EMPOWERING ORDINARY MARKETERS
TO BUILD EXTRAORDINARY LINKS.

Guest Blogging Guidelines – An Extensive Guide

by Peter Attia
52 Flares 52 Flares ×

This is a guest post by Peter Attia from PeterAttia.com.

I was recently tasked with training a few link builders on guest posting. Previously, their main concentration was on directory submissions. This was a good introduction for them as it gave them some basic understanding of SEO: anchor text, page value, backlinks, etc. However, manual outreach was completely foreign to them.

I needed to make a quick and simple document that they could use as a reference point. Something we could go over in detail during a training session that could later serve as a resource in the field. This is what I ended up with.

Quick Overview

 

  • Finding a niche to write about
  • Finding blogs
  • Finding contact information
  • Tailoring your opening email
  • Correspondence
  • Writing a post
  • Author bio
  • Link Placement

Finding a Niche to Write About

1) Figure out a niche that isn’t too specific, otherwise you might not be able to find many blogs on the topic.

Example: If you were working on a pizza related client, you should search for food blogs, not pizza blogs. 

2) Make sure it’s a niche that could easily incorporate the anchor text you’re working with.

Example: Again, for pizza, if you targeted a niche specifically about deserts, they may be unwilling to put up a post regarding pizza. (However, if you can think of a clever way to sneak the keyword in while writing about desert, go for it!)

Finding Blogs

The easiest way to find blogs that accept guest posts is to simply do a Google search. Below is a list of search queries you can use to find blogs that accept guest posts.

  • Guest Post “niche”
  • Write for us “niche”
  • “Niche” submit guest post
  • “Niche” submit a post
  • “Niche” guest blogging
  • “Niche” guest blogger

Alternative Ways to Find Blogs

You don’t have to search guest posting related terms. You can simply do searches like “Niche blog”. Some of them just might not accept guest posts or only allow people they’re familiar with to guest post. 

Alternative search engines

  • Technorati.com – Blog search engine
  • Alltop.com – Blog directory
  • DuckDuckGo.com – Alternative search engine
  • BlogCatalog.com – Blog search engine
  • Best of the Web (blogs.botw.org) – Blog directory

Finding Contact Information

This is usually as easy as striking ctrl+f in your browser and searching for “Contact”. Sometimes it’s in the about page instead. If you can’t find it like that try one of these alternatives.

  • Do a ctrl+f on the main blog page for “mail” sometimes they’ll mention their email in a post.
  • If you’re on a Blogspot, WordPress, or other blog network you can search for “profile” and check their profile page for an email.
  • Search the site on whois.domaintools.com and check the “Registrant Contact” information for their email.
  • Find them on Twitter or Facebook and contact them directly.

Note: Avoid using contact forms if possible. They usually look automated and not as personal.

Tailoring Your Opening Letter

You want your opening letter to be personalized for each blogger as much as possible. You can use a similar opening letter for multiple blogs, but at the very least make sure there are a few key components that are specific to their blog.

Subject Line: Use their blogs name in the subject line (not the URL, the actual title). This will immediately catch their eye. I usually just stick about in front of their blogs name – Ex: “About Best Blog in The Universe”

Body: If you’re able to find it, use their name in the opener. Also use their URL somewhere in the body. Ex:

 

Hey {name},

I was wondering if you accepted guest posts on bestblogintheuniverse.com. It’s about awesomeness, so it would be a perfect fit for your blog. Thanks in advance!

All the Best,

-Peter

 

Other Notes:

  • Keep your email short and to the point.
  • Personalize your email as much as possible, but don’t spend too much time on the site. The response rate is going to be low, so you want to send emails out as timely as possible.
  • In the URL, don’t put the http:// in front of the address: it can sometimes trigger a spam filter.

Correspondence

Obviously this is going to vary from person to person, but there are a few things you should avoid doing.

  • Do not mention SEO. Some bloggers think SEO’s derived from hell directly. (Exception: Some bloggers will already be very knowledgeable and open to SEO practices)
  • Don’t mention your client right away. (Incase it’s one of the bloggers I mentioned above, in which case they may rant about your client all over the internets)
  • Don’t make it sound like you’re guest blogging specifically for linking purposes.
  • Don’t decline any requests they may have if possible: for example if they want to adjust the linking keywords slightly, that’s totally fine.

Note: When the correspondence is done and they agree, you should request that they inform you of any changes prior to putting up the post. This will give you adequate time to make any corresponding requests in return.

Writing a Post

You want to appease the blogger as best you can and so you should tailor the post to their blog specifically: even if you’ve pitched the same idea to multiple bloggers. For example, say you were writing about getting around in LA. If you notice that the blogger is an avid biker, make the post about biking around LA instead.

Perks: These aren’t must dos, but they help keep readers from abandoning your post.

  • Use images to make posts visually appealing
  • Make use of indents and bullet points to make posts more readable
  • Use bolding for key phrases to help them stand out
  • Split posts into titled sections to break things up
  • Use informational graphics like charts to visualize what you’re writing 

Author Bio

Guest posts usually have an optional author bio (byline) at the end. This is just a small three-sentence blurb where you can place any personal links, such as links to your own blog or twitter. This is typically not required.

Link Placement

You’ll want to place your link within the actual post. Preferably, you want it to be the first link in the second paragraph. If possible you should also place 1 or 2 other content relevant links to high authority sites like BBC, WordPress, or Youtube.

Alternative

Some bloggers will not allow links in the blog post at all. However, they are usually comfortable allowing links within the author bio.

After the post goes live

After the post goes live there are still a few more things to do.

  • Check the post and make sure everything checks out
  • Subscribe to the posts comments to get email notifications
  • Respond to any comments in a timely manner

To download/print this set of guidelines, get the PDF here.

This post was written by...

Peter Attia – who has written 1 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Peter Attia+ is the Senior Search Marketing Specialist at Get Page One. You can find Peter on Twitter: @attiapete and on his personal blog.

NEED LINKS?
Relax - I send out free emails full of
cutting edge link building tips.
32 Comments
  1. James Hind says:

    I’ve found that linking within the email to examples of other guest posts we’ve done works quite well. That way they can judge for themselves if they think we’re capable of writing a decent quality post for them.

    • Peter Attia says:

      Hey James,

      I usually end up giving an example on the second email instead of on the first email, but I imagine the results would be fairly similar. I found it especially helpful for bloggers that have never done guest posting before.

      -Peter

  2. Chris says:

    Nice guide I just want to share some more search operators so that you can find broader but relevant results.

    You can instruct Google to search for any of the keywords you are targeting – for that we can use the OR operator between the words:

    so in Google type:

    “Keyword1 OR Keyword2 OR Keyword3 OR keyword4” because, essentially we are interested in guest blogging on sites covering any of these topics.

    To go even further you can use the ~ operator before a word that may have many synonyms and related words and thus instruct Google to look for all of those synonyms.

    For example, “~food” search will include words like “recipes”, “nutrition”, “restaurant”, etc. Also there is the wild card operator “*” as many bloggers may use a phrase slightly differently e.g “submit a guest post”, “submit your guest post”, “submit us a guest post”.

    So if we were to combine all the above into one search query you would have:

    “submit * guest post” ~food OR Pizza OR Desserts

  3. Peter Attia says:

    Thanks for adding those in Chris! I made this guide for a few people who had never done any sort of outreach before, so I kept I was trying to keep it short and simple. There are several advanced searches that are great for this sort of thing though!

    -Peter

  4. The anchor text and the placement of deep linking are very crucial in guest posting. This is a very timely post for any SEO practitioners who wish to have an advanced SEO techniques.

    Google has recently give more importance of websites with a lot of content than the ads through the page layout segmentation. I believe guest posting is safe and favourable on this change.

  5. Love this, Peter.
    1. Finding blog contact info through Whois is a great tip. It’s especially awesome since you can use a Neils Bosma’s SEOTools and scrape that info at scale. May not get everyone right away, but even 20% would be a huge win.

    2. Just something I recently came across. In the subject line, try using “FAN MAIL” (without the all caps). The meaning is instantaneously recognizable. Makes an impact.

    3. There are a number of ways to sneak a link in a blog post. If it’s the kind where you have access to their blog CMS (like SEOMoz), you can always put in a picture URL. In this case, the alt text would act as the anchor text.

    Love the post and love this blog!

    • Peter Attia says:

      Thanks Cleo!

      I never tried using “Fan Mail” in the subject line, but I can imagine that would work well! As for the link in the guest post, most blog owners will allow you some form of a link, but using a picture link instead is a great alternative if they don’t.

      -Peter

  6. Chris says:

    Keep in mind that when writing guest posts, you’re treading a somewhat thin line. In the future, it will be very easy for Google to determine what is a guest/sponsored post and what isn’t, and devalue links/penalize sites accordingly. Technically all links should be nofollowed in guest posts, but we know that no one really follows that. I wouldn’t worry about it for the meantime however, and I still recommend and acquire guest posts for my clients on a regular basis, but it’s just something to keep in mind.

    On that note, I agree with Peter and James on providing an example of a previous guest post. I always do this (first email), and it works well. My initial response rate for guest post pitches is around 75%, but most importantly, I try to only write posts that are interesting and relevant enough to the site (and don’t seem at all promotional) that I can half the time talk the owner into publishing the post under their OWN name.

    I only include one link to my site, and ALWAYS link out to a few other popular sites in the niche as well. I also only link with semi-optimized anchor text. For example, if my site was about “eco-friendly water bottles” (completely random BTW and I just thought of it now), I’d link with a few sentences such as, “…for example, some decent brands that offer this new type of bottle include Aquafina, Dasani and Chris’s Glacier. They all utilize the special thin-wall and cap technology, and use between 40-60% less plastic than traditional water bottles. And you’ve no doubt heard mentioned in various green circles, but it’d be worth to also check out the . Their new bottles, along with various other brands we’ve come across in Orange County supermarkets the last few months, all utilize this green technology, and are not to be overlooked either…”

    Yada yada yada… For me personally, the goal with a guest post is always to try to end up with a genuine editorially-given link (that is, with the blog owner publishing it under their own name and leaving no trace of it being a “guest” post). Try it sometime, and see how it works :)

    Disclaimer: It will work much better if your/your client’s site is a legitimate, good-looking and upstanding site. Fake it until you make it, in other words.. Also, be sure to provide an amazing example (marked as “guest post” or not), and once you’re able to get your first REAL post up, use that going forward. Good luck and email me if you have any questions. I can even give you a few free tips and ideas if you would like too, as I’ve been doing this since ’05.

    Thanks for reading. Chris

    • Peter Attia says:

      Hey Chris,

      Actually Matt Cutts said he approves of guest posts. If Google planned on devaluing guest posts, they would’ve done so by now. Matt Cutts has actually posted up a guest post on his personal blog in the past.

      P.S. Your site’s down.

      -Peter

  7. Chris says:

    WHOOPS, my above example broke because of the links (I purposefully tried to not link out, but it looks like it didn’t like my false tags)… See below for the example, random links added.. Thanks

    —————–
    I’d link with a few sentences such as, “…for example, some decent brands that offer this new type of bottle include Aquafina, Dasani and Chris’s Glacier. They all utilize the special thin-wall and cap technology, and use between 40-60% less plastic than traditional water bottles. Aquafina and Dasani you’ve no doubt heard mentioned in various green circles, but it’d be worth to also check out the eco-friendly water bottle’s by Chris’s Glacier. Their new bottles, along with various other brands we’ve come across in Orange County supermarkets the last few months, all utilize this green technology, and are not to be overlooked either…”
    ————————-

  8. Mike Ketcham says:

    Peter – thanks for the details on the actual email you craft when reaching out for guest post opportunities. I have never reached out to any blogs except those that were publicly soliciting guest posts, largely because I was uncertain about how to do so. I didn’t realize that short and to the point was preferred – it makes sense though.

    • Peter Attia says:

      Mike,

      You can get more people interested in putting up your post if you’re only seeking people that publicly say they’re looking for them. The issue I’ve run into with this however, is that the quality of the blogs seem to go down. Most blogs are open to guest posting even if they don’t announce it. You just have to ask :)

      -Peter

  9. Andrew Breen says:

    Great post, and thanks for the PDF. I’ve saved it to use for training my linkbuilders.

  10. Zach says:

    I have found that the first post is always the hardest, but definitely worth the work. That’s because future guest posts can easily be published once the relationship is built, and depending on the type of site and topic, opens up other opportunities for links. This is a great reference for training. Thanks.

  11. Peter,

    Thanks for this great post! I’ve enjoyed reading your tips and I’ve also realized the core importance of guest blogging in your SEO Campaign. Just few questions: What’s the ideal post you need to create to ensure its success? Are you going for evergreen post? A long article with video? A short article with podcast? And if you’re going to apply changes, how you’re going to approach the blog owner?

    • Peter Attia says:

      Hey Dean,

      There is no way to ensure success :) There are lots of little things that effect your post. Aside from writing it, there’s the factor of how you’ll promote it. Things that work in one industry, may work very different in another. You just have to keep writing and see what works best for you and your industry.

      As for approaching a blogger, it depends on how much you’ve helped them with the post. For example, if you gave someone a free product to review, they’re very open to making changes.

      If you wrote a guest post that isn’t anything new or tremendous and there’s a very obvious link in there… You’ll have limited flexibility on what you can ask for. It really depends on the blogger and making sure you’re not asking for more than you’re giving.

      I will say though, always be honest with bloggers… If they catch you in a lie, it can turn into a nightmare.

      Hope that helps!
      -Peter

  12. Lagan Pillay says:

    This is why I keep coming back to this blog. I can’t believe I missed so many entries since I was here last!

  13. I am really inspired along with your writing talents and also with the format to
    your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is
    rare to look a nice blog like this one today..

  14. My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.

    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But
    he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to
    another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.

    net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content
    into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  15. Lee Hill says:

    Hi Guys great post, sightly worried about the amount of time I dedicate to this considering Matt Cutts seems to be talking more and more about guest blogging which usually means something is going to happen soon. As mentioned above, if its this easy to find these opportunities then it will be even easier for Google to eventually devalue them.

    PS…The PDF is not working can you fix the link please.

  16. Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one!

    It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

  17. Mahfuz Alam says:

    Hello, Look like a great guidelines, I’m going to give a try but one thing when i am trying to download via your provided link, That link did not work. it is bad for your visitor.

    http://www.cucumbernebula.com/peter-attia/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Guest_Blogging_Guidelines.pdf

  18. As usual you’ve delivered by having a few very exciting items and I have already included this web-site to at least one I am going to stick with ! ! ! !

  19. education says:

    Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great content
    on our site. Keep up the great writing.

  20. I got this website from my pal who informed me regarding this web page and now this time I am
    browsing this web site and reading very informative content at this place.

  21. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!

    Very useful information particularly the last part :) I care for
    such info much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  22. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right.
    This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info!
    Thanks!

  23. Hello there, I found your web site by means of Google at the same time as searching for a comparable topic,
    your website got here up, it seems to be great.
    I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, simply was alert to your blog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll be grateful in
    the event you continue this in future. Numerous people can be benefited out of your writing.
    Cheers!

  24. Definitely imagine that that you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to
    be on the internet the simplest factor to be mindful of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed whilst other folks consider concerns that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

  25. This design is incredible! You most certainly know how to keep a reader
    entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own
    blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

52 Flares Twitter 25 Facebook 9 Google+ 12 LinkedIn 6 52 Flares ×