In my New Year’s Resolution episode of Two Cans TV (click here to watch) one of the things that I talk about is guest posting on high authority sites in order to become known as the authority in your field. You want to be known by your prospects as the authority to develop the trust necessary to turn them from prospects into customers. I thought I would write a mini guide on how to get featured on these high authority sites to build your credibility.
Step One – Find Authority Sites That Accept Guest Posts
As you become known as an authority in your industry, this will get easier, and you will be able to find exclusive opportunities that are not available to anyone else. But for now, we are going to focus on the sites that currently accept guest posts. No matter what industry you are in, you will be able to find these sites pretty easily, but you want to make sure that you pick and choose the right ones. Guest posting takes time and effort and you do not want to waste that effort on a site that is going to bring you very little return. Later in the post we will talk about how to choose the right sites, but for now we want to make a list of possible sites.
So How Do You Find These Sites?
Like finding anything else online, The Big G is one of the first places that you want to look. With the right search strings you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few search strings to get you started (replace “your industry” with your industry or a keyword you are targeting):
- “your industry” + “guest post”
- “your industry”+ “write for us”
- “your industry” + “This post was written by”
- intitle:guest post guidelines
- intitle:guest blog guidelines
Since everyone shares their latest posts on Twitter, this is another amazing place to find sites that are accepting guest posts. Go to https://twitter.com/search-home and search for the following “keyword or industry” “guest post”. This will return Tweets that have both your keyword or industry and guest post in them. For instance, if I wanted to guest post on social marketing, I would search for “social marketing” “guest post” with the quotes. You can see the results from that search in the picture below.
Step Two – Choose A Site
After searching and finding a list of appropriate sites, it is time to pick two or three that you want to target. Like I said earlier, you are going to put a great deal of effort into writing a guest post, so you want to get the most out of that effort. You will want to choose the sites that are the best in the below four categories. I keep a spreadsheet where I list my prospective guest post sites to help me to choose the best ones. The columns that I have for each category are detailed below.
Part of the benefit that you receive from this is a link from your guest post to your website. Because of this, you want that link to come from the site that carries the most authority in the eyes of Google. There are two main metrics that you should use in order to check this and I’ve listed them below:
While it is not updated very often, the PageRank of a site is the most accurate measure of a site’s authority in the eyes of Google. You want to stick to sites where the home page has a PageRank of at least 3, but the higher the better. And keep in mind that the growth between the numbers is exponential, so a site with a PageRank of 7 is many, many times more powerful than that of a PageRank 3 site.
Moz’s PageAuthority and DomainAuthority
Moz’s Page and Domain Authority have become more and more popular with the lack of Google’s public PageRank updates. Right now, since there was a pretty recent PageRank update they are not quite as important, but when it has been months since an update, PA and DA gain more popularity. To check a page’s PA and DA, go to http://opensiteexplorer.com. Enter the URL of the site that you are checking into the field (make sure that you add the www if it shows up that way in your browser, otherwise the results can vary greatly!) and click the button. You will see something like the below picture.
As you can see, socialfish has a DA of 54 and a PA of 60 (the PA is almost always higher than the DA) which would make it a great site to get featured on. Like with PageRank, the higher the number the better. In both PA and DA, the scale goes up to 100. Over 40 is probably what you would want to shoot for here to make sure that the page has the authority that you are looking for and will help your site in Google’s rankings.
For the spreadsheet, I have a column for Google PageRank, a column for PageAuthority and a column for DomainAuthority.
Another benefit that you hope to get from a guest post is interaction with a new community. You want the readers to comment and ask questions. To find this, just click around on some of the recent posts on the site and see what kinds of comments are being left. If it is active with lots of comments, that is a great sign of an active community. If there are only one or two comments on each of the posts, that’s probably not the place that you want to spend your time and effort on.
For the spreadsheet on this, I have a column titled comments and I add the comments of the previous 5 posts. That gives a pretty accurate measure of how active the visitors are on a site and allows me to compare the sites. I have also found that the more active visitors are on a site, the more likely they are to follow the link to your site bringing you more traffic. I can’t prove it, but it has been my observation.
While there is no truly accurate way to measure a sites’ traffic, similarweb.com will give a good estimate of traffic. Just enter the URL and click enter and it will give you an estimate of the daily and monthly traffic, and where the traffic came from. Here is a screenshot of socialfish.org –
Some things to keep in mind:
- More search traffic means that your post has a better chance of ranking in the search engines bringing a steady stream of visitors over time.
- More direct traffic means regular, repeat visitors. This can mean that your post will get a spike of traffic when it is first posted.
- More social traffic shows that there is a better chance of your post getting shared through the social networks. Posts on these sites have a good chance of getting a lot of social links making the link to your site much more valuable.
For the spreadsheet, I have a column called traffic and put the estimated visits for the past month.
This goes along with visitor activity in that it also shows how active a site’s visitors are. Most sites have some kind of a social sharing bar, and for the most part they will give a count for how many times a post has been Liked on Facebook, Tweeted, etc. I usually look back at the last 5 posts to get an idea of how active the visitors of the site are in the social media universe.
For the spreadsheet, I put in a column called social presence and put the sum of the Facebook likes and Tweets of the last 5 posts.
Step 3 – Contact The Site Owner
Here is where you can distinguish yourself from other guest posters. A lot of people will simply write a post at this point and hope that they can find a place to get it published. This can work, but I find the success rate much better with customizing the blog post for the site.
At this point, you have a site that you want to get featured on. Now is when you start looking at the popular posts on the site to determine what you want to write about. Many sites have a popular posts widget, which will show the site’s most popular posts. Use this to see what kinds of posts the audience is interested in, but make sure that you do not duplicate something that has already been written about on the blog.
If there is no popular posts widget, you can use http://opensiteexplorer.com from Moz (we used it earlier in researching the sites). Instead of looking at the PageAuthority, you will be looking at the top pages. Click on the Top Pages button on the menu bar at the top and it will show you which of the pages on the site have the most authority. While this isn’t as accurate as a popular posts widget, it can give you an idea of which posts get shared and linked to most often.
Choose 3 Possible Topics
Now that you have checked out the site looking for popular posts and what has already been covered, choose three subjects that you would like to write about. Come up with a headline for all three possibilities. The headline should make it obvious what you are writing about and be compelling. What the site owner is looking for is whether their audience will be interested in reading the post. A great headline will go a long way in convincing the owner that you can write an interesting post.
Write The Email
It is finally time to contact the site owner through email. Make sure that you follow any guidelines listed on the site for guest posts. Usually there will either be an email address or a contact form to reach the site owner. I generally will write an email that goes something like this:
Subject: Guest Post for (Site Name)
Hi (Owner’s Name),
I am a huge fan of (Site Name). I follow it religiously and it is one of my regular sources of information.
I know that you accept guest posts for your site, so I did some research on topics that have performed well for (Their Site). Here are some ideas I had for a guest post:
- Headline #1
- Headline #2
- Headline #3
I’ve also included links to a couple of my writing samples to give you a glimpse of how I write:
- Article 1 on Authority Blog 1
- Article 2 on Authority Blog 2
Please let me know if you think one of these posts would be a good fit for your site and I will get started right away.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!
Step 4 – Write A Kick-Butt Post
Once you have heard back from the site owner with which topic he or she is interested in, write an amazing post! Take some time, research, edit, and provide a post that you are proud of. Remember, this is going to be your first opportunity to make an impression on the entire audience of this authority site. Make the most of this opportunity and it could be help you to go along way towards being known as an expert in your industry.
Step 5 – As Featured On Box
Again, most guest posters will stop after step 4. This is another way to get the most out of your guest posting efforts. Add an As Featured On box on your site. Add the names and logos of the sites that you have been featured on. This way, every time someone visits your blog, they will see the sites that you have been featured on. The more authority sites you can add to your As Featured On box, the more impressive you will come across to new site visitors.
If you follow these steps, you won’t have any trouble getting featured on authority sites. And remember, don’t wait until you think you are perfect before starting this. Get started now. Take action, even if it isn’t perfect, and start moving forward towards being seen as an expert in your field.
I would love to hear about your results. Keep me posted and let me know about any sites that you get featured on!