Guest blogging is a fantastic way to increase your position in the search engines and help to build your credibility and reputation within your industry. But, as you probably already know, Google have been taking action against spammy guest blogging tactics, so it’s now more important than ever to make sure you’re only contributing to the highest quality sites.
If you’re still contributing to low quality, spammy, or network blogs, then you’re going to end up with a ruined reputation and a serious risk of being penalized by Google – something which few businesses can afford to have happen to them.
To help you avoid this, I’m going to show you how to find the best sites to contribute your posts and get the results you’re looking for – more traffic, better search engine positions, and increased credibility for you or your business.
It starts with your content
Your content is arguably the most important factor in determining your guest blogging success. If your content isn’t compelling and engaging, then your chances of getting published on a high quality blog are low.
If you do manage to get your content published on a great blog, but it’s not compelling, then the audience wont react to it in the way you want them to, and it could end up doing more damage than good for your reputation.
You need people to read your post, see that you have something to offer and that you know your stuff. When you write compelling content and provide readers with something they can use, something they didn’t know before, something of value, the audience will want to know who wrote it, and where they can find more from that author.
This is where your author bio comes in.
The author bio is the best place for your “money link” (which is the link to your blog or business website). A lot of people still prefer to include their link in the content of the post, rather than in the author bio area. But, if your content is good enough, you will see much better results from a link in your bio than you do from a link within the body of the post.
Readers who gained something from the content in your post will almost certainly click through the links in your bio – to find out more about you, your company, what you offer, and to read more of your material – but they wont always follow each link that’s listed within the content of the post.
Most blogs will let you attribute the rel=”author” tag to your Google+ profile link too, which helps to build your author rank and will give you even greater results from all the content you publish.
Searching for blogs
Once you’ve written an engaging and compelling piece of content, and checked it over for any mistakes, you can start your search for a blog to publish it on.
Some people search for a blog first, and then write their content based around the blog they have chosen to contribute to. I find the problem with this is that you often end up writing content which doesn’t entirely represent the message you originally wanted to get out there – you end up catering your content for that blog, rather than writing about what you really wanted to write about in the first place.
I prefer to write my content first, and then find the perfect home for that piece of content.
With that said, it’s time to start your search…
During the search I pick out all of the blogs that look like they will be a good fit and list them in an Excel Spreadsheet, don’t worry too much about checking them thoroughly yet, because the next step involves analyzing the list of blogs you’ve found to make sure you find the perfect fit.
Searching Using Google
This is probably the most common method of searching for guest blogging opportunities. You can find lots of blogs using a search for your keyword plus any of the phrases listed below. Due to this being such a common method of searching for blogs that accept guest posts, you’ll often find that they are slower to respond because they receive so many requests.
Here’s a list of search queries to get you started:
- keyword “write for us”
- keyword “guest post”
- keyword “submission guidelines”
- keyword “guest post guidelines”
- keyword “become a contributor”
- keyword “become an author”
- keyword “freelance writers”
- keyword “add a post”
- keyword “submit a post”
- keyword “submit content”
- keyword “submit your post”
Simply replace “keyword” with your keyword, and then search for that phrase in Google. For example, if you’re looking for blogs on finance topics, you could search for: finance “write for us”
Searching Using Google+
Google Plus can be a good source for finding blogs too, but it takes some sifting to find good opportunities.
To start a search on Google+, go to http://plus.google.com and then use a search query like the one we used to search Google previously. For example: finance “guest post”
This will return a bunch of results across Google communities, people, pages, and posts from Google Plus users. The community posts are usually filled with network blogs (at least where guest posting is concerned), so it’s best to avoid those, but the Google+ posts are a good place to look.
Most people who write and contribute good content will share it on their social profiles, and likewise, blogs which publish quality content will more than likely share it on their profiles too, that’s what you’re looking for here. You can filter the results to show you only the Google+ posts by selecting the “Google+ posts” link which is displayed alongside the search bar.
Here are a couple of good examples which were returned from my search for [finance "guest post"]:
Searching Using your Competitors
It’s likely that your competitors use guest blogging as part of their content marketing strategy too. Therefore, doing a search for any guest posts written by your competitors could reveal some great opportunities for you too.
The quickest way to find guest posts written by your competitors is to use Google. You can do a search for link:domain.com -domain.com “guest post” (replacing domain.com with the domain of your competitor) which will reveal the sites your competitors have posted at.
If you have access to backlink profiling tools such as Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, or Majestic SEO, then you can use them to compile a complete list of your competitors backlinks. With this information you should be able to find a number of blogs which accept guest posts.
Tools like the ones listed above will provide you with a complete list of all of your competitors backlinks, not just guest posts, so you will have to do some filtering to find the blogging opportunities.
Searching Using Industry Leaders
If you know any of the big names in your industry, then you can perform searches for guest posts they have written. You will often find that the industry leaders usually submit to the most worthwhile blogs, blogs with large audiences, so any guest posts they have had published will likely be great places for you to consider contributing your post too.
One way to find posts submitted by a particular author is to the use the inpostauthor Google Query. Let’s use Amanda DiSilvestro as an example. You can search Google for inpostauthor:Amanda DiSilvestro and it will return a list of articles, all of which were written by Amanda DiSilvestro.
Another way is to check their social profiles, because they will often share their posts with their followers on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn etc. Using Amanda as an example again, if you check her Twitter and Google+ profiles you will see that she often shares links to posts she has authored.
It’s always a good idea to try and engage with the leaders in your industry too, they might be able to make an introduction for you to some of the owners of blogs they have guest posted on.
Searching Using Topsy
Topsy is another good place for finding potential opportunities to publish your content. It searches the social web (Twitter & Google+) for any keywords you give it. For example, you can perform a search for finance “guest post” and you’ll get a long list of results which contain potential opportunities for a guest post in the finance industry.
Topsy also lets you filter your results, allowing you to filter the results to show only recently posted articles, so you know the blog is currently accepting guest posts.
By the time you’ve finished searching using the above methods, you should have a nice long list of potential guest blogging opportunities.
The next step is to analyze your list and filter out the best of the crop.
Analyzing those blogs
Now that you have a nice big list of potential blogs where you can submit your post, the next step is to find the perfect match.
This can take some time, but, it will ensure you don’t waste your time submitting your content to a blog that’s not going to produce results, or a blog that’s not going to respond.
Page Rank & Domain Authority
First of all, I check the PR (Page Rank) and DA (Domain Authority) of each blog in my list. You can do this using tools like BulkDAChecker.com, which will check up to 200 URL’s at once and give you the relevant PR and DA for each blog.
I remove any blogs which have a PR less than 2, and a domain authority less than 20. This helps to filter out the lower quality blogs and blogs that aren’t very well established.
The relevancy of the blog in relation to your content is very important. You need to make sure that any blog you’re thinking of contributing to has an audience that will appreciate your content.
For example, if you’ve been searching for finance blogs, and one of the blogs on your list is strictly to do with small business finance, then you wouldn’t want to submit a post there about managing your personal finances, because it’s not relevant to the audience.
I remove any blog from my list where my post will not add any value for the readers.
This can give you a good idea of how popular the blog is. If all of the posts receive a lot of likes, social shares, and comments, then you can be sure that there is a real and active audience reading the posts published.
If none of the posts have any comments and there aren’t any social shares, then you can be pretty sure that nobody (or at least, very few people) are actually reading the contents of the blog.
The reader engagement also gives you an idea of the quality of the content. If there is a lot of social engagement on the posts, then it’s more than likely going to be quality content.
I remove any blogs which don’t have comments and social shares on the majority of the posts. This will make sure that you’re submitting your post to a blog where it’s actually going to be read.
This is another way to get an idea of how big an audience a blog has. If they have profiles on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, then you can check to see how many people are following them on each of their profiles. If a blog has 100k followers, then you can be almost certain that they have a large audience reading their blog.
If the blogs do have social profiles, you should look at how often they post new updates, and if they’re simply updating with links to their posts, or if they’re actually engaging with their audience.
I remove any blogs which don’t have at least one active social profile with a large following. Most blogs will have at least a Twitter profile or a Facebook profile.
It’s always worth taking a quick look at how often the blog is updated, and when the last post was published. If the most recent post is several months old, then it’s probably not the best place to publish. After-all, how much of their audience will continue to visit their blog for several months without any updates?
I will typically remove any blogs from my list who haven’t updated at least 4 times a month for the several months.
The sites with the biggest audiences are usually the ones who publish the most (high quality) content. A site which updates a few times a day will probably have a larger audience than a site which updates once a week.
Number of Guest Posts
You want to avoid any blogs which are built up with too many guest posts. The majority of posts on the blog should be written by the bloggers who run the site.
It’s also a good idea to check the quality of any guest posts you can find on the blog. If they are low quality and have self-serving keyword rich links in the content of the post, then you should perhaps avoid that blog. However, if the guest posts are high quality, met with approval by the blogs audience (check social engagement and comments) and they don’t outweigh the number of posts published by the blog owners themselves, then it’s probably a safe place to contribute.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, you will be left with the very best blogs for contributing your post.
Pick the best site from the remaining ones (I prefer to go for the ones with the biggest and most engaging audiences), then you’re ready to start reaching out to the editor or owner of the blog.
Reaching out to the Blog
Before you contact the blog, you should check to see if they have any guest blogging guidelines available on their website. If they do, check them and make sure your post complies with them all. If it doesn’t, make the necessary changes, or choose the next best blog from your list.
Now that you know where you want to contribute your post, you need to reach out to the owner of the blog (or the editors) and pitch them your idea to see if they will publish it.
If you have done a good job finding and analyzing the blog, then you should be fairly confident that they will be happy to accept your post (because it should be a perfect match). In that case, all you need to do is get them to read your article so that they can see that for themselves.
My preferred method of contacting bloggers is via e-mail, because it’s quick and you can easily attach your full article for them to review.
You want to keep your first e-mail short and to the point. Always address the person you’re e-mailing by name – you should be able to find it in their author bio, or on their about us page.
Let them know that you have a guest post to contribute, and why you think it will be a perfect fit for their audience. Give them a short description of your post, and then attach the full version to the e-mail.
In some cases you wont be able to find their e-mail address, so you will need to use the contact form on their website. If that’s the case, then you probably wont be able to attach your full article. Don’t worry, you just need to make sure that the description you give them really sells your post well and makes them want to read the full article.
Make sure you’re polite; you’re much less likely to get a reply if you’re rude, if you haven’t personalized the e-mail, or if you’re acting although they’re lucky to have you contributing to their blog. Just be friendly, tell them why you like their blog, why you think your post will make a great fit, and then give them the details about your post.
If you don’t receive a reply within a week or two, you can always send a quick follow up e-mail.