It remains a contentious issue for some, but blogger outreach can be highly effective. Making the most of beneficial guest blogging opportunities can generate direct referrals. It can also increase your brand and your authority and, while this is the area that is generally up for debate, it can also benefit your SEO. It does take time and effort, and if you don’t have the patience, time, or the writing skills, it also usually means that you will have to invest time and money in finding yourself a skilled and capable blog writing service.
To get the most from your blogger outreach, though, you need to find the best guest blogging sites and which you should avoid.
Search Results Position
Depending on how you find a guest blogging site, you could already have a good idea of the quality of the site.
One of the most common ways to find a guest blog publisher is to use Google. Search for your keyword + “write for us” or your keyword + “guest post”.
If your chosen keyword is a competitive one, and you find a site that is high in the search rankings, then this is a reasonable sign that it is an authoritative site within that niche. For less competitive keywords, you may only find one or two relevant results, which makes this measure less effective.
You can also use a a keyword ranking tool like ahrefs (we’ll be mentioning ahrefs a lot during this article, because it is a very handy tool for your guest blogging efforts).
If a site is highly targeted to the niche that you want to guest blog on, this could represent a really powerful guest blogging opportunity. Even if it doesn’t have a high Domain Authority or a mass of traffic.
A highly targeted blog may only get a relatively small amount of traffic, but because that traffic is so targeted, it could be worth taking a punt on a DA 20 and writing an equally targeted piece.
For sites that target more than one niche or topic, they need to be well organised and different topics should have their own categories. Some blog users follow categories, while the niche targeting means that the site should still have a lot of targeted visitors.
This does require manual checking, and it means visiting sites individually, but with guest blogging, the more effort you are willing to put in, the greater the potential rewards.
Domain Authority is a numerical representation of the authority of a website, as provided by Moz. It isn’t infallible, and while Moz tools represent arguably some of the best tools out there, they have their problems.
Install the Moz bar, and set it so that it displays the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of a site right in the search results. This enables you to determine whether a site has the level of authority that you want, without even having to click on to the page.
Search for your niche, topic, and category, and add your preferred search terms (“write for us”, “guest contributors”, etc…). Determine a minimum Domain Authority and then create a spreadsheet with the sites that you find that are above this DA.
The DA you set should depend on a number of factors, including the topic that you are writing on. If you’re writing on digital marketing or technology, for example, then there are a lot of relevant sites to target and that accept good quality guest posts. Aim for a DA40 or a DA30 to DA35. For niche topics, you can reduce this and aim for sites with an authority of 25 or even 20.
It is worth looking at those that are borderline, or adding sites that fall below your target DA if they look good. We have, in the past, found sites with a DA less than 20 that increased to well over 30 following the monthly OpenSiteExplorer update. The sites looked good, were very well targeted, regularly updated, and they were picky about the content they chose to publish – all good indicators that their DA would increase.
Page Authority Of Aged Posts
The Page Authority of many guest blogs remain at 1. A lot of sites don’t build links to individual posts, but those with a good following or with a high authority do tend to see posts increase in authority over time. Social shares, editorial links, and visitors that bookmark and reference pages all lead to an increase in PA, and this can give a page a major boost in the search results, driving referral traffic, and it can also improve the power of the link in the eyes of the search engine, potentially boosting your organic search traffic too.
You can also use tier 2 link building to improve the PA of some of your posts. If you find a post on a site with a really high DA but that has very little PA, consider adding a link in another guest post or even doing some social bookmarking and content marketing to help improve its PA.
DA alone will not necessarily rank your post, but it gives a good indication of how high you could potentially get the PA of that post.
And so we reach the contentious point in any guest blogging discussion; its use in SEO, and whether dofollow links are the be all and end all of SEO links.
We view guest posting and guest blogging opportunities as more than just SEO but it is difficult to completely ignore search ranking possibilities.
Ideally, every link you get would be a dofollow, but while is ideal, it isn’t realistic, and there’s some doubt over whether nofollow links will be ignored by search engines forever. If a site offers benefits beyond search engine links, then it’s worth getting a nofollow link.
Moz comes into its own here again, although recent changes in the Moz bar make this a little more difficult to easily check.
Getting links from spammy sites will do you no good, and could potentially harm all of your traffic generation efforts. The point being that you should avoid sites that are overly spammy, but how can you tell?
Moz used to display spam score right in the Moz bar, and you could opt to ignore those that had a spam score higher than, say, 3. Unfortunately, this feature seems to have disappeared from the basic bar, but you can still access a numerical measure of how spammy a site is using Moz’s OpenSiteExplorer.
You can generally tell how spammy a site is by looking at it and checking some of its link metrics. It takes time but it ensures that you don’t get links form bad link neighbourhoods.
You can disavow poor quality links, if a site later becomes spammy, but it is easier if you can avoid them in the first place.
Website Traffic Levels
No matter how great your post is, how targeted a website is, and how much authority a site has, if there’s no traffic, then there’s really no point.
Use ahrefs or even Alexa, bearing in mind that they can be inaccurate and even gamed by site owners, to determine traffic levels. You’ll have to make a judgement call regarding whether a particular level of traffic is enough to warrant pouring your heart and soul into a high quality post.
The best guest blogging opportunity is one on a website with large traffic volume. Some of that traffic will translate into post viewers and some of those viewers will translate into clicks onto your website, or followers on your social media. The more often you post on sites with good traffic, and the greater prominence your posts get on these sites, the more beneficial they will be.
Some sites attract a lot of lurkers; i.e., people that regularly read and come back to the site but don’t get involved in discussions. As a general rule, however, sites with a good community will have a lot of comments on posts, giving you opportunity to get involved in the discussion and to become a part of that community. If you combine regular posting with regular commenting, you can divert some of that community back to your own website.
Look at new posts, posts that are a few weeks old, and posts that have had a few months’ traffic to determine how active the community is and be prepared to answer comments as they arrive.
To make the most of a guest blogging opportunity, you should create high quality content that contains genuine information that is useful to readers. If you can do this, and you pick a timely and appealing topic to write about, then your post could go viral. To stand the best chance of this happening, you should look at the outreach sites that you publish on to see whether the community is one that regularly shares content on social media sites.
Many sites include social buttons and social information, which show the number of shares that a page receives. Alternatively, you can use either ahrefs or Moz because they both track the number of social shares that a page receives.
If a post is getting a lot of traction on social media websites, then you can use this in your own social media marketing campaigns. Ensure the attention continues by submitting to your own social profiles, and look for ways to introduce it into groups, discussions, and ways to get even more social traction.
If a website posts poor quality content on a regular basis, then it is unlikely that it has an active community or that it will send traffic to your site.
Take a look at a few posts to determine how well written the posts are, whether they’re on topic, and that they offer at least reasonable quality to site visitors. No matter how sparkly the diamond is, if its caught among a lot of rough content, then it will still struggle to shine. What’s more, poor quality content is a reasonable indication that the site has lapse editorial requirements and is likely to be a spammy website. If it isn’t suffering as a result, now, then it could well suffer in the future.
When it comes to site design, adverts are arguably one of the most important factors to consider.
Massive above-the-fold ads, annoying pop-up ads, or too many ads on a page; all of these are good indicators that a site isn’t all that interested in its readers, and is only interested in squeezing as much money as possible from its readers. Even ignoring the fact that overly heavy advertising tends to have an inverse effect on monetisation, it isn’t a good sign for you, when looking for good guest blogging opportunities.
The Editing Process
When it comes time to submit your work, whether you have to discuss your ideas and pitch your topic first or not, pay attention to the editorial process. It might seem great that a website essentially has no editorial process and will accept anything, but this can prove problematic in a number of ways.
The site almost certainly publishes low quality content, while strict editorial processes mean that fewer publishers will be able to get content on the site. Going through a few rounds of editing can seem like a drag, but it also means that your post will be highly polished and the website editor or owner should have a better understanding of what their readers are looking for, so the finished piece should get more attention and be more appealing to readers. Also, the more effort you put into coming up with guest blog post inspiration, the greater the chance of being accepted even on highly authoritative blogs.
Branding Media take our guest blogging services seriously. We don’t automate any processes, we only consider posting high quality content on high quality websites, and we view guest blogging opportunities as being a part of an overall traffic generation plan. While we tend to charge according to the DA of a site, we also ensure that we only take advantage of guest blogging opportunities that will deliver results.