All right, bear with me. This is a guest blog post about guest blogging. It might get a little meta in here. I’m an SEO consultant and a large part of what I do every day is guest blogging. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably aware of the value guest blogging can provide in your link-building efforts. SEO’s love guest blogging because it provides valuable link juice from trusted domains. Unlike link directories, blogs often have very few external links and so pass on more link juice. However, like every SEO effort, there’s a right way for freelancers to guest blog – and an even better way to have your post sent directly to File 13.
Provide Value to the Host Blog
First and foremost, you can’t approach guest blogging as just a means of building a backlink. Sure, guest blogging is one of the most effective ways of link building, but your primary goal should be to provide value to the host blog. If you want all that tasty link juice the host blog is willing to provide, you’re going to have to pony up something worthwhile. Find something interesting, relevant, original, and witty to write about. Write something people will want to read, not just 400 words of garbage followed by a link to your client’s site. Research the blog you want to post on and tailor your writing to match content, style and substance of that blog.
A lot of bad SEO habits really come down to one thing: inauthenticity. Just as freelance writing bloggers would rather see comments from a Nathan or a Julie rather than a CHEAP SHOES ONLINE, bloggers also want genuine, straightforward guest blog posts. It’s one thing to advertise for your paying clients, but it’s another to submit a spammy, worthless guest post to a blog without prior research being done first. Before submitting a guest post, ask yourself this: “If this was my blog, would I publish this post?” If the answer is no, I’d question why you’re even bothering to submit that post in the first place.
As freelance SEOs, we’re paid to optimize search results for our clients, but our first priority should be to add relevant, valuable content to the internet. This doesn’t just make us look good to our hosts, but search engines like to see this practice, as well. I don’t worry about being caught for gaming the system because I don’t game the system. Does this sound overly simplistic? It should, because it is.
Treat Blogging Like Dissertation Writing
Guest blogging is much like waiting for doctoral panels to read and review dissertations: if professors reviewing your dissertation believe you’ve become defenseless against your own writing, they’d perhaps make two assessments: one, you care little about the career choice you’ve made and two, you probably have outsourced this dissertation and remember little about the contents. Believe it or not, guest posts are seen the same way; always defend every participle, strand of verbiage and piece of annotated documentation to prove you’re atop the task at hand. This will let your readership know how firmly you stand on the article you wrote.
You should always know the order of your paperwork, down to the final chapter just to C.Y.A. (cover your ass). Since the professors will rarely skip around your dissertation, you should always mentally prepare yourself to recite pieces of your research or writing verbatim. Yes, defending yourself is probably just the misnomer of the entire dissertation reading process; you may never need to defend yourself yet always have that reservation some professor will snidely approach some fact you placed in the paper with rudely litigating attitudes at heart.
Take this principality of freelance guest blogging inside the world of dissertation panel readers and savvy writers, and you’ll grown your audience quickly.
Follow Up and Participate
Participating in the community surrounding the blogs you’ve posted in is essential. I make time every day to visit the blogs I’ve posted in, checking up on new content and replying to comments left on my posts. All told, any freelancer should know that guest blogging is about building relationships with other bloggers, and you shouldn’t think of it as a one night stand. I’m not saying get married to your host blog, but spend some time getting to know the people who spend time on the blogs you post to.