Should you include guest posts in your content marketing strategy? Some content marketers think writing and accepting guest posts offers high value, while others don’t think the returns are worth the time.

It seems guest posting has plenty of advantages when you do it right, but the potential drawbacks can often outweigh its benefits.

At Referral Rock, we’ve had some success with guest posting. But recently, we’ve begun focusing more of our efforts on strategies other than guest posting.

We were curious to find out what others in the marketing community think of guest posting. We asked experts to share the biggest advantage and disadvantage of using this strategy, and 122 marketers responded, making this one of our most successful roundups yet!

We cover their opinions later in the article. But first, let’s find out how marketers decide which sites to write guest posts for, as well as accept guest posts from.

Deciding which sites to write guest posts for

How to decide which websites to write guest posts for? A total 82% of marketers told us the most important factors are high domain authority, and the site’s authority or expertise on the given topic.

A high domain authority means the site’s strong SEO reputation might help boost your site if a backlink is included in your guest post. And in a qualitative sense, when the site has topical expertise on the subject you’re writing about, your own content will seem more authoritative, making it easier for readers to trust you and your brand.

Following this, 68% of marketers choose to write guest posts based on if the site already publishes high-quality content. This is a clear sign the site is reputable.

The third most important factor, chosen by 61% of marketers, is if the site shares a similar audience with their own .

Which sites to write guest posts for

Deciding which sites to accept guest posts from

When marketers decide which sites to accept guest posts from, 50% give the highest priority to people who are experts on a given topic. At a close second, 48% make sure the post is high-quality and well-written.

Interestingly, 32% currently chose not to accept guest posts at all – a possible indication that the drawbacks of accepting guest posts outweigh the benefits. (For comparison, only 2% of the surveyed marketers don’t currently write guest posts.)

Which sites to accept guest posts from?

Biggest advantage of writing guest posts

Marketers thought the biggest advantages of guest posting include increasing brand awareness, gaining backlink opportunities, building authority, and more. Let’s dive into each advantage in detail.

Increases brand awareness

“When we write a guest post, it provides us with another platform, other than our own website, to share our company goals and values. In other words, it’s a fantastic strategy for building brand awareness!” –Josh Stomel, Turbo Finance

“We have gained brand awareness from guest posting in two ways. First, our brand enters the minds of our target audience. We see significant traffic coming from the sites that host our guest posts. Second, guest posting gives a boost to our SEO.

“We are still a relatively young company and just started to make an impact on Google’s search rankings. We saw exponential growth in rankings for our target keywords as soon as we began gaining backlinks to our site.” –Joy Corkery, Latana

“The most important advantage of guest posting is it widens your reach and therefore, improves your ranking. This can also give you access to valuable new contacts, which can lead to partnership and collaboration opportunities.” –Milosz Krasinski, Chilli Fruit Web Consulting

“Writing guest posts is a great way to attract traffic to your website and reach new people. Especially when you have a freshly launched website – your audience doesn’t know you too well, and posting on blogs they usually read is one of the best ways to get in front of them.” –Elena Iordache-Stoica, Stoica.Co

Opens up backlink opportunities

“The biggest advantage of guest posts is you can control which pages you link to on your website and the anchor text you use. This is very uncommon. Most other link building activities will generate a backlink to your home page. This is not as effective for SEO purposes as a link that points to an important product or service page or blog post.” –Gareth Mahon, The CareSide

“You can insert a link or two in your guest post. This is why you want to submit a guest post to a site that has a higher domain authority than your own. Another advantage is the exposure to a whole other audience who might not have ever come across your site without this post.” –Lora Bovie, Choosing Therapy

“The amount of credibility someone gains from a guest post is incredible. Not only will you be marketed on the blog, but those with a blog often have social channels where they share the latest blog posts and rank high in SEO. Being able to gain SEO authority through backlinks before your own website has taken off has a huge advantage. It allows for much faster organic growth.” –Angeline Driggers, Dear Eladia

“Due to our size and relatively small niche, we’ve found guest posting to be an integral part of our SEO campaign. Aside from directories, backlinks are difficult to get. But many blogs within the home improvement niche are more than willing to accept guest posts in return for backlinks because there is a finite amount of possible topics to write about. Guest posting affords us a much larger audience within our small niche with minimal action involved.” –Robert O’Sullivan, Ranch Roofing

“Guest posting is a great way to link build, as you can generate exposure from various websites and show off your knowledge in a specific subject. Also, you have the power to create and edit content the way you want. You get to choose the keywords and titles, and you can insert your preferred link when drafting the guest post. This ability to add an anchor link on your preferred keyword that will direct readers to your intended page is the most important part of guest posting, since it correlates directly with SEO.” –Amy Hernandez, electrIQ Marketing

Builds your authority as a content creator in your niche

“Having your quality content on a reputable site with high editorial standards will be valuable to your online presence, even without a follow link. Over time, people will seek you out and ask for guest post because they’ve seen the content you create, which takes all the research and outreach effort out of the process entirely.” –Jodie Cook, JC Social Media

“It is hard to build the trust of your audience and convert them into paying customers. Guest posting addresses this problem by establishing you as an authority figure in the industry. Being branded as an expert proves to your audience that you are a credible information source. This in turn, makes them receptive to your content and can help your website to build natural backlinks.” –Madeleine Seah, Progress Abms

“Writing guest posts can help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche in a short time. You should create valuable content and share practical tips your audience can’t find elsewhere. Guest posting gives you an opportunity to let your audience know what your company does and how it can solve their problems.” –Muneer Mian, Beaufort Associates

“It can help to establish you as an authority in your industry, and build your site’s relevance and visibility in organic search. Especially if you’re able to land a guest post on a high-authority, well-known site, it can really help boost your own site’s trust and authority.” –Morgen Henderson, Portent

“The biggest advantage of writing guest blog posts is you are sharing your expertise with relevant audiences who will appreciate your perspective. The key is to be as relevant as possible and make sure there is logical crossover between your knowledge and the readers’ desire for your insights.” –Chris Biscuiti, Minuteman Press

“Guest posting means you can be an expert in your field, and people will start to recognise your work. A lot of people in the industry keep their knowledge to themselves, but this is a way to be able to promote your company and share that knowledge, too.” –Ethan Taub, Creditry

“When done right, it is great for your organic search results. Search engines will rank you higher if you have strong domains referring to you. See it as if NASA is referring to your blog about astronomy. Search engines see these links as market referrals – proof you know what you’re writing about. And if you have authorities in your niche referring to you, your ranking will go up, meaning more organic traffic!” –Josien Galama

Builds connections with a new audience

“If you have the time, or if you can employ a freelancer to write guest content on your behalf, then you can reach out to a whole host of potential new clients – all through a network that has been established and nurtured by another professional. When you connect with the website owner, you may establish a mutually positive connection that will be beneficial for your business.” –Andrew Taylor, Net Lawman

“Guest posts allow you to set the stage and introduce a new topic or angle on a known topic to an audience you might have not connected with. This positions you further as an authority in the area, driving more attention to your business as a whole.” –Peter Thaleikis, RankLetter

“The biggest benefit of guest posting is getting to a broader audience. By posting on lots of authoritative websites, you get to double or triple your reach. These guest posts have to be of excellent quality so that your brand is associated with great content.” –Mike Sadowski, Brand24

Drives more traffic to your site

“Guest posting potentially drives traffic to your site that you wouldn’t see naturally. If the site you guest post on is well known and you submit a quality piece of writing (which you should), then people who might not know about your brand are more likely to come check it out.” –Amanda Haynes, Ganttic

“Guest writing is well worth it. It helps out the site you post on, as well as your brand as you get to show your knowledge and expertise with another audience. This can bring more traffic or a greater audience to your own site, and allow the two parties to share followers or subscribers.” –Luke Smith, We Buy Property In Kentucky

“One of the biggest advantages to guest posting is exposure. Getting your brand on a popular site that’s similar to your market can mean a big bump in traffic and potentially sales. And if looking at it from a link building standpoint, getting on a high domain authority site can mean more search exposure for your site due to potentially better positioning.” –Jeff Moriarty, Tanzanite Jewelry Designs

Helps you network

“The biggest advantage of writing guest posts is the opportunity to network with other bloggers and business owners. Making new connections and meeting new people is essential to building a business and/or blog. When you write guest posts, the relationship often continues further than the one post, which can help you grow.” –Rachel Tindall, Capturing Your Confidence

“The biggest advantage is the relationships I’ve built over time. Having a good network of backlink opportunities is crucial for link building efforts. High-quality guest posts are a great opportunity for you to get a broader audience for your business. But the contacts you make when you pitch is where the true value’s at.” –Francois Mommens, Linkody

Leverages other sites’ authority

“The biggest advantage of writing guest posts on other sites is to leverage the other site’s authority, community, and followers. Not only will your content be shown to them and bring you instant traffic and leads, it will also boost your own authority and improve your SEO and link building strategy.” –Jonathan Aufray, Growth Hackers

Biggest disadvantage of writing guest posts

Even with all the advantages of writing guest posts, creating these posts for other sites still has plenty of drawbacks.

The main one marketers identified is that guest posting is very time-consuming, often for too small of a return. You’ll also have to watch out for sketchy sites and ones that require you to pay for a post on their site. Plus, guest posting isn’t always beneficial to SEO – it could actually hurt your rankings if you aren’t careful.  

Guest posting is very time-consuming

“The biggest disadvantage of writing guest posts is it takes up a lot of time and effort. Not only do you have to research what blogs accept guest posts, you must also dedicate time to crafting the content and reaching out to the web masters.”  –Madeleine Seah, Progress Abms

“Writing guest posts is an effective marketing strategy, but it doesn’t scale well. It requires a lot of effort. You need to brainstorm article topics, then pitch those ideas to editors or bloggers, and then write and edit an article. That’s a lot of work, with no guarantee your article will eventually be published.” –Gareth Mahon, The CareSide

“Guest posting, even when utilizing a ghostwriter, is time-intensive. You need to find someone to reach out to, agree on a topic, agree on length, and more. Then you need to outline the post before getting it approved. And just now, you are actually starting to write the article. That is quite a time-consuming task and must be worth the effort.” –Peter Thaleikis, RankLetter

“Guest posting takes time and effort and often nets little to no results. It can be a full time job just to find contacts, get in touch, wait for responses, and then finally, write your post.  Guest posting is all about forming and building relationships, which is not a fast job.” –Johan Hajji, Upper Key

“The biggest drawback is the amount of time you need to invest. You will spend time researching and finding the most suitable blogs/publications to post for (Ideally, websites that have a good reputation and domain authority score, with high-quality content.), discover what topics they don’t cover yet or they could write better about, then approach and pitch them. And writing the actual article does take time, since you want to write a great piece of content that not only gets published, but also gets readers’ attention.” –Elena Iordache-Stoica, Stoica.Co

“Writing and pitching guest posts is time-consuming, and it can feel disheartening when you’ve put hours into sourcing 50-100 sites to guest post for and not see a massive pay-off. It happens. This is why it’s important to allocate the time to identifying the most appropriate sites and ensuring they’re going to be worth the effort.” –Laura Blackwell, Hedgehog Digital

“The biggest disadvantage is the time and resources it takes to create a well-written post that makes sense both to your company/site’s representation, and for the site accepting your guest post. Not everyone has the money or time to invest in this type of strategy, and it can be difficult for the owner to grow their own site while contributing to someone else’s site.” –Lora Bovie, Choosing Therapy

“The biggest disadvantage to writing guest posts is it takes time to craft a meaningful piece. There’s also no guarantee it will be published, or include a backlink to your website. If your work is posted in a solid outlet, however, the risk is well worth the reward.” –Michael Vaughan, HeraldPR

“The biggest disadvantage is the amount of time it takes to write unique content that’s valuable to its intended audience. If you don’t invest in the quality of your content, you’ll have a hard time getting other sites to accept it, and it won’t perform as well.” –Elliott Brown, OnPay

Guest posting must be done regularly to produce results

“Guest posting is an all or nothing kind of deal.  There’s no point in completing one or two posts and then moving onto something else, as this won’t help your ranking or authority one jot. In order to succeed with guest posting, you need a proper strategy for regular posting, which, of course, can take up a lot of time.”–Lukasz Zelezny, Zelezny

Guest posting excessively might damage your rankings

“Guest posting can be a great source of quality links, but overdo it on certain sites, and you might get penalized. It’s critical to keep posting on websites that correspond well with your niche and are authoritative. If you decide to go for the low-hanging fruit, you might find your rankings damaged.” –Francois Mommens, Linkody

Many sites are focusing on paid guest posts, and Google is catching on

“The SEO side of guest posting is becoming more of a pay-to-play game. As I search for possible places to guest post, most sites are trying to capitalize on the opportunity for payment instead of focusing on producing high-quality content for their website visitors.

“In addition, Google’s algorithm is becoming smarter and smarter at recognizing what links seem natural. Links that seem like spam or aren’t providing a good user experience are likely to get the site penalized.” –Sarah Sherren, Best Company

“The guest posting landscape has significantly shifted in the last couple of years. It has become difficult to get quality guest posts published, and many sites are now accepting only sponsored or paid guest posts, if at all. It can take hours and hours of pitching ideas and writing guest articles just to get a single backlink to your website.” –Morgen Henderson, Portent

You could lose sight of your own blog

“The main disadvantage of writing guest posts is you may lose sight of your own blog if you write too many guest posts. This can divert your attention from your regular work on the original blog because you’ll need to think about topics different from the topics of your own blog.” –Illia Termeno, Outsourced CMO

“The biggest disadvantage of writing guest posts is you can lose quality traffic for your own blog. Of course, you’ll get quality backlinks, but you’ll lose the traffic that is going to the blog where you wrote your guest post.” –Muneer Mian, Beaufort Associates

You must watch out for sketchier sites

“There are many blogs that are very trigger happy when it comes to accepting guest posts from low quality or spammy websites. It means there has to be due diligence applied to understand if the blog is worth a guest post, or whether it may negatively affect your own website in the long run.”–Joseph Flanagan, VelvetJobs

“Based on the strict guidelines Google has on guest posts, it can sometimes be a huge problem doing guest posting on lesser quality sites. Most people will ask for money (which is a big no-no in Google’s eyes), or the site solely posts guest posts. Both of those things can lead to content marketers shooting themselves in the foot. It’s important to keep an eye out for sites that appear to be a little sketchy.” –Jeremy Bongiorno, Studio Frequencies

Guest posting is hyper-competitive

“As guest posting becomes more popular, you are something fighting against many other companies to get your point out there. A lot of companies go on a first come first serve basis, where others may take months to make a decision on who has the better insights.” –Emily Deaton, Let Me Bank

It can be difficult to get featured

“It can be hard work to get featured. Many websites get spammed each day with people trying to submit guest posts. You need to first build a relationship with the website. Then from there, see about potential guest post opportunities. Many people don’t want to put in this amount of effort.” –Tonya Davis, Frenchplanation

“It’s  difficult to get the attention of other website content managers. Sometimes you can pitch a lot of topics and get no feedback. Even when they approve your topic, you have to come up with an outline, write superb content and continue to follow up till the post goes live.” –Chuks Chukwuemeka, Depreneur Digest

“The one downside to writing guest blog posts is not knowing if your article will be accepted or not.  Even if a site or webmaster says they will accept your article, that does not mean they will publish it. Creating good pieces will definitely help you get published on more sites, though, and not have to worry about it being published or not.” –Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing

Biggest advantage of accepting guest posts

Accepting guest posts from other writers doesn’t bring as many advantages as writing them for others, based on what our marketers shared.

Still, accepting guest posts is a great way to bring new perspectives to your blog, add value, and prevent lapses in content.

Helps prevent content lapses

“The main benefit of accepting posts is you can post them when you have a creative crisis or when you can’t post regularly yourself. To make sure your readers don’t see the pause, you can publish guest posts during this time.” –Illia Termeno, Outsourced CMO

Adds new perspectives to your blog, deepening people’s trust in you

“Accepting guest posts can deepen your content offering and assist in building trust. No one likes to read content that is very obviously pushing the company’s own agenda or trying to sell, so highlighting different perspectives and writers can showcase your commitment to great information sharing.” –Ashleigh Baker,

“The biggest advantage of accepting guest posts is you can diversify the content and add a new perspective to your blog. You can achieve this if you invite bloggers and industry experts to come and share their knowledge and insights and provide their expert advice with your readers.” –Muneer Mian, Beaufort Associates

“Guest posting can be a great way for sites to include experts and differing viewpoints in their content. Working with experts to create informative guest posts can be a great way to boost your site’s readership and credibility.” –Sarah Sherren, BestCompany

Adds value to your website, as long as the articles fit your niche

“The biggest advantage to accepting quality guest posts is they do genuinely add value. But it’s vital that they are niche-specific. As long as the content weaves into the rest of the subject matter, then there is no problem with this and I’ve never experienced any negative impact (SEO or other).” –Henry Dalziel, Growth Hackers Hong Kong

Biggest disadvantage of accepting guest posts

Like writing guest posts, accepting guest posts also has drawbacks. You’ll need to screen possible guest posters to make sure they’re a good fit. And even after screening, the content they eventually turn in may not meet your website’s quality standards.

You must vet possible guest posters carefully

“When accepting guest posts, you have to be careful the company presented is a good match for your own company culture. You’ll also need to remember that any of their business decisions could also reflect upon your own company.” –Josh Stomel, Turbo Finance

“The biggest disadvantage is you need to trust the guest poster, which is a difficult thing to do sometimes in the age of the internet. Plus, this can be time consuming, considering how well you vet your guest posters.” –Amanda Haynes, Ganttic

“Guest posting is filled with noise. There are a lot of subpar guest blogs and guest bloggers out there. If you want to accept guest blogs, you need to do your research and ensure you’re investing time in the right people and projects. This means being extremely discerning about whose posts you accept. If the content you’re posting isn’t truly relevant to your brand, you’re not getting the real benefits out of guest blogging.” –Christine Glossop, Looka

You could become too dependent on guest posters

“The biggest disadvantage of accepting guest posts is if you do it too much, you may become too reliant on guest bloggers. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the time to write your content but instead, you wait for pitches that may or may not come.” –Mike Sadowski, Brand24

It may not produce enough quality content for the time you invest

“While the initial pitches sounded great, about 60% of the time, the content didn’t have the high quality we needed for our site – despite two to three rounds of feedback. The guest posts might have come in for free, but we lost a lot of time working internally on articles that never made the cut.” –Joy Corkery, Latana

“Accepting guest posts can be a timely exercise which may or may not end with the results you were hoping for. It may lead to content which isn’t fully aligned to your site or key messaging, it may require time to edit further, or it may even be too sales-focused for your goals.” –Ashleigh Baker,

“The main disadvantage of accepting guest posts is, most likely, they will not be written in your style, and you will have to spend quite a lot of time trying to bring them into stylistic unity with your existing content. Accepting guest posts is often presented as time-saving, but in fact, you won’t save much time.” –Illia Termeno, Outsourced CMO

You could be bombarded with spam

“The biggest disadvantage of accepting guest posts is you’ll be exposed to spam. Many writers don’t read the guidelines. They just blindly submit articles to every single ‘write for us’ page. And if you offer your email online, you’ll receive plenty of other random promotional spam emails. It’s best to use your second email account for this.” –Muneer Mian, Beaufort Associates

“The most common drawback is spammy links and low-quality content. If you’re allowing guest posts on your website, you need to spend more time checking the quality of the content and link placement. Low-quality content and irrelevant links can increase your website’s spam score and can hurt your website’s credibility.” –Saadiya Munir, Social Champ


Is guest posting worth it? Only your business can make the call, based on its individual marketing goals.

But hopefully, the advantages and disadvantages our experts identified have helped you make decisions about writing and accepting guest posts.

For more advice on whether to write or accept guest posts, check out our other roundups where marketers share their thoughts on the following topics: