Guest posting is definitely a hot topic – the overwhelming response we received to our last roundup on whether guest posting is worth the time investment proves it.

If you’ve decided guest posting is right for you, what tips should you follow for guest posting success? Seventeen of our expert contributors have this covered, sharing their practices and strategies with us.

Let’s dive into what they have to say.

Mudassir Ahmed of Blogging Explained

Guest post on high-authority sites, and only consider smaller sites if you’re new to guest posting

“There’s usually no value to guest post on sites no one ever heard of and have low engagement and authority. Use SEO tools like Moz and SEMrush to check a site’s authority and relative metrics to see if the site is worth your energy and time.

“However, if you’re completely new to guest blogging, you should start building a portfolio through smaller sites as I did. I started getting featured at sites of my friends or have low metrics, and using that work, I pitched to a top publication and was featured.”

Julian Goldie of Goldie Agency

Carefully prospect sites to guest blog for

“Guest posting takes time and effort. The first step in my process is to prospect sites that have a medium-ranked domain authority and apply to your niche. Creating a meticulous target list will save you time in the future, and yield the best results. Proper planning prevents problems, which is why prospecting and targeting the right sites is my number one piece of advice to everyone looking to increase their SEO through guest posts.

“Many SEO articles will talk about guest posting content or outreach tactics, but in my experience, nothing has brought better results than starting with a strong spreadsheet of targets. If you have guest posts on sites that have terrible domain authority or are outside your specialization, those links will not be worth the time invested into them.”

Laura Blackwell of Hedgehog Digital

Remember that a site’s relevance helps more than its DA

“Regardless of a site’s authority score (although it’s great to have a healthy one), how well your guest post performs will depend on the relevance of the publisher to your site/your audience and how valuable the content is.

“Ultimately, writing a guest post for a site with a lower authority score can still be an effective way to build authority for your site, if it’s reaching the right people.”

Nina Jensen of 8×8

Target the right blogs for SEO benefits

“A huge mistake that guest bloggers often make is targeting the wrong blogs. It is extremely important you are writing content for blogs that have some commonality with your site.

“Otherwise, your content will seem disingenuous to readers, you will be targeting the incorrect market, and it will not help your SEO efforts if your link does not relate to the blog it is posted on.

“If you pitch your guest posting services to a blog in your same target market, however, it will be much more successful for your SEO, audience, and engagement.”

Maria Grace of Maria Grace LLC

Use this site vetting process to determine if a guest post opportunity is worth it

“Since the very beginning of my business, I’ve gotten consistent requests to write guest blogs for other websites – and if you have any kind of online presence, I’m sure you’ve gotten the same ‘offers.’

“When the first email came across, I’ll admit I was fairly flattered. But by the time dozens of requests had landed in my inbox, I realized that most of the time, it was a ploy to boost the presence of the requestor, and wouldn’t help my business at all. I started deleting every email I got, ignoring every request, and put the idea aside in my head.

The more I learned about SEO, though, the more I realized there might be benefit to some of these requests. While I still say no to a large majority of the emails I receive, I have a much more thorough way of reviewing the potential benefits and downsides of writing guest blogs. I know the benefits that backlinks can have for SEO, and I want to take advantage of every beneficial opportunity I can get.

“Before you decide whether to guest blog for a site, you’ll need to answer a few questions.

Q1: Is the website audience relevant to your business?

You don’t want to write a helpful article for a competitor, and you probably won’t be asked to do that. But make sure the other website content is at least somewhat relevant to what you do. Personally, I look for websites other small business owners could potentially visit, since that is my ideal client.

Q2: Will you have a do-follow link or not?

Remember that no-follow links will not contribute to your SEO, since the back-end coding indicates the website owner is not endorsing your business. While no-follow links exist everywhere (think social media!), they are generally not very helpful in long-term marketing success. The exception would be if the audience is rather large and you will continue to get referrals from that single article or blog.

Q3: Are you the only person marketing the article?

You may have to dig a little, but it’s helpful to look at the track record for the brand. Will you be the only person sharing the article, or will the link be shared to social media accounts and/or in an email newsletter? If the only person sharing the article is you, the benefit will likely be very small or nonexistent! In fact, besides gaining a little credibility as a guest blogger, you are helping the website out more than you will be helped by the mention.”

Amy Hernandez of electrIQ Marketing

Be ready with a list of guest post topics for a site

“The trick with guest posting is doing your research before you reach out to a specific outlet. Be sure their audience is similar to your own, and when pitching to them, make sure you have a variety of possible topics for them to choose from.

“You do not want to just pitch the same idea over and over to different outlets because if they do pick that idea and publish it, SEO algorithms will view it negatively. Repeat content is frowned upon and will end up not being useful in the long run.” –Amy Hernandez,

Nikola Webster of Brit On The Move

9 guest blogging steps to follow

“Here is my advice for guest posting:

  1. Validate the site’s domain authority. It needs to be higher than yours, or else writing a guest post for that site is not worth the effort.
  2. Validate the site’s traffic. There are tons of spam sites that accept guest posts. If they have no traffic (or low traffic) and they have built their site through crappy backlinks, you will get no link juice.
  3. If you are writing for a high domain authority site, they will have very specific guidelines that you must follow to the T. Any mistakes, including how you submit the photos, can halt your efforts.
  4. Avoid ‘paid guest posting’ opportunities, as these are bogus.
  5. Research the keywords and synonyms as you would for your own site. Create an article that the site you are writing for can rank for.
  6. Consider your own site when you write. For example, not all sites request 1,000+ words. However, I accept guest posts and I will not accept anything less than 1,000 words. Quality is king!
  7. Include H1s, H2s, and H3s. The more copy-paste ready your article is, the more likely it is to be accepted.
  8. Do not over-promote yourself. The goal is to write the article for the site you are guest posting on – the article is not about you!
  9. Lastly, make sure you are contributing original content and not a reworded version of existing articles. Publishers check for plagiarism of existing articles.”

Max Woolf of ResumeLab

Put in the time and research for solid content

“For most of us, getting traffic to our website might feel like climbing Mount Everest, blindfolded – especially since Google recently rolled out a new policy that effectively gave guest posting a bit of a hammering.

“But guest posting can still be worth it if you’re smart about it. It’s now of critical importance to craft strong pieces of content that provide value to the reader, not fluffy advice. While Google’s algorithms are still developing, they’re getting better at drawing a distinction between run-of-the-mill content and quality reads.

“That’s why you should put in the legwork to create content that’s all-around strong. To do it, get expert quotes from industry experts (e.g., via HARO) to give your work more credibility, provide actionable advice the reader can apply in real-life (e.g., provide examples whenever possible), and generally try to make your blog posts engaging with creative intros and fun metaphors.”

Nikola Roza

Use guest posting to build relationships

“If you have a team member who can take over guest posting for your brand, then it’s an effective way to build new links to your site, and also build relationships with fellow bloggers in the industry.

“Smart guest posting is actually a scalable, slow-burning link building campaign because you can use your guest posts to link to helpful resources written by bloggers you want to connect with in the future. Let these bloggers know about the link.

“Then, you repeat and repeat, and over time you start getting links in return from their guest posts – and you won’t have to ask or do anything special to get them. Because you already did your part in linking to them consistently.”

Kelsey Chan of Cocosign

3 guest blogging tips to maximize benefit

“Guest posting is a very cost-effective approach to boost your site’s domain authority by getting external links, and possibly traffic, from high-authority domains.

“But to enjoy the benefits brought by guest posting, there are several requirements to be met.

  • Do it in the long term, for at least two years.
  • Make sure you are guest posting on relevant sites. If your business is related to technology, then don’t consider options like a pet website.
  • Make sure you utilize the right SEO skills in the article title, anchor text, etc. All these can be a boost to the article ranking.” –Kelsey Chan

Stewart Dunlop of PPC Genius

Try ‘guestographics’

“There is a new trend of getting quality backlinks that is starting to be very useful – ’guestographics.’ This is a transformed variant of conventional guest posting, where infographics are used to supplement other blog content.

“How to apply this? Find highly viewed or mass-acclaimed blog content directly or indirectly related to your niche. Take any of these content pieces and create attractive and engaging infographics based on that content. Research well to add more in-depth information, and seek professional help, if possible, to make your infographics highly informative and attractive.

“Once the infographic is accepted on a high-authority blog site, it will create great engagement from the same readers who already read the original blog post. Most of the popular blog content generate higher engagement when they’re enhanced with attractive infographics.”

Elle Meager of Outdoor Happens

Avoid time wasters and traps

“There are a few critical time wasters and traps that are easy to fall into unless you know how to avoid them. Let me shed light on those traps.

“The most critical step is to contact whoever oversees the host blog before you write anything else. Always reach out first and propose a list of prospective guest blog post ideas so your host can choose the topic they like the most.

“Get the green light on your pitch before you invest even one additional moment writing a guest blog post! Nothing feels worse than spending an entire afternoon (or longer) writing a breathtaking guest blog post, then having the host blog deny your content or request a different topic.

“Even worse is if you discover the blog you’re reaching out to isn’t responsive – or they outright ignore you. All this frustration is easily avoidable by reaching out and contacting the blog owner before you write your guest post. If they take too long to respond, or if they don’t seem excited to hear from you – consider skipping them and finding a more receptive host.

“Another mistake is investing too much time on guest blog posts from hosts who demand too much from you. Some publications restrict the ability for you to insert multiple backlinks or otherwise require you to write within unreasonably strict editorial guidelines. Pay special attention to the guest blog post rules to check if they’re within reason. That way, you can avoid the frustrations of a tedious editorial process that can suck up your time and render the entire guest blog posting process a futile effort.”

Muhammad Mateen Khan of PureVPN

5 tips for successful guest posting

“Diversify content: New people bring fresh perspectives and new ideas. If your blog feels stale, another writer (or several) can breathe new life into it.

Access new audiences: Every new writer brings an audience with them. It may not always be a large audience, but every new reader counts.

Network with up-and-coming professionals: Most of the people who submit articles will be newer professionals trying to make a name for themselves. Give them a leg up now, and they’ll remember you when they find greater success.

Bring experts on board: You might already be positioned as an expert in your field, but you know what’s better than one expert? Multiple experts. Every expert who writes an article for you lends you some of their authority. It might take a while to get a real expert’s attention, but the right one will provide an incredible boost for your blog.

Stand by your rules: If someone is persistent in not following the rules, you have to deny them the opportunity to guest post on your blog.” –Muhammad Mateen Khan, PureVPN

Elliott Brown of OnPay

Focus on building authority

“To be effective, I recommend pursuing guest posting opportunities with established websites, where the topic you’re writing about is closely related to other topics on the site. Any of your business partners or bloggers who cover your industry are a great place to start.

The ultimate goal is to build authority, which comes when people who matter endorse your opinion – not when people who don’t matter do. So avoid paid guest posting opportunities or posting on sites that don’t have much relationship to the topics you’re writing about. It’s unlikely the right audience will see these types of posts, and Google will think less of them, too.”

Kevin Carney of Organic Growth

Follow these steps to raise brand visibility through guest posting

“If you solicit guest posting opportunities from  sites known to be ‘guest post farms’ with brands that lack a good reputation, it’s not worth the work. Why? Because those links come from sites considered low quality with little authority.

If you solicit guest posting opportunities from brands with a good reputation, it’s worth the effort. Why? Because when the brand has a good reputation, the sites are considered to be of higher quality and have some authority.

So how do you realistically raise your website visibility through guest posting?

1) Target websites that have a domain authority (DA) 10 to 20 points above yours because you can get their attention. Going to Forbes requires you to already be known as an authority in your field.

2) Solicit guest posting opportunities only from sites that publish articles you think are good.

3) Consider your guest posting strategy to be an iterative process. As the DA of your website rises over time, the websites you target for guest posting opportunities will in turn have a higher DA, which in turns raises your DA.”

Muneer Mian of Beaufort Associates

Make guest posting a secondary strategy

“Guest posting still works, but the content has to be good. And it can take a long time before you see a result, so it can’t be your number one marketing tactic.

“Successful guest posts should be longer in length, thoroughly planned and researched, and provide value to readers.

If you decide to accept guest posts on your blog, you shouldn’t do it all the time. Publish guest posts that enrich your publishing strategy. But you still need to publish your own content, and between the publishing dates, you can occasionally post a guest article as well.”

Muhammad Mateen Khan of PureVPN

Understand why guest posting may not always be helpful

“Though it can be tricky to keep up with evolving SEO algorithms, not a great deal has changed principally in the murky world of link building over the last few years.

In 2012, Google introduced its Penguin update to stamp out some black-hat link-building tactics. The move led people to conclude that backlinks must be a positive contributor to a site’s ranking profile. They viewed links as demonstrating that their sites are important enough to be referred to by other sources, thus showing search engines (and humans) the site is an authoritative source.

In the words of Google, ‘Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors.’

But as research from Backlinko reveals, writing a guest post here and there – no matter how authoritative the target domain – will do little to nothing to boost your search ranking or your online visibility.

Guest blogging today looks different than it did ten years ago. It’s no longer about mass producing content to publish across multiple sites in exchange for a bunch of backlinks to bump up your SEO.

That’s why guest blogging in the 2020s isn’t the most effective strategy, especially if you’re a B2C company. Before investing any time and resources into a guest-blogging project, focus on other, more cost-effective strategies first.”

Christine Glossop of Looka

Focus on building brand, not links, with guest posts

“Guest posting used to be a link-building game, but now it’s a brand-building game. By guest posting on other sites, you can build your brand’s authority on a certain topic. And by accepting guest posts on your site, you can leverage the insights of experts to boost your brand’s reputation.

“Guest blogging for links likely won’t do much for your SEO. But guest blogging for brand can be a great way to get your name out there and boost your authority on certain topics.”

Wrapping things up

Now that you’ve heard from the experts, you’re ready for guest posting success. But, as some of our experts shared, guest posting isn’t always very helpful for SEO. And to see the best results, you’ll need to put in your fair share of time and work into every guest post.

Still deciding whether you should use guest posting in your marketing strategy? Check out our roundup where marketers weigh in on whether guest posting is worth it, and another roundup where marketers break down the advantages and disadvantages of guest posting.