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February 27, 2013

Finding and Evaluating Guest Posting Opportunities in 2013

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Over the last 12 months, guest posting has become one of the most popular link-building strategies. And, there is a reason for that.

Guest posting is effective. If done well, it can help you to build your image as an expert in your field and present yourself to a wider, highly targeted audience. It can also help you to discover new business opportunities and build meaningful relationships. It gives you control over how you are presented on the web, a hugely important thing from a branding point of view. Not to mention that it also doesn’t take much time to bear fruit.

However, guest posting is not an easy (or quick) way to build links. You have to produce great content, build genuine relationships with other bloggers, be relevant to your audience, provide meaningful advice and more.

Guest posting is also very easy to get wrong. As a technique, it might be a very high end, however, the success or failure of your efforts greatly relate to the execution.

And by that I mean not only what you post but also where.

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

A most common mistake in guest blogging I see being done these days is trying to scale it. Just like with article directories in the (not so distant) past, which were plaqued with spun and low quality content, only to get it out there fast, guest blogging is often done low key also.

Properly done, guest blogging takes time. From finding sites to post on to writing content, it has to be done well.

In this post, I want to focus on the former.

The first port of call are usually top blogs in your or your clients industry. However, in most cases those sites do not accept guest posts. Or even if they do, they won’t take a post from someone they don’t know. This of course doesn’t mean that you can’t get into them. It just means that you might have to invest a lot of time, energy and resources before you see any results.

In the meantime though, you need to build those links.

Therefore, the other, quite effective way to do so is simply do a proper Google search. However, this is where problems often start.

Not only is the research I see being done poorly, often the choice of sites to post on is questionable.

Let’s look at those two things in detail.

Guest Posting Search Queries

When researching guest posting opportunities, things to pay attention to include the relevance of the site and whether its owner allows guest authors to submit posts.

To do so, use the following queries:

“submit * post” your keyphrase
“submit * guest post” your keyphrase
“submit * blog post” your keyphrase
“add * blog post” your keyphrase
“submit * article” your keyphrase
“write for us” your keyphrase
“become * author” your keyphrase
“become * guest author” your keyphrase
“become * guest writer” your keyphrase
“* posting guidelines” your keyphrase
“your keyphrase” inurl:”submit guest post”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”submit * post”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”submit * guest post”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”submit blog post”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”write for us”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”guest post”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”guest writer”
“your keyphrase” inurl:”posting guidelines”

Analyzing and Evaluating Guest Posting Opportunities

Now let’s tackle the other problem, the quality of sites to
post on.

A natural way to analyze guest posting opportunities is to look
at the usual metrics:

* PageRank
* MozRank
* MozTrust
* Domain Authority

and so on.

However, sometimes these can fail. There are many low quality sites, set primarily to generate links that would pass such a numbers check.

Does that mean that they would be good to post on? It’s questionable and in order to find out, I’d recommend you perform the following checks:

1. Social Media Activity

Look at the site’s social media accounts. How often are new updates posted? Does the site actually have a Twitter or Facebook account? Are all the updates just RSS feeds of posts or does the blogger engage with the audience, retweet and respond to what other people say?

2. Recent Updates

How often is the site updated? Also, when was the last article posted. A stale site might not be a great place to post content (however, there are exceptions).

3. Guest Post vs. Original Author Post Ratio

Does the site use only guest posts? Or does the blogger/bloggers behind the site post regularly too? A predominance of guest posts might be an indication of a purely guest post submission site, something you should stay away from.

4. Quality of the Content

This probably speaks for itself. Does the site provide only thin content or in-depth information to its viewers?

5. Reader Engagement

Check if the site gets any comments at all and what type of comments are posted. Also, review the average number of social media likes and retweets that posts receive.

6. Amount and Placement of Ads

Check out how many ads are on the site. Are pages literally filled with ads or does the content still prevail?

7. About Page

Look at the blogger’s About page. Is it a genuine introduction to the person behind the blog and the site? Or is it just a two liner with very generic info about the topics covered?

8. Contact Page

Does the Contact page provide anything beyond a simple e-mail form? Is there an address, a phone number or any other way to contact the site’s owner?

If only an email form is provided, how basic or advanced is it? Is it only three fields long or does the owner ask for some more information from you? The latter can be an indication that they are more serious about who contacts them.

And while a contact page might not be a serious indicator of a site’s quality, I would still look more favorably on sites which offer other means of contact besides a basic email form.


Pawel Grabowski is the owner of Teapot Digital, a boutique online marketing agency
from Ireland helping small to medium sized enterprises to acquire
more business through digital channels.

22 Responses to “Finding and Evaluating Guest Posting Opportunities in 2013

    avatar Finding and Evaluating Guest Posting Opportunities in 2013 | The IT Chronicle says:

    [...] Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & ResourcesFinding and Evaluating Guest Posting Opportunities in 2013 [...]

    avatar Daniel says:

    Thanks for the post Pawel. A good way to evaluate guest posting opportunities is looking up the blogs on http://www.SimilarWeb.com where you can get a better idea of its traffic sources and ranking.

    avatar Pawel Grabowski says:

    Thanks for the comment Daniel. That’s a really nice system you have there, cheers for letting us know about it!

    Hi Pawel – isn’t it just a matter of time before Google punishes this too?

    avatar Pawel Grabowski says:

    I think they will. However, I don’t think they will nuke every site accepting guest posts. Those low quality ones, built primarily with the idea of selling guest post placements will be in trouble though.

    How they are going to nuke them? I don’t know but I would assume that the factors I mentioned in the post will matter. Also anchor text used in guest posts (if the majority include spammy anchors … well, it is a signal of the site’s quality too….)

    Just recently we had a list compiled of quality travel blogs that seemed to be a good match with our home exchange blog and site. We have been approaching the bloggers in batches to suggest a guest post and offering free memberships to a number of their followers if they ran a competition (plus a discount membership offer).

    We have had some success with this (making it worthwhile) but the vast majority of bloggers we have contacted will only publish paid for posts (and most rates are too high for us to consider). Is this very common? When is it worth paying for guest posts?

    I’ll be checking out Daniel’s site too as it sounds a great idea that should save time.

    avatar Pawel Grabowski says:

    @Lois, sadly, paid posts have become a norm in the travel industry.
    I would be very wary of placing paid guest posts to be honest. It is a clear validation of Google’s guideliness (and yes, they can find that out and slap both the site and you ….)

    A very good way to find great blogs is to use Google Alerts. Create an alert with your keywords in serach of blogs.

    It is a very powerfull way to find very good blogs and not only for link-building.

    avatar Kathleen Gee says:

    @smartseobacklinks, I don’t see how Google could possibly do that, unless the content itself is of obviously low quality (spun gibberish). Guest authors have written for publications since publishing was invented. I don’t think it’s the guest author aspect, it’s the terrible content aspect that one has to be careful of.

    avatar Pawel Grabowski says:

    @Kathleen, as I said in the previous comment, I think they will look not only at quality of content but also the site in general, the number behind it and social activity (not only no. of likes or RTs but also the activity on those accounts – are all posts just RTs or are there any conversations going etc.). Overuse of commercial anchor text might also be a negative signal. Plus tons of things I can’t even think of now..

    avatar Sarah Sofia says:

    Hi Pawel! I love this article and would like to feature it in one of our books, while of course linking both to you and sitepronews. Would this be okay with you guys?

    avatar ScOtt says:

    Internet Marketing Experts – http://www.kentstonemedia.com

    Hi,

    What a great article thi is,lots of information that will come of use to our team members.

    Kind Regards

    http://www.kentstonemedia.co.uk

    avatar Pawel Grabowski says:

    Sarah, not sure. This is an exclusive post for SPN and it was submitted as such. You might want to check with SPN editor in relation to that first and then get back to me.

    avatar Sarah Sofia says:

    could you give me a link or something where I could contact them? I don’t really know where to ask… thanks!

    avatar Sarah Sofia says:

    just got an answer back and the gentleman said “That’s fine”.

    Great breakdown of Guest Posting Analysis. I never done the last part of your post, But always done the First Part: Search & Checking Usual Metrics. However, I learned few great points to filter more targeted, quality sites from my Guest Posting Analysis Funnel.

    avatar Tom says:

    Hello Pawel,

    It truly is a tough job especially when it is a static website. I tried several ways and want to say something that has happened with one of them.

    Desperate for a drastic drop in the index Alexa, I implemented Infolinks and the result was disastrous, 10,000,000, down to 24 million, Alexa. Immediately turn off, and in two weeks has returned to 9,000,000. Also I have Reduced PR 2 to PR 1. What a disaster!
    Thanks for your article.

    avatar ansar says:

    Have a very informatics article for link building and promote the website for SEO purpose

    avatar Pawel Grabowski says:

    @Sarah go ahead then. Just make sure you credit me as an author and SPN as the source ( and that you send me a copy! – email is on my website)
    Thanks
    Pawel

    avatar Nina says:

    Thank you for this information on guest posting. This is very enlightening.
    Thanks

    avatar Maria says:

    Ya Guest Posting is the right nd most preferable way to get visitors and at the same time legal backlink that can be useful to increase our Page rank. Thank you for sharing this post

    Hi Pawel,

    I’ve started my blog 6 months ago and I can only work on it part time because I have a full time day job, so I haven’t had the time to start guest posting.

    I want to start posting on other blogs, I’ve read a lot of guides on this but I can hardly find time to write on my own blog.

    I know everything seems hard until you actually start doing it but I can’t seem to find the energy to create that much content.

    I’m currently writing 4-5 blog posts a month so maybe I could do one guest post every month. Do you think it’s worthwhile?

    Have a great day Pawel,cheers.

    ~Philip

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