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SEO Backlink Report: Guest Blogging for SEO Success!
One of the important things to chase after when you’re hitting an SEO campaign are high quality backlinks from guest blogging. While guest blogging used to be talked about and really popular, after all the Google updates many people stopped talking about it and went on to other things. However, if you don’t use a shotgun approach and you actually go after relevant helpful backlinks in the right way by providing outstanding content, guest blogging can still be one of the most powerful tools you have for any SEO campaign. Even just a few good links can make all the difference and shoot you up to the top of page one.
Backlinks Still Matter
One of the first things that you need to understand is that backlinks still matter. Arguably even more than they used to. While Google updates encouraged the myth that backlinks don’t matter anymore, it was spamming techniques they were actually after. Gathering hundreds of keyword anchored backlinks from article directories or “guest blogging” on thinly veiled Private Blog Network (PBN) websites not only won’t help you anymore, but that is a good way to get penalized by Google.
This is where the idea that backlinks don’t matter, along with most of those old “link juice” websites losing all their authority. The truth is that backlinks still matter greatly when it comes to search engine optimization. A few good links can shoot a website up to the top of page one, but it’s critical to understand exactly what a good backlink is.
When you’re looking at potential websites to guest blog on you need to keep it to websites that are in your niche or in a related niche. Think context as king. No matter how strong the website, if it isn’t in your field then that backlink won’t do a lot of good.
The second major point is not to have keyword anchored backlinks. You don’t want a blatant keyword anchoring the link to your website. You want your blog name, your brand name, or your URL.
When you have a great guest post on an authority site in your niche with the perfectly set up backlink at the end, you’re going to get a massive boost from that. Don’t underestimate the jump – I’ve seen websites go from page three to mid page one after one good link before.
Make a List of Your Potential Targets
The first thing to do is set up a spreadsheet to organize all the websites and blogs you will be contacting via e-mail.
The next step is make as large a list of potential targets as possible. Are there any big names that come to mind in your niche or field right off the bat? Write those down during brainstorming and find the website URL for each one.
Next, Google the main keywords that you would like to rank for. Which websites show up on the top page? What about pages two and three? While rankings aren’t 100% on authority, they are a good rule of thumb. Look for all the blogs or content-based websites that might be open to receiving content or guest posts. Place all of them down on your spreadsheet.
Going to page three is a good practice, if you’re aiming at a competitive niche with hundreds of thousands or even millions of monthly searches then you might even go as deep as page 5 or 6 of the search engine rankings. Beyond that the results aren’t as strong even in competitive niches and those results can even be somewhat randomized.
Once you’ve collected the name of all those websites, think about other important keywords, search them, and add any new results that pop up. Once you’ve done this, start searching for important keywords in related fields and add those, too.
For example, if you’re focusing on camping you might look at hiking, outdoors, adventure travel. Someone focusing on Internet Marketing might also look at SEO, digital marketing, affiliate marketing, and social media marketing. These are heavily related fields and a great backlink from an authority website in one of them will help a website in any other field.
Once you have that long list, then it’s time to start pitching to see what opportunities you can help create.
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How to Pitch for a Guest Post
One thing you want to do right before pitching is create one incredible piece of content that becomes your sample. This should be related on the topic, be some of your best writing, and be revised multiple times over to make it as exceptional as possible.
The next step is finding the contact information for each page. Most websites have a contact page, and ideally you will prefer to find a name versus a department. This isn’t just much better when it comes to a good sounding pitch (you don’t want a template cut and paste request – take the extra 2 minutes to write a unique request), and frankly if you can find an actual name your request is much more likely to be read and approved.
When you pitch you want to be polite, short and to the point, and focus on their needs and how they will benefit from your guest post. Be direct, remember you’re talking to a person and not a machine or a marketing script, so give a little personalization and if in doubt speak like you would to a friend, not a formal English paper.
Finally, never take it personally if someone doesn’t respond. Most won’t and most responses will be polite rejections. That’s why we make as large a list as possible. It only takes a few good links to make a huge difference and in some niches, it only takes one!
– Be polite
– Get to the point fast
– It’s about them – focus only a line or two on yourself, focus on the value you can bring them with high quality and original content their readers will find useful
– Don’t forget to close – ask for permission to write a guest post for them & include the sample for their convenience
As one final note about requesting to do guest posts, there’s also one more thing you need to take care of ahead of time and that is making sure your website is fully setup, looks good, and has some depth of content. After all, if they have a good authority website they need to make sure anyone they link to has a worthy website. No one is going to link to a barebones website that hasn’t been developed, no matter how good the writing is.
2 Powerful Moves
Even if you don’t succeed on your first attempt, or don’t get any bites on the cold calls, there are two powerful actions you can take that will help set you up to still get guest posts in the future.
Those two actions are:
– Build relationships over time to bring in guest posts
– Create large authoritative posts to wow people (this can lead to actual cold offers asking you to contribute)
Build honest relationships. Follow people on Twitter, Facebook, and even Google+. Respond to their posts and articles when something interests you, and interact with them when they’re responding to something posted on your wall. If you build a genuine relationship with people, they will often be eager to help you down the line when you make a request like a guest post.
The other move is to shoot for the organic authority articles. These are the “200 Factors That Affect Your SEO” or giant 5,000 word posts on “Everything You Need to Know to X.” Make amazing content and promote it. These types of articles have a way of getting shared and going viral, and if you write this kind of content not only can you link to it to show other authority websites what you can do, you may start getting cold e-mail requests to guest post – doing all the legwork of finding willing participants for you!
The fact so many people have abandoned the practice of guest posting means in many ways it is easier than ever to get attention by backlinking. People understand the importance of amazingly good content and to get it for a simple link to another high quality website. Follow these steps, understand how good backlinks work, and watch your traffic explode as you shoot up the rankings.