SEO can be one of the trickiest elements in getting your site to soar up the search rankings. It's a process I both love and loathe.
Instead of choosing to focus on placing our link on some shady network of high PR sites or commenting on hundreds of sites in the hopes of finding a do-follow link, we choose to abide by a more longterm and quality controlled process – guest posting.
Now before I get into the thick of things I would like to make it clear that learning how to guest post isn't the only way to get quality backlinks for your site (aka links on other sites that link to a page on your site, helping it to rank for a certain keyword), but it is a surefire way to get high quality links on relevant sites that will not only pass on some link juice but will promote you (and your site) as an expert on the topic you're writing about.
But how the hell do you get a guest post, or more importantly how the hell do you find a guest post?
Well, for starters, you keep reading.
Why Should I Guest Post?
Ummm why shouldn't you guest post is more like it.
With Google slapping the shit out of so many sites these days, SEO is becoming a more volatile industry full of constant changes and new strategies being released every month.
And it can be hard to keep up.
The beauty of guest posting is it is solely up to you.
You are the one in charge of finding the sites, analyzing their relevancy, making sure they are of high quality, contacting them and choosing which pages on your site you want to link to.
In addition to that, if you rock your guest post and pack it full of value, that site owner is going to be grateful for the quality you provide and promote your posts through their social channels, and hopefully their newsletters.
Speaking of quality, Google loooooves quality and they adore relevancy, so if you can embrace guest posting as a main component for your SEO strategy you should be able to weather any updates and slaps that may get thrown your way.
So how do you go about finding a blog to post on?
How To Find a Guest Post
Many people have many different tactics for finding blogs to post on. Personally, we use a three step system that seems works wonders for us.
First, I start by hitting up my homeboy Google. I run a search for my chosen niche (for the sake of this post I'll use travel) placing my niche at the beginning of my search and use my keyword filter in quotes.
Now you don't just have to use “write for us”, you could also use:
- guest post
- guest blog
- guest blogger
- guest contributor
- guest writer
- submit a post
- work with us
I try and use every single variation I can think of to pull up different results and get the most variety in my searches.
Also, I try and break down my niche. So while I would search for travel, I would also search:
- group travel
- singles travel
- couples travel
- family travel
- travel advice
I would use just about any synonym I could think of for travel just to vary my results and see what pops up.
From there, I would go through the results, browse the sites and see which websites appeal to me, appear to be of high quality and have up-to-date posts.
Just from these different search terms you could perform hundreds of searches, bringing up thousands of results.
The second stage of my guest blog search also incorporates Google. They just run the whole internet, don't they?
What I do is head on over to Google Alerts and set up alerts for every keyword I have searched for (and any new ones that may come to mind).
You may get duplicate results from some of the blogs you just found but at least it will start to do the work for you so you don't always have to run multiple searches a day just to discover new sites.
The third and final stage is actually a process we outsource but can easily be done yourself – social outreach.
During this stage of our search we ask our social media manager to connect with fellow bloggers in our chosen niche, share their content or try to start a conversation with them before asking them for a guest post.
It may not work every single time, but most of the time it does. Just be sure to stay present, give more than you take and above all else, supply value.
Now that you have the essential tools for finding high quality sites to write for you, how will you go about contacting them?
How NOT To Pitch a Guest Post
Here is where I think a lot of people may falter. They don't put enough effort in. They send template emails that scream carelessness. They pitch their post using an attitude of entitlement that sounds like you owe them something just for writing a shitty post for you. And they make it sound like all they require is a measly little backlink on your site to theirs.
Hot tip: backlinks are fucking gold, especially if you run a reputable, authority website. Giving those out doesn't come lightly and using guilt or the tactic of ‘not charging for this post' will only get your email deleted. Trust me.
I use this message I received a few weeks ago for our skincare site as an example of what not to do:
Personally, when I want to write for a site I make sure to read through at least 5 of their posts in order to get a good feel for the tone and personality of the blog.
From there I also try and find additional guest posts written by other contributors so I can see if there are areas where I could improve and exceed the site owner's expectations.
I find, especially when starting out, that learning how to guest post can be a process of trial and error. It takes a while to craft a template that works for you and converts into your topics being accepted by as many blogs as possible.
When I first started learning how to guest post I didn't think I needed to focus on the tone of my initial contact email. Like so many other bloggers looking for links, I was naive enough to think that because I was providing them content that they should focus on that, and not what I said in my message to them.
I have no clue what the heck I was thinking or why I was thinking that.
These days I make sure to craft my emails in a polite and positive tone that demonstrates my personality and shows the site owner that I have spent time on their site, read through their posts and put the effort in to come up with topics that would be suitable for their audience.
I also believe it's important to offer a few topics for them to choose from. So for example, if I were to approach a beauty blog I would say something like this:
My name is Jill and I have been a reader/picture scroller of yours for a few weeks now and absolutely love the easy-to-follow tips you offer on contouring and shading – I'm a rookie when it comes to that!
I was wondering if you still accept guest posts and if so, would you be interested in a post on either:
How To Make Your Own Lip Gloss
A Simply Sweet DIY Sugar Scrub
How To Look Good Without Makeup
If you think either of these topics would be a good fit for your site and readers then I would be more than happy to get started on it right away!
Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂
There may not be much to it but it's short, sweet and gives them a feel for my voice. Besides, busy site owners rarely have time (or the desire) to read a wordy, impersonal email sent to them by someone who clearly hasn't read through their posts.
So do me a favour, keep it real. Be genuine. Be sincere. And for the love of God, please put some effort into your messages.
Trust me, you'll have more success this way then if you were to outsource that task to someone who just doesn't give a damn.
Et voila! That is my process for how I find and pitch guest posts. It may not be perfect but it has resulted in us posting on over 200 blogs (more than once) with that number increasing every week.