Pitching Your Guest Post Content? Check the 7 Crucial Things of a Guest Blogging Site in Advance
Guest blogging is still one of the smartest ways to rack up a healthy backlink profile and get your name out there at the same time. But how do you know if the site where you are pitching for guest-posting is even worth the time and effort?
Make no mistake, guest posting takes a lot of time and effort. But when done right, they can really help a lot with traffic, branding, and search engine rankings.
So, before you send a pitch to every site out there that accepts guest posts, you might want to check out their website.
This blog will walk you through 7 things to check before pitching your guest post content to a website or blog. Without wasting any more time, let us dive right into the tips.
1. Check the Website’s Design
The website’s design is usually a very good indication of what to expect from a website. If the site’s design is clumsy, chances are that it has a huge bounce rate even if it does generate traffic.
Possibly, the contribution of such a website to your site’s SEO is quite low.
But what factors should you look at in the site’s design before pitching and guest-posting on it?
The site where you are guest blogging does not need to be a flashy one. But there are certain design aspects that you should look for:
- Professional Design: The site does not have to be flamboyant. But if you are posting your content somewhere, make sure that it looks professional and organized.
- Unique Images: Stock images are dull and everyone can distinguish between stock images and custom-designed graphics. Make sure that the site you are guest posting on is professional enough to use their own unique images and other graphical assets.
- Ease of Navigation: Navigation is a huge UX signal. If your readers cannot find you, then the guest post has zero value. Make sure to post on sites that are not so cluttered that your content gets lost in a pile of other content.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Responsiveness has been a big SEO factor since Google introduced the Mobile-first indexing policy. If the site’s user interface is not optimized for mobile users and devices, then you lose a huge chunk of traffic right away.
- Too many Popups and Ads: If you feel uncomfortable browsing the website and its contents then most likely other users will experience the same. Websites with too many popups and ads not only look ugly but also create poor user-experience as well. Try to sidestep such websites for guest posting your next exciting content.
- Excessive Number of Low Authority External Links: External links are good for better user experience and thus for SEO. However, overuse of this can sometimes break the flow and eventually harm the organic performance of the site. This can be even more dangerous if irrelevant sites get linked (for selling links). Hence, bypassing such websites is a wise decision if you want to stay safe and clean.
The website’s design is a big factor to consider before guest posting. But it is not the only one. Keep reading to know more.
2. Check the SEO Metrics
One of the main reasons for guest posting is to build solid backlinks to your website. This makes sense only when the backlinks on the guest posts are actually contributing positively to your site’s SEO.
But how do you know what to check for? Google has over 200 ranking factors that you need to optimize on your site. Add to that, somebody else’s site and you are absolutely clueless!
What SEO metrics should you consider before guest posting on a site?
- Domain Authority (DA): If the DA of the site is high, then any link from it to yours is a high-authority one. The only thing that you need to additionally make sure is its relevancy with yours.
- Spam Score: Links from a site (even if it has a high DA) with a high Spam Score is the same as having spammy links to your site.
- Moz Rank: Moz Rank is a measure of the popularity of backlinks of a website in a particular niche. A backlink from a high Moz Rank website is the same as an industry expert’s endorsement. Therefore, going for a high Moz Rank site for guest blogging is more profitable in terms of SEO.
- Trust Flow: Trust Flow is a metric that defines how many trustworthy backlinks are pointing to a site or a page. It’s always recommended to author your guest post content for a site that has acquired high Trust Flow.
- Citation Flow: Citation Flow is an SEO metric that suggests the influence of a URL based on the number of websites linking to it. Contributing to such sites having high Citation Flow is proved to be the best.
- Website’s Organic Ranking: An organically high-ranking site naturally has the expertise, authority, and trust.
- Domain’s Organic Ranking: Search with the root domain (example.com) of the site on Google. If you can’t find it on the first organic result, skip it as it might have some SEO penalties. Usually, one site should rank on the first organic spot when you search with its root domain on Google.
The DA, Spam Score, and MozRank are metrics offered by the Moz. Trust Flow and Citation Flow are metrics offered by the Majestic SEO. Apart from these, a few other important SEO metrics are, Domain Rating (DR), URL Rating (UR), Domain Score, Page Score, Trust Score, and Authority Score.
Make sure to check all these metrics even before pitching your idea to a site for guest blogging.
3. Check Published Content
This is probably one of the most important tips in this article. Before pitching an article, make sure to check out the existing content published on the site, especially those which are contributed by other guest authors.
Why is it important to check the published content before guest-posting?
First of all, if you pitch a topic that they have already covered, your pitch will never even be accepted.
At the same time, you also need to scope out the keywords that similar articles are ranking for so as to avoid keyword cannibalization. You certainly do not want other pages to compete with your article on the same site, do you?
There is another important reason why you should check out the published contents, at least the recent ones. By taking a look at their existing work, you will get a clear measure of certain things:
- What is the average post length they publish?
- Do guest blogs come with unique images? If so, who provides these images?
- What kind of tone are the existing articles written in?
- Is there a particular format you need to adhere to?
- The real quality of the contributed contents published by guest authors.
- Who they have linked to from their content?
In most cases, the majority of these questions will be answered by the guest posting guidelines of the site. But it is always better to see by yourself.
Also, are any of your connections publishing guest posts on the site? If so, then ask them for a small introduction. Guest blogging is all about community building – so get to know the community better.
In addition to these, you may also want to check the older contents of the site published by guest authors to reconfirm whether those articles are still live on the site or not. A few websites that accept guest posts may remove older contents that are organically not any more profitable for them. Checking these beforehand may save a lot of your time and resource.
4. Analyze the Social Influence
One of the best ways to judge the quality of a site that is accepting guest posts is to analyze its social media reach and clout.
How do you check a site’s social media reach?
The simplest answer is to spend a little time on their social accounts. The top metrics that you may want to check are:
- Follower Count: How many people could potentially see your guest post?
- Engagements: How much traffic can you get by sharing your post on their social accounts?
- Daily Active Users: How many of the social followers are actively engaging with the site where you are about to pitch and finally submit a guest post?
- Frequency of Posts: How frequently they update their social media posts tells a lot about their content calendar and social clout. Generally, if a brand posts regularly on social media then that means it often publishes content on its own website.
- Reconfirm Its Content Niche: Relevancy has always been one of the most important things in SEO and ranking. Recheck the website and its contents’ niche by analyzing its social media posts.
Another reason why it is important to check their social media accounts is to understand their target audience better. Guest posting on any website only makes sense if your target audience aligns with theirs.
5. Check the Niche: Specific Niche or Multi-Niche
The niche of the blog is highly significant – always check the niche before contributing.
First of all, a mismatch in niches is never a good idea.
Say your website sells health drinks. So, you should be posting on other health-related sites. Instead, if you are posting on a site that sells designer jewelry, that is essentially useless.
One of the key factors of SEO in 2019-20 and onward is relevancy. The links that you build need to be relevant, which means that you need links from other sites in your niche matching your business or products’ category.
In some cases, you may also end up posting on multi-niche sites. Just make sure that your niche is one of their niches. It is even better if the multi-niche site caters to one broad topic that includes your niche as well.
However, if you are contributing to a multi-niche site make sure it has a very high Domain Authority, low Spam Score and is not a PBN or expired domain. Most of the time low-quality multi-niche sites are built for guest posting business (by selling links for money). And publishing your well-researched article on such a poor website will surely do more harm than good.
6. Check Whether It is a PBN or Not
Private Blog Network (PBN) is a thing of the past. Using PBNs to generate backlinks can get you into serious trouble in SEO and search engine ranking.
What is a PBN?
In the SEO world, PBNs are alike to link pyramid or link wheel schemes. The idea is to create a network of blogs that keep exchanging backlinks all the way around. Once each blog starts to take off, the owner adds more domains to the network.
The sole purpose of building PBN is to sell links and manipulate the search engine rankings of the money sites.
Do NOT get involved with a PBN because Google punishes all sites linked to one.
Nowadays, not a lot of people invest in making a PBN because the amount of time and effort involved in recovering sites from such penalties is huge. And in some cases it is irrevocable.
How can we tell if a site is a PBN?
One clear sign that you are dealing with a dubious site (if not a PBN) is if they charge money for posting your content. Stay very far away from such websites because most of them usually publish any trash content as long as the contributor (or link buyer) pays them.
Besides, checking the backlinks of such a website can hint you if it is a part of a PBN or not.
In some rare cases, a membership fee is involved but that might be legitimate because sites (not PBN) like that may offer a ton of help with your content and promotions.
One of the simplest ways to manage while guest-posting is to stick to the sites with a lot of credibilities, high authority links from authoritative sources, top-notch contents, and social influence.
7. Check the History of the Domain and Whether It is an Expired Domain or Not
Similar to PBNs, expired domain (domains that aren’t renewed) sites are also not safe for guest blogging. And at times an expired domain site can be even more perilous than a PBN if it is used for selling links by posting crap guest posts.
Using expired domains for SEO and organic ranking is an old school technique that is used by many up till now. However, publishing guest post content on an expired domain without knowing its origin, niche, and changes over time can be really toxic and inimical for your website.
But, how do you know whether the domain is an expired domain or not?
You can use the Way Back Machine. Using this tool you can see the old footprints and impressions of one domain since its inception. By analyzing these historical footprints you can easily determine whether the domain now serves the same as it used to when it was first built.
If you see a big change in the domain’s niche and content categories, then staying away from such a website is prudent for you. Most probably it is now run for link selling by accepting guest posts from crappy link buyers and SEOs.
Finally, most of the expired domains usually have a high Domain Authority. But don’t get trapped. A high DA expired domain that charges money and accepts poor quality content on any category is not going to add any value to your site’s optimization and ranking. Thus, keeping your hands off such sites is the best policy.
Over to You
Guest posting has always been an exciting way of building a community around a brand or website. The problem starts when you use it solely for the purpose of link building. You must know in modern SEO, quality always trumps the quantity.
Therefore, stop focusing on the number of guest posting you are doing. Instead, concentrate more on finding out the best niche-relevant blogs that accept guest posts. This will add values to your site, build assets for your brand, direct traffic, and help in organic ranking.
If you are already doing guest posting and if you follow any special rule or method to determine the quality of the site, please feel free to share that here. Your guest posting tips and suggestions are valuable for our readers.
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