When it comes to website promotional techniques, there’s almost nothing better than a good quality guest post. Not only does this powerful marketing strategy send traffic to your website and confer upon your brand the implicit recommendation of the hosting site, a well-crafted guest post also gives your website the benefit of a natural, highly-relevant backlink.
But that said, not all guest posts are created equal. There’s a big difference between securing a guest post spot on a well-known authority blog in your industry and posting your content to a no-name blog orchestrated by an SEO spammer.
If you really want to take advantage of the power of good guest posting, keep the following five guidelines in mind:
Tip #1 – Post to relevant websites
Plenty of websites accept guest posts – but that doesn’t mean that they’re all good targets for your guest publishing campaign!
For best results, stick with publishing to websites in your industry or in fields that are closely related. Trying to shoehorn your area of expertise into an unrelated article results in content that won’t encourage visitors to visit your site (as they likely won’t be interested in your on-subject content) and diminishes the SEO value of the link you receive.
Tip #2 – Post to well-known websites
At the same time, even sites in your industry might not represent ideal guest post targets if they’re new and/or un-trafficked.
If you post to a site without an established audience base, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive any significant referral traffic for your efforts. In addition, because the search engines tend to value links from well-known sites over their younger competitors, the link equity you’ll receive from this type of arrangement isn’t as strong.
While you might not be able to land any “big fish” guest post spots at the start of your campaign, you can work your way up by leveraging high quality articles published on smaller sites to prove your worth to bigger targets.
It should go without saying, but if you happen to land a guest spot on any website, the content you send over should represent the best of your abilities. This is important for two different reasons…
First, the search engines have made it their mission to reward high quality web content. While their algorithms aren’t sophisticated enough yet to ensure that the best possible results turn up at the top of every search result, they’re constantly striving towards this goal. As a result, it’s in your best interests to create great content – whether it’s being published on your site or on another website altogether.
But you also have to remember that most web communities are surprisingly small. If you deliver an awful guest post to one site, word could get out that you aren’t one who upholds your end of the guest author bargain, making it more difficult for you to secure high profile guest gigs in the future.
Tip #4 – Drive visitors to custom landing pages
Typically, when you’re offered a guest posting spot, you’re able to include 1-3 links back to your website. And while most guest authors use these links to point back to their home pages, you can increase the likelihood that any newly-acquired visitors will stick around and engage with your brand by driving them to custom landing pages.
These landing pages could include any of the following elements:
An acknowledgement of the referring site
A hand-picked list of similar posts on your site that new visitors might enjoy
Links to your social profiles
An email newsletter sign-up form
Encouragement to take any other action that supports your business’s bottom line
Though this might sound like a lot of extra work, it typically only takes a few minutes to create a new custom landing page once you’ve built an initial template for this purpose.
Tip #5 – Use Google+ authorship to claim your guest posts
One last way to get the most out of your guest posts is to claim the authorship of your posts using Google+.
In some cases, the hosting site’s owner will use a website plugin that adds you as a site user and uses your Google+ profile link to automatically form an authorship connection. But if this isn’t the case, you can still claim authorship by including a link to your Google+ profile (marked up with the “rel=author” tag, as described here) and then linking back to the hosting site from within the “Contributes to” section of your Google+ account.
While this second strategy requires a bit more work on your part, the benefits of Google+ authorship make your efforts well worth it. When combined with the tips described above, it’s a vital part of ensuring that you get the most value possible for every guest post you submit.