As links remain one of the top Google ranking factors, Digital marketing strategy must include some form of link building. Guest posting is one of the best ways to get relevant, high-quality backlinks to your site, but it can be intimidating when you’re first starting out.
Before you actually start writing guest posts and building links back to your site, you need to find online publications for which to write. But how do you find sites that allow guest posting? And how can you tell which ones are high-quality and will be valuable to your site’s ranking in the SERPS.
Here are the ways to prospect for guest post link building targets.
1, Choose Your Target Keywords
Before you start searching for guest post prospects you need to know what you intend to write about. Figure out your general guest post campaign or topics, and what SEO keywords you’re targeting with them. You will use your target keywords as the basis for your prospecting search.
2, Use Advanced Search Queries
Don’t worry, advanced search queries aren’t too advanced. You just take a Google search operator and use it to find sites with specific mentions of guest posts. For example, you can use *intitle:”write for us”* (without the *) along with one of your target keywords to find pages with “Write For Us” in the title and your keyword somewhere on the page.
3, Start Opening Up Links!
Now that our search engine results page is filtered, expanded, and has domain authority included, we can start the qualifying process! Steps 1-5 set you up so that you can qualify sites to a certain extent at a glance. From here you want to select the sites that appear most valuable and relevant and open them in a new tab.
Determining which sites are worth looking into a further is a skill that gets easier with practice. Here are a few things to look for:
The Domain Authority: As I mentioned in step three, domain authority is not a perfect metric. However, it is the best tool we have to determine the quality of a site quickly. I generally don’t bother looking at sites with a DA less than 30. You can choose what number makes sense for you based on your own website.
The Domain Itself: Is it a competitor site? Is it a site you know is affiliated with a competitor? Is it a huge domain like HuffPo you know you are unlikely to get a guest article published on? If you’re familiar with your space you will likely see a lot of sites you recognize and can reject on site.
The Metadata: You can tell a lot about a site from the title and description. Derive what information you can. If you see some of your target keywords, you might want to open it up!
My Top Secret Step Six Timesaver: LinkClump
This tool lets you right-click and drag a box around a group of links, and it will open any links inside the box in a new tab. When you prospect as much as I do, this saves a ridiculous amount of time. See five sites in a row you want to check out? Don’t open them all individually, just do a quick click and drag.
4, Manually Qualifying a Site
So now you have a bunch of tabs open with potential guest post placements. Narrow these down even further by taking a quick look at the website itself. Since you already filtered out sites with low domain authorities and any competitor sites, a lot of the work is done. However, there are a few other things to look for:
Do they have a blog or resource page? It might be a great site but make sure they have a blog or resource section where they post editorial content.
Is the blog updated regularly? If there haven’t been any new updates in the past few months its possible the site is no longer being used
Do they have recent guest posts? You are more likely to get a positive response from a site that posts guest authored content already.
Do they link out in those guest posts? You want to build links along with your guest post. Make sure they include a link at least in the author bio, and potentially in the body content as well.
Are the links followed? This is where the NoFollow tool comes in. This Chrome extension automatically highlights nofollow links on any web page. If all the links aren’t followed it is likely not worth reaching out
Do they have editorial guidelines? A lot of websites publish their guidelines for guest content online. Read through them if applicable to see if your content meets their guidelines.
Is their content relevant to your business? Take a quick look through the content on their site to make sure you can offer something of value.
Is it a quality site? Domain Authority only gets you so far. Use your gut for this one. Do they advertise in big letters that they accept guest post content with dofollow links? Do they post content on a huge variety of topics that have little do with one another? Are there more ads than actual content on the page? If you see a red flag like that, close the tab.
Prospecting is time-consuming, but with the right strategy you can cut down on the time considerably. The more you qualify as you go the less work you leave yourself later. Use the time you saved to go for a walk or drink a margarita. Or both!
Want more time for margaritas and walks? Let obility do that hard work for you. Learn more about our Link Outreach Service or fill out the form below with any questions you may have.