The core of any good SEO strategy must be based on two key elements: content and backlinks. These days, Google is on to the low-quality backlink strategies that once worked forcing all companies to think beyond the simple article submission tactic of a couple years ago.  Quality is the name of the game, and in order to find that quality backlink, you need to:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Be able to recognize a good website

Guest posts as a backlink tactic is growing in popularity. We owe this renewed interest in guest posting to Google’s mission to make the internet a better, more user-focused place – one that isn’t filled with irrelevant directories and spammy websites that don’t deliver quality information. Those directory links don’t hold weight like they once did, which means SEO experts have had to focus on alternative backlinking strategies that deliver high quality content echoing the brand and mission of a website. .

Guest posting involves writing an informative blog post or article that will then be published by a fellow blogger who writes about similar topics and has an audience with a genuine interest in the subject. After your guest post is published, you’ll have a high-quality link to your website as the author of the blog post. You’ll also have another website advocating for your website and brand.

Obtaining a guest post is not always easy. While many bloggers welcome content from outside sources – often because they’re too busy to write as frequently as they’d like – others get inundated with offers and must turn the majority of them down.

So how do you make your offer so enticing the host blogger can’t say no? We like to think of guest posting as making new friends within your industry. The more you can connect with a blogger on a personal level, the better your chances of scoring a guest post on a quality site. Thus, the best approach is to figure out how you would like to be approached. Here at Mad Fish SEO, we like to use the following strategy:

Do your research. Take the time to research sites that rank well and provide quality information relating to the products, services or industry you write about. If you think your target audience would visit this website, than it is most likely a good one to approach for a guest post. These sites will provide you with your best chance of success – and the highest-quality backlinks.

Personalize your email. Don’t reach out to bloggers with a one-size-fits-all email. Customize each one by explaining why you like the blogger’s site and what type of information you’d like to write for them. Try to pitch topics that contain keywords you want to rank for, but are also prevalent on the website. We get the best results when we propose a couple of specific topics from which the blogger can choose.

Know the readership. Scan the blog to make sure the topics you’re suggesting would fit in with the existing content, and justify your pitch with reasons you believe readers would find your information helpful. SEOmoz recently released a blog post on the best guidelines for obtaining a guest post. They advise to also pay attention to the comments the website’s blog posts receive. Do they look spammy? If so, you do not want your guest post hosted there.

Show professionalism. What sets us apart at Mad Fish is that we stand by our work. We’re willing to collaborate with bloggers to come up with topics that will work for them, and we deliver the finished product on time and error free. Many bloggers have specific guidelines that they want their guest posters to follow. We make sure to adhere to their instructions in order to have no delays in our guest post going live. Setting a level of professionalism with a guest blogger and potential partner will have long-term benefits.

Provide quality content. Don’t insult your new blogger friend by turning in a thinly veiled advertisement. Follow through with a well-written and information-driven post that provides value to the reader. Once your guest post is published, share it on your Facebook & Twitter accounts giving credit back to the site that hosted it. We like to share the love.

If you develop relationships with the bloggers who host your guest posts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the benefits you will reap. Some of the bloggers we have worked with have then referred us to other bloggers who accept guest posts. They have also posted and reviewed infographics on their sites. Most importantly, they have become allies out there who are willing to give a good word about our brand.

Make new friends. If you help them, they will help you.