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George Musson tackles the paradox of writing a blog post about guest blog posts. Including a mixture of proactive and reactive methods and also how he came to write this particular post.
Guest posting has become one of the most fundamental elements of SEO. And why shouldn’t it be? It allows you to expose a brand’s content, network within your industry and get that all important link.
From an agency point of view, it is common to sometimes feel like you have exasperated your resources when looking for blogs to submit client content to. But rest assured that there are always blogs looking for good quality content. Always.
With the concept of writing a guest post about guest posting too good to avoid, I would like to share some of the ways in which me and my colleagues in the Adtrak Internet Marketing department seek out these blogs.
Before we list some of these methods, I can’t stress enough the benefits of choosing to approach a great blog over a not so great blog. This is why I feel it is beneficial to quickly highlight the following bullet points to demonstrate the strong indicators that a blog deserves your post:
– The theme of the blog is relevant to the theme of your own post
– Avoid stale blogs, so look for a regular stream of content
– The Google PageRank is 2 or higher
– Check for a high Domain Authority using SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer
– The website has an professional design & with a good site structure
This list isn’t meant to demonstrate what a blog must have, but to act as a guideline with your own discretion. If a blog does meet all of these points then it will definitely be worth pursuing for a guest post.
A lot of these blogs will be looking for good quality content and I would like to go through some of the simple methods that can be used to help find them.
It almost doesn’t need to be said, but Google is one of most valuable resources when searching for a list of industry blogs. It’s the ideal place to start and some of the searches below will give you an idea of what you should be typing in:
“Guest post” [keyword] “Guest post” guidelines [keyword] “Write for us” [keyword] Blog
Your [keyword] should be both industry related and relevant to the content that you are looking to submit. Try out different variations of these searches to bring up a range of results. Go for quality results, as the results that are 9 pages deep, more often than not, won’t be worth your time.
If some of your results bring up outdated blogs, then another tip is to include the current year or recent months. i.e.
“Guest post” [keyword] 2012
“Write for us” [keyword] September
“Guest post” [keyword] Sep
This will bring up fresher lists on the SERPs, as the date of a guest post (or the first 3 letters of the month) can often be displayed within the meta-description.
An underrated tool, Google Alerts provides relevant search results to your email based on your specific query. You can setup more than one Google alert at a time, on a daily or weekly basis.
If you haven’t used it before then these alerts are pretty simple to setup and I recommend trying out a few variations with results on a daily basis at first, for more frequent results. This will allow you to trial and error queries to find out which ones bring the most effective results. The search queries that you use to find blogging opportunities should be similar to the ones you would use on a normal Google search, as mentioned in the section above.
When it comes to researching the links of competitors (post Yahoo Site Explorer), the 3 most popular backlink data providers are considered Majestic, Ahrefs and Open Site Explorer. They provide you with a good source of link data of any of your competitors as well as your own website. This includes any blog posts they have had published. Having to go through the links manually is one of the more tedious methods, but it can be the most effective.
However, the recently updated version of SEO Spyglass trumps them all, in my opinion. This link analysis tool provides a thoroughly comprehensive list of backlinks for a website, including numerous on-site and off-site factors; such as page titles, anchor text, domain age, PageRank and much more. This will ultimately help you find the blogs that are worthwhile. Once you have scraped the links of a competitor’s website, you can go through each URL to find their published blog posts and analyse whether or not it’s feasible to approach that blog.
Tip: If you feel that the data is too much to go through manually, there is a search function that allows you to instantly filter out the backlink URL by keyword. Utilise this to highlight blogs in the data by using keywords such as “blog” or the technique of most recent year i.e. “2012”.
Be warned though, filtering the data by keyword could lead to you overlooking certain blogs that don’t opt for conventional keywords.
Create Your Own Blog
I personally think this is one of the best long term methods for building relationships and growing your network for guest post opportunities. Not only does having your own blog expose your content online, but it also opens up a new platform for people to approach you.
Through blog comments and displaying a contactable email address, your blog admirers have the opportunity to communicate with you directly. Whether it’s people enquiring with questions, wanting to supply a guest post or asking you directly to write content for their own blog, the potential is there to build up a relationship with industry related people.
The issue with this method is that it’s more of a reactive approach than a proactive one when it comes to guest posting. Not to mention blogs need administrative commitment and you typically won’t see the benefits until months down the line. But if you are serious about guest blogging on other blogs then managing your own is a beneficial route to go down.
Bloggers are notoriously keen users of social media. And some of them even tweet about guest posting.
To find these types of discussions, it can be as simple as using Twitter’s search facility with the similar Google searches covered in the first section. Again, using a variety of searches should allow you to find people discussing, promoting or even advertising for guest posts. From this, you can discover the blogs which are open to guest writers.
If you already have a blog in mind that you follow on Twitter, and you think you could contribute towards their output, then don’t be afraid to approach them directly.
If you aren’t confident enough to discuss writing a blog post straight away, try engaging with them beforehand. Building up rapport is simpler with blogs in the same industry as there are always relevant news and topics to discuss which you should both be aware of. Once they know more about you, then you can take the initiative and discuss the option of writing a guest post for them.
Depending on the sector that you are working in, some of the methods mentioned above will be more effective than others. The purpose is that each method should identify a wider variety of blogs for you to explore. This is why I encourage you to test them all out at least once.
Now you know how to find them, it’s important to approach the blog owner in the most appropriate manner. If the blog has thorough guest posting guidelines then this will be a lot more convenient for you in your attempts to get your post accepted. And if they don’t display any guidelines, ask in your initial enquiry. It will help demonstrate your intention to write a good quality post that both you and the blog owner can benefit from.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.
Blog Questions and Answers via BigStock