Guest blogging is growing more and more popular as a means of obtaining links for SEO purposes. As link building techniques go, it’s personally one of my favourites (done properly and ethically): you’re helping someone out with good content, they’re helping you with a good link – it’s win-win all around and what good, honest SEO is all about.
But it’s not all about the link, or at least it’s not all about SEO…
For some guest bloggers, the process of choosing prospective opportunities to target is based on their Google PageRank and SEOmoz Page/Domain Authority scores – the higher, the better, which is true and fair enough (for SEO). However in my experience, other considerations could be so much more important and beneficial to a website and/or business than purely looking at guest blogging as an exercise in SEO.
Here are 5 other possible considerations (excluding anything to do with links and SEO), with examples and stories from my personal experience:
1) Their Traffic
This one should be obvious and should be a secondary consideration even for those doing guest blogging purely for SEO.
Is it a popular site? Is it read by lots of different people?
Is there a way you can find out? Alexa’s Site Info can give you a rough idea, but isn’t hugely accurate. Otherwise, do they advertise? They might have a media pack containing stats and Analytics data. Another indication of a site’s popularity can be the number of social media followers/fans a website has (as I’ll go on to explain later on…)
2) The Audience
Hold on… Technically their traffic is the audience. So why have I separated the two?
Think in terms of demographics. Who visits and reads content on the site? Are they the right type of people for your content? Are they peers, potential customers, both, neither or something else entirely?
When guest blogging for SEO, a lot of people might target other SEO advice sites, but are they preaching to the choir? Would a small business blog be a better candidate, depending on the type of content being presented? While the one approach could potentially get you more customers directly, the other might get you more links and social shares (which could lead to higher rankings and exposure, respectively, and therefore more customers that way).
Again, a site’s advertising media pack might contain demographical information. Otherwise, their previous/current content and their general theme may give an idea of who their content is being pitched to and intended for.
3) Utilising Existing Relationships and Networks
In some instances, I’ve ignored PageRank and Page/Domain Authority completely. Well, maybe not “ignored”, but they’ve not necessarily been at the forefront of my decision in seeking a guest blogging opportunity. If I really wanted to go for some of the high PR/PA/DA sites, I might have to target sites where I don’t know the editor/webmaster at all, and in some cases, getting in touch with an absolute stranger can make the process much more difficult. However, there could be easier opportunities that are closer to home…
As a keen networker (even though I’m not really a member of the Sales team at Liberty), who also attends social events related to blogging, sometimes I’ve given content to people who I know, who I’ve already met in real life. Not only can it be easier to set up and sort out, but you’re also strengthening your ties with local businesses and your local network in the process.
In one example, a colleague of mine wrote an article for a fairly new website with a low Domain Authority (about 10-15 – usually we target sites with a DA of 30 or above at the very least). However, the blog’s owner is well connected with a lot of start-up businesses and companies in the creative industry, so the intention – beyond SEO – was to provide content to this audience that would be useful to them, and for them to become aware of who we are.
4) Their Social Media (1 of 2): Their Fans and Followers
As mentioned above, one way to determine a website’s popularity is to take a look at their social media: their number of followers on Twitter and their number of fans (or “Likes”) on Facebook. One can usually assume that a site with big numbers in both areas is a popular site (unless they’re gaming followers, but that’s a different story)…
For one guest blog post, I had to choose between two sites. Site A had a DA of 50-60 but no social media presence at all. Site B had a lower DA at 40-50, but they also had around 4,000 Twitter followers and 3,000 Facebook fans. Naturally, I chose the latter. It may not have been as good from an SEO point of view, but it probably would have gotten a lot more attention and exposure via social shares (and potentially links in its own right, too).
5) Their Social Media (2 of 2): Will They Share It?!
Of course, that’s if they share it…
I kid you not, I once came across a site that tweeted and retweeted other people’s stories to their thousands of Twitter followers, but not their own – none of the content from their own site! Whether an oversight, a blunder or completely intentional (I’ll be shocked if it’s that last one!), it meant that the content I’d written for them wasn’t going to be seen by their own social following.
So that’s also something worth checking: do they actually share guest blogging content via their social media profiles? It’s not something you think about (until it happens to you)!
Steve Morgan is a Senior SEO Account Manager at Liberty Marketing, an online marketing agency based in Cardiff, South Wales, UK. In addition to building links and finding guest blogging opportunities for his clients, he is a keen networker and Twitter obsessive. He also runs SEOno outside of work – his own SEO blog. Follow him on Twitter: @steviephil.
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