What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is the practice of writing and publishing a blog post on another person or company’s website. Most guest bloggers receive credit for their post (and a link to their website) in their author byline.
Why is guest blogging important?
Guest blogging is important because it helps you build relationships with others in your industry, expose your brand to a new audience, drive referral traffic to your website, establish yourself as a thought leader, and build potentially SEO-boosting backlinks to your website.
Best practices for guest blogging
Let’s take a look at a few best practices for guest blogging.
1. Pitch relevant websites
Guest blogging can expose your brand to a new audience, but this won’t help you unless you pitch websites with audiences that are interested in your brand and the topic you’re writing about.
The good news is you have a lot of ways to find relevant sites. One of the quickest and easiest is to use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, a searchable database of billions of web pages complete with SEO and social metrics.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go to Content Explorer
- Enter a broad keyword or phrase related to your niche
- Select In title from the drop-down menu
- Run the search
- Click the One page per domain filter
- Click the Exclude homepages filter
- Click the Exclude subdomains filter
For example, if you run a blog about home decor or sewing, you might search for “quilting fabric” to find blogs that have talked about this exact topic:
Then it’s just a case of looking through the results for relevant blog posts:
The idea here is that if a website has published a blog post about a topic related to the one you want to pitch, the chances of them being open to it are high.
2. Pitch sites with traffic
Guest blogging helps get your brand in front of a new audience and drive referral traffic to your website, but both of those things are only likely to happen if the site you write for actually gets traffic.
That’s why we recommend finding sites with a minimum of a few thousand organic visits per month.
Here’s how to filter your Content Explorer results for those sites:
- Click Add filter
- Select Website Traffic
- Enter a minimum amount of traffic (e.g., 10,000)
You should then only see web pages from sites that get at least an estimated 10K monthly organic visits:
3. Pitch multiple sites at once
No matter how good your pitch is, the harsh reality of guest blogging is that many blogs will ignore your email because most are inundated with guest post pitches daily. They simply don’t have time to respond to everyone.
For that reason, if you want to increase your odds of getting published, you should never pitch just one site at a time.
As a general rule of thumb, if you want to write and publish one guest post, you should pitch at least 5-10 sites. You may end up with multiple sites giving you the green light, but it’s always better to have many options than none.
To pitch a website, reach out via email to the owner, editor, marketing manager, content director, or whoever is in charge of the blog. In your outreach email, include a quick guest post pitch that includes:
- Who you are.
- What you want to write about.
- Why you’re the best person to write it.
Use our guide to finding email addresses if you’re struggling to find the one for the person you’re trying to contact.
Does guest blogging still work?
Yes, but it’s harder to land guest posts than it used to be, as many website owners have to sift through a flood of mediocre guest post pitches every day. However, if you can break through the noise with a great pitch, you’ll still enjoy the benefits of guest blogging: exposure to a new audience, new relationships, referral traffic, and backlinks.
How much do guest bloggers get paid?
If you work with highly reputable magazines and publications, you may get paid for your guest post, but generally, website owners don’t pay bloggers for guest posts. This is because guest blogging has countless other benefits, so most marketers are willing to do it for free.
Is guest blogging bad for SEO?
Google’s Matt Cutts published an infamous blog post in 2014 proclaiming that “guest blogging is done.” But he was primarily referring to the low-quality guest blogging that many SEOs were using at the time, where they published low-quality posts on questionable sites for link-building purposes only. Writing a helpful, valuable blog post for an established, authoritative site with a relevant audience can still help your SEO a great deal—and is extremely unlikely to hurt it.