What Is Guest Posting? Everything You Need to Know

No matter your industry, guest posting can help you attract more website traffic, increase brand awareness, establish yourself as a thought leader, and build backlinks. But what is guest posting exactly, and where do you start? Here’s everything you need to know to create a guest posting strategy for your own blog or website.

Key Takeaways

  • Guest posting is a strategy for creating content to post on another person or company’s website that is relevant to your industry. The site should be high quality and have a higher domain authority than yours for maximum benefits.
  • While Google frowns upon guest blogging for backlinks, if you focus on providing value with relevant and high-quality content, it continues to be a valuable tactic for boosting brand awareness, reputation, and thought leadership.
  • There are numerous benefits associated with guest blogging on authoritative sites, such as reaching new audiences, promoting brand awareness, building backlinks, and getting more website and social media traffic.
  • The downside of guest blogging is that it can be time-consuming, and you may neglect your own publishing schedule in the process.
  • To get started, search Google for opportunities, read guest blogging guidelines, pitch relevant topics, and produce high-quality, engaging content.
what is guest posting

What Is a Guest Post?

A guest post is any piece of content you write to post on another person’s or company’s website or blog. The main idea behind a guest blog is to create high-quality content that helps build brand awareness and possibly contains a link back to your site in the content itself or within your bio.

While you can create content for any website, including sites in your niche, news sites, and other websites relevant to your industry, it’s best to limit your strategy to reputable, authoritative, and high-ranking sites with at least a decent domain authority score. This will help ensure your guest posting effort pays off in the form of higher domain authority and better rankings for your site, assuming you get a backlink.

If your site has a good domain authority and/or you’re a thought leader in your industry, you can try asking for a dofollow link as well to ensure you get maximum search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. However, since Google may devalue guest posting links, the site owner may decline or not allow backlinks at all. Regardless, when done well, guest blogging can be an effective strategy that benefits both the writer and publisher of the content.

While Google frowns upon guest blogging solely for backlinks and recommends that site owners add nofollow links to guest posts, those who produce and publish high-quality content should be fine. While you may or may not receive a link to your site, it can still help you build brand awareness, establish yourself as a thought leader, and boost your online reputation.

However, if you ask for unnatural links on sites that are irrelevant to your industry or accept spammy guest posts on your own site, you may see a penalty from Google. The same goes for those who are guest posting at an unnatural scale — this could be a flag to Google that you’re employing shady link-building tactics.

Think quality over quantity — if your strategy is to guest post on 50 low-quality sites to get 50 low-quality backlinks, you’re going to do more harm than good. But if you guest post on five high-quality sites and get five high-quality backlinks (and your content is relevant to both sites, as well as high-quality and follows E-E-A-T standards), you should still see a positive impact on your rankings.

The Benefits of Guest Posting

guest posting benefits

Interested in putting a strategy together for your business? Here’s a look at the biggest benefits of writing guest posts:

Reach a New Audience

Writing for another website allows you to interact with its readers, thus presenting your work to a new audience. If you pick your host website right, chances are that the audience is already interested in the content you write. Guest posting allows you to showcase authority in your new audience’s industry and hints to them about your brand. Thus, guest blogging helps raise brand awareness and boosts traffic.

Guest posting continues to be a common practice and can be a good way to build backlinks — assuming you avoid black hat SEO tactics and submit high-quality content. Whether the guest site is willing to give you a link or not, what you need to focus on most is providing value and ensuring the site is relevant to your industry.

That being said, backlinks are significant factors in helping your website pages rank well on search engine results pages (SERP). But not all site owners will allow links to your site in content or even in your bio, so if this is a priority for you, ask this upfront if it’s not stated on their website.

Build Trust in Your Brand

Posting valuable content sells you as an expert to your readers, and they will always come back for the value. By guest blogging, you get your content in front of a new crowd and build trust with them. That, in turn, boosts your brand trust among readers and broadens your audience.

Grow Social Media Followers

Guest blogging sites often allow you to include your social media handles in your bio. As a result, any reader who sees your content can click on the links and follow you on social media. Depending on the value you offer to the audience, guest blogging will enable you to get more social media clicks from the posts and attain more followers.

Promote Brand Awareness

Posting high-quality content on another website and adding backlinks allows you to create awareness about your company and its products. Readers may also share the content with their followers and friends, promoting your brand to a broader crowd who can easily turn into your consumers.

The Downsides of Guest Posting

Guest blogging has several benefits to both the writer and publisher of the content. But you should consider a few downsides before adopting this marketing strategy. Here are some downsides of guest blogging:

Time-Consuming Process

Creating a guest blog post takes more than sitting down and crafting killer content. You need to set goals for the campaign, decide the ideal websites to pitch, brainstorm the best guest post idea to write about, reach out to the host sites, and wait for their response. That’s not to mention following each site’s guest post guidelines meticulously and the time needed to write guest posts that are valuable and engaging. Also, guest posting can take time before you start seeing any positive results.

Understanding a New Audience May Be Difficult

You may be a great writer who knows how to connect with your audience. But that changes once you decide to be a guest blogger. You must adopt the host’s tone and voice and write in a way that appeals to their audience, something you might not be accustomed to. This can be a bit of a challenge, but sites usually have their guest post guidelines online, so you can try to adapt your content and chosen topics to their voice and readers’ needs.

Easy to Neglect Your Own Blog in the Process

Given the amount of research, writing, and editing involved, it’s easy to neglect your own website or blog and focus your efforts on guest posting instead. However, not focusing on your own site by creating fresh, valuable content may make you lose high-quality traffic for your blog and tank your rankings. It’s best to keep a regular publishing schedule for your own site and post on someone else’s website when you have extra time. Just ensure it’s a balance so you’re keeping up with your own website in addition to guest posting elsewhere.

The Basics of Guest Posting

guest posting

You need a well-thought-out guest blogging strategy to succeed with this form of content marketing. That requires substantial preparation to have everything in place, from the topics you wish to cover to the websites to pitch, etc. Good preparation will make the process less challenging and save you time. Here are some basics to start you off the guest blogging journey:

Identify Realistic Campaign Goals

The first step is to set your guest posting goals. Understand what you want to achieve with your guest blog posts and after how long. That will guide you in the rest of the steps of the process.

With a clear goal, it will be much easier to decide which topics to write about, the websites where you’d like to submit guest posts, and the ideal writing schedules. These goals may be related to your website (like attracting more traffic) or have to do with your business (like achieving more leads and customers).  

You can build them around achieving a particular value of backlinks, referral visits, and SEO traffic. While at it, ensure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). That’s because it’s easier to measure the progress of SMART goals and develop suitable tactics to help you achieve them. 

Here are some examples of guest posting goals you may want to consider:

  • Boost SEO ranking or SERP visibility by X%
  • Increase leads from the guest article by X%
  • Attain X number of clients, customers, or leads from guest posts

Research Quality Guest Blogging Target Sites

With the right goals, you’ll be able to find guest blogging opportunities that will be an ideal fit for your industry and website. The sites can be niche-specific or focus on broader topics, depending on your industry. You’ll want to look at how much traffic the site gets, the engagement level, and if it’s regarded as a respected and authoritative source of information. Generally, you will want the site to have a slightly higher domain authority than yours to help bump up your SEO juice.

However, don’t go too lofty — if your domain authority is low and you choose a site with high domain authority, they may not consider publishing your work. It should be a mutually beneficial arrangement.

How can you get quality guest post opportunities? Here are the most effective methods most guest bloggers use:

Search Online

If you want to find guest blogs, try a simple Google search. Type in your industry plus “guest blogging” or a related phrase to find blogs in your niche that accept guest posts. Keep swapping the keyword with other common terms in your industry until you find the best websites to write for.

For example, say you have a B2B marketing blog and want to find B2B marketing guest content opportunities, these are common keyword searches you’d try:

  • “B2B blog guest post opportunities”
  • “submit a guest post B2B marketing sites”
  • “guest post guidelines B2B blogs”
  • “B2B blogs accepting guest posts”
  • “Best B2B marketing blogs for guest posting”

From the searches, you’ll land on the sites’ guest post guideline page, actual guest posts from other writers, or guest post submission pages.

Check Out Influential Guest Bloggers

Reading numerous blogs in your industry will help you know some prolific guest bloggers in your niche. You can also search for influential guest bloggers in your industry using Google to find the websites where most of these bloggers post their articles. For instance, Neil Patel, Mark Traphagen, and Benji Acciola are some of the top influential guest bloggers in the marketing niche.

Find out which websites these prolific guest bloggers write for and pitch them. Having a good rapport with an influential guest blogger is even better. Reach out and request them to introduce you to the owners of the websites they have guest posted to. This may land you a premium opportunity to guest post to an authority website.

You can use backlinks from your competitor’s websites to find relevant guest blogs. Enter your competitors’ links in a tool like the Ahrefs free backlink checker. It will help you generate a list of referring domains. All the websites linking to your competitor’s site may not be from guest posts. However, the fact that they are linking back to this website may indicate that they’re a good fit for the type of content you write.

Conduct Email Outreach Efforts

Once you have your list of potential websites and their guest post guidelines, perform email outreach efforts to start writing for them. First, avoid sending a generic guest post pitch to every outlet. The editors from these prominent publications and authority blog owners receive many emails and guest post requests daily. Thus, they’re looking for something unique to set you apart from the crowd. A generic email is a sure way to prepare your pitch for rejection. 

Follow these steps to help boost your chances of getting a reply:

  • Head to the website’s blog section and check their published content.
  • Read their guest posting guidelines to customize your email to reflect their values and style guide preferences.
  • Add a few of your previous guest post examples (links to published works with your bio are more effective) and a few options for topics you would like to cover.
  • Links to other guest posts that your team has written or the content you’ve created on your website if you’ve never written this type of content before.
  • Include impressive stats if you have them, like the amount of traffic your blog gets, how many subscribers your blog has, your domain authority, and what sites you’ve posted on in the past to help improve your chances.
  • Keep your email as concise as possible and address the site or blog editor or owner by name. (Check their guest post guidelines for the information.)
  • Proofread your email before sending it to ensure it’s typo-free and that you followed the site’s guidelines exactly — if you don’t follow instructions, your email is likely to be deleted immediately.

Following these tips will present you as a professional in what you do and convince the editors you’re worthy of the guest blogging opportunity.

Create a Quality Post With a Relevant Link to Your Site

Your pitch may be professional and attractive. However, your content will only go live on the other website if it provides value to the readers and meets the editors’ preference for style and quality.

Thus, focus on creating a unique, top-quality post and add a relevant link to your website. Still, abide by the editor’s guidelines regarding the number of links they allow, any internal URLs they want you to add, etc. Pay close attention to each site’s guidelines, as some do not allow a link back to your site. Brand awareness is still a major benefit to guest posting if you can’t get a backlink, so consider this as well.

Use correct grammar and spelling — try a tool like Grammarly if you need help. You can also add relevant images to make your content more helpful to the reader.

Keep Track of Results Over Time

The only way to know how you’re faring and whether you’ve achieved any goals you set is by keeping track of your progress after some time. Depending on the goals you set at the beginning, you may want to use different SEO tools to monitor various metrics over time and measure your progress.

For instance, check the number of backlinks you’ve received since the beginning of the marketing campaign with a backlink audit, track the number of referring domains, monitor the keywords for which your website ranks on search engines, engage in social listening for your site or name, and check organic traffic performance over the period.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between a Guest Post and a Blog Post?

A guest post is any content you write to publish on another website. On the other hand, a blog post is content you write and publish on your website.

Does Guest Posting Still Work?

Guest posting is still as helpful as it was years ago. While there is speculation that Google devalues unnatural guest post links, it’s still a popular way to help build your brand — if you submit high-quality content to relevant sites. If you do get a backlink, what matters most is that you write quality content with valuable information for the reader and do not overstuff keywords to rank high on SERPs. Even if you don’t get a backlink to your site, guest posting can build awareness and grow your traffic.

Is Guest Posting Worth It?

Guest posting effectively boosts your blog’s exposure, builds backlinks, and lets you reach new audiences. With correct practice, guest posting delivers results that will be worth the time and effort you put into researching relevant sites for your brand and crafting content.

Should You Pay for Guest Posts?

While guest posting is typically a free service, you can pay someone to ghostwrite blog posts for you that you then use as guest post content. Whether this affects your site negatively or positively depends heavily on content quality, accuracy, and relevancy, as well as the domain authority and quality of the site.

Final Thoughts

Guest posting is a great way to get your work out there, reach a new audience, and increase your Google rankings. It can also be a beneficial activity to build relationships with other bloggers and get feedback on your work. If you’re trying to find guest posting opportunities, a good place to start is by searching online or contacting bloggers and website owners directly.