How to Build High-Authority Backlinks with Guest Blogging

Guest blogging continues to be one of the best link building strategies in S.E.O.

Despite rumors that guest blogging was dead a long time ago, It is still widely used by S.E.O professionals as their go-to tactic for increasing the online presence and authority of a website.

The benefits speak for itself:

  • You have control over the authority of the links you want to acquire.
  • You have the opportunity to build a mutually beneficial relationship with bloggers
  • It is one of the easiest link building tactics to scale.

If properly executed, guest blogging can turn any website into a powerhouse in its industry. And as long as content continues to be a critical element in marketing, guest blogging will continue be around as well.

But what is guest blogging/guest posting?

For starters, there are plenty of awesome tips out there if you're new to guest blogging.

Here are a few resources to boot:


Now, if you already have an idea on how guest blogging works? I suggest you read on.

In the world of link building, website metrics play a critical factor.

There are numerous metrics out there that you can use to measure a quality of a website but only 2 stand out.

Specifically, Domain Authority or Domain Rating.

For this guide however we will use Domain Rating for all examples to minimize the confusion. In fact, a recent study conducted by Aira shows that 61% of their respondents prefer Domain Rating as their primary metric.

These metrics are responsible for half of the reasons why a website ranks.

Here's a simple case study:

Imagine 2 link builders, Tom and Jerry.

Tom builds 10 links from guest blogging with an average Domain Rating of 50 for his website targeting the keyword "cheese".

Jerry, on the other hand, builds 20 guest blogging links with an average Domain Rating of 25 which also target the same keyword.

Who do you think will rank higher in the search engines?

The most obvious and popular answer is "it depends". But in hindsight, Tom wins this round since the metrics of his backlinks outweigh the metrics of Jerry's backlinks.

Sorry, Jerry fans.

Ever since the dawn of SEO, metrics played a huge factor when it comes to building backlinks.

Why?

Because these metrics serve as a measurement on how authoritative a website is, and Authority is one of the key areas Google measures in ranking.

To simply put:

The higher the authority of your backlinks, the higher you rank.

But why do link builders use these metrics? Here's a small history lesson;

Before Domain Authority and Domain Rating were a thing, there was one metric that ruled above all.

Google and the SEO world used something called...

PageRank

SEO professionals used PageRank as the metric for gauging the strength of a backlink a few years ago.

Famously invented by Google's own Founders. PageRank was a measure of how important a webpage is from a scale of 0-10. 10 being the highest.

But Google hasn't updated the PageRank metric for quite some time leaving SEO professionals to lose trust in this metric.

While I do believe PageRank still exists, Google has since kept the updated information to themselves.

So the SEO industry was forced to look for other means to measure a website's strength. And that's where Domain Rating or Domain Authority came into play.

So now that we've cleared up how to measure a website's authority and its importance in ranking, It's time to build these links for your website.

But here's the thing. Building high authority links is tough, especially if you're just starting out.

So how do you find guest blogging opportunities?

There are a ton of guides out there on how to get these quality links, but most of them are too vague. 

Find targets, pitch content ideas, follow-up like crazy, and pray that the good graces of the webmaster will be bestowed upon you and reward you a link. #Blessed. 

While it may sound simple. The reality is that there are several steps that must be done effectively to get that juicy link.

Now I have nothing against these guides. Some of them work quite well, but most of them forget to reveal the finer details which significantly improves your chances of getting a link.


So instead of trying to copy the same guide out there.

Here, we will reveal our own strategy which enabled us to build high-quality backlinks with a minimum Domain Rating of 50 each month.

Now you might ask;

Will this work?

The answer is YES. We have field tested all of these tips and acquired amazing websites with metrics like these:

Ready to get started? Let's dive in.

Preparation is Key

History has taught us that in success. Preparation is Key.

The same goes for link building. You need to have a clear plan before you write that first outreach email.

You need to structure your outreach process carefully so that when you send those emails, you already have a 50% approval rate right off the bat.

Most link builders Run and Gun this process which only leads to wasted time and money. Without a proper structure, your outreach process will collapse much like a poorly built foundation.

So here's 3-step process for preparing your targets.

1. Your Silver Bullet

Here's a painful truth about guest blogging: You're not in control of the website you're contacting.

That means you always have to put your best foot forward in front of these digital gatekeepers to stand a chance of getting a link.

See how I stressed out chance, well because in guest blogging, the odds are stacked against you.

Especially if you're a beginner.

But don't worry, here's how to bring the odds in your favor.

In order for bloggers to consider you worthy to contribute to their high authority website, you must be able to show prior results of your writing expertise.

A good starting point is by submitting content to free to publish blogs such as Wordpress or Medium.

If you’ve already submitted content to other blogs.

Great. Use those as examples.

If not. Try writing an article or two about a topic that is relevant to your pitch in your own blog, and use those as samples of your work.

For instance, if you're pitching a topic about The Health Benefits of Coffee, try writing posts about:

- Different Types of Coffee Beans.  

- How to Grow Coffee in Your Backyard.

Once you have some articles published, these pieces will serve as your resume when contacting these bloggers, so make sure use your best work.


2. Taking Aim

Now that you have proof of your writing expertise, It's time to find blogs to contact and the bloggers themselves.

The usual approach would be to enter a keyword + "write for us", keyword + "contribute" or other search operators like this on Google.

It's a great way to get your feet wet in prospecting for targets. But keep in mind that there's a disadvantage in using this approach.

Because it's the default way of prospecting for guest blogging opportunities, which means you'll be competing with a lot of link builders out there for some real estate space in your prospect's inbox.

Sure, it still works. But

Recommend: prospecting via competitor links, active authors (image link bulding)

And with the increasing number of businesses doing S.E.O.

The competition will only get stiff over time and guess what approach they will use to find blog owners?

So what we recommend is using a tool called Ahrefs and utilizing their Content Explorer tool to search for targets.

The Content Explorer tool is like a mini search engine. And with over 1 billion pages currently in their index, so you're confident that you won't miss any guest blogging opportunities.

Here's how to use the tool:

  • Plug the keyword in the Content Explorer Tool - in this example, we used SEO TIPS and select “In title” in the drop-down menu to get a list of blogs that mention SEO tips in their title.

NOTE: Why "In title" - because it give us the most relevant results, since we're finding websites that cover seo tips and not just mention them in their post.

  • Use the added filters to only show blogs with a minimum Domain Rating of 50 and a maximum Domain Rating of 70 since anything beyond this metric is impossible to get if you’re a beginner.

  • Set the language filter to “English" to only show blogs written in English.

  • Tick the “One page per domain” option to make sure that all URLs in the list are unique.

  • Then, select the “Highlight unlinked domains” option.

  • Enter your website’s URL in the text field to highlight other websites that haven’t linked to your URL in the past.

  • Then hit Export, keep in mind to tick the option “Only pages with highlighted domains” in the pop-up menu to make sure that the tool only exports blogs that haven’t linked to your website.

3. Gathering Intel

By now, you should have a list of unique domains that:

  • Have not linked to your website in the past.
  • Have a minimum Domain Rating of 50.

it's time to clean the list by manually eyeballing and deleting low-quality websites such as domains with blogspot.com in their URLs and websites that don't make sense such as abxyg283.com - this is not a real website but you get the gist. * show GIF

Pro tip: URLs with blogspot or typepad or wordpress in them wil usually pass low quality links, so it best to ignore these kinds of websites and focus on real blogs that make an impact.

After a quick spot check on the list, it’s time to qualify these websites one-by-one.

You will need 2 separate tools for this step.

First is the SEO toolbar by Ahrefs, it’s a plugin that gives you an overview of the metrics of the website you’re visiting.

Next, is a tool called Openallurls to help you open multiple URL tabs at once - It says so in their headline.

Try to enter a few URLs from your exported list into the Openallurls website and then click the Open ALL URLs button. 

Once the tabs are finished loading, visit these websites one-by-one and then use the Ahrefs SEO toolbar to gauge if they are worth contacting by checking the Search Traffic metric or ST in the Root Domain column.

This gives you an idea if there’s a chance you’ll get any sort of referral traffic once your post gets published on this website - a good measure would be a minimum search traffic of 1000.


Once the website qualifies as a potential target, find out who is running the blog (usually its the owner or the editor).

You can find this information in the ABOUT US page.

Once you know who's running the blog, find out which topics they usually cover. Usually it's in the RESOURCES, BLOG, or GUIDES page.

This helps you get an idea of what topics you should pitch when it comes to the outreach stage.

Sometimes these websites already tell you which topics they want to cover in their writer's guidelines. So be sure to check if they have a WRITE FOR US page or CONTRIBUTOR GUIDELINES page.

Lastly, visit the CONTACT US page to get the email of the owner or editor and add them to your exported list. 

After this step, you should now have the following:

  • A list of high authority websites that have a decent amount of search traffic.
  • A list of blog owners and editor names with their appropriate emails.
  • An idea of what topics you should cover for these blogs.

Note: Don't limit your targets to websites that have "WRITE FOR US" pages only. We recommend you target all websites, even if they don't have a write-for-us page. Because who doesn't want a high-quality content proposal?

Now that we have prepared all these information, It’s time to put it to good use. 

The Right Outreach

This is the make-or-break section of the whole link building process, so PAY ATTENTION.


Proper outreach isn't rocket science. Do you know what separates the pros from the amateurs?


PERSONALIZATION - Yes, that’s just it.


But does it take more time? You might ask. Yes it does.

But here's the catch. The email doesn't have to be too personal.

Sure, you may have to take a minute to review what type of content the blog owners want.

But other than that.

If you can just nail the name of the blog owner and give a relevant content proposal that highly resonates with their audience.

You're already set. I'll explain why in a bit.

Blueprint > Templates

Now that you need to personalize your outreach. Does it help if you use custom-made templates?

Nope.

You see, every template that you read out there has been probably abused by countless link builders all over the planet. 


And most likely, these bloggers have memorized these templates by heart since they read emails containing the same format every single day.


So guess what happens if you use the same template as everybody else?

So I won’t share with you a template on this guide.

Instead. I’ll give you a blueprint on how to make your email simple and personalized at the same time.


Believe me, it's not that hard.

Mastering the Subject Line

Want to know a little secret about the perfect subject line?

Be Direct. Get Straight to Brass Tacks.

These blog owners don't have the time of day for click baits, ass-kissing, and creative BS (okay maybe a little).

But get straight to the point. 


In fact. According to a study made by Point Visible. Around 54% of blog owners prefer straight-forward subject lines.

Subject lines as simple as these:


  • Guest Post Pitch 
  • Content Suggestion for [Editor NAME]. 
  • Contributing an Article for [Website URL]


So skip the glitters and the spinning rims.

Just let the webmaster know the reason why they should take their sweet time opening your email as simple as possible. 


Testing the Waters or a Straight Dive

There are 2 ways to approach blog owners for guest posting opportunities.


One is where you send a "feeler” email to know if the website is accepting guest contributions.

The other is where you go straight to the point and suggest topic ideas regardless if the blog owner is going to accept the pitch or not.


Want to know which approach performed better?


We tested these 2 approaches in one of our link building campaigns and we’ve found that getting straight to the point and suggesting topics right away worked best.

Not only did it save us time from sending a 2-email sequence but it also allowed us to cover more website targets. So fire away!

Everybody Needs an Intro

Now that we’ve nailed the subject line and the right approach. It’s time to write the first few words of the outreach email.

“Greetings on a glorious day”


A surefire way to get your email marked as spam. Daryl Rosser got this email intro, sad to say that the guy who sent this intro won't be sending emails to Daryl anytime soon.


Want to make somebody miserable today? Send them this email intro. Just kidding. Please don’t do it.


Instead, try to address the blog owner by his/her name. Then just do a quick intro about yourself.


Your name and the brand you represent would do just fine. 


Just something simple along the lines of:


Hi [Blog Owner's Name],


John here from Search Forge.


That short. Really?

Yes. You can add a short intro on what you do. But remember to keep it simple. Remember KISS?

Keep

It

Stupid
Simple

What About the Rest?


Avoid the fake flattery after the intro - "I've been a long-time reader of your blog". "I am an avid fan of your website". "I have been following your work since you were in diapers". Bla Bla Bla.


Don't include fake flattery unless you are an actual long-time reader or fan. Blog owners can smell this BS from a mile away.

And most likely, these kinds of compliments have been overused since it was introduced to the web.

Instead, just focus on how you can transition from introducing yourself to introducing topics you want to write about and how it can help the blog owners's audience.


Something along the lines of:


Hi [Blog Owner's Name],


John here from Search Forge.


I’m currently working on a topic that I think would be a great fit for your audience. 


The topic is about ………

Now you might be wondering what topic should I cover?

Good thing we came in prepared right? - Preparing for Battle Chapter.


Here's a recap:

Look for topics the target website usually publishes in their blog.

Brainstorm topics that are related to the topics they feature. if you're out of ideas, try visiting their write for us page or contributor guidelines pages - they usually have some pointers on what topics they want to cover.

Now you might be wondering how to think of a unique content idea. Well you can merge two related topics to form a single unique article or share your own experience or perspective on this topic.

There are other hacks out there to never run out of article ideas.

This article from Ahrefs covers this approach in greater detail.

Now let’s move back to our email.

Say that we chose this topic - Best Social Media Marketing Strategies for B2B Startups.


Now we describe what the post is about and how it can benefit the blog owner’s audience.


Here’s an updated example:


Hi [Blog Owner's Name],


John here from Search Forge.


I’m currently working on a topic that I think would be a great fit for your audience. 


The piece is about Best Social Media Marketing Strategies for B2B Startups - This post helps your readers who are startup owners execute high-performing Social Media Marketing strategies for their business.

It also helps them save time and resources from doing trial and error since we already did the testing for them.


That's it, no need for ass-kissing or hyping who you are.

You see. There is no need to sell who you are, what we’re trying to sell in outreach is the benefit our content provides. 


Because at the core of guest blogging. It’s about giving value to the website you’re reaching out to. And a link is just a byproduct of that value.


Now obviously the content suggestion is looking good at this point.

But in the blog owners' minds, they're thinking if you can pull it off? 


Well, that's the part where your previous writing examples come in handy.

You can include samples of your work at the bottom of the email with a quick sign-off like this:


Hi [Blog Owner's Name],


John here from Search Forge.


I’m currently working on a topic that I think would be a great fit for your audience. 


The piece is about Best Social Media Marketing Strategies for B2B Startups - This post helps your readers who are startup owners execute high-performing Social Media Marketing strategies for their business.

It also helps them save time and resources from doing trial and error since we already did the testing for them.


For samples for my work, here are a few references:

Link 1

Link 2


Let me know if the idea fits or if you have any topics you want me to cover, just let me know. 


Thank you for your time.


Cheers,

John


And just like that, you have a simple email that’s


  • Direct to the point
  • Personal
  • Showcases respect
  • Free from any sort of BS
  • Providing all the information the webmaster needs to make a fair decision.


After this, just send the pitch to the webmaster and wait for their reply.

Want a cool hack that improved our reply rate by up to 500%? Subscribe to our mailing list so we can spill the beans.


The Art of Follow-ups

There may be times where the emails you send might not see the light of day. (Unread)

There are a bunch of reasons why this might happen:


  • The blog owner is busy to read the email that day
  • Your email got buried below the huge number of guest posts requests in their inbox
  • The stars were not aligned for the winter solstice
  • The topic might have been covered but the blog owner forgot to reply.


Don’t fear. That’s where follow-ups come in handy. Did you know that just sending a single follow-up email improves your chances of getting a reply by 40%


That’s why we recommend sending a follow-up email if you haven’t gotten a reply within 3-5 business days. 


But be careful sending too many follow-up emails, we’re just here to remind blog owners about our pitch, not annoy them.

>

Try to limit the follow-up emails you send by up to 2 times. MAX.

If you don't get a reply after that, just move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea.


The Stars are Aligned

Now let's imagine that your pitch got accepted in the first email or through one of your follow-up emails.

It’s time to show them what you’re made of. 

Now there are a lot of resources out there on how to create high-quality content so I won’t cover them in detail.

Instead, here are a few links to help you get started:

Keep these pointers in mind while creating your post;

  • Make sure you deliver. Nobody wants a half-baked article after giving the blog owner your epic outreach email. 

    So be sure that you give it your best shot when creating the content.

  • Follow the guidelines. Be sure to follow the writer’s guidelines of the blog owners. It's there for a reason.

    Most of the time they will let you know this through email or their WRITE FOR US page. The last thing you want is to get your 1000-word article rejected because you didn't follow their guidelines.

  • Check the style and voice of the blog’s content. Make sure you review a post or two inside the blog to get a feel on how the content is written and emulate that in your post.

    Blog owners usually prefer to maintain a specific style across their content. So design your writing similar to theirs.

  • Don't forget your Bio, Make sure that you have a well written Author Bio. Don't be too promotional or include a exact match keyword in the content. That's just lame. Keep it professional.

Here are a few samples to help you create one:

After a thorough review. It’s just a process of sending the draft over to the blog owner and making changes if they request to do so.

And that’s it. You’ll be able to secure your first high authority link. Congratulations!

Note:The first few links will usually be the hardest to acquire since you can’t show any prior results that you’ve been featured on high authority websites. So don't lose heart.

But, once you secured your first link. This process will get easier overtime.

Bonus Round: Free Versus Paid

As time progressed, bloggers worldwide caught up with the advantages of guest blogging. But with this discovery, they saw another opportunity. - banking on guest bloggers. A.K.A you, me, and anyone who pitches topic ideas for their blog.

Now I understand that everyone needs to make a living. But getting paid guest posts or "sponsored guest posts" is a clear violation of Google's guidelines, and with its AI getting smarter I wouldn't be surprised that there will be a massive culling of websites practicing this tactic.

As tempting as it is, you should shy away from sponsored posts as much as possible. There are many websites out there that offer to publish your content for free as long as its high-quality, safe guard your rankings in the long run.

Is This Goodbye?

Now that you have been rewarded a backlink, do you stop getting in touch with the blog owner?

Are you going to drift off to the sunset, never to be seen again?


No. Don’t do this. Not only is it unprofessional, but you will seriously limit your brand’s growth.


Instead, build lasting relationships with these blog owners.

Don’t let the interaction stop after building that link. 


Actively share their content, post comments in their work, talk about possible topics you can collaborate on.


Who knows, they might someday refer you to their network of bloggers or ask you as a regular contributor.

Continue building your network while you build your links. 

Over time you will have a network of friends eager to share your content in the future. = FREE BACKLINKS.

And that’s what true link building is about.

Over to You

Now that you have the blueprint on screen. Time to test it out. 


Disclaimer: This guide is not the holy grail of guest blogging, in fact it's far from it but it is what worked for us. 


Try giving it a spin and see what results you get. Share them in the comments.


Let me know what roadblocks you might face along the way and I’ll try my best to help out.


Good luck!