Guide To Guest Blogging Services
Guest blogging can be a hugely helpful component of the link building process.
Whether you run a company based around helping other companies with link building or you’re trying to go through that process for your own company, you’ve almost certainly seen the option of guest blogging for link building.
While this can certainly be a great tool in your pocket, it’s also certainly not as easy as just finding blogs that will host your post and submitting whatever you can write to them. Utilizing blogs from a guest writer, like any other link building tool, needs to be properly executed for the right return on investment.
Here’s a quality rating guide that can help you create an effective guest blogging outreach program.
What is guest blogging?
Before jumping into how to evaluate the quality of guest blogging sites and establish an impactful guest posting strategy within your SEO, let’s first discuss what it is plus guest blogging best practices.
Guest blogging (or guest posting) is the process of writing and publishing content on someone else’s website.
There are many reasons to have a guest blogger submit content to your own website, including to:
- Provide an outside, expert opinion or a unique perspective you can’t offer on your own
- Capture a steady stream of new content to publish on your website
- Collaborate and build new relationships in your industry
- Piggyback off the guest blogger’s own following of readers
And there are many benefits of guest blogging for another website, including:
- Increase brand exposure and awareness
- Establish your authority and expertise on a topic
- Drive qualified traffic to your own website
- Build backlinks and improve link metrics
Still curious about the basics of guest blogging? Check out SEO expert Neil Patel’s video overview below:
Why is quality so critical for successful guest blogging?
The first question that many people have when running across this kind of content is simple: what makes quality so important in the first place? If it’s a page that will be indexed for SEO, you may as well submit a guest post, right?
The truth is that technology is always changing and evolving in order to stay on top of any loophole people are using to exploit it.
Google’s SEO algorithms will not be the same tomorrow as they are today.
If you spend hundreds of dollars on backlinks that work well today and an update comes out tomorrow that renders them all useless, you’ve wasted your money.
Google’s algorithms are always going to prioritize high-quality content with regular updates and beneficial information for readers. The company even states that directly – in their SEO Starter Guide, they note,
“You should build a website to benefit your users, and gear any optimization toward making the user experience better.”
If you can find guest post opportunities that offer you this, you can future-proof your links to whatever extent is possible.
What are you looking for in Guest Blogging Opportunities?
One critical component to keep in mind before you start looking through this quality rating guide is that this is just an overview.
Depending on the specific end goal you’re looking for, you might need to adapt some of these components and include others not mentioned in this post.
However, this overview can help you analyze the guest blogging sites that you’re interested in writing for a little more effectively. It can also help you evaluate potential guest blogging services offered by SEO and Link Building companies.
How to Evaluate Guest Blogging Sites: Key Elements to Keep an Eye On
If you want an in-depth look into every single concept that may indicate that a link is set to be high-quality or low-quality, you may have to look at a wide variety of blog elements.
However, the core components of a high-quality link number only about a dozen.
Here are the factors you should be looking for in a blog if you want a high-quality link through guest blogging sites.
1. High-Integrity Publishers Who Will Retain Link Quality Over Time
The integrity of the publisher is one of the most important components of a quality link. Ideally, you want to gear your guest blog posts to benefit you in the long-run. That means you want to reap the benefits of your link for months and potentially even years to come.
The quality of the blog when your post is published is not the only thing that Google thinks about when considering whether or not to use the blog as part of its SEO algorithm. This isn’t true now, and it certainly won’t be true as Google’s technology improves. Rather, these algorithms are more likely to consider the quality of the blog when the company’s bots crawl it.
If you have any inkling that it seems like the publishers are more after money than after providing high-quality content, it might be a good idea to steer away. Even if they meet every other bullet point on this list, that gut feeling could turn your link into a low-quality link in just a few months’ time, when the publishers think they can make the most money by turning their blog into a receptacle for low-quality content.
2. Publishers Who Are Active on Multiple Platforms
The more platforms a publisher is intentionally active on – not just holding a username on, but actually making posts and engaging with an audience on – the more likely it is that the publisher will continue to be active in a few years. This indicates a community, and a community is more difficult to step away from than just an audience.
Again, long-term benefit is where this point makes an impact. You don’t want to make a post on a blog that’s going to go under in three months. You want to make a post on a blog that’s still going in 10 years. Although current activity isn’t 100% effective, it is a good indication of how serious the publisher takes their blog.
3. Editorial Staff and Dedicated Bloggers
Think of blogs as being a spectrum. On the one side of the spectrum, you have a blog that will literally take any content for the right price. It doesn’t matter how poorly-written the content is or how badly it fits the blog’s theme, this blog will publish the content. On the other side, you have a blog that only takes its own content, because that’s the best way to moderate and ensure top-quality content.
You want to find a blog that’s somewhere in the middle. Obviously, you need a blog that will accept the content you write, but you also need to show Google that you’re able to publish your content somewhere that has actual standards. Editorial staff, as well as a consistent stream of content straight from the blogger themselves, can help with that.
4. Linking Protocols and Requirements
This is one of the points that can be a bit tricky to be completely certain about. Oftentimes, more reputable websites won’t have a specific number of links that you can include in your blog post, as long as you don’t do a ridiculous amount of self-promotion. The company trusts that anyone who follows guest blogging best practices will simply include links wherever beneficial.
If you scroll through a website and, without fail, every single blog post has two links exclusively in the bio, that’s usually a bad sign. It may mean that the publisher doesn’t trust their guest bloggers to provide high-quality content, knowing instead that guest bloggers would simply fill their blog posts up with self-promotion, and so they need to set a limit.
If a website does have linking requirements, one way to check them is simply to scroll through guest blog posts. Based on nothing but the written posts, would you be able to ascertain the linking requirements? If so, that’s typically a red flag.
5. Actual Site Structure
You’ve probably been on a spammy, low-quality site before. These websites usually don’t have much care put into their structure. They put the most recent blog posts first and that’s about the only thing they think to do. The blog backlog may be difficult to get at, and the front page may only show a handful of blog posts.
This is very likely to reduce your blog post’s impact the second it’s off the front page of the website. If people can’t easily click through and find your blog post, they’re not going to go search it out. That reduces the impact over the long term.
Spend a bit of time looking around the website before you even look at the guest blogging requirements. Can you easily find blog posts that are a bit older? Do the blog posts catch your eye? Are posts categorized effectively, even guest posts? If your answer to all of these questions is yes, that’s a good sign, and you might want to move on to other questions on this list.
6. Relevance From a Human Perspective
It’s important that you think about the human perspective, not just the way a robot is going to read a website. First of all, the intention is to make robots consistently more and more like humans; Google engineers are trying to get their web crawlers to read the page like humans. Second, the human perspective is helpful when it comes to determining your likelihood of getting conversions through the blog.
A significant amount of this process has to do with connecting two industries that may not seem connected at first. Say you’re working in website management. Could you write an article for a knitting and crocheting blog? At first glance, certainly not. However, if you made your article about setting up an online store for a knitting and crocheting small business, with part of that section about setting up your own website, it will look relevant from a human perspective, which is a big component of “relevance.”
7. Guest Posts That Actually Make Sense
One of the best ways to determine whether a blog is a content farm or not is to look at previous guest blogs on the website. This gives you a great insight into what kind of information the publishers are typically approving for the website.
When you’re vetting other people’s guest posts, here are a few things you might want to consider:
- Do the blog posts read well? Do they seem like they were written by native speakers of the language the blog is in?
- Do the blog posts actually relate to the blog theme? Does it seem like there’s a coherent train of thought running through the blog posts?
- Do the blog posts incorporate the links effectively? Does it come off as explicit self-promotion?
- Do the blog posts include third-party website links to a site other than the site that’s being advertised? Are these third-party sites providing effective information?
Essentially, you shouldn’t be able to immediately pick out the fact that the guest posts are advertisements.
Additionally, “spun content” is another important part of understanding the quality of a guest post. Article spinning, which is where you get a robot to automatically “rewrite” your content so you can publish it in many different places at once, looks like a good idea, and for a while, Google wasn’t able to identify it on a regular basis.
As Google gets better and better at identifying “black hat SEO,” including article spinning, you want to avoid putting up blog posts on sites that include this type of SEO. It’s less likely to pay off over time.
8. Regular Blog Updates
Relevant information is one of the most important things pushed by Google SEO, and it’s unlikely that this is going to change anytime soon. You need to present yourself alongside other relevant information on a website.
In online content, the terms “relevant” and “recent” go hand in hand, and if you see that a blog hasn’t been posting more than once a month for a year, you’re unlikely to get much in the way of SEO from that blog. It simply won’t be seen as an important addition to your online portfolio.
9. More General Blog Content Than Paid Content
This is absolutely critical. One of the most surefire signs that you’re dealing with a content farm instead of a high-quality guest blogging service is because the content farm will have lots of paid content, sometimes as much as nearly 100% paid content. It’s nearly impossible to build an audience off entirely paid content, which means their audience – if they have one – is probably not genuine.
A genuine blog that can really benefit your company needs to build an audience that enjoys their content first. Once they have that audience, they can branch out into providing other types of content, including paid guest posts. If there’s no audience, there’s no great benefit to submitting paid content at that website.
This ties back into the “Editorial staff and dedicated bloggers” point. A high-quality link building opportunity needs to have bloggers on their own staff. If they’re relying entirely on submitted blogs to run the website, they’re inevitably going to be creating such a scattershot of content that it will be almost impossible to follow the steps that experts suggest to create a dedicated audience.
10. No Irrelevant Ad Links
Advertisement is a nearly inevitable part of making money from content online at this point. It’s been entangled with content creation for a long time now – newspapers and magazines get a lot of their revenue from advertising, even fairly well-respected publishers. However, one defining trait of these types of advertisements is that they’re relevant to the company’s audience.
Again, one key component of determining whether a website is genuine is in trying to figure out to what extent the publisher is just trying to make money off it. If a publisher accepts any and all advertising links that someone wants to place in their sidebar, they’re probably not too concerned about the quality of their content.
11. An Actual Article Submission Process
On some websites, when you go to submit an article for guest posting, you’re taken to a form that you fill out and submit to the publisher. You may need to upload your proposed article as a document or paste it into a text field. Either way, you’re submitting directly to an automated system.
There are some reputable companies that use this process, for sure. However, it also makes for a very easy content farm. You don’t have to talk directly to the person who’s proposing the article, you don’t have to have any back-and-forth, and you don’t even have to provide feedback on a concept. You just accept anything that comes through the article submission field.
Because this can be so hit-or-miss, it’s important to use it as just one component in a wide variety of elements that you perceive regarding the blog as a whole. This can give you more insight into a company’s editorial process, but it shouldn’t be the one thing you base your choice on.
12. Contact Details for the Article Submission Team
Especially if you’re submitting your guest post through a submission field, it’s important that the blog includes direct contact information for the team that will read your submission and contact you if they need to know anything else. This helps you create a better article submission experience overall.
The main reason for this is because forms on websites are so notoriously tricky, and it’s not unheard of for a form to drop. If it’s been a few days and you haven’t heard from a blog team, you need a way to ask them and make sure they actually got your submission. Otherwise, you could be waiting on something that’s never going to go through.
13. Content That Actually Has a Message, Typically Longer in Form
If you’re ever reading through a blog and you see blog posts that are only a few sentences long, that’s one of the biggest red flags out there. This typically means that not only is the publisher willing to post low-quality work, they’re willing to post essentially a one-paragraph advertisement for someone else’s business.
A distributor with a minimum word count may be more likely to take a look at the content and reject it if it’s low-quality. Although there’s no “minimum length” at which a piece of content becomes “high-quality,” you’ll usually want to look for sites that require at least 500 words. It’s not a significant amount of content, but it is enough that the article can say something important.
Don’t Miss the Big Picture: Understanding Guest Blogging Sites’ Link Metrics
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re trying to engage in white hat link building for SEO, and that’s why you really wanted the previous list of information outlining blogging best practices.
While this is all very helpful for link building, approaching guest blogging with your “metric blinders” on is never going to give you the results you’re looking for.
Instead of just desperately trying to land guest posts only with guest blogging sites and companies that have a higher PageRank than your website, you might want to think about the impact and benefit of link metrics in the first place.
Here are a few pointers for evaluating the metrics of a guest blogging site.
1. Don’t Focus on One Single Link Metric
There are many, many different link metrics out there, and focusing on one single metric will inevitably drown out all the other metrics that might be just as beneficial for you. You should be evaluating a whole host of metrics and understanding their positives and negatives.
Here are a few different linking metrics you might want to consider:
- Domain Authority
- Link count
Every project is going to focus more on one specific metric and less on others. However, it’s also important that you utilize multiple metrics in each project, so you’re not completely laser-focused on one certain metric.
2. Look for Sites With Link Diversity
Link profiles are exceedingly important when you’re trying to determine how beneficial a specific blog might be for your company. If a blog has 50,000 different links, but those links go out to only four or five different websites, it’s very likely that the content on that blog is either written by a robot or written by a real person, but with extra links inserted haphazardly throughout.
The good news is that in general, a business that has very low link diversity is also going to send up some red flags from the previous section. As long as you follow those recommendations and suggestions, you’re very unlikely to stop in your tracks because of very low link diversity.
3. Check for Advertising Statistics From a Site
Although you may not think of it this way, by considering a guest posting opportunity with a specific blog, you’ve become a potential advertising partner. That means you may be able to use the advertising data that the company has made available for advertising purposes so that you can learn more about what your blog post can do for you.
Check for things like number of daily and monthly views, number of subscribers, generalized demographics, and anything else that the advertising statistics show. These can all give you an idea regarding whether or not a blog post with a specific site will actually help your growth.
4. Determine Specific Conversion Potential
If you sell products, conversion potential should be one of the most important parts of determining whether or not you should submit a guest blog post to a specific publisher. Sure, link building is extremely important for SEO, but the average person doesn’t care too much for SEO, especially if your company has a very unique name that you may already be able to Google and find.
Rather, you should be focusing on direct conversion. How many people are going to click the links in your guest blog post and go make a purchase through you? If you’re on target with elements like your target demographic and knowledge of networking, you can improve your conversion potential in a dramatic way.
5. Work and Network Your Way Up
You aren’t going to be able to publish an article in Forbes tomorrow. To an extent, you’re going to have to start with little tiny blogs that don’t have many subscribers, then move up and up, building a reputation for your company as one that provides high-quality, beneficial information when you write a guest blog post.
From there, it’s all about getting that reputation to the people who need to hear it. Eventually, you may be able to publish that Forbes article. However, it all starts with writing articles for companies that only have a few hundred readers on a great day.
Remember that this isn’t the same as “wasting time” with low-quality bloggers. Many high-quality bloggers don’t have a lot of people reading their blog posts. Keep the quality requirements in mind even when you’re experimenting with smaller bloggers.
6. Look Into Newcomers in the Blogging Space
Most newcomers will not rank very highly on certain metrics that showcase the absolute best individual to write a guest blog for. However, that doesn’t mean they’re a bad choice for your next blog post. Building relationships with newcomers who write strong content can help you create a wider network and give you a great entry point.
Generally, newcomers that seem very dedicated to the craft can be just as good a starting point as more established bloggers. Don’t be afraid of the newcomer. They can be an extremely beneficial tool for you to use.
Final Remarks on Guest Blogging
If you’re brand-new to guest blogging, these 13 points – along with a few points to remember about metrics – can absolutely save you time and money submitting to blogs that might become obsolete with the next Google update.
Start with understanding the reason you’re creating guest blog posts, then use these tips to make sure you’re applying to the right blogs. When it pays off over the next weeks, months, and even years, you’ll be happy you did.
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Contact us at 1-888-262-6687 to discuss how our link building experts can apply our proven method for growing your SEO visibility, branding, and reach through lasting link building tactics like guest blogging.