Content Marketing

12 Simple Tactics to Boost Your SEO and Increase Your Influence Through Guest Blogging

Just how important is content marketing?

According to the data, content marketing is the latest and greatest digital marketing strategy, and for good reason: It actually works.

If your content marketing efforts include guest blogging or submitting e-zine articles, taking a few minutes to synchronize your effort with 12 basic SEO tactics can boost visibility and do powerful things for growing your influence.

1. Wrap Your Post or Content Around ONE Targeted Keyword

When you include one keyword or phrase in your post title, then repeat it in the first sentence – you are using helpful SEO tactics, even if you and/or the source blogger don’t know the first thing about SEO. Learn more about using SEO tactics for blogs here.

2. Write a Second Post for Your Blog on a Similar Topic or Expanding on the Same One, Then Add a HYPERLINK to it in the Guest Post

By writing this follow up post, you are not only expanding on a topic that interested readers can click through to get even more value from your expertise – and hopefully converting them to a subscriber along the way – but you are getting Google brownie points for relevancy.

3. Choose Outlets That Provide a Bio Page for the Contributor with Social Links

Having a profile or page on the guest blogging outlet of your choice gives you a chance to showcase who you are and start building a community when those who like your post either follow you on social media or head over to your website/blog. If you write more than one post for that blog or e-zine, you’ll start building up a nice library of articles tied to your name. Wrap in Google Authorship and presto - you are building influence.

4. Make Sure Your Guest Author Bio Matches Target Audience Interests, Then Seed It With Your Most Important Keyword or Phrase

If you write a bio thinking of reader needs and how your skill set can offer them value (instead of just promoting yourself), you end up wrapping in a far more compelling story. Make it about what you can offer your readers, not a brag fest. Don’t forget the call-to-action!

5. Look for Blogs That Share Their Content With Author Handles in the Tweets

Outlets that mention and promote author handles when readers use share buttons are amplifying your visibility and helping you build influence. This is important, so if you are deciding between two blog post opportunities, go with the one that recognizes and promotes their authors.

6. Write a Post That Specifically Fits the Theme/Topic of the Blog, Its Readership, and the Blog Reader’s Levels of Knowledge

If you write a sophisticated post about enterprise software needs, but place it in an entrepreneur blog, odds are good the disconnect will kill your post’s popularity and sharing opportunity. Fit the post to the placement to enhance sharing and relevancy.

Why is this important?

7. Include Easy Ways for Readers to Connect With You

When your posts are relevant to reader interests, readers will want to connect and share, which boosts SEO by sending out social proof signals. Write your guest post thinking about the purpose of the blog you are writing for, but close the post with an invitation to connect on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Match where and how you are asking them to connect with the post and readership. For example, a B2B blog post can leverage very LinkedIn nicely.

8. Create Blogger Relations Directly With the Most Influential Bloggers in Your Client’s Industry

If you are going to invest the time to write an exclusive guest post, aim high and go for the influencers. They probably already rank well, so your posts will benefit from their hard work and traffic. On the flip side…

9. Don’t Overlook the Value of Small Bloggers in Targeted Niches

Finding a smaller blog with readers that fit your specific target audience makes for a far better placement than volumes of general business traffic built mostly of those unlikely to be truly interested in what you have to offer.  It is good to have a nicely rounded mix – sometimes the smallest blogs in your niche deliver the best ROI and conversion. Test the waters to see what works for you.

10. Don’t Bother Writing Exclusive Guest Posts if the Site Doesn’t Have Any Traffic

Clients and/or your c-suite expect results. Although small can be great, don’t target blogs with audiences so tiny they are invisible. Invest your time and energy where it makes a difference. What good is a fantastic guest blog post if nobody reads it?

11. Know the Difference Between a Hobby Blogger and a Content-Hungry Blog with Real Guest Post Opportunities

Common sense applies here. Spend a little time with Google to figure out the top blogs in your industry. Then, visit each blog to understand its format and what type of content they publish. If they don’t have a single guest post on their blog and/or no contact information for guest submissions, take that as a sign that it may not be a fit. For more details on this topic, head over to the April 2013 #PRprochat transcript on Blogging Relations with special guest @mackcollier (click on “transcript” on the left-hand navigation bar). It’s full of juicy soundbites that will be very helpful here.

12. Write Well

This should be smack-upside-the-head obvious, but I’m constantly amazed at the volume of poor-quality writing published by major blogs. Don’t be one of those people. Guest posts won’t gain traction or drive results if the quality is poor, if the writing style doesn’t fit the theme or format of the blog, if it is full of typos and poor grammar, and if it is badly written. Assuming it is even accepted for publication…  So put some elbow grease into it and tell your story or educate, but make every single word count.

Building influence sounds great, but it isn’t easy. If you are ramping up a content marketing strategy, or integrating guest blog posts into your PR arsenal, be prepared to invest a significant amount of time in order to be successful.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared on http://rockthestatusquo.com/.

  • http://robzie.wordpress.com/ Rob Zaleski

    Some absolutely fantastic tips here, Carrie. Thanks to this post, I’ve started working on a blogging checklist to help focus things a bit, as well as hone in on guest blogging opportunities that are a good fit. Thanks for your insight!

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Nice – so glad it helped, Rob!

  • http://www.tommartin.typepad.com Tom Martin

    I’d add — strategically select blogs/guest post opps at sites that have overlapping readership. That way, you’re seen more often receiving the halo effect of trusted brands/bloggers, which helps achieve propinquity and that leads to sales.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      It can be good to seem everywhere in your targeted niche, absolutely. It helps you build influence in multiple ways when you are showcased on many of the leading blogs, ezines or content publishers in your space..

  • http://www.sheersocial.com Alice Fuller

    Maaan Carrie hit this post out of the park! Great tips beyond the usual guest blogging stuff most of us have read before. Definitely sharing this because I too need to implement these tactics. Just gotta be willing to put in the work. Thanks to this article my approach to guest blogging will be better.

  • SneakyMedia

    Point 1 – I’m really not sure I agree with that. Digital marketers are (or at least should be) moving away form the ‘keyword’ mentality of focussing on one keyword.

    A post on Moz – ‘Stop thinking keywords, Think Topics’
    http://moz.com/blog/stop-thinking-keywords-think-topics

    Well before that a post from Bill Slawski –
    http://www.seobythesea.com/2012/05/should-you-be-doing-concept-research-instead-of-keyword-research/

    The Convince and Convert post about how implicit meaning is far more important that specific keywords:
    http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing-2/how-google-is-forcing-your-content-to-get-better/

    Sure,keyword usage will always have a place. But the end goal is to rank for all synonyms of a search term (understood by Google using latent semantics and co-occurence). This is the reason why a good page can rank for keywords which don’t appear anywhere on the site!

    Other tips are all fantastic though, some quality outreach advice :)

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Sure, that is the goal, but you have to start somewhere. And we are talking about one article or post here, not the entire digital strategy.

      Have you tested content with and without? I have. Search is improving, but it has a looooong way to go. Semantic search is important and it helps you rank for other keywords and phrases related to your article, but dropping SEO tactics that work right now is a mistake. It’s too early.

      Think of semantic tactics as the booster fuel additive to your engine, not the new engine.

      Why would you ever drop what is working today for something that is on
      its way to working? Especially when that keyword is becomes a signal
      post that pulls your article together cohesively?

      If you do your keyword research correctly, that keyword or phrase is
      exactly what your target customer is looking for online. It also becomes the signal post you wrap your content around to be on-target and relevant, helping semantic search follow your topic and work the way that it should.

      USE A BLEND OF OLD AND NEW. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater quite yet.

  • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

    @JayBaer, thank you so much for running my post – I really appreciate it. Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! Care to share your favorite smoked turkey recipe? My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  • John Waghorn

    Google authorship is the big one here if you want to create influence as it creates personality and shows the faces behind a brand.

    The main point is that you will be able to rank within the search engine results pages with your avatar, so you can become an expert in the field or an established voice within your industry.

    From here, the more articles you create you can become a trusted source that people will come back to time and time again. Thanks for sharing Carrie.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Definitely a critical step!

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Good tips here, Carrie. Your advice for linking Google authorship and enabling easy sharing are so key! It’s clear how these impact the post’s influence and SEO.

    I’ve also seen quite a blog posts with typos or just poor writing on major sites. Proofreading (or having another set of eyes on it) should never be overlooked.

    Content-wise, I do think it’s important to look beyond the one targeted keyword and focus on quality tips on a more general topic. Writing with the intention of appearing in SERPs as the best solution is important to think about too.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Quality is always, always important. This post suggests tactics for individual posts – not overall – but covering a range of topics around your central subject is important and keeps things interesting for readers. Good point! Who wants to read the same thing constantly! Snooze…… =)

  • http://geekfree.net/ Aaron

    Great list! Everything but “#12″ is easily actionable….writing well takes time and practice :)

    • Sarah Bauer

      Agreed, Aaron! I don’t see any harm in crafting guest blog post drafts and handing them over to a skilled copyeditor to tidy up before publishing. Keeps things reading/looking professional while you grow your writing abilities!

      • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

        For sure – use any resources you have at hand to make it better. Far too many people publish crap. No offense. LOL

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Absolutely! My rule of thumb is that if a post takes less than an hour to write, I probably didn’t do a good job. I also try to write it, save it, then go back to it with fresh eyes to proofread and edit before hitting the publish button. It really helps. Reading it backwards sentence by sentence helps, too, since it isolates errors.

  • http://codingbrains.com/ Codingbrains

    In general quite good write-up , but is it compulsury to wrap content around single keyword ?

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Well, like any blog post, this is just an opinion…. but if exposure and ranking well is your goal, then yes, it can make a huge difference between getting your post noticed or having it go unnoticed. It can also speed up the process of building an audience.

      Why bother blogging if nobody reads it?

      If you do integrate keywords or phrases, less is more. Don’t stuff it. That will hurt you more than it helps. Pick one and be successful with it is always my personal goal.

  • http://www.theidgroup.co.uk/ Mark Masters

    Enjoyed reading the post Carrie. What I’m also finding as a really useful tool is to have the influencers come to your platform.

    I guess it’s easy to hide behind our social media personas but sometimes all it takes is to be human again and ask those people that you admire and respect in your industry. For instance, a recent post from an interview with a prominent content marketing author here in the UK, resulted in nearly three times the amount of traffic the site received in one day.

    An article intended to be interesting and industry focused outweighed the days of shoe horning specific keywords at every opportunity.

    Thanks

    Mark

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Who doesn’t love influencers, right? =) But we do want to give before we ask. They get bombarded with time-wasting requests with nothing in it for them. It should always be a win-win.

      They didn’t invest years in becoming an influencer to help non-influencers, after all. Too many people don’t consider the influencer’s needs, just their own. A big thumbs down to that!

      To your other point, forcing an article just to cram in a keyword isn’t never the answer – that kind of content is sadly obvious and not very readable. Great content is the goal – with SEO to enhance visibility of that great post/article.

      I like to do a mix of keyword-based posts with ones that have nothing to do with SEO but just need to be written. Every post does not need to be an SEO tool, although I do always include page titles and descriptions even if it isn’t keyword based.

  • http://www.indiaseo.com/ Ritu Singh

    Guest blogging is not about getting your links to someone else site. In actual meaning it is the way to build relationship, getting trust,respect & grow your online business. I think if you repeat same keywords numbers of time in your post to get notice your link
    or brand then it should be keyword stuffing which is too bad. Do guest posting in organic way & reap all the benefits if this.

  • http://sellinformationproducts.com/ Rhonda White

    There’s such valuable tips here….guest blogging is one of the best methods I know to quickly establish yourself as an expert in your niche and also reach your targeted audience more efficiently. It can certainly be a win-win situation between two bloggers when done right.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Thanks for your comment, Rhonda – you are completely right!

  • alexandria scott

    Amazing! Thank you for giving us informative and relevant information that will surely guide and help me. You have given us insights that will surely guide and help us.

  • http://www.coreyquinn.com/ Corey Quinn

    Great points Carrie, thanks for sharing.

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      I appreciate the feedback! =)

  • Michael Bian

    Great information here one must adapt.

  • unique

    this is very very helpful idea for all of us,so thank u for share with us a great information.