How to Get the Most from Guest Blogging (4 Tips You Probably Don’t Know About)

Glenn Allsopp

I’ve long wondered if I should be doing guest posts as part of my linkbuilding activities. While thinking about it, I thought about the success with the tactic Glen Allsopp has had, who writes for ViperChill on the topic of viral marketing. So I pinged him an email and asked him if he’d do a guest post on Hobo about, well, guest blogging.

I’m not egotistical enough to think the majority of the readers here have a clue who I am, so let me share one important factor that you’ll find in everything I write: I only share advice on things that I have a lot of personal experience with. Guest blogging is certainly one of those things.

Though guest blogging has really risen to the scene in 2010, I was utilising it way before everyone started talking about it. In 2009, I wrote more guest posts than any other personal development blogger (and perhaps any blogger at all?) with over 40 under my belt.

These posts drove thousands of visitors to my blog at the time (I sold it at the end of 2009) and helped me grow it to over 6,500 feed subscribers. I’ve covered the topic of guest blogging before – ranking no.1 in Google with my post on it – but there were a few things that I didn’t discuss.

At the time, I had a lot to say on the subject, but it was all based on my own experience so that’s all I could cover. I wasn’t prepared for the literally hundreds of questions I would get about the tactic. Because of that there are still things I have to say on the topic that I haven’t been able to say elsewhere

Today I want to share 4 tips about guest blogging you may not know about, to help you get the most out of your time spent writing articles.

You Don’t Need to Build Relationships

One thing many of my clients come to me about is tips on how they can connect with bloggers in the right way so that they can pitch their guest posts to them. The “secret” I share with them time and time again is this: 9 times out of 10, you don’t need to create any form of connection with the person you’re writing for.

Many blogs are just really looking for quality content so that matters far more than whether or not you’ve been in touch with the website owner before. The reason a lot of blogs accept guest posts in the first place is because they don’t have time to write for themselves, so they most probably don’t have time to engage in new connections either.

Instead of worrying if it’s the right time to pitch your post idea, why not try sending it to the blogger instead. Even if it’s your first interaction. Unless it’s a blog that is difficult to write for (this is very rare) then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Small Varied Blogs Work Better than Large Ones

The two main benefits of guest blogging are the traffic you receive from the sites you write for and the links you can get which help with search engine rankings. Writing for a large blog versus a small one is obviously going to be better for you in terms of traffic, but it doesn’t always stay that way.

If you keep writing content for the same audience then the amount of new eyeballs you reach diminishes each time. Unless they’ve had a substantial audience growth since the last time you wrote for them. On the other hand, writing for lots of small blogs does take more work, but there’s a better chance you’re reaching a new audience every time.

SEO testing has also showed me, and many other blogs, that getting links from separate sites is far more valuable than repeatedly getting them from the same site, even if it has more authority.

Guest Blogging is Often Better Than Writing for Your Own Site

Besides worrying about how long they should interact with a blogger before pitching a post idea, many people also come to me with the question of how many posts they should write for other blogs. Following that question I usually hear something along the lines of “But I feel like the content should go on my website now that I’ve written it.”

A simple way to test whether guest blogging is a good use of your time is to not do anything. Just keep posting content on your own site and see what happens. Then, let one of your “babies” off into the blogosphere and see the effects that guest blogging can have for you. If the site you wrote for had a decent audience, you’ll soon want to write lots more.

Unless the post is amazing and wouldn’t fit on any other site, then post it on yours. But (and this really just applies to newer blogs) if it’s great and there is other content you can write for your site, it’s probably better to pass it on to another blog. The traffic and exposure you receive is great compared to what you can usually generate for a new site.

Success With Guest Blogging Is About Your Site, Not Theirs

I’ve already said that writing for a large blog is initially far more effective than writing for a smaller one, but there’s still more to it in than that. You could post 20 blog posts on 20 different, large blogs and not get much for your efforts besides a spike in traffic.

Your site must be ready to receive traffic and convert those visitors. If you haven’t posted for weeks or I struggle to find your RSS feed, what use is the relevant traffic that’s coming your way?

Similarly, how many readers do you expect to gain if you write about social science and you’re constantly writing on blogging blogs (I’ve saw this, numerous times)?

Not only that, but to get the SEO value from guest blogging you should be linking to pages on your site that are optimised around the phrase you’re linking with, and vice versa.

If you put these four steps into play, you’ll have much more success with the method.


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18 Responses

  1. Michiel says:

    guests blog posts are just as old as blogs themselves although your tip[s are kind of ok, you don’t give any tips on how to value those blogs, most blogs are worthless, you need to point out to the readers which blogs are actually worth it to start with.

  2. James says:

    Hi Shaun, Would I be right in assuming that, in the eyes of a pro SEO, guest blogging has a similar value to press releases? Personally, I haven’t looked at using guest blog articles yet but I have started to delve in press release syndication. Rather than using a single article submitted en masse to sites, I’ve started to create a series of releases that are unique. Currently I’m pointing my PR’s back to articles on my own site but I guess this would work just as well by pointing releases to guest blogs. Not sure if this would potentially lead to another site outranking me for a target keyword/phrase. Thoughts?

  3. David Saunders says:

    Hey! Wanna do a guest blog on my, em, blog David (Plymouth Innit)

  4. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    James I would think a guest blog has much more value than a press release, taken one on one – even today. It probably depends on the blog itself – how popular it is, for instance, or how well linked to. Press releases only pass a small fraction of PR for instance, whereas there’s every reason to think a guest post like this one will transfer PR2 value (can’t believe I am talking about Pagerank but you get what I mean).

  5. James says:

    Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Nothing wrong with talking about PR (until Google does away with it) as I find it’s usually a good indicator or link strenth (I use linkdiagnosis to see what my competitors are up to :))

  6. Glen Allsopp says:

    Thanks for the opportunity Shaun, I gave this a tweet! James, that sounds very much like a link-triangle (how I refer to it, others have their own names). They generally work best for obscure phrases. There’s no harm in working to build links to the guest posts that link to you, but a better use of time would just perhaps be to write most posts.

  7. Per says:

    Also Press release never gets any Pagerank at all in the long run, as they are being hosted on huge sites together with millions of other articles. So there is no chance it is going to outrank anything… So, guest blogging is much better :)

  8. Tasarım says:

    Lovely article Glen. Tbh i’ve never thought that guest blogging would be ‘this’ effective…

  9. Terry Van Horne says:

    I get that a relationship is not required… however, I know that gets benefit from me and I presume others. Glen is right in that it isn’t a must but… it can’t hurt especially if the blog is large and has many peeps submitting. Building a relationship should be an extension/goal as well not a prerequisite.

  10. Signature says:

    I often come across these blogs that are very obviously used as a vehicle for linked up keyphrases to other sites… is this what we’re talking about here? How does one find these blogs in the first place to submit articles to?

  11. Shaun Anderson (Hobo says:

    “I often come across these blogs that are very obviously used as a vehicle for linked up keyphrases to other sites”

    These are article submission blogs and I’ve used them before. You basically pay for software which you add your articles to and they publish – in my eyes, nothing different from PR submission networks, except they use blogs to publish the article. These aren’t really the type of blogs we are talking about here – the type discussed today are REAL blogs with a REAL audience – not just Googlebot fodder. See here for links that seem to affect ranking changes.

  12. Mark says:

    Glenn, This post made a lot of sense. Having you articles posted to smaller niche blogs can potentially yield invaluable contextual links very high in relevancy. In my personal opinion, this trumps PR. Of course, PR in conjunction with relevancy would be the best. Additionally, one relevant link from a trusted source pointing to a web-page on your site can be better than posting that article to your own blog. My only question is, and I have been wondering about this for a while. If you trade guest posts on blogs, how do you know if your fellow blogger’s article is original without paying a copyscape fee? Just curious Thanks, Mark

  13. Pippa says:

    I don’t have the time to write for my own blog at the moment, so as cool and useful as guesting would be, I think I need to work on expanding mine first. :) Interesting post though. cheers

  14. Stephen says:

    I used to think that to do guest blogging you need to have lots of solid relationships. But, after reading your post my thoughts have changed. Thanks for the great information and the paradigm shift that I experienced.

  15. Emma Ewers says:

    Forget about the links and their value for the moment and consider the whole new readership you could draw to your own blog through guest blogging. If you are lucky enough to feature on a well read, relevant blog you could triple your readership over night. It is also of great value to the blogger whose site you guest post on because it gives there reader anothe rpoint of view, keeps your content fresh and interesting plus the added benefit the guest blogger will post links up on Twitter, Facebook their own blog and other sites to promote the fact they have written a guest blog. Emma :)

  16. Signature says:

    Ah, thanks for the 2nd link Shaun. Sums up in bite-sized bits what we’re talking about here… although there remains some mystery for me on how you find these blogs…

  17. Manisha says:

    Many thanks for this article… it was a great help.. i was just thinking for doing some guest blogging.

  18. TradeShow Ninja says:

    hey Shaun, I like your term “googlebot fodder” which you used in a comment above. LOL. Unfortunately, it seems that about 80% of the web is made up of “googlebot fodder”… :( By the way, don’t let this swell your head, but just for giggles I did a search for the term “googlebot fodder” and this post ranks #1 on google (out of 27,500). Just goes to show the power of blog comment content, and why bloggers should welcome and encourage good comments! ~ Steve, the curious tradeshow ninja

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