I’m about to get meta here.
My name is Joey Randazzo and I’m the owner of Portland SEO Growth Partners.
And I’m writing a guest post… about guest posting.
I know, your mind is totally blown.
However, this isn’t going to be some terrible guest post that leaves you thinking “what the hell did I just read?”
Instead, this article will walk you through:
- Google’s policies on guest posting
- What most people do wrong when trying to get guest posting opportunities
- A replicable framework you can start implementing ASAP to get more guest posts
I’m going to share all the data, all the facts, and all the evidence that guest posting, when done in a specific way, works really well to boost SEO performance.
Here’s What Google Says About Guest Posting
- Here: Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass ranking credit, or links with optimized anchor text in articles, guest posts, or press releases distributed on other sites.
- Here: Lately we’ve seen an increase in spammy links contained in articles referred to as contributor posts, guest posts, partner posts, or syndicated posts. These articles are generally written by or in the name of one website, and published on a different one.
Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company. However, what does violate Google’s guidelines on link schemes is when the main intent is to build links in a large-scale way back to the author’s site.
Okay, okay, okay… let’s stop right there.
Google straight up says that they “do not discourage [guest posts] when they inform users.”
Bingo, bango, bongo. It’s all about informing users.
The Goal of Guest Posting?
The goal is pretty straightforward.
- Get in-industry, contextual backlinks from high DA (domain authority) sites
- Build brand awareness and thought leadership
The more in-industry, contextual backlinks your website gets? The higher your domain authority.
According to Moz, the higher your domain authority, the “greater likelihood of ranking.”
Most people want to know how long it’ll take them to rank on Google – the higher your domain authority, the faster you’re likely to rank.
There are Different Types of Guest Posting
The issue? Most people go about guest posting in ways that do not actually inform users.
They go about guest posting to:
- Quickly and cheaply get a link
- Make sure that the article includes 27 exact-match keyword anchor texts
- Have the article, if read by a real human, make no sense.
Here are the different type of guest posting that I’ve seen:
Total Spam Garbage
You can barely call the thing an article…
It’s a backlink-filled, half-English written “thing” (definitely not an article) with the sole purpose of stuffing as many backlinks as possible.
Transactional, Mostly Spammy Garbage
These guest posts are kinda “articles.”
They’re over-generalized “tips” that the reader has seen 1,000 times. The reader walks away thinking “that wasn’t helpful at all, onto the next article.”
There are a handful of links hidden in the article but the average person would have no interest in actually clicking on any of the links.
Value-Adding, Thought-Leadership, Industry-Specific Gold
This is where the magic happens.
These are articles that are written for the target audience. It has actionable strategies. It has information based in fact. It has a unique point of view that the audience likely hasn’t seen before.
In fact, the article is so valuable that some people may even share it with their friends, family, or social media.
The goal is not “I need a guest post.”
The goal is “I’m going to add as much value to these people as possible.”
Here’s a guest post I wrote on Agency Analytics website. I’m not going to toot my own horn… but I think it’s pretty valuable. It’s got custom images. It’s got screenshots. It’s got the whole shabang.
The thing is…
The hardest part about guest posting isn’t creating valuable content.
There’s something much, much harder than that.
The Hardest Part About Guest Posting for SEO
Building relationships. By far this is the hardest part.
I get BOMBARDED with people emailing me about guest posting on our website.
Take a look at my inbox between Jan 9-17. Here are just a few of the cold emails I got about guest posting.
If I’m getting these emails, most website owners are getting similar emails. They’re obnoxious and totally annoying.
If you try to do the same thing as these people above to build guest posting relationships, you’re going to get lost in the noise.
You Need To Shift The Dynamic Since Most Website Owners Don’t Understand Guest Posting For SEO
Domain authority? Backlinks? Anchor text?
This is like speaking a foreign language to anyone who isn’t an expert in SEO.
Even SEO novices really don’t understand this stuff. So why are you harping on them in your guest posting outreach emails?
Unfortunately 99% of guest posting email inquiries I get talk all about the advanced SEO details, which the average business owner knows NOTHING about! They hammer, over and over again, things like:
- I’ll get you on a 52 DA site
- Do-follow link with in-industry backlink
- I’ll pay you for a link
This is gibberish to most business owners. They want to know what’s in it for them in a way they can understand.
Build Your Guest Posting Strategy Around Relationship-Building & Value-Adding
Guest posting, when thought about from the point of view of the other website owner, should look like this:
- Free super high-quality article
- Written on a topic that the website has never written about
- Written by someone knowledge and trustworthy
- Written in a way that adds value to THEIR website’s audience, not intending to sell anything you have to offer
If someone came to me saying…
- “I’m an SEO professional and have been featured in X publication, Y podcast, and Z YouTube channel
- I see you don’t have an article on your website about “how Twitter can impact SEO performance”
- I’ll write you a comprehensive article on the topic – all I ask in return is that you make me the author of the article with a 2-sentence bio
- If you don’t like the article I write, you don’t have to publish it
…Then I would forsure take them up on that offer.
☝️That’s the approach you need to have!☝️ Nobody does that.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re trying to get a guest posting opportunity on a paleo blogging website.
And after scraping their website, you read a great article they posted a year ago on “how to eat paleo as a college athlete” but you notice that they don’t have an article on “paleo during pregnancy” or “should kids eat paleo?”
So, you send them an email acknowledging their awesome article while offering to write an article on either “paleo during pregnancy” or “should kids eat paleo?”
The final piece is where it gets pretty interesting:
In your email, you say something like:
“I’m passionate about these topics so I’d be happy to write the articles for free to add as much value to your audience as possible. At the end of it, if you don’t like the article or think it’ll add value to your audience, you don’t have to publish it.”
Okay, so now you’ve…
- Acknowledged them by pointing out a specific article (nobody does this)
- Done additional research to discover topics that they haven’t written about already, and then…
- Let them know that if they don’t like the article, they don’t have to publish it.
You’re going to get a dramatically higher success rate using the strategy above vs. blasting out generic, templated emails that don’t add any value to the website owner.
Yes, This Guest Posting Strategy Takes Time. A Lot of Time.
My recommendation? Reach out to one website per business day. Five per week.
Each website outreach (including the research process, etc) will take about 25 minutes per day at first. Once you get really good, then you can probably get it down to 15-17 minutes.
Reaching out to one website per business day will likely take you less than 90 minutes per week.
There are roughly 260 working days per year. Here are very conservative numbers if you do a solid job with your outreach customization:
- ~260 cold outreach emails sent per year
- ~40 responses per year (15% response rate)
- ~15 successful guest posts per year (~35% success rate to get a guest post published)
You might be thinking “holy s***!!! Sending out 260 emails to only get 15 guest posts!? Sounds like a huge waste of time.”
However, 15 legitimate, value-adding, quality guest posts on 15 medium-to-high DA sites in one year (AKA 15 really solid, contextual, in-industry backlinks per year)? That’s huge.
If you start the year with a DA of 20, these 15 links alone could take you to a DA of 35+.
The rough financials:
GUEST POSTING FOR SEO
I’m spit-balling here as it’s different for every industry. But, I think this is relatively accurate.
Let’s say you don’t have time to do the research and outreach yourself… and instead pay someone on your team or hire a freelancer (with a detailed checklist of course).
- At 90 minutes per week of work on average to executive this process, at let’s say $30 per hour, you’re looking at roughly $45 per week.
- That comes out to, if done 52 weeks per year, $2,340 per year.
- If you successfully get 15 high-quality, medium-to-high DA guest posts per year from this strategy, then each guest post would cost $156 to secure (not including the cost of writing the guest post)
I mean… $156 per guest post on a legit, medium-to-high DA site?! No-freaking-brainer!
Guest Posting vs. Guest on a Podcast? Same Difference.
Being a guest on a podcast is, in my opinion, just as valuable (if not more valuable) as getting a guest post.
I used this exact strategy to be the first ever guest on Birdeye’s podcast, where I talk about how reviews impact SEO performance (here’s a link to the episode if you’re interested).
Birdeye is huge. And I got a do-follow, in-industry link from that. They’ve got a DA of 71.
guest posting for seo 2
You can use the exact same strategy above to target guest podcast opportunities.
Podcast hosts are frequently looking for valuable, entertaining, knowledgeable guests. You’re doing them a favor.
P.S. – Joey and I (Elizabeth) were introduced when I sent him an email introducing myself and how I found him and how I wanted to work together. And now we are pals. So outreach DOES work :)