Many agencies (including my own) are opting for the white hat approach to gaining links with a solid outreach strategy.
There are a few types of outreach, but our current strategy includes emailing and contacting via social media, etc., to companies and individuals who are in charge of publishing and are seeking content contributors. We ask them to allow us to contribute a valuable article to their website. Yes, our outreach is all about guest posting.
Sorry Matt Cutts, we don't believe that guest posting is dead!
Just because a website has strong metrics, doesn't mean that you need to get a link on there with your contributed content. Here’s why we examine every single link opportunity before we pitch a contributor.
Why Guest Posting is Not Dead
Since we all get these crazy spammed emails all the time, people shudder at the idea of “reaching out.”
Your typical spammer would rather buy link resources than spend the time writing fitting content. Spammers frankly do not want to “waste their time” reaching out for links when they can simply buy or create their own. Like fashion trends, many things that were once out of season (such as guest posting) have come back into season.
But Google still is largely a link based search engine. If you want to rank higher in the SERPS, you need good links.
Matt Cutts brought up an excellent point by saying that spamming for links and offering to PAY for the links is completely against Google's guidelines. Here is why contributing or guest posting is not going away:
- Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Tech.co, (I'm a contributor to all those), and countless other platforms were all built around the contributor model (i.e. guest posting).
- The key to being successful at guest posting is to try and stay as niche as possible during your prospecting.
- Getting that “thematic push” from an industry related website looks more natural, and kicks more than a nonrelated link from a powerful domain.
One of the reasons Matt Cutts had negative things to say around guest posting is because many of the sites that were accepting and giving guest posts were from “bad neighborhoods” – they had shadier link profiles.
Outreach involves time, some talent and some creativity. High-quality content is an attractive offer, but editors and publishers have been burned by poorly written content.
Double Down on Contributing Content
Since guest posting received negative attention by a few influencers, it resulted in less high-quality written content submissions to those blogs that accept contributors.
If you see SEOs running in droves away from something, it’s usually as a result of some blog post they read or some industry influencer spoke up about a particular tactic that no longer works. But this is the wrong perspective!
If you have seen the movie “The Big Short,” then you know that when the market is bearish on something, it is the best time to double down on that exact thing. Now that content marketing is a popular marketing tactic again, expect to see the number of blogs accepting contributors to increase!
Think Beyond the Link
Podcasters and YouTubers are largely in favor of partnership opportunities and guest contributing content. Look at how many times Gary V has had Casey Neistat on his Ask Gary Vee show (it's 2). You can see here how many times they have appeared together to mutual benefit.
Influencers partner up with other influencers that are in a similar space. They do an audience swap! This allows them to get exposure to each other's audiences without having to pay for expensive marketing. It's a win for both parties as the host gets great content, and the guest gets to increase his or her brand recognition.
So, just like Podcasters and YouTube hosts, by appearing on someone else’s blog you can gain access to a whole new audience. That’s thinking beyond the link!
Analyze the Blog Traffic — It Matters!
We use SEMrush to examine every single link opportunity before we pitch a contributor model to the website owner. See what I did there? I removed a “dirty word” like guest posting, and used an industry buzz word. (People love that! /sarcasm.)
One of the reasons that we use traffic as a metric of determining a website’s value for obtaining a guest post is that we want to make sure our clients are getting links on real live sites. We don’t want to be posting on dropped domains that are simply posting a url like “droppeddomain.com/write-for-us” that is really just a Private Blog Network (or PBN).
A Private Blog Network is a group of sites owned and maintained by an individual or group, used as a source of backlinks to the money site for the purpose of increasing search engine ranking.
When you are contributing guest posts, you want a healthy website that has real visitors coming to the site. With active sites, you get referral traffic and social shares. You also get a chance to, oh you know... sell a product from a guest post! However, don't become an overseller and remember that valuable content is key.
Quality Traffic is Key
Traffic is a key pillar (item 131) in SEO now and will be going into the future.
My last advice is that if the website you would like to contribute to has high traffic, it can be a result of organic searches conducted through Google. These websites tend to become top ranking websites and can provide a great opportunity to earn a nice backlink.
Guest posting and pitching have always benefited from email marketing promotion and outreach. How have you increased your email open rate to enhance your guest posting link opportunities?
Share your insights below and maybe I will quote you in my upcoming article!