What is guest posting and how is it used for SEO?

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If you’re a blogger and you’re not completely satisfied with the level of traffic coming to your site, you should ask yourself a simple question: is it worth investing more time in guest posting?

If you have a straight head and know what you’re doing, the answer should be a resounding yes.

Despite some speculation about the longevity of this particular inbound marketing strategy (we’ll get to that later), guest posting is still one of the best ways to grow your audience and drive traffic to your site.

So what is guest posting in SEO, how is it done, and what should you know about it?

The basics of guest blogging

The basic definition of guest blogging is pretty straightforward: it means posting on someone else’s blog as a guest.

You contribute content to someone’s blog, and in return, you get an external backlink to your own blog and increased exposure.

It’s a simple concept with a clean-sounding win-win logic, but why exactly is guest posting a good idea?

What does guest posting accomplish?

For starters, what do guest blogs accomplish from the guest’s perspective?

First and foremost, guest blogging is all about building relationships. You are networking with other bloggers and making new connections that could prove useful later.

Bloggers can be influential people, and their talk makes up a large proportion of conversation on the Internet.

Through guest posting and meeting people, you could indirectly end up increasing your influence in the world of social media.

Second, guest blogging introduces you to a new audience. Essentially, by leveraging the host blog’s audience, you’re pitching to an already established community ready to hear what you have to say.

If you’re adding value to their reading experience, they’re likely to head over to your blog to see your other content. A big focus of guest blogging is on the next, third point, but the effect of actual clicks on your blog should not be neglected.

Third, guest posting is important in the world of SEO (search engine optimization). This is the context in which it is most often talked about, and guest blogging is indeed an undeniably important way to drive traffic to your blog.

When you post on someone else’s site, the one thing you should be adamant about is including a link to your own blog.

This may be embedded in the text or may be included in the author’s bio. Regardless of how it’s embedded, generating these links is one of the main goals of guest blogging.

Getting references from reputable, quality sites is a big factor in how big search engines decide to rank your blog.

Over time, generating these backlinks will help you improve your search engine rankings. This is why people refer to guest blogging as “good for SEO”.

But what does guest posting do for the host site?

Mainly it is about generating new and interesting content. That’s why your guest posts will need to be good, especially if you’re a young kid looking to post on a more reputable platform.

From the host’s perspective, guest blogging is essentially free content, and who doesn’t love free content? Of course, the more prominent the blog, the more demanding they can afford to be.

There’s also some of the community vibe in guest blogging further down the food chain. Among small and medium bloggers, hosting other people’s blogs is all about helping each other.

If you post to other blogs, it makes sense to offer the same courtesy to others. It’s a win-win strategy, and both will benefit from cooperation.

How to guest post

So guest posting is good for SEO, introduces you to a new audience, and helps you make friends. How do you start?

First step, you need to find a blog that welcomes you . There are a few ways you may want to do this. There are some sites that actively list blogs that can be guest posted. However, the links may not be reliable. Also, you may not get the quality hosting you really want.

A good Google search is probably the most obvious thing to try. Just type ‘above [your industry] blog list’ and see what comes up.

Alternatively, you can try an advanced search, specifying phrase strings like “write to us” and “blogs.” This will help you find blogs that are actively looking for guest contributors.

If you’re using the tried and tested search engine method, it’s simply a matter of crawling and making a judgment about the blogs you find.

It’s all about balancing the need for quality with the likelihood that the blog in question will accept you.

Ultimately, you just need to send a bunch of emails. Like any application process, it will largely be a numbers game and you should expect to be rejected many times.

You can also find good guest blogging hosts by looking for people to guest post on sites you read regularly. Check out the author and see who else he’s writing for.

Basically, once you’ve found a good site, just pull the string and follow where it leads; you are essentially benefiting from the hard work of the other guest bloggers.

You can even search Google using the author’s name and specifying the search term “guest post”.

Something to think about when you are a guest on a blog

The main thing to consider when guest blogging is the nature of the links you embed in your text. When you include links in your content, the actual hyperlinked words are called anchor texts . When you link to a URL, you need to make sure that it contains words that are useful.

What words are useful? Google uses anchor texts to assess a page’s relevance, so include keywords in the anchor texts you link to.

Just make sure you don’t overdo it, as Google also penalizes spammy links. As with most SEO strategies, the most important thing is to do everything you do organically, if that makes sense.

Don’t be too clumsy or artificial with the links you insert. Above all, make sure the links are relevant. And if they are relevant, they are likely to include keywords anyway.

But isn’t guest blogging on the decline?

In recent years there has been a lot of publicity about the decline of guest blogging as an SEO strategy.

When guest blogging first started, getting a post on another site was a mark of achievement. Search engines ranked accordingly, and backlinks became a quality signal.

As guest blogging became an established and well-known method of boosting SEO, fake bloggers started spamming for backlinks. Therefore, the backlinks themselves are less prominent in the mix when it comes to ranking.

But that doesn’t mean guest blogging is on the decline. When Google’s Matt Cutts warned against using guest blogging to boost rankings, he meant that guest blogging should not be abused.

All of this means to you that you have to be careful about what you host on your site and where you host your material.

No SEO expert knows exactly how Google ranks. However, it is well known that Google’s algorithms are excellent at detecting junk and discerning quality.

They can distinguish spam posts and mass-produced links from original quality content published on reputable and burgeoning platforms.

So if you are an honest blogger looking to write great content and improve SEO at the same time, you have nothing to worry about.

A few more words of caution!

Before you go, there are one or two other things to be careful of when trying to publish your posts.

At some point, you’ll probably be asked to pay to post something on a host site. In addition to the question of whether this strategy is financially worthwhile, you also run the risk of getting caught.

In reality, paying for links is explicitly against Google policy, and if you get caught, you could face a steep manual reduction in search engine rankings as a result.

Another thing to watch out for is private networks and discarded domains. These are just expired domains with a link profile. People buy these old domains, add cheap content and sell links.

Not all blogs are what they seem, so it might be worth using a website called the Wayback Machine, which can check a domain’s history.

Other than that, guest posting is a pretty safe and secure way to improve your rankings and gain new audiences, so happy hunting!

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