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6th February, 2021
So what is a guest post, and can they impact online business? Well, a guest post is content added to a website by someone else. Maybe someone sends you an article to add to your blog, or you email off a post to another website. To summarise, when content originates from elsewhere, it’s called a “guest post”.
Guest posts have been around since I can remember, an old school method of obtaining links and boosting organic traffic. But I get it, it’s hard enough writing content for your own website, let alone someone else’s! So… is it worth the time investment? Well… historically there have been two main reasons to consider guest posts, backlinks and brand exposure. When people offer guest posts they will often link back to their own website, thus building links. Having loads of quality links to your website is good for Google (your Google search results). Think about it as a popularity contest, other websites in your niche / sector validating you. The more “reputable” places on the web that link to your website the better, and a guest post is one way to obtain such a link.
The most important thing to remember about guest posts (plus any other indexable content) is quality. Google knows if you are replicating the same post 100 times over or spamming keywords, so be original and relevant. Having a post about cycling on a fishing website will not be very helpful for fishermen, so it’s important to remain on topic. Also, please make sure any links back to your own website are both helpful and informative. The content you post or send off to be posted needs to be sharable. People should want to share it, boosting interactions and visits.
When writing a guest post think about its length, anywhere between 500-1000 words is a general rule of thumb, however opinions vary. As long as your post is on topic, solving a problem or helping to answer a question then I don’t think a word count matters too much. Something else to factor in to your post is header tags, titles that contain keywords relevant to post content. Breaking up page content using titles (H tags) helps both the reader and Google bots. When it comes to selecting keywords and titles, why not try scraping some data from Google Autosuggest.
Now there are a few ways to find websites to guest post on, the first is pretty obvious, Google it. Think about your products or services, search for “your niche + blogs” and see what comes up. I’d suggest you check to see if these websites accept guest posts, many folk won’t. The good news is relationships can be built over time, so why not reach out and make contact first, then later make the suggestion. If this sounds too much like hard work then why not check your LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, company address book, and start making contact with existing contacts. There is nothing wrong with leveraging personal contacts or networking. Another suggestion would be to look at the local community, search for forums, blogs or even directories that list local business information. These kind of websites can still carry some value, not only is shopping local important (and sometimes preferred), boosting brand awareness is pretty awesome too! Your mission here (if you wish to guest post) is to connect with other website owners, building contacts and real relationships.
So… you have a few awesome posts mapped out, some places on the web you’d like to add them, now what about the visual stuff? As users we do love visuals, be it Instagram filters, crypto price charts, our camera phones or infographics. As that old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” so choosing the right graphics and/or photos for your post is important. The quick fix is obtaining some stock photography, however I’d always recommend using your own photos if you can. Also, why not consider some bespoke graphics or artwork to accompany your post. Remember, our end goal is to create content worth sharing, so some visual candy (not another stock photo) could really help make your content stand out.
Well, as mentioned above guest posts have been around since the beginning of SEO. Guest blogging in 2021 is very different to 2007! Guest posts are no longer about mass production across multiple sites in exchange for backlinks. Nope, Google addressed this SEO hack many years ago with Google Penguin. In today’s world guest posts are more about quality and brand awareness, promoting your expertises (products or services) on websites that currently rank higher.
Guest posts are far less popular today because of Google’s “rel-nofollow” requirement. To help explain, we are now told to add “rel-nofollow” to outbound link(s), this removes any link value, so rankings are not passed on.
But hey, if you have the time / resources to produce quality content, if you can look beyond historic link value, if your focus is more on brand awareness, then factoring in some guest posts as part of a bigger digital marketing campaign is not a bad a idea. I guess it all depends on the sites you can work with, and also the new relationships you can potentially build.
Thanks for reading, keep it Tidy!