Guest posts are an excellent way to spread your knowledge and gain brand recognition and awareness. For the majority of our clients at Firestarter SEO, we produce and publish at least two high quality guest posts a month. However, not all guest posting opportunities are created equal and it takes time, resources and research to find great guest posting gigs. Today, I am here to share with you the process I follow each time I’m on the hunt for a new guest posting opportunity.
First and foremost, I research blogs and websites that are in the same niche as my client. For example, we work with several companies in the home improvement/construction industry, so I spend a lot of time contacting individuals and companies who own interior design websites, home improvement blogs and DIY blogs. This is not necessarily easy or enjoyable, but it must be done. And don’t be discouraged if a website you contact never contacts you back. It happens more often than not, but you’ll never know until you try! I don’t waste my time contacting non-relevant websites, because just like we talked about back in January in this blog post, co-citation may be the future of SEO. Google is becoming smarter each day and they are beginning to notice whether your article and the site it is published on is relevant to one another. If they are, Google will award you. If not, Google might deem the entire article as garbage, diminish the link juice, and perhaps even punish you. How do you feel about them apples? That’s what I thought, not good. So overall, stick to the client’s niche.
As my Dad always says, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can help.” Having a large monthly link-building budget is of course helpful in SEO since like any other business, there are costs incurred. When it comes to guest posts, money is allocated to mainly copy writing, managing the project and compensating the blog owner if necessary. However, a large link-building budget is not feasible for all companies, especially for smaller local companies like the ones we often help here in Denver. In this case, the next step I take is weeding through all of my media kits and emails and crossing off the ones that are out of my client’s budget. For example, I once contacted Apartment Therapy, a well known interior decorating website with a PR 7 and over 100,000 unique viewers per day. Talk about awesome, right?! Well, if you have a $10,000 link-building budget then YEAH! Let’s just say that media kit doesn’t get opened too often around here. So obviously budget is a large driving factor and an important element to consider.
After I have a list of niche blogs within my client’s budget, I take all of them and run them through three SEO tools to acquire specific statistics. First, I record the page rank. I use three separate page rank tools, all stored on my browser toolbar for easy access, to make sure they all agree. If you simply do an internet search for “page rank plugin” you will find plenty of options to install for your particular browser. Second, I run them through MOZ’s Open Site Explorer. This tool is available to the public for free and gives you the URL’s domain authority, page authority, linking root domains, and total links. For each of these metrics, the higher the better.
Finally, I acquire the Alexa traffic rank and any regional data available, from Alexa.com. In this case, the lower the better for the traffic rank score.
As I gather this data, I keep track of it in a spreadsheet. That way I don’t have to repeat the process each time I’m considering that site, saving myself time and sanity. In general it’s wise to have a diverse link portfolio, so every link you acquire doesn’t have to be a PR 5+ with an 80+ page authority and domain authority. Sometimes it’s okay to post on a PR 0 or PR 1, site. However, if this is the case, make sure the site has other things going for it like traffic and aesthetics.
Posting content to any old website for a backlink in return is not enough these days. The site you guest post on should be one that people actually read on a daily basis, comment on, and share with their friends. Take a quick tour of the site to see what it’s social status appears to be. Use these questions as a guide:
- If they use Google Friend Connect, how people are following them?
- What’s the average amount of comments per post?
- How many times have their posts been tweeted, liked, 1+, and pinned?
- Do they have sponsors? Are any of them well known?
- Check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts. How many followers and/or likes do they have?
If you have an account with MOZ, you can also check the total number of Facebook shares, Tweet, and Google 1+’s using their Open Site Explorer tool again. However, this if not offered for free to the general public, you must have an account with them. If the website or blog has legitimate traffic and followers, mark it as a keeper! If the social interaction is slim to none, put it on the back burner.
This portion is somewhat personal because everyone has different tastes and preferences. However, from a general point of view ask yourself, “Does this look like a professional built website?” I usually find that sites with several pages, a decent amount of well-written content, images, and no links jammed into the footer or sidebar are decent. Beyond that, I look at the overall look and feel of it. Does it look clean, well-kept (no broken images), and updated on a regular basis? For example, this site once contacted me offering guest posting opportunities at a low price. The minute I saw the URL, it was questionable. The minute I opened the URL, it was out. Why?
- It has no pages/navigation
- The images are broken
- The left sidebar is stuffed with links
- The URL is: www.poruntrabajodigno.com. Need I say more?
- The overall look and feel is outdated and ugly
Bad, right? Yeah, I know. Steer clear of sites like these. They are not worth your time, content, links or money.
Once you’ve completed those five steps, you’ve most likely narrowed your list down to the best of the best guest posting opportunities available. Remember to keep track of all your data in a spreadsheet to help you next month when you are again on the hunt. Does anyone else have suggestions or tactics they use when seeking guest posting opportunities? If so, let us know! We’d love to add them to our list.