Despite its popularity, guest posting is one of the more polarizing content marketing strategies.
Is guest posting really worth the time investment, or do its drawbacks outweigh the benefits? We wanted to know where marketers stand, and invited them to contribute to our survey and take a side.
A total of 122 marketers answered, making this one of our most successful roundups by far.
We share what marketers think about guest posts later in the article. But first, let’s find out how much time, if any, they’re devoting to writing and accepting guest posts as part of their content efforts.
Time spent on a guest posting
First, we asked marketers how much time they spend on their guest posting strategy in a given week. This includes searching for guest post opportunities, writing guest posts, and accepting guest posts.
We found that 25% spend less than two hours on guest posting and strategy, and 28% spend between 2-4 hours. This shows over half of marketers (53%) spend four hours or less on guest posts per week.
Frequency of submitting and accepting guest posts
How often do marketers submit guest posts to other sites? While it varies, the most popular schedule choice (at 27%) is to submit monthly. It’s also more common to guest post frequently, with 77% of marketers submitting to other sites at least monthly.
As for accepting guest posts, many marketers seem to think that it’s less worth their time. It turns out that 37% don’t currently accept guest posts at all, and another 26% accept them infrequently (quarterly or less than quarterly).
Only 37% accept guest posts at least monthly (compared to the 77% who submit guest posts at least monthly).
Marketers clearly favor submitting guest posts over accepting them, which is also reflected in their responses. We invited them to share their thoughts about either submitting guest posts or accepting them – and most chose to focus on submitting guest posts.
Is guest posting worth the time investment?
Let’s see where our marketers stand. We’ve divided their answers into three sections:
- Yes, guest posting is absolutely worth it.
- Guest posting is worth it, but only if certain conditions are met.
- No, guest posting isn’t worth the time investment.
Guest posting is absolutely worth it, because…
This first set of marketers told us that guest posting is absolutely worth it. After all, guest posting can help build backlinks and establish subject matter authority, all while maintaining full control over how your brand is presented.
Here’s what they told us:
It widens your reach
“Guest posting is absolutely worth the investment of time and effort. Anytime a company can spread news about how they conduct business, or share information that can shine a spotlight on their products or services, it’s already a win.” –Josh Stomel, Turbo Finance
“For a few hours a week, not only do you get great content on your site, but you can drive lots of different traffic that wouldn’t appear otherwise. Moreover, you can get your brand into different spaces on the internet in a more cost effective way.
“And if you get a backlink out of the whole deal, then it’s a win-win! Marketing is about building relationships and thinking outside the box sometimes. And guest posting lets you do both of those things.” –Amanda Haynes, Ganttic
It establishes your expertise
“Guest posting is worth the time and effort. While it does typically supply your company with a backlink, it also creates a situation that’s actually much more priceless. It establishes your company as an expert source in its field, and this can often be the deciding factor when consumers are making a buying decision.” –Sally Rong, Rellery
“When you write guest posts for other blogs, you are reaching out to an already well-established pool of readers. If new readers enjoy reading your posts, it is likely they will visit your site for more of such content and increase your traffic.
“Guest posting helps get your brand name out to a wider audience. Those who did not know of your brand before will learn about it from a credible source, increasing your brand visibility.” –Madeleine Seah, Progress Abms
“Guest posting is definitely worth the time and effort. As the other party has a different audience, you can ‘cross-pollinate’ followers. Guest posts also bring new ideas and experiences to an audience that can open their minds to your ideas.
“Finally, guest posting improves your overall credibility and helps establish yourself as an expert authority who should be trusted. In turn, you’ll receive more traffic, expand your audience and grow your business.” –Luke Smith, We Buy Property In Kentucky
“I absolutely think guest posting is worth investing time in. Guest posting for reputable blogs increases your own credibility because, after all, no one has to publish your work – it’s their choice.
“It also gets your words and ideas in front of a new and different audience, sometimes larger than your own. Guest posting builds your portfolio and shows you can and have written for others besides yourself.” –Rachel Tindall, Capturing Your Confidence
“I have written guest blog posts for many different websites, including marketing and public relations websites with higher domain authorities than mine. This has done two things for me: it increased my domain authority and helped raise my own reputation and credibility as a thought-leader in the public relations and social media marketing industry.” –Johana Caba, JM Integrated Marketing
“Guest posting can be incredibly valuable to help build your online reputation. Google has three major ranking factors: expertise, authority, and trust.
“One way Google can help gauge you as a trusted authority is by how many mentions of your brand and site there are across the web. By having other authoritative websites feature you on their site, you’re showing Google you are a trusted authority. You also get to have your content in front of a new audience, which may help you get referral traffic.” –Tonya Davis, Frenchplanation
It helps build brand awareness
“Guest posting is a great way for startups and low-to-no-budget campaigns to get their name out there and build some SEO points. Larger companies with a solid foundation may prefer to spend their time elsewhere, but it’s also important to remember that thought leadership and industry knowledge builds trust and helps educate a market. So it should always be a consideration, no matter how big your company is.” –Ashleigh Baker, HotelFurniture.com
It helps increase domain authority
“We have a relatively new website (a little over a year). Since we started to guest post over the past eight months or so, we increased our domain authority from a score of 12 to a score of 21 according to SEMRush. It’s not a huge DA, but it’s a good one considering where we started from and the fact that we have a fresh domain.” –Elena Iordache-Stoica, Stoica.Co
It’s an efficient way to gain backlinks
“In my industry, my competition has a high link velocity, which means I need to constantly acquire new links. Guest posts are an effective way for me to do that at scale. Guest post links are also more cost effective than other links, such as editorial links that people pay for.
“Plus, if you run your guest post campaigns in-house, as opposed to paying for them, you might be able to score them at zero cost.” –Brian Ward, TheWorkoutDigest
“Guest posting is a genuine, fair, and honest way to get backlinks to your website. Our team tries to guest write for blogs and publications that have a reputable domain authority score.
“When that’s the case, the backlinks are worth their weight in gold because they are a great way to boost your SEO. If you guest post for a blog that has more website traffic than you do, that also gives you the chance to get your name and content in front of a wider audience. It’s basically free publicity!” –Jessica Wise, HelpSquad
“Guest posting is definitely a great way to gain contextual do-follow backlinks with an element of control over the anchor text. These links are natural, and when inserted on high domain authority sites, can be a real power booster for your SEO, and consequently, your rankings.
“My advice is to outsource other tasks and embark upon a guest post outreach campaign a few times a year. Spreading the workload over a number of weeks can be a great way to maintain focus and not lose concentration on other important tasks.” –Chris Panteli, LifeUpswing
One quality link can boost credibility substantially
“You only need one quality link from a respected domain to see a material uplift in search ranking. Over time, successful guest posting has the potential to deliver serious gains, not just in terms of organic traffic, but from the credibility earned from a spot on a site that has a large following.
“Generally, once you have a substantial high-quality content portfolio on your own site, it’s worth investing more time on guest posting than publishing new content.” –Paul Franklin, SideGains
It brings other SEO advantages
“I think guest posting is still relevant for SEO because it drives organic traffic to your blog. Just make sure the website includes a link to your blog, even if it’s just in your bio, since these links are one of the main goals of guest posting.
“Generating these backlinks over time helps boost your search engine rankings. Over the years, search engines have changed their algorithms, but in my experience, guest posting still works. I can definitely see spikes in my traffic with popular guest posts.” –Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls
You have control over how your company is presented
“Due to the amount of control you get when writing a guest post, I do believe it’s worth the investment. In most reviews or articles written about a company or product, you’re not involved in the writing process. And at times, that can lead to surprises. With a guest post, you know exactly what will be published and when the item will go live, granting you peace of mind and security..” –Amy Hernandez, electrIQ Marketing
Guest posting is worth it, but only under certain conditions
Many marketers told us they find guest posting to be worth the investment, but only when certain conditions or qualifiers are met. For example, carefully choosing websites that are a good fit for your marketing goals, knowing how to pitch so these sites will accept your guest post, and avoiding questionable sites that could hurt your ranking.
Consider the key factors marketers look at as you decide whether to submit guest posts. Guest posting is worth it, they said, but only if…
You choose the right target sites
I believe guest posting is worth the time investment, but only if you pitch the right targets and write quality content. For example, if your goal is to get SEO value out of guest posting, then you wouldn’t want to pitch sites that use no-follow external links. It can be a great way to earn relevant backlinks, but you need to know what you’re doing. –Gareth Mahon, The CareSide
“Guest posting is still worth the effort, especially if you have extra time and energy to create the content needed. However, never pay to do a guest post onto someone’s site, because then you’re essentially paying them for labor. Instead, you can find a lot of guest posting opportunities by just reaching out to some sites you are interested in and emailing them.” –Lora Bovie, Choosing Therapy
“Yes, but be selective. My advice is to focus on sites that truly resonate with your area of expertise. You will be surprised by how many valuable contacts you can get by reaching out to people in your niche. If you’re lucky enough, you can even get content partnerships with websites you have never dreamed of!
“Also, look at each website’s domain authority. You don’t want to spend your precious time working with low-quality sites that don’t add value or may even harm your Google ranking.” –Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer
“Guest posting is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks and drive traffic to your site through raising your domain authority score. But if you’re considering doing a guest post, check the domain authority using Moz or one of the free tools. The higher the score, the greater that website’s ability to rank high.
“Guest posting to a website with a domain with a DA score of less than 10 probably won’t help you see an increase in traffic, but if you can find a partner with a high number, then it’s totally worth the time and investment!” –Emily Messing, EJM Design
You do your research
“I believe guest posting pays off only if you do it right: Reach out to the right publications (they are experts in their fields and your audience reads them), do your homework right (know what topics these publications don’t cover very well and explain why they should post your content), and lastly, commit to writing great content (bring real value and information, don’t reuse articles published elsewhere or use the post as a means to promote yourself).” –Elena Iordache-Stoica, Stoica.Co
You guest post consistently
“Guest posting is definitely worth the time only if you consider doing it consistently. Occasional guest posting won’t help you rank for your high-competitive keywords. The more quality content you publish on authority sites over time, the better the ROI. After all, it is not an overnight tactic.” –Mudassir Ahmed, Blogging Explained
You avoid less reputable sites
“While I do think guest posting is still worth it, word has gotten out on how great guest posts are for link building – which means it’s been abused. These days, if you’re not careful, your guest post can end up on a site that’s worthless because it’s basically a guest post farm.
“You have to take a bit more time prospecting to make sure you’re not reaching out to a guest post farm. And you have to put more care into your pitch because site owners are tired of getting the same outreach email from everyone looking to score a link.” –Alex Williams, Podcast How To
“There is a right way and a wrong way to guest post. There are thousands of spammy sites out there that directly promote guest posts and paid link services. These sites generally have lower domain ratings, black hat backlink profiles, and are not looked upon favorably by Google. Avoid these sites for guest posting at all costs. They provide zero value and may actually hurt your site.
“On the flip side, guest posting on legitimate sites with high quality articles is a great tactic to improve your backlink profile and is absolutely worth it. Select sites that are relevant to your industry, have solid domain ratings, and don’t overtly advertise guest posts. These are the types of sites that will provide serious SEO link juice once you get your post live.
“The catch here is that posts on sites like these are much more work. From tracking down opportunities, to writing lengthy and high quality posts, these posts take significant time and investment. However, the links you get from these posts are much more valuable and worth every bit of the effort.” –John Ross, Test Prep Insight
You’re very efficient with your time
“It is 100% worth the time. Like anything in business, though, you have to create a system and then have someone execute it efficiently. I’d say to commit no more than one to two hours a week doing outreach with proven copywriting that works, and always be nice, human, and respectful.” –Henry Dalziel, Growth Hackers Hong Kong
Your article and the site are both high quality
“If you can’t create a good article that’s unique and interesting, then don’t waste your time paraphrasing the same thing that can be found worldwide. Additionally, if the hosting website accepts every guest post request, then again, don’t waste your time.
“But if you can write a good article and get it published on an authoritative, high-quality site that has many requirements, chances will be high your guest post will benefit your website.” –Burak Özdemir, Online Alarm Clock
You’re a B2B business
“I think guest posting is worth the investment for B2B companies, however, the benefits to B2C brands are extremely limited. For B2B, guest posting can absolutely help if posts are well-researched and thought leadership pieces, as this is the kind of content that business leaders and marketers are looking for all the time.” –Lukasz Zelezny, Zelezny
You’re a fairly new business
“I definitely think guest posting is worth the time investment if you have a brand new blog. Guest posting can help to increase your domain authority by receiving backlinks from authoritative sites. It’s also important for bringing awareness and credibility to your own blog. When you guest post, you are building relationships that could help you later on down the line, as well.
“On the other hand, if you have a more established blog with a high domain authority, chances are your time would be spent better working on your own platform instead of writing for someone else’s.” –Tegan Phelps, The Blissful Budget
You can write the post quickly and verify it will be accepted
“Yes, guest posting is worth the time. But before we write a guest post, we ensure we will get a backlink and bio. We only put our effort into writing posts we know will be accepted, and we only write posts in our area of expertise, so they don’t require massive research and take a maximum of four hours to complete.” –Melanie Musson, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.Com
You’re creating valuable content that you would put on your own site
“Guest posting is worth it, but only if you’re penning genuinely valuable content on respectable and relevant websites. Focus on creating something you’re genuinely proud of; something you’d post on your own company’s website. It should be interesting and actionable, leaving the reader in a more enlightened state than when they started” –Jodie Cook, JC Social Media
Your aim is to gain new leads – not an SEO boost
“Google’s John Mueller has said guest posting for links results in unnatural links. Therefore, guest posting for SEO purposes is not usually the best use of your time. But, guest posting on well visited, highly engaged blogs that have your target audience as readers is still worth-while. This is especially true for blogs that don’t explicitly state they’re looking for guest posts.” –Joseph Flanagan, VelvetJobs
“Google became very suspicious about guest posting, and if you are doing it just for links, you may get disappointed as no link juice will be passed to your resource. However, if you are guest posting to get some exposure to your brand and publish valuable content on third-party resources, the tactic still works well. Everything depends on your goal.” –Helga Moreno, Andcards
Your priority is brand building over SEO
“It can be, but you need to know what you’re looking to get out of that investment. Guest blogging for links likely won’t do much for your SEO. But guest blogging to build your brand can be a great way to get your name out there and boost your brand’s authority on certain topics.” –Christine Glossop, Looka
No, guest posting is not worth it, because…
Although most of the marketers we surveyed told us guest posting can be worth it, some told us they thought guest posting is not worth the time investment.
Most think guest posting is becoming less and less effective for SEO purposes, as Google’s algorithm changes to favor other forms of authority-building.
Here’s why some marketers choose not to guest post:
Other techniques work better for SEO
“If I’m honest, I think guest posting has had its day. Although it was considered a very effective form of marketing a year ago, the SEO world continues to evolve. This means these days, guest posting is a huge commitment, as content needs to be focused on authoritative, long-form, fact-driven, original posts in order to have a hope of succeeding.” –Johan Hajji, UpperKey
“With the combination of paying to get linked guest posts and Google’s algorithm learning, guest posting as it’s been used in the past is becoming less worth the time investment. Guest posting with the intent of creating really great content and boosting credibility is great, but for SEO, it’s not often worth the time.” –Sarah Sherren, Best Company
“Guest posting used to be a great investment to improve your domain authority with backlinks from authoritative websites. Since Google decided that guest posting should be no-follow, I don’t think it’s the best option to build backlinks to your website. Guest posting it’s still great if your goal is to show your blog to a new audience, but not worth the time because it’s a temporary win.” –Hugo Guerreiro, Blog Biz Audit
Writing guest posts is also too time-consuming for few results
“I don’t think you should waste time on guest posts because it’s rather time-consuming, and you can never be sure whether you’ll be able to achieve your objectives. You’ll spend a lot of time discussing the topic and editing the material. Finally, you’ll end up with content that might be interesting for your audience, but hardly fulfill the task of attracting new leads and converting them into customers. If your blog is for lead generation, a guest post written by someone else is just a waste of your time.” –Illia Termeno, Outsourced CMO
“For the amount of time and effort you would spend reaching out to blogs and writing articles, it’s really not worth it. Rather, it would be wise to focus your time and energy on other link building tactics, such as building and promoting linkable content, where you can gain high-authority backlinks on multiple sites at once.” –Morgen Henderson, Portent
“We don’t currently guest post on other websites, as we found it to be ineffective and time-consuming. The result was not worth the effort. We found much more effective ways of acquiring backlinks, such as HARO. But if somebody can dish out lots of quality guest posts and has great relationships with high-authority websites, then sure, go for it.” –Max Babych, SpdLoad
So is guest posting worth it? The majority of marketers believe guest posting is worth it, even with qualifiers.
But every marketing team will have to make that decision on their own.
Now that you’ve heard from the experts, you have a better idea of how the benefits stack up against the drawbacks. Consider all the factors carefully as you decide if guest posting is worth your time investment.
Still weighing the pros and cons of guest posting? Check out the biggest benefits and drawbacks of guest posting, as identified by experts.
We’ve also rounded up the best guest posting tips that other marketers shared, as well as insightful guest posting statistics.