurl:”post”
“[keyword]”

site:twitter.com [keyword] “guest post” OR “guest blog”
OR “guest author”

Step 4: Load Search Queries into Scrapebox.

In the “Harvester” section in Scrapebox, click “Import,”
then “Import from file.” Select the file containing the search
queries that you just created in Step 3. Scrapebox should then
populate with the search queries, looking something like this:

queries

Step 5: Update your blacklist.

Scrapebox has a “blacklist” which allows you to
automatically filter out undesired search results. For example, I
know that Facebook.com and Amazon.com will never accept a guest
blog post, so I don’t want results from those domains appearing
in my list.

To edit your blacklist, click “Black List” from the top
navigation, then click “Edit local black list.”

edit blacklist

After you start using Scrapebox and receiving output lists,
you’ll begin to notice undesirable domains that often appear in
search results. As you notice these, add them to your local
blacklist so they never appear again. Here are a few good sites to
add to begin with:

Amazon.com
Facebook.com
Tumblr.com
Linkedin.com
Yahoo.com
Squidoo.com
Hubpages.com

Step 6: Set Search Depth in Scrapebox

Next, define how many search results Scrapebox should harvest
for each query. You can do this in the “Select Engines &
Proxies” area, in the text field next to “Results.” I
generally set it to 200 or 300.

search depth

Step 7: Start Harvesting

We’re now ready to start harvesting search results for our
queries. Click “Start Harvesting” in the “URL’s
Harvested” section.

start harvesting

harvester in action

Harvester in action

Finished harvesting

Finished harvesting

Step 8: Filter results by PageRank

You should now have a list of websites that Scrapebox harvested,
which looks something like this:

Results

The next step is to filter these results by PageRank, since we
don’t want to waste our time reaching out to websites with a low
PR. Scrapebox makes this super easy. Click “Check PageRank”
then select “Get Domain PageRank.”

Check PageRank

pagerank complete

Next, click “Import/Export URL’s & PR.” Click
“Export as Excel” and export the file to your desktop. Open the
file on your desktop and re-save it if need be (sometimes the file
is corrupt, but by re-saving it and deleting the older version, you
can easily solve this).

Column A should contain a list of all the harvested URLs. Column
B will contain the PageRank of each domain. Add column headers to
column A (URL) and column B (PR).

Next, sort column B by PR, in order of largest to smallest. To
do this, highlight column B by clicking on the column header, then
click “Sort & Filter” in the “Home” tab in Excel. Then,
click “Sort A to Z.”

Sort

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