Guest Posting Best Practices & Common Mistakes To Avoid

By Altay Gursel | June 5, 2020
Home / Blogging / Guest Posting Best Practices & Common Mistakes To Avoid

Guest posting is very important for any business planning to increase its market exposure. It increases online visibility, improves brand recognition and helps to achieve higher google ranking.

If you don’t utilize guest postings as part of your online marketing strategy, you may be leaving the big opportunities on the table.

Where to Start Guest Blogging?

Once you’ve decided to start guest blogging, you’ll need to make online research to find opportunities.

There is no single best way to find these opportunities.

I’ve identified some of the most powerful ways to make this process shorter for you.

Google Search

A simple Google search is a basic yet effective way to search for guest posting opportunities.

However, the way we make our searching does really matter. Because using the right search queries dictates the results we are going to get.

Ideally, we only want to list specific pages dedicated to guest posting information.

To achieve this goal we will use advanced search parameters.

Most Common Guest Posting Search Terms

Here is the list of most common keywords to find guest posting opportunities:

  • “write for us”
  • “guest post”
  • “bloggers wanted”
  • “writers wanted”
  • “submit post”
  • “submit guest post”
  • “submit blog post”
  • “guest post guidelines”
  • “submit an article”
  • “become an author”
  • “become a guest blogger”
  • “become a contributor”
  • “guest bloggers wanted”
  • “guest contributors”
  • “guest writer”
  • “submission guidelines”

Obviously, you will need to combine the above-listed footprints with your keyword. Else you will get results that are not relevant to your niche.

Search in URL

Searching only for specific pages that offer guest posting opportunities can save us a lot of time.

Because many times our “keyword only” search likely to bring all the websites that include our keyword but in fact may/may not accept guest posts.

We can search for URLs that take us directly to the page we are interested in.

To search in URL we will use an advanced search parameter.

  • inurl: guest-posting
  • inurl: write-for-us

This type of search should only bring the pages of the websites that accept guest posting.

Search According To Domain Extension

You can find publishing opportunities on educational and government websites if you make a detailed search.

  • “your keyword” + “write for us” +
  • “your keyword” + “send your article” +

You can be as creative as you want with the footprints. Many people tend to not share the exact footprints they use. Because they fear the competition others may create for them.

However, it is not difficult to find good search combinations if you experiment with different Google advanced search operators.

Research Your Competitor’s Backlink Profile

It is a great idea to check your competitor’s backlink profile to find guest posting opportunities.

Because if they let your competitor submit a guest post, they may also allow you to do the same.

If you already have 3rd party tools at your disposal you can easily find out those opportunities.

How To Filter Guest Blogging Opportunities?

Finding blogs that accept guest posting is only one part of the job. We don’t want to submit a guest post on every website that provides this opportunity.

We want to filter the websites for the amount of domain authority they have.

Theoretically, once you publish a piece of content on a website, some of the website’s link juice and authority are transferred to your website.

Hence we want to publish our content on sites at least a certain amount of domain authority.

What is the #1 denominator of the domain authority metric?

Domain authority is largely represented by the backlink profile of a website.

To detect domain authority we will need to use a 3rd party program like SEMrush.

What is a good domain authority to publish a guest post?

As a best practice, we want to publish our content on websites that have the same or slightly higher domain authority than our website.

The most common mistake bloggers make is pitching their guest posts to high authority websites too early in their careers.

Although it’s quite tempting, it’s not the right kind of guest posting approach that anyone should follow.

The key is building our domain authority gradually.

Chances of our guest posts get accepted are higher if choose to publish on relatively lower domain authority websites.

Keep in mind, publishing guest posts on high authority sites too early may invite the search engines to keep a closer eye on our website.

Consider taking it slowly. SEO is not something to rush.

However, if you become persistent with guest blogging the compounding effect may work for you.

More guest posts you publish on other’s websites higher your domain authority climbs. The higher your domain authority climbs better websites are likely to accept publishing your guest post.

Read The Submission Guidelines

At this stage, we have already a list of websites that we intend to publish our content.

However, pitching a post to a website right away is not a good idea.

We want to read and understand the submission guidelines carefully. Else we will waste both our and someone else’s time.

Every website has different rules and guidelines they expect guest blog content to comply with.

Some websites are fine with 500 words long of content while others strictly require a minimum of 2000 words. Some websites may only ask you to provide evergreen content while others may be ok with the news type of content.

What Are The Common Guest Posting Content Mistakes?

Offering content that is not unique

I can’t believe I mention it.

However, there are still people pitching guest post content to other websites that are partially/completely plagiarized.

It has zero SEO benefit both for the guest poster and the publisher.

I will explain later in this post why low-quality content (in this case duplicate content) is bad for guest posting.

Writing Uninteresting Content

At all times, we want our content to be interesting for the reader. I know most people using guest posting just for the sake of link building. However, this approach has major problems.

Here are some of the problems with the uninteresting content:

  • It is likely to be declined by the site owner.
  • Google is known for taking action against low-quality guest blogging.
  • If it is accepted by the site owner, everyone else’s spammy content likely to get accepted.
  • It is not likely to rank on Google and obtain backlinks naturally.
  • It doesn’t bring any referral traffic.

Content is written with an inappropriate tone

Our content should be using the right tone for the audience of the blog we publish our content.

If a friendly and conversational tone is natural for a certain blog we want to write like that.

Also, if the blog has a technical and nerdy language we want to use the nerdy language as well.

I would spend at least 15 minutes to understand the tone used in other posts on the website.

Is it sincere/devious, witty/inane, caring/indifferent or aggressive/considerate?

After defining the right tone in the blog, I would adjust my writing tone accordingly.

Don’t forget people read your words but feel your attitude in your content.

Another mistake is writing content that is underestimating the reader’s intelligence.

I am talking about the type of content that wants to dictate what it wants rather than engaging readers while keeping it humble.

I have seen this type of content quite much.

It’s equally important not to write about the subjects that may be considered abusive or discriminative by a group of people.

Content With Grammar And Punctuation Issues

Grammar and punctuation errors are the primary signs of low-quality content.

Many times I don’t need to read a piece of content entirely to tell if it is good.

Because content with many errors tells that the author didn’t take enough time to create it, let alone proofread it.

This type of content provides a bad user experience. People usually quickly get turned off from the content that has many grammar issues.

Google’s algorithm grades every piece of content in regards to the completeness of the grammar and punctuation rules. If these issues are significant enough, Google may not even count the backlink website gets from the guest post.

Google very likely to ignore the backlinks coming from low-quality content if it is not punishing for it.

Why do I think so?

Because many people in the past submitted spun articles full of grammar and punctuation issues to build guest posting links.

If you don’t take your time to write a decent article that is valuable for the people you may harm your website rather than making any good.

Luckily, the grammar and punctuation issues are very easy to fix nowadays. There are many tools like Grammarly that warn you while you are typing the text.

Please, don’t use article spinners or any type of AI to create guest posting content.

Respect other people. Don’t request someone to publish a piece of content you wouldn’t publish on your own website.

How To Take Guest Posts To Succeed With It?

I want to share some guest posting tips here that may help you to have different look about the topic.

Understand That It Is A Long Term Investment

Although it is possible to take immediate market exposure with guest posting, the real benefit comes from the SEO boost it provides.

In the first few months of your guest blogging, you may feel you achieved nothing. However, don’t let these feelings let you down. If you stay consistent with publishing at least one decent guest post every week, in a year many positive benefits you may expect.

If it is done consistently, guest posting will increase the authority of your blog, promote your brand name, and increase the web traffic you are having.

You Need To Implement Right SEO practices

Simply because you are writing for someone else’s blog, you cannot skip SEO altogether. As we have already discussed Google works to filter low-quality guest posting by constantly improving its algorithm.

On the other hand, if you can write an SEO optimized content that engages the audience, that content is more likely to help your business.

An SEO optimized content holds more chances to rank on Google. What it means to bring more visitors to your website in return.

Also, a higher ranking website is likely to gain backlinks naturally over time.

Stay Away From Paid Guest Posting

Paid guest posting although it is tempting for many SEO, can make real harm to your business.

We humans in nature are always looking for things to make the tasks easier.

It applies to SEO as well. Many people consider guest posting as a boring and daunting routine they should do.

What they do instead of writing and outreaching other people?

They go to link vendors or guest posting agencies that sell certain SEO packages. These agencies, if you pay for it, will create the content as well.

However, guest posting shouldn’t be done this way. It the slippery rope you dance on with Google.

Anyone who plans to succeed in SEO should seriously consider networking by publishing content on other people’s blogs.

A soccer player cannot be lazy of running but expect to be very successful in that game unless he is a goalkeeper.

If Google finds out any paid links from/to a website it will penalize that website.

paid links

Your competitor may be looking for to report your website to Google that you have purchased links.

Don’t Expect To Make Money For Guest Posting But It is Possible

Some websites are encouraging writers by paying for guest posting. I don’t think it is something you should look for but it is entirely possible.

Keep in mind, websites may/may not link back to your website if you receive compensation for your post.

However, you may gain exposure to your market and get brand mentions in the post which is an important Google ranking factor.

Don’t Get Offended If Your Guest Post Request is Refused

Most websites have their content marketing plans. Either they have a team of writers or freelancers they can outsource the writing job.

It is completely up to the website to honor your guest posting request. The common reasons for your guest post request declined by the websites are:

  • You don’t write interesting content.
  • Your content is not readable
  • Your content is full of grammar and punctuation issues.
  • You provide a piece of content that is likely to compete with the other content on their website.
  • Your content is too short, using no images, not structured well on-page.
  • Your website looks like crap.
  • You didn’t provide an author bio, and maybe the list of other sites you have already published a guest post earlier.

Keep in mind although websites that accept guest blogging advertise themselves as they do it, they are not obliged to publish your content.

Track Your Guest Post Progress

At the bare minimum, you should have an excel file to follow your outreach process. The majority of the time excel is well enough for many businesses.

If you plan to execute a broader outreach campaign you may consider having a guest post tracker. These are the programs or browser-based applications that let you manage the outreach process more effectively.

It depends on you on how to track the guest posting process. However, whatever kind of technology you use to stay consistent with it.

Create a Professional Outreach Template

You will need to convince other blog owners to publish your content. There is no way to avoid it.

However, how you ask things can make a difference in the decisions people make. You will need to create a guest posting template you can use for your outreach process.

There are many guest post outreach templates you can find online. However, don’t directly copy any template since they are heavily used by the other bloggers.

Write an outreach letter clearly shows your intent by using a kind tone.

It shouldn’t be too long or too short.

Usually, a 300 word is well enough. A shorter copy will not help you to explain what you want to do.

On the other hand, a very long outreach email will likely feel that it is just a generic text you blast everywhere.

Always customize your outreach emails. Include the name of the domain you want to publish your content. If you know the contact person’s name, use it definitely.

Submit Your Guest Post Quickly

It is up to you if you contact other blogs before creating the content.

Some SEO do it, however, I find it meaningless.

How can you negotiate with other blogs without having anything to show them?

What I would do instead, I would send an outreach email to understand if they would be interested in my content.

Right after they show their interest, I would submit content quickly.

It would help others to remember you quickly. Many sites receiving a ton of outreach emails every day. If you procrastinate it, they may change their opinion during this time.

Promote Your Guest Post On Social Media

Congratulations, you could publish your content as you have planned it.

Right after your post is published share it on social media sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook. It will help your post to get indexed faster, and create a few backlinks.

Final Thoughts

The footprints you use or the techniques you implement depend on your personal preference. There is no absolute right or absolute wrong in SEO.

Guest posting is networking with the other people in your niche.

I would highly recommend networking with other people rather than trying to pitch your content in other people’s blogs.

Finally, have a decent looking website design. People don’t want to work with the sites that look ugly to their eyes.