In today’s competitive SEO landscape, the spammy link building tricks of yesteryear won’t cut it.
Right now, it’s all about producing quality content that will likewise attract quality links.
That said, there are classic link building tactics that have stood the test of time.
Guest blogging is one of them.
When done right, guest blogging is still one of the best ways to build high-quality contextual links that will help your website rank higher in Google.
On September 12, I moderated a sponsored SEJ ThinkTank webinar presented by Tim Soulo, Chief Marketing Officer at Ahrefs, who shared their own in-house content marketing team’s top tactics and strategies for guest blogging and link building success.
Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.
Common Guest Blogging Challenges & How to Solve Them
Building links via guest blogging comes with many challenges, including:
- Finding blogs to guest post for.
- Coming up with unique article ideas.
- Getting accepted by top-tier publications.
Before tackling any of these, however, the first thing you should take into consideration is the quality of your content.
If your article is of bad quality, it would never:
- Get accepted by top blogs.
- Get published for free.
- Attract any backlinks.
- Send referral traffic.
- Pass “manual review.”
A successful guest blogging and link building campaign begins with quality content, so that should be your primary focus.
How to Never Run Out of Blogs to Guest Post for
Searching for relevant blogs to guest post for is difficult in itself. The typical process goes like this:
- Create a big list of search queries for blog prospecting.
- Typical search queries include “guest post”, “guest post opportunities”, “submit blog post”, etc.
- Scrape Google search results for all these search queries.
- Merge everything into one list and remove duplicate entries.
- Pull important SEO metrics for each URL (blog).
Doing all of this manually can be inconvenient and time-consuming.
Using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool, finding blogs to guest post for can be made easier. The tool has a total content index size of almost 1 billion pages.
When you enter your “niche” keyword into the tool, you’ll find thousands of similar articles for your chosen topic which you can export conveniently (no scraping required).
Content Explorer lets you filter your results according to your needs.
If you want to see the unique blogs that contain your keyword, you only need to check the One article per domain box.
You may also sort the results according to Publish Date, Language, Shares, Domain Rating, Referring Domains, Organic Traffic, and Number of Words.
Domain Rating (DR) is Ahrefs’ metric that indicates the backlink popularity of a certain website on a scale of zero to 100.
You might think that you should only guest post for high-DR blogs, but that’s not always the case.
Low-DR blogs are not necessarily toxic. Instead, they’re probably either new or unpopular at the moment. Smaller blogs will eventually grow into big ones so they might still be worth the effort.
Blogs with DR 30-40 is a sweet spot to start from because they:
- Get less guest post pitches than higher-DR blogs.
- Have lower editorial standards (easy to get accepted).
- Are perfect for building up your portfolio of published articles.
It’s important to note that the first link from a website (generally) brings the most value. While every subsequent link from the same website is less valuable.
In other words: “The more unique websites are linking to you, the better.”
Ahrefs’ Content Explorer has a Highlight unlinked domains feature that will help you find websites that have never linked to your website.
So, How Do You Know That These Newly-Found Blogs Actually Allow Guest Posts?
You don’t always need to look for blogs that specifically say that they accept guest articles.
If your content is awesome, almost any blog will accept it regardless if they have a Write for Us page or if they don’t have it.
Simply put, pitch your article ideas to all relevant blogs that you’ll find. (If the quality is there – they’ll take it!)
How to Create More Quality Guest Articles in Less Time
It is pretty hard to come up with great articles ideas and scale when you want to contribute unique content to a lot of different blogs.
But Soulo offers three guest blogging techniques that can help you with this dilemma:
- The Robin Hood Technique.
- The Splintering Technique.
- The Perspective Technique.
1. The Robin Hood Technique
Implementing this tactic entails “stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.”
In this case, blogs with a DR of 71 and above are considered the”rich” guys.
Stealing from the “rich” does not mean you can rightfully search for popular posts then copy and paste them in your website.
What you should do is get your inspiration from popular articles from high-DR blogs in your niche, identify what makes them popular, but write your own article from scratch.
2. The Splintering Technique
You might end up with a “hero” article that is too good to just give away. But you can still use this as a basis for your guest posts.
A well-researched, hero article will often consist of chapters/sub-sections. If you have a post covering a big topic in detail, you can break those into several “splinter” articles for guest blogging purposes.
When writing a hero article, you often need to adjust and make your sub-sections fairly short so you won’t overwhelm people with extra information.
In the splintering technique, you turn your “hero” article’s sub-sections into full-fledged articles and dive deep into the topic.
Because you already did all your research while writing that big monster piece for your own blog, it should be super easy to churn those splinter articles super quick.
After turning each sub-section into individual posts, you can then submit them to other blogs that would publish it as guest articles. Each of your these would then link back to your hero article.
This tactic is an amazing way to get quality and super relevant links.
3. The Perspective Technique
A slight change of perspective leads to a whole new (and unique) article.
You can get one of the chapters from your hero post and turn it into several guest articles just by a slight change of perspective.
For instance, if your topic is “The Future of Link Building”, you can come up with several other articles just by adapting the theme to a particular niche.
These three techniques work incredibly well when combined.
How to Vastly Improve Your Guest Blogging Results
Here are two tips for you to get the maximum value from your guest blogging efforts.
Pitch More Blogs Than You Can Handle
You should generate more demand than you can supply as this puts you in a position where you can choose
between available options.
Make blog owners crave for your guest articles by:
- Coming up with 2-3 article ideas (good ones).
- Pitching them to 10-15 blogs (in 5-7 days).
Just in case two or more bloggers request the same article idea from you, tell them:
“Sorry, you weren’t responding for a few days, so this article idea was taken by another blog.
But don’t worry, I’m sure I can suggest something else for you that will be just as good.
I’ll be in touch with more article ideas shortly.”
Link to Your Older Guest Articles from the New Ones
Quite often the blog owners are greedy for self-promotional links. But they don’t mind if you link out elsewhere.
Link out to your older guest articles, to create a “tiered” link structure (and “pump” the links that you already have).
Make sure to let the blog owner know, that you’ve landed them a high-quality backlink.
[Video Recap] How to Build High-Quality Links at Scale via Guest Blogging
Watch the video recap of the webinar presentation and Q&A session below.
Or check out the presentation deck.
All screenshots taken by author, September 2018
Join Us for Our Next Webinar!
Join our next webinar on Wednesday, December 12 at 2:00 PM Eastern and learn how to find and choose keywords and topics that will produce the most organic search traffic for your website.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!