While there are hundreds of evolving strategies and tactics used by SEO firms to help your web pages rise to the top of the results for your most coveted search terms, it all pretty much comes down to focusing on three things.
- Properly formatted HTML
- Education based, frequently changing content, lots of it
- Authoritative links from other sites back to that content
That’s why I can’t help recommending blogging as a killer SEO tool.
In this post, however, I want to focus on the one tactic that will help you dominate your competition in the search engine battle: guest blog posting.
Guest posting is pretty much what it sounds like – writing blog posts as a guest author for another blog. For this post, I’m going to assume you’re already blogging on your own site.
Here’s why this is so powerful
The hardest part of the SEO triad I described above is getting high quality, organic (not purchased of swapped) links back to your site. Google, Bing and Yahoo all place high stock in those links. That’s why you see SEO firms promoting linking campaigns as a primary tool.
When you seek out and court relevant blogs (more on that in a bit) and publish high value content, with a link back to your site in the body of that content, you have likely produced one of the most valuable links you can acquire and the search engines will reward you for it.
Search engines like blogs because they tend to offer education and feed the search spiders before they even leave the house. Search engines put a higher value on links that reside inside the body of a post because they figure the author of the blog wanted them to follow that link and it wasn’t place there accidentally. (Comment links, site wide links, blogroll links all get marked down as a lesser or no follow value link.)
In addition, having your content appear on other blogs should allow you to reap the benefit of additional traffic to your blog and a bump in readership from the exposure your host provides. All good things!
How to get started
Network first – If you’re just getting started one of the first things you need to do is start reading, commenting and participating in the world of blogging. Go to Bloglines and subscribe to as many blogs as you can find that seem relevant to your subject. You want to build some credibility before you start pitching. If you’ve done that then you can start to build a target list.
Find the right blogs to pitch
In a perfect world you want the highest traffic, well known, high-ranking blog you can find to run your post, right? Well, get in line! Unless you to are all of the above yourself you’ll need to find a group of bloggers that are looking for guest content and that you can convince to want your content.
Let’s say you are a life coach. You can start by doing a search on Google for something like “life coaching: guest blog post” to find blogs on life coaching that offer guest posts. Or you might try a tool like placeblogger to find local blogs or a service like MyBlogGuest that matches blogs and guest bloggers by subject.
Show a reason why
Don’t just offer to write a post of some unspecificed nature. Like a good PR pitch you’ll want to sell why the very specific idea you have for a blog post will be found useful by a blog’s readers. This is where networking and building relationships with bloggers can make your job a bit easier. If a blogger is already familiar with the quality of your content, then they may readily accept the offer.
This is a place where you want to offer up highly relevant and original ideas. Few things will slow your guest blogging link strategy faster than republishing your old posts to a number of blogs.
Promote your host
Once you post content on another blog, go to work amplifying it. Tweet about it, write a little something about it on your own blog, post it to your Facebook Fan Page, bookmark it, StumbleIt, and Digg it.
All of this activity may actually get a few more eyeballs on your content, but it will also go a long way towards showing your appreciation to your host. This is how you get asked back and it’s certainly a good way to get other bloggers to invite you to post.
Image credit: kevinpereiraJohn Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing and www.referralenginebook.com">The Referral Engine.