Bulletin board with sticky notes up close one reads guest book

How to Build High-Quality Backlinks and Boost Web Traffic

One of the biggest challenges business owners and webmasters face when optimizing their websites for search engine traffic is trying to find relevant, high-quality backlinks. Since the company’s early days more than two decades ago, Google has used backlinks — both quantity and quality — as a fundamental part of its search ranking algorithm. Websites with many high-quality backlinks tend to rank higher for their target keywords than sites with few or low-quality backlinks.

The problem is that Google prohibits webmasters from buying backlinks. While dozens of companies sell backlinks, these services often have the undesired effect of lowering a website’s search rankings. To prevent this from happening to your site, you must use adopt a safe, Google-friendly backlink-building strategy — and that’s where guest blogging shines.

What Is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging is a digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that involves writing and publishing an article on another website in exchange for exposure.

You, the guest blogger, write an article for use on a different website. The website benefits from the free, high-quality content, while you benefit from having your name and website URL in the material, typically in the author bio. Sites won’t — or at least shouldn’t — pay you for these articles. Instead, they allow you to promote yourself and your website.

Benefits of Guest Blogging

Guest blogging offers several benefits, one of which is direct traffic to your website. If a visitor enjoys reading your article, he or she may click the link in your bio to visit your website. Assuming the article gains traction and becomes popular, this alone can drive hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your site.

Guest blogging may also encourage higher search rankings for your site. When search engines crawl your published content, they’ll see backlinks pointing to your site. Backlinks alone won’t translate into search rankings. When posted on a reputable, trustworthy website with relevant content, backlinks can undoubtedly help you achieve a top search ranking.

Finally, guest blogging allows you to establish yourself or your business as an authority in its niche. Usually, websites that accept guest blog posts allow writers to include their name, photo and a website URL in their author bio, displayed at the bottom of their published articles. Whenever someone reads your article, they’ll see your name and information in the author bio, thus conveying your authority.

Choosing the Right Sites for Guest Blogging

The secret to success with guest blogging is choosing the right sites on which to publish articles. Just because a website accepts guest blog posts doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth pursuing. You’ll experience more direct traffic and greater SEO value by selecting choosing sites for guest blogging.

First, make sure the site accepting guest blog posts is relevant to your site. If your website is about small business funding solutions, for instance, you should publish articles on websites related to financing. Publishing an article on a website about pets or home decor isn’t going to offer much if any, value. To improve the SEO value of your backlinks, choose sites that are closely related to your site.

You should also choose authoritative, high-traffic sites. Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) can reveal site’s authority and whether it will rank high in the search results. Available on Moz’s Open Site Explorer as well as other SEO tools, it uses a 1 to 100 scale, with 100 being the most authoritative and 1 being the least. To measure a site’s traffic, check its Alexa ranking by visiting Alexa.com/SiteInfo. With Alexa, a lower ranking means more traffic.

That may sound counterproductive, but you should avoid sites that accept all guest blog posts. If a site doesn’t moderate or review guest posts, it will probably receive a lot of low-quality content, including spam. And publishing your article here could hurt your SEO efforts, as search engines will associate your website with it. Only write guest posts for sites that maintain high-quality standards.

Finally, choose sites that allow guest bloggers to include at least one dofollow link, either in the article itself or the author’s bio. Many sites that accept guest posts use the nofollow attribute for authors’ backlinks. While nofollow links function just like regular dofollow links, search engines ignore them in their ranking algorithm. Therefore, they won’t help to improve your site’s search ranking.

Finding Guest Blogging Opportunities

To find sites that accept guest blog posts, try searching for the following phrases in Google:
• “Submit a guest blog post”
• “Guest blog submission”
• “Submit guest article”
• “Guest bloggers wanted”
• “Guest bloggers needed”
• “Guest blogging guidelines”
• “Become a guest blogger”
• “This guest post was written by”
• “Accepting guest blog posts”
• “Write for us”
• “My guest posts”
Feel free to add other keywords — outside of the quotation marks — to narrow down your selection of guest blogging opportunities further. If you’re looking for a site in the finance niche, for instance, you can add the keyword “finance” to the end of your search query.

There are also websites that share guest blogging opportunities. MyBlogGuest.com, for example, is a community-driven site that connects guest bloggers with webmasters in need of fresh content.

Read the Site’s Guest Blogging Terms

Once you’ve found a site that meets the criteria mentioned above, read its guest blogging terms and conditions. Different websites have different rules that guest bloggers must follow, and failure to comply with these rules will result in rejection of your article.

Most reputable sites have length requirements for guest blog posts, such as 500 to 1,000 words. They also prohibit plagiarized content, so don’t cut corners by copying and pasting from other sources.

Writing Your First Guest Post

Now you’re ready to write your first guest post. While it’s tempting to rush through the process, you should take it slow and focus on creating high-quality content that adds value to the site on which it appears. If your content is good, it will attract traffic and views, thus improving the SEO value of your backlink.

When writing your article, break it up into several small sections separated by headers. That allows visitors to scan the content and improves its overall readability.

If allowed, add an image or two to make your article more appealing. Statistics show that articles with images attract nearly twice the traffic as text-only articles.

Guest blogging is just one digital marketing strategy that can help your website achieve higher search rankings and more traffic. You should also publish high-quality content on your own website. If the content is valuable and useful, other webmasters will link to it, creating free backlinks for your site.

P.S. Wondering where to get started on your Digital Marketing campaign? Click here for the SEO report tool and see how you score.