Although it was declared dead a few years back in a controversial blog post written by Matt Cutts, now former head of the web spam team at Google, guest blogging is very much alive in 2016 and onward. Yes, guest blogging has been misused to manipulate one’s ranking through SEO, which is why Google has issued a number of updates to address these practices, but it is still a viable option if you want to improve your website’s ranking. The only difference is, you are supposed to do it by offering high-quality content for users, while implementing the best SEO practices, and not by buying links, spamming, or keyword stuffing.
Even though everyone relies on Google, nobody knows exactly how it ranks websites. Thankfully, their team recently gave us a hint and revealed the top 3 factors that determine the ranking of every website. The two which are the most interesting for us are content and links. While it makes perfect sense that high-quality content on your website (content that can actually help your visitors) can also help with rankings, it’s not enough, because you also need the links leading back to your website.
Sure, you can hope that those who rely on your content will be kind enough to link back to you, but we know that’s not often the case. Thanks to guest blogging, you have the power to build high-quality links and relationships that can benefit all parties. Not only does it provide you with the opportunity to publish useful content on a reputable platform in your niche, but you also get to link back to your own website.
Guest blogging is one of the strategies we have been using a lot at EduGeeksClub.com, and we’ve been able to secure more than 150 guest posts with only 2 outreach specialists on our staff, thanks to BuzzStream.
In this post, we will share our strategy for finding and landing guest blogging opportunities. Keep on reading.
1. Define Your Niche
Defining your niche early on will help you focus your efforts and target the right kind of audience when you’re blogging. The exact same principle applies to guest blogging, as well. It’s not just about the quality of your posts, either. Google will also pay attention to what kind of links are leading back for your website. For instance, if you have published a guest post on a blog about arts and crafts, with a link that leads back to your website which sells humidifiers, it will not matter much. (Unless your humidifiers are incredibly creative and out there.)
Google may see this sort of behavior as suspicious, and since the new update to the Penguin algorithm, it might not take such links into account when ranking your website, or it might even exclude your website from search results due to spam. So, try and only provide guest posts to your own, or similar, niches.
For example, if you run a website about cars, you can land a guest post on a blog about modern technology, and write about how it’s changing the automotive industry through self-driving vehicles. As long as there is some sort of logical connection between the two topics, you’ll be fine.
There are two frequently-overlooked places where you can find ideas for your guest post or niche you want to pursue:
Yes, forums. The reason why they’re a true goldmine of ideas is because their content is generated by users, which means you already have your target audience, you’re writing about their problems, and using the most relevant keywords. They’ve already done your homework for you.
2. Books, or their tables of contents
Not only does Amazon let you know which niches are the most popular, but it also allows you to take a peek at the first few pages of nearly every book. Inside the table of contents, you will find a niche broken down into its crucial problems and ideas. Take it from there and use it to create a headline for your next guest post.
And don’t shy away from actual, physical books, because it’s an entirely different experience, as well as a nice change of scenery that might inspire you.
2. Use Search Operators in Google
One simple, yet effective, tactic for finding guest blogging opportunities is search operators. For example, putting your keyword or phrase between quotes (“ ”) will help you find an exact match. You can even take it up a notch by introducing other operators, such as ‘+’ and ‘-‘.
How do you find guest blogging opportunities with operators? Try and think of ways you would invite other bloggers to write guest posts for your blog. Phrases like“write for us”, “become a contributor”, “contributor”, “guest post”, “guest blogging”, “guest bloggers wanted” should help you.
Then, decide on the keywords which sum up what you want to write about, and create your search query in the following manner:
- Keyword + “write for us”
- Keyword + “become a contributor”
- Keyword + “contribute”
- Keyword + “guest blogging”
For instance, if you are interested in finding guest blogging opportunities, and smart devices are your niche, you would type simply replace they “Keyword” with “smart devices” and search for places which are looking for guest bloggers.
After we have done our search, we can refine it even further with the BuzzStream Prospecting Module. Here you will add websites which you find interesting to your BuzzStream database. BuzzStream will then identify all sorts of data you might find useful, such as contact information, related content, and Domain Authority. More on how to use the BuzzStream Prospecting Module in the following section.
3. Use BuzzStream Prospecting Module
Now that you have done your search, you can go ahead and create a new prospecting profile using the BuzzStream Prospecting Module. For each prospecting profile, you can enter up to 20 different keywords or phrases. You can make your search more specific by selecting the country for which you want to view the results, as well as search type, in order to enable BuzzStream Prospecting Module to look for guest blogging places on Google’s Web, News, or Blog sections. You can also allow BuzzStream to retrieve blogging opportunities on a weekly basis automatically, so that you never miss out on one as it appears.
Furthermore, you can blacklist or exclude websites from your BuzzStream searches, in case they are spammy, or if they require a different approach, as in the case of YouTube or Twitter, for example. You can also streamline your search and tell BuzzStream to exclude your competitors’ websites, because you aren’t likely to build a link there.
4. Research Other Guest Bloggers
In general, guest blogging is a great way for companies to come up with fresh new content, and that is probably the case inside your niche, as well. Another way you can find guest blogging opportunities is by researching your competition and finding blogs where they have published guest posts before. You can start by finding them through Google Search, using your competitor’s bio.
Let’s take Jawad Khan and his guest post written for jeffbullas.com as an example. Check out his bio:
As you can see, the name of his blog is right there. Google his name along with the name of his blog, but exclude his own blog from the list of search results by using the ‘-‘ operator. This will narrow down your search, which should now include places where he has published guest posts.
By finding out where other bloggers in your niche have published their guest posts, you will know which places are more likely to accept yours. You should also check out your competition on social media, because they will most likely post links to their guest posts there. Finally, although you may feel slightly creepy doing it, you can use their bio image to do a reverse Google Image Search and find all the places where their bio pops up on the web, as can be seen in the screenshots below.
5. Analyze Other Niche Sites’ Backlinks
Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Majestic SEO can help you search other websites for insightful information such as keywords, ranking, campaigns, as well as backlinks, which is the what we are interested in at the moment. All three work in pretty much the same way. You will be able to discover all of the places which feature backlinks to your competitors’ websites. You can then analyze their content in order to find out which keywords are the most popular, and which have produced the best results for them, by analyzing their traffic, ad campaigns, and many other factors. This wealth of data can be used to come up with a better strategy and better content, in order to stay one step ahead of your competitors.
6. Use BuzzStream Discovery
One of the most effective ways to find guest blogging opportunities would be to research and get in touch with influential bloggers inside your niche. If you are successful in establishing a collaboration with one or several of them, not only will you boost your blog’s ranking, but you will also receive more traffic, since you will be exposed to a much wider audience, and you will be able to establish yourself as an authority in the field. Fortunately, you won’t have the spend days trying to identify the most influential bloggers, because BuzzStream Discovery can do that for you in seconds.
Simply type in their name and you will be provided with a ton of information, such as all the platforms where they have been published, which should help you discover where you should post, too. Let’s take Jawad Khan as an example yet again, this time using Discovery.
As you can see, BuzzStream was able to find as much as 120 results, which is brilliant. Now imagine what you can do with an entire list of influencers.
7. Evaluating Your Platforms
We’ve already mentioned how only guest posts relevant to websites will improve your Google ranking. However, there is more to it, because even if the website is relevant, if its ranking is low, it’s not going to help you much. The solution would be to secure guest posts on websites which already have a high ranking on Google. Easier said than done, you might say, but since BuzzStream can provide you with plenty of data, identifying the best places is not a problem.
We are currently using Domain Authority, which is able to predict how your content might influence your ranking, as shown in the screenshot below.
If you are just starting out, it’s best that you try your luck with sites with DA of 25 and up. On the other hand, if your website is already ranked, but you just can’t seem to crack those first few elusive pages of Google Search, you should target websites with DA of 50 and up.
Another tool you can use is the SEOquake extension for your browser, which will provide you with tons of metrics, and that includes how much organic traffic is received by each website you visit.
8. Organizing Your Guest Posting Process
While you will be able to keep track of all the places for which you’ve written guest posts at first, pretty soon you’ll have to figure out a more efficient way of keeping track, because there is so much information you need to remember, such as URLs, contact information, messages, follow-up emails, which content you have already published, and which one you have yet to send, among other things.
For that, we use the BuzzMarker, BuzzStream’s Chrome extension, which collects and stores all that information for you with just a single click. Again, we have used Jawad Khan’s website as an example, which can be seen in the screenshot below.
By using these eight tactics, you’ll be able to secure relevant and useful guest blogging opportunities in 2017, drive traffic to your website or blog, improve its rankings, and ultimately, increase your income. Guest blogging is also a great way of establishing your authority in the niche. For all of the above, BuzzStream is an essential tool. Start seeking out guest blogging opportunities today and reap all the benefits it has to offer!
I definitely need to start utilizing the prospecting module more! Great tips!