Ever since Google’s Matt Cutts dismissed the link-building strategy in 2014 as a “clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines,” many marketers have wondered if guest blogging was worth it.
Four years later, and possibly the tactic has never been more valuable to brands trying to improve their online presence.
The bottom line is: If you want to establish your brand as experts in your industry, improve your search engine rankings, and increase traffic and leads, you need to incorporate guest blogging into your SEO and link-building strategy!
In this article, we’ll look at five successful types of guest blogging identified from all the links generated by the media team obtained from February to April 2018.
What is guest blogging?
Bottom line: Guest blogging is a tactic used by marketers to share and promote their expertise on external online platforms.
Often this involves promoting original content (or repurposed content) created with the primary intention of educating and adding value to your target customer audience.
For example, here is a guest post contribution that Hallam placed on Social Media Examiner:
Contribution from Lauren Ahluwalia Guest Post
In this example, we have redesigned our original blog exclusively for Social Media Examiner, which is always the best practice to avoid duplicating content.
What are the benefits of guest blogging for SEO?
While contributing your brand expertise to external posts presents clear PR benefits such as increased online exposure and brand awareness (in some cases, a single guest post even generated more than 36,000 new email subscribers and two new leads), the main reason why guest blogging SEO goes hand in hand comes down to one important thing: links.
Google named links among its top three search ranking signals, and countless studies have explored the correlation between high domain authority and a high-quality backlink profile (take Moz’s “MozTrust” metric, for example).
If practiced effectively, contributing guest posts to licensed websites offers a great opportunity to build a high-quality backlink profile for your website, which in turn can have a positive effect on ranking from search engines. search.
Case Study: What Types of Guest Blogs Get Links?
Now that we’ve dived into what guest blogging is and the potential SEO benefits it presents, it’s now important for you to understand the types of link-generating guest blogging content to start designing content to contribute to your external websites.
It is important to note that guest blogging is just one way of building links, and ultimately building great blogs depends on the quality of your content. The following points are secondary and serve as a guide for optimizing your guest posts for outreach success!
The magic number 8
We found that guest blog titles with exactly 8 words (equivalent to 40-60 characters) increased average link acquisition by a staggering 110%. (See figure 1).
Figure 1. Number of words in guest post title vs. sum of backlinks
In addition, we found that titles with 8 and 9 words increase the acquisition of the average maximum domain score by 17%.
In other words, 8 proved to be the optimal number of words in a guest blog title to generate high-quality links. This is no surprise, considering that Google generally displays the first 50-60 characters of an SEO title tag and the ideal length for engagement in a Facebook post is 40 characters.
If you want to optimize the linkability of your guest blog, this handy word count rule is worth keeping in mind when designing your content ideas. Here are some examples of the 8-word guest blog titles we found to get the most links:
- How to make your workplace more sustainable
- Saving energy in schools requires a positive attitude
- Put your link profile on Point in 2018
We found that how-to style guides increased average guest blog link acquisition by 40%.
Example “How To” Guest Blog Placement Via Valves Directly In Chemist Manufacturing
A how-to guide is possibly the epitome of all types of blogging. Think about it, when was the last time you searched for the answer to a question on Google?
Whether it’s learning how to improve productivity at work or how to use Snapchat, it’s in our human nature to find answers to our problems.
To shape your guest blogging strategy to include more style content, we recommend that you follow this process:
1. Embed your content keyword focus on answerthepublic.com – a free tool that essentially mimics Google’s autocomplete search bar, built by millions of predicted searches.
For example, Hallam would enter “social media” or “digital marketing.”
2. Download the CSV and identify a topic on which your brand could offer expert advice.
This is a topic that we have identified and that Hallam may respond to as we offer social media marketing as a service.
3. Reach the current highest ranking articles by entering your chosen topic into Google.
4. Read them and identify improvements.
Ask yourself, are the current guides out of date? Do you have a better example to support a specific point? What additional information could your brand offer that would add value to your target audience?
5. Take all these key findings and start writing!
While there are many different ways to come up with guest blogging ideas, this is just one process we go through to generate how-to-style content. If your content is even more helpful and informative than current rating articles, highly authoritative websites will most likely want to publish it.
We found that blogs written about current issues increased average link acquisition by 85%.
One of the main factors that define the success of a public relations story is its opportunity.
In the same way that the media loses interest in past events, news about the future can seem confusing and unreliable unless it is based on objective evidence.
For example, a “Guide to Successful Email Marketing in 2018” is likely to only be responsible for guest post placement between 2017/18.
Take the same blog and call it the “Definitive Guide to Successful Email Marketing” and you get a timeless post that can be referenced for years, and is constantly updated too!
Referring to figure 3, we also found that current news increased social shares by 64%.
Figure 3. Guest posting current news headlines vs. predictions
To create perennial pieces of guest post content, here are some examples we wrote in the present tense that achieved the most links and shares on social media:
- How to protect your building against fire
- 4 SEO Survival Tips for the Voice Search Revolution
- What is Google My Business? And why should you use it!
The thought leader
We found that thought leadership style articles increased average link acquisition by 9%.
Defined as “an individual or company that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field,” the term “thought leader” is often used when it comes to content creation and branding.
It seems obvious, but you shouldn’t specifically aim to write “thought leadership articles.”
Rather, you should focus on writing useful content that, in turn, will position your brand as a thought leader.
Of all the guest blogs we published in 2018, 36% were written with a thought leadership style, which we define as a blog that simply: offered a new angle or answer to a question.
Here are three examples of thought leadership style articles we place on websites with high domain ratings:
- Why can’t companies ignore customer personas
- Carillion and the miscalculation of its key message
- Which Google Shopping campaign structure strategy works best?
The math nerd
Although it contradicts the title of this very blog, we found that blogs that did not include a number in the title increased average link acquisition by 51%. (See Figure 4.)
Figure 4. Guest post numbered headlines versus no numbers
We’ve all come across a ‘listicle’ style blog at least once, and many studies are suggesting the maximum number to use in your blog title to increase traffic and shares.
While list guides can work well for social sharing and on-site blogging content, guest blogging with numbered headlines can limit the potential for outreach.
For example, one news publishing website may prefer a “10 reasons to build a brand-building” guide, while another website may prefer a more concise “5 ways to do it” guide based on content titles that have previously been posted.
The point is: quantity isn’t always quality, and you should always prioritize creating quality content over filling in the numbers to fit a “10 ways to do it” title.
Here are some examples of our top-performing guest blogs that get straight to the point:
- How to keep your office costs under control
- Putting green in e-commerce
- Using Facebook Ads to Promote Content
We hope you have learned something useful from this study.
In summary, here are 5 things to incorporate into your guest blogging strategy:
- Target guest blog titles with 8 words
- Aim to inform and educate your audience with procedural style articles
- Be timely: write in the present tense and about current events
- Position your brand as thought leaders: offer unique answers to their questions
- Focus on creating quality content instead of filling in numbers in a “10 ways to do it” guide.
If you want to learn how to successfully create and broadcast your guest blogs, please contact our digital PR team.
What type of guest blogging works well for your SEO strategy or business niche? Let us know in the comments below!