There is a somewhat infamous quote from Matt Cutts back in 2014 that indicated guest blogging (for SEO Backlinks) is dead. Fast forward to right now, Matt couldn’t have been more wrong. Guest blogging is actually alive and well in 2017. And it is a fantastic way to get white hat backlinks to your website. For SEO purposes, those SEO backlinks are pure gold.
Black Hat SEO Guest Blogging
The reason Matt Cutts made the statement he did back in 2014 is the fact that some people had been using guest blogging to artificially boost their rankings in Google. They were gaming the system, going black hat.
They would post a guest blog on a low-quality, spammy site to gain backlinks to their website. Google and other search engines initially saw those backlinks as signs of authoritativeness. However, when the practice became wide spread, and the search engines caught on, they started penalising a page’s ranking if it had backlinks from one of the low-quality, spammy sites. So, pages that once were at the top of the ranks plummeted to the basement.
That search engine algorithm change essentially meant the death of guest blogging as a way to game the system.
But, why is guest blogging still alive and well in 2017? Because it remains a valid way to gain valuable SEO backlinks which are still golden with Google. That is, as long as they are white hat efforts, and not black hat.
The White Hat SEO Difference
Search engines want to provide high-quality content in its highest rankings. That way users will get the content they want and come back for more. One way the search engines rank pages is based on the page’s authority. If another website links back to that page, it is a major signal that someone out there considers the page authoritative and relevant. If the website offering the backlink is a highly ranked authority in its industry or niche, it drastically boosts the authority of the backlinked page.
Guest blogging offers you the opportunity to gain that high-quality backlink from a highly ranked authoritative site. But, to do it the white hat way requires a lot of work and time to get. The results, however, will show why the effort is well worth it.
Here is a bit of what you can expect if you get that critical white-hat backlink:
- Great interconnection between the authoritative website and your web page
- A diversity of content and users
- Traffic flowing through that back link
- Increased rankings in the search engines.
How To Get Those Highly Prized White-Hat SEO Backlinks from Guest Blogging
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Here is a step by step guide to guest blogging and white-hat backlinks.
STEP ONE: Write a quality piece of content
You need a high-quality piece of content that is worthy of a SEO backlinks. It needs to be one of the best pieces on your website and it should offer relevant information. If someone is reading the guest blog on the authoritative site, the backlink should be something that person would want to read on your site.
What that content should not be is your home page or a sales page. The search engines view those types of pages as low quality when it comes to content users want to read.
STEP TWO: Find authoritative websites open to guest blogging
Once you have that quality content ready, it’s time to find a place to do a guest blog. There are plenty of ways to do this, but here are a couple to get you started:
- Do a Google search using your keyword + “guest blog”. The keyword should be the topic of your content or your niche. The search should yield a list of potential sites for guest blogging. A few other search options would be “guest article”, “write for us”, and “become a contributor”.
- Contact industry publications. Most industry publications have a website where they publish material daily or weekly. They often want to publish articles from outside contributors to offer readers a wide range of perspectives. That is where your guest blog comes in.
Keep a list of potential websites for guest blogging on a spreadsheet. You will need it for the next few steps.
STEP THREE: Determine the domain authority for each potential website
There are web tools available that will help you determine the domain authority of each website on your list. The score the tool provides indicates how valuable the SEO you will get as well as how much traffic you can anticipate from the SEO backlinks.
One such tool is the Open Site Explorer from MOZ. This tool can tell you the domain authority of any website you enter. They rank each site based on its authority. Entry level sites are 10+, good authority sites are 20+, better authority is 30+ and the highest authority are 40+. It is always better to go for 20+ to get the authoritative power you need for a high quality back link.
With this information, you can delete a few websites from your list based on having low authority.
STEP FOUR: Check the website
Never try to approach an editor before you check out past content and the website itself. You need to see whether the site looks professional and is something you want your own website associated with. You also need to see the tone and angle that recent content has taken. That information is crucial when contacting the website’s editor.
If you find the website is not something you want to be associated with, for any reason, you can strike that one off your list.
STEP FIVE: Contact the editor
The first question to the editor is whether they are currently accepting guest blogs or not. Some sites limit the number they accept while others may have done away with the practice altogether.
If the site still accepts guest blogs, ask about their posting requirements. They may be particular about topics, word count, or formatting, among other things. This information is essential so that your guest blog can get approved quickly.
The final thing to do is pitch an idea to the editor for a guest blog. It would need to relate to the piece you already have on your website. But, it would also need to meet the topic requirements for the guest blog site. The editor may approve your idea or not. Don’t be surprised if they have an Administration fee, all of the strongest sites will due to the amount of requests they get on a daily basis – someone needs to be paid for their time to work through and ensure the incoming content is quality and worth publishing!
STEP SIX: Write the guest blog for the authoritative website
You have the editor’s approval and the posting requirements on hand. Now is the time to write that guest blog. This piece should be as high in quality as the one you posted on your site. It also needs to contain links to other authoritative sites, plus have one or more SEO backlinks to your article.
If you are targeting a keyword, don’t use it indiscriminately. Use it when appropriate and in a natural way. Never try to insert a keyword in an awkward way because the site editor won’t like it.
STEP SEVEN: Get the piece published
When you are happy with your guest post, send it off to the editor. You may have to do some revisions. However, once the editor receives piece and approves it, you should see it published pretty quickly. Your SEO backlinks have hit the internet. The search engines will find it and then you start seeing the results for yourself.
That’s how it’s done. If you were following through the entire way, you can see this requires a lot of effort for individual SEO backlinks. It is not something you can do on a grand scale because it is such a manual effort. But, it is effort that will pay off in the long run with increased traffic and with a jump in your website’s domain authority.