5 Ways To Earn Quality Guest Post Backlinks
Guest blogging is one SEO strategy that could very much be likened to killing two birds with one stone. Not only is it great for content marketing, but it has also proven to be an effective link building strategy.
Ok, at least that was the common belief until January 2014, when Google first dropped the bombshell on guest post backlinks.
Google’s stance on guest post backlinks
Matt Cutts, Google’s then head of search quality, openly criticized the practice, and even went on record calling on everyone who was actively building guest post backlinks to drop the strategy altogether.
According to the executive, black hat SEO practitioners had taken over the once noble marketing strategy, and were exceedingly using spammy guest post backlinks to manipulate Google search algorithms.
It’s because of this that Google subsequently started cracking down on guest posting networks and has since developed even more sophisticated tools for the job. But, that’s not all – the search engine is now committed to penalizing both the publishers and beneficiaries of the blacklisted guest post backlinks.
The 2014 tweet by Matt Cutts about Google’s crackdown on guest blogging networks. Source: Twitter
Here’s the thing, though. What if we told you that guest post link building isn’t anywhere close to dying? That Google’s intention isn’t really to do away with guest blogging – but, rather, to clean up its SERPs by prioritizing high-quality guest post backlinks?
Take it from us. As a link building powerhouse, Loganix has created thousands of guest post backlinks over the past couple of years.
And based on the overwhelmingly positive results that they continue to generate, we’ve compiled this ultimate guide to help you with your guest blogging backlinks.
Follow along to discover how guest blogging trends have developed over the years, the relevance of guest post backlinks to SEO and audience engagement, plus the strategies that you could use to earn high quality guest post backlinks.
What Are Guest Post Backlinks?
Guest post backlinks, as the name suggests, are the inbound links that you earn courtesy of the guest articles published on external websites.
Our post on the 15 Types of Backlinks You Need for SEO explains how they’re structured. You basically write articles for other blogs as an external contributor, and they’re ultimately published with links that point toward your site.
This whole process is known as guest blogging – and it’s widely praised not just for its link building capabilities, but also for the engagement it drives through content marketing.
That said, it’s worth noting that guest post backlinks come in the form of either Dofollow or Nofollow types of links.
“Dofollow” is the default type. These are the inbound links that search engine crawlers would interpret as “votes of confidence”. Referral domains publish them to point out your web page as an authority in the selected subject, which then leads to improved search engine rankings.
“Nofollow” links, on the other hand, are the hyperlinks that are formatted with a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag. This tells search engines that although your site might be somewhat relevant to the subject, they shouldn’t count the attribution as a direct authority vote.
As such, Google’s PageRank algorithm doesn’t directly factor the links into its computation of search rankings. They are, instead, used to drive referral traffic and increase brand awareness.
That notwithstanding, however. these two types of guest post backlinks happen to have the same appearance. They are both published as hyperlinked anchor text, which you’ll typically find highlighted within the body of the article or as part of the author bio.
Consider, for instance, this guest blog article that was recently published on HubSpot. If you scroll to the fourth subheading under “Viral Marketing Strategies”, you’ll see that the author formatted the anchor text to place a strategic guest post backlink to the dove.com website.
And just like the rest of the links on the page, it’s highlighted in blue – but with “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” as the anchor text.
The hyperlinked anchor text, as it appears on Hubspot. Source: HubSpot.
So far, about 60% of bloggers today write between 1 and 5 such guest posts per month, 27% admit to writing between 6 and 10, 10% fall under the 11 to 25 category, while only 3% manage to exceed 25 guest blogs per month.
The monthly rates for writing guest posts. Source: ReferralRock
Why are they important?
Now, make no mistake about it. Google’s crackdown on guest post backlinks isn’t universal. Rather, the search engine is only targeting those spammy low-quality ones that seek to manipulate the search rankings.
“Low-quality” here refers to those unnaturally placed backlinks that link unrelated pieces of content. While high-quality backlinks seem to appear naturally within the context of the guest blog posts, low-quality ones are distributed haphazardly just to build on volume.
You can go ahead and check out our Backlink Quality guide for deeper insights into all the SEO parameters that determine quality, especially when it comes to link building and content marketing.
That said, one quick example of a low-quality source would be MyBlogGuest, a guest blogging network that was particularly renowned in the early 2010s.
This site was established in 2009, and quickly made a name for itself as an all-inclusive guest posting platform. It was open sesame for building guest post links on random pieces of content.
But, the party didn’t last long, as Google was quick to pick up on the mischief. Just when MyBlogGuest was about to hit its 100,000 user milestone, the search engine came swinging and took it down with hefty penalties.
The rest, as they say, is history. Google has since escalated its efforts, and the penalties now target both the spammy guest blogging sites and their beneficiaries.
But then again – while all that is going on, it turns out that, on the opposite end of the spectrum, high quality guest post backlinks are now way more beneficial than ever before. We’ve finally gotten to the point where you’re assured of the following link building benefits:
- Improved search engine rankings –The backlinks that you earn from guest posting are all picked up by search engines, and then counted as votes of confidence. The likes of Google interpret each hyperlink as an attribution through which the referral domain vouches for the source website as a reputable reference in the subject matter.
This should increase the level of trust that search engines have in your site, which then translates into better SERP rankings and more organic traffic.
Research already shows that more backlinks ultimately lead to improved rankings plus increased organic traffic. The impact is even more pronounced when the guest post links are from high authority sites.
- Builds the credibility of your brand – Search engines are not the only party that notices the confidence votes from guest post backlinks. Even the audience on the referral blog is bound to pick up on the outbound hyperlinks and the accompanying anchor text.
Every single instance is seen as an acknowledgment of your credibility in the subject matter. Hence, the links should, in particular, be attractive to a startup that desperately seeks to hit the ground running.
And then get this. It just so happens that internet users consider blogs as the fifth most trustworthy source for accurate web information. So, your brand is bound to ultimately get the most out of all that market exposure that comes with links published on high authority sites.
- Refers warm leads to your site – With 77% of web users admitting to reading blogs, you stand to engage a wide audience base if you happen to publish your guest posts on a popular platform. The connection is even deeper when you deal with publishers who attract the same target audience as your blog.
You should then be able to calculatedly use the engagement to draw referral traffic through the embedded inbound links. Both Dofollow and Nofollow guest post links are capable of channeling leads from high traffic referral sites.
And the best thing is, they’ll come in form of warm leads who already trust your brand as a credible resource – all thanks to the recognition that you’ve been getting from referral domains.
How To Earn Quality Guest Post Backlinks
#1. Set up insightful linkable assets on your website
Before you even embark on the guest blogging campaign, you need to build a firm foundation for your link building strategy. This is where you piece together all the assets that you’ll be linking to from the guest posts.
Now, by “linkable assets” we mean solid pieces of content that are insightful and authoritative enough to position your website as a reputable industry leader. In other words, you need the type of stuff that’ll not only draw traffic to your own blog, but also compel the visitors to share the exclusive content within their circles.
Well, you could start by researching the biggest trending topics in your space. Try to find out what your target audience is searching for, the content pieces that they’re sharing with their peers, as well as the most controversial subjects that are increasingly eliciting debate.
One tool that could help you with that is SEMrush, an all-in-one SEO research toolkit. You can count on it for keyword research, organic traffic analytics, plus data-backed content suggestions.
Topic research on SEMrush.
That said, the best forms of linkable assets are multimedia content pieces that provide deep insights through text and visuals.
Consider, for instance, pairing your pillar pages with relevant images and videos. Articles with images have been shown to generate 94% more views than posts without visuals. What’s more, video content is bound to increase your chances of driving organic traffic by 50%, as opposed to plain text.
Other than that, remember to create appropriate headlines for your assets.
Try to be as specific as possible, and don’t hesitate to stretch out the headline characters if need be. Besides, it turns out that long headlines (with 14 -17 words) attract 76.7% more social media shares than short headlines.
Also, it turns out that structuring the headline as a question – complete with a question mark – could increase the social sharing odds by 23.3%.
#2. Find guest posting opportunities
On setting up the appropriate link building assets, comes the challenging task of finding guest posting opportunities.
The web today hosts more than 600 million blogs, with the likes of WordPress now accounting for over 70 million new posts per month. From this extensive array, you’re supposed to identify the most relevant websites for building quality guest post backlinks.
Thankfully, there are various methods that you could use to identify such guest blogging opportunities:
- Search across Google – You could start by running a Google search for high authority websites in your field that would be open to publishing a guest article.
To simplify the search process, you might want to use Google search operators that combine your keyword along with common guest blogging outreach phrases such as “write for us”, “contribute as a guest blogger”, “guest post guidelines”, etc.
Your search operators, therefore, should appear something along the lines of:
“[your keyword]” + “write for us”
“[your keyword]” + “contribute as a guest blogger”
“[your keyword]” + “guest post guidelines”
“[your keyword]” + “submit an article”
Hence, if the keyword happens to be “social selling”, for instance, you should type in search operators like:
“Social selling” + “write for us”
“Social selling” + “contribute as a guest blogger”
“Social selling” + “guest post guidelines”
“Social selling” + “submit an article”
- Review the available opportunities on your selected sites – If you already have relevant high authority websites in mind, you can go ahead and check out their guest posting offerings.
For a business-oriented guest blogger, for example, some of the authority sites that you might want to prioritize include:
To review their guest blogging guidelines, just find the website search bar and then perform queries on stuff like:
“Write for us”
“Guest blogging guidelines”
- Watch popular guest bloggers and influencers – You could also refer to popular guest bloggers and influencers for guidance on where to find the best guest blogging opportunities. The trick here is to identify the website owners that they’re linking up with, as well as the platforms that are publishing their guest post backlinks.
Google would be a great place to start. You just need to perform a search using an operator like:
“Guest post” + “[guest blogger’s/influencer’s name]”
For instance, here’s what you’d type in to generate guest blogs by “John Doe.”
“Guest post” + “John Doe”
Then to exclude their website posts from the results, just tweak the search strings follows…
“Guest post” + “[guest blogger’s/influencer’s name]” -site:[guest blogger’s/influencer’s website]
- Track your competitor’s backlinks – By establishing where your competitors are publishing their guest post backlinks, you should get a good idea of the platforms that are accepting guest articles in your industry.
This is where you bring in the likes of Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to perform backlink profile checks.
On Ahrefs, for example, you can enter any of your competitor’s domains and then hit “Check Backlinks”. The system will proceed to generate insights into the URL’s inbound and outbound links, as well as the referring domains, the domain rating, plus the anchor texts.
Backlink analysis on Ahrefs.
At least with that, you should be able to point out high authority sites that you too could engage for possible guest posting opportunities.
- Search for the top-performing guest blogs – Last but not least, you could turn to BuzzSumo for reports on the best-performing guest blogs across your focus keywords.
BuzzSumo is an all-inclusive content marketing tool suite that specializes in researching and optimizing content. Within its impressive toolkit, you’ll find an intelligent content research tool that’s capable of generating even the analytics for the most popular guest posts.
To use it, log into your Buzzsumo dashboard, proceed to the “Content-type” option on the left sidebar, select only “Guest Posts”, and then perform your keyword research.
You’ll get a report on the most outstanding guest articles, from which you should be able to point out various high authority sites that accept guest blogs on your target keywords.
#3. Segment your guest blogging sites
By the time you’re done identifying all the possible guest posting opportunities, you’ll have compiled a list of dozens – or probably even hundreds – of possible prospects.
You might not want to proceed to the outreach process, though. It would be a logistical nightmare to work with the list in its raw form.
The best approach at this stage would be to sort out the options, and then narrow them down to the few that are perfectly aligned with your guest blogging campaign goals. At least with the low-quality blogs eliminated, you can go ahead and submit your guest post pitches to the most promising candidates.
That said, some of the parameters that you could pre-qualify the guest posting sites on include:
- Domain-level metrics – Establish the true authority of each site based on its Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Rating (DR) scores, as well as the corresponding backlink profile analytics.
- Content relevance – Determine if the articles on the website are related to your target niche and SEO keywords.
- Content quality – Analyze the depth, accuracy, authenticity, and originality of the content pieces on the blogs – while, at the same time, taking into account their grammar, language, and overall composition.
- Audience engagement – Run traffic analytics to discover the volume of the readers per post. And while you’re at it, pay attention to the corresponding engagement rates. You can, for instance, review the number of shares and comments across the website and on social media.
- Guest author portfolio – Try to find out the caliber of guest authors that each website worked with in the past. Are they high authority contributors or just black hat spammers?
Based on the findings, you could then segment the guest blogging sites as follows:
- Authority sites – Boasting Domain Authority scores of above 60, these are the most established guest blogging sites. They enjoy an extensive readership and would be the best candidates for building quality guest post backlinks.
On the flip side, though, they have very strict publishing guidelines for guest articles. Plus, the level of competition from other guest bloggers tends to be comparatively high.
- Mid-tier sites – With Domain Authority scores that typically range between 50 and 60, these are fairly good websites that lag slightly behind the industry leaders. Content quality and audience engagement levels here can be described as decent or acceptable, and it takes several guest post backlinks to heavily influence the SEO rankings.
That said, the content acceptance rate here is higher than on authority sites. So, a decently written article should sail through comfortably.
- Low-tier sites – Scoring between 40 and 49 on the Domain Authority scale, these are the candidates you’d describe as standard DA sites. Content quality and engagement levels here are average, but you won’t be able to build high quality guest post backlinks.
Other than that, it turns out that while Google is open to inbound links from such sites, building too many could make you come off as a potential spammer.
- Low-quality sites – These are the little-known blogs that score less than 40 on the Domain Authority scale. They struggle to generate sizeable traffic, as the content tends to be thin and low in value.
All in all, this is one category that you might want to avoid, as it’s prevalent with spammy link schemes that might compromise your search engine rankings.
#4. Prioritize content value, not links
Come to think of it, content creation is the oxymoronic phase of building quality guest post backlinks.
It turns out that while link building might be the end goal, the content itself should be anything but backlink-focused. To create high quality content that’ll earn authority guest post backlinks, you need to shelve your link-building priorities and, instead, direct most of your attention to optimizing the content value.
Otherwise, you might find yourself falling into the all-too-common trap of producing what blog editors popularly dismiss as “promotional content”. 79% of them, in fact, feel that the content they receive from guest blogging contributors is often too promotional.
That is what you get when you try to maximize the number of backlinks and conversion opportunities. The article essentially ends up reading likes a sales landing page, instead of an authoritative guide.
The problems don’t end there, though. 56% of the editors, on the other hand, protest that the guest post submissions are typically not a good fit for their audiences. This is the case even when they provide clear guest posting guidelines.
Now to avoid these issues, every guest blogger should start by prioritizing the value of their content. Only then will they be able to come up with fresh guest post ideas that are methodically aligned with both the publisher’s and contributor’s content objectives.
A good article should seem authentic, with the insights pieced together in a simple, digestible, and understandable manner.
Also, you might want to keep in mind Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for content quality. The search engine insists that guest bloggers, in particular, should avoid:
- Duplicating the content from their website.
- Assigning the writing tasks to freelancers who are not adequately knowledgeable about the subject topics.
- Stuffing the guest articles with keyword-rich backlinks to their websites.
#5. Distribute backlinks contextually
Content value taking the center stage doesn’t mean that you should forget about the links.
Well, for starters, you could keep them out of the article entirely by hyperlinking just the author bio. That’s still an acceptable method for building guest post backlinks to your own site.
A brief introduction should do the trick. So, feel free to talk about yourself, the business brand, or the services and products that you offer. What’s more, you could even throw in links to your social media profiles if you want to.
Here’s an example of one neat bio. Notice how the contributor has briefly introduced himself, his business, and competencies while, at the same time, managing to place the links contextually?
Example of a well-composed author bio. Source: Marketingprofs
For maximum SEO impact and engagement, however, you might want to supplement your author bio links with high-quality backlinks within the body of the content.
Research shows, for instance, that guest articles with links embedded within the content body tend to generate up to 387% more referral traffic than ones that are published with just the author bio links.
That being said, ensure that you’ve placed the content backlinks contextually with the natural flow of the article.
If you’re writing a guest article on mobile app development, for instance, you could link that anchor text to a relevant mobile app development whitepaper on your website. The same goes for other relevant items that match up to various linkable assets on your site.
But, don’t overdo it. One naturally placed hyperlink should be good enough for a standard guest blog post. Then on long-form pieces, you could stretch them to a maximum of about three quality backlinks. Anything more than that could possibly push you into the territory of link stuffing. So, don’t risk it.
3 Types of Blog Posts That Earn Backlinks
To truly stand out from other guest bloggers, your campaign ought to be anchored on highly engaging assets. Your website needs the type of content that is not only rich in guest blogging insights, but also exceedingly pulls in inbound links and referral traffic.
As you’ll come to find out, though, this is easier said than done. So much so, in fact, that a whopping 87% of marketers admit that they struggle to create truly engaging content.
Fortunately for you, however, we’ve done all the research. And, so far, the following three types of blog posts have proven to be particularly outstanding in driving engagement and earning quality backlinks:
#1. Data-backed research
These types of content come in the form of research reports on popular subjects or topics. Audiences love them because they provide actionable metrics on relevant industry matters. And in particular, they give the readers important data for making informed decisions.
Blog editors in your industry are aware of the high demand, and they’d be very much interested in sharing your research insights with their readers. So, chances are, they’re likely to accept guest post submissions that are tied to original data-backed research.
Here’s the thing, though. Don’t just paste the research data to your blog and hit “publish”. People are not interested in raw stats – rather, they want to find real meaning from the information.
You can fulfill that by structuring the insights as an appealing and memorable story. Instead of publishing a series of numbers, try to zero in on the most important findings, and then transform them into digestible high quality articles.
Each post should explain the info through relatable statements and visuals, before ultimately capping it all off with insightful conclusions.
You could, for instance, engage your audience using well-labeled infographics. That’ll get you not only quality backlinks, but also social shares across various platforms.
Consider, for instance, this post on Backlinko’s blog. Notice how they’ve systematically laid down the facts through relatable stories coupled with clear illustrations?
An excerpt from a data-backed article. Source: Backlinko
The article tactfully interprets volumes of raw data that were pulled from about 912 million research subjects.
#2. Thought leadership
People in your industry are also seeking to learn from the experts. They want to get actionable tips from the thought-leaders, as well as sample their opinions on controversial matters.
As such, you’ll find that excerpts from renowned experts tend to attract a significant amount of interest from both publishers and audiences. Blog editors themselves are always running stories that are based on comments made by well-respected and well-connected brands.
Now, the good thing is, you don’t have to be a thought-leader yourself to take advantage of that. You could, instead, consult an influential authority on a trendy industry subject, and then document their perspective on your blog.
If you happen to be running a digital marketing business, for instance, you could subscribe to Google’s Search Off The Record podcast for insights into the inner workings of the search engine – right from the horse’s mouth.
You don’t even have to dig deep. Just one bold statement would be enough to develop an attention-grabbing story on your blog. The trick is to turn the quote into a relatable piece of content, from which you’d then be able to create multiple guest posts.
For example, this 46-minute podcast episode on the Future of SEO could be spun off into a provocative article on what to expect from the changing Google search algorithms.
Future of SEO podcast episode. Source: Search Off The Record
As long as you’re the original publisher of the thought leadership piece, backlinks will keep coming in from all corners. High authority forums will accept follow-up guest posts, media platforms will report it as industry news, and audiences will share the authority excerpt widely on social media.
#3. Foundational resources (aka ultimate guides)
Readers across the web are additionally fond of what we call “foundational resources”. These are those long-form “ultimate guides” that elaborately explain complex topics in an understandable format.
A typical piece, for instance, provides audiences with basic technical know how through simplified definitions, comprehensive tutorials, plus illustrative visuals. All these normally add up to thousands of words – which, according to SEO analytics, tend to outperform their briefly written counterparts
On average, long-form content has been shown to attract 77.2% more backlinks than short articles. And to be specific, some of the studies suggest that a 2,500-plus word count is the sweet spot for earning the most links. Then if you manage to hit 3,000 words, you’ll possibly end up pulling in three times more traffic than articles of average length (with 901 – 1,200 words)
Now, for a perfect example of a foundational resource, you don’t have to search far and wide. This article fits the bill, as it explores the topic of guest post backlinks to a degree that has never been reached before.
You could do the same for relevant subjects in your focus industry. Just find out what your target audience is searching for and then create comprehensive guides – complete with critical data, technical tips, screenshots for demonstration, plus maybe a case study or two for practical simulation.
As for the subsequent guest articles, consider writing advice pieces, and then include contextual links directing readers to seek additional guidance from the original foundational resource.
Over To You – What This All Means For Your Link Building Campaign
Despite Google’s repeated disapproval of guest post link building, the fact of the matter is, guest post backlinks remain relevant to its PageRank algorithm. And that’s not all – they’re now potentially more influential than ever.
But, don’t get it wrong. By “influential”, we mean that it goes both ways – guest post backlinks are now capable of substantially improving your search rankings, just as much as they’re capable of getting your website blacklisted from the SERPs.
What makes the difference is quality.
You see, with Google’s current emphasis on quality over quantity, only the most meaningful backlinks are factored into the rankings. All thanks to the system having the intelligence to accurately pick out natural contextual backlinks from the spammy ones.
That means that although Google might not admit it, its AI doesn’t really care much about how you got your guest posts published. It, instead, focuses its attention on where the guest articles are published, the structure of the content, plus the placement of the links.
If you follow the guidelines that we’ve laid down, you might be able to get yourself a couple of quality guest post backlinks on high-authority sites. But then again, if you happen to make a mistake that compromises the quality of the links, Google Penguin might not be very forgiving. Its tough penalties could cast your site out into oblivion.
A huge game of chance, don’t you think?
Luckily for you, no one is better suited to handle it all than Loganix’s digital marketing team.
Our advanced SEO expertise and resources are regularly updated based on Google’s algorithm changes – all while optimizing everything to minimize the risks and maximize the rewards.
When it comes to link building, for example, you’ll be getting not just a guest post service, but an all-inclusive cocktail. We guarantee a full-on campaign that leverages all the available opportunities, seals all your potential loopholes, and tracks the results in real-time.
Contact us right away and we’ll set it all up for you. It’s high time you stole the limelight from your competitors!
Now it’s your turn.
Now I’d like to turn it over to you to spark a debate or lead a new discussion.
What in this post were you excited about? What was useful? What would you like to read more about?
Or maybe you just have a question about something you read.
Either way, let us know in the comments below.