Articles Tagged with Guest Blogging

5 Ways That Bloggers Can Get Links Back To Their Blogs

This post is a repurposed HARO request – to find out more about this process, check out my post on State Of Digital all about it.

Linking diagramAs bloggers, we often get very fixated and carried away with our blogs: making sure that the content that we produce, the blog’s design, etc. are all absolutely perfect. SEO often enters the mix as well (in a do-it-yourself capacity), but it’s not simply a case of adding the WordPress SEO plugin – which is, admittedly, great – to your blog and thinking that that’s all you need to do on the SEO front…

On the contrary… On the link building (a.k.a. off-site SEO) side of things, the possibilities are endless and the fun never ends. It’s not a quantity game, but the more high quality, relevant and natural links that you get pointing to your website (or your blog, as is the case here), the better that it’ll perform from an SEO standpoint, resulting in a likely increase in visibility from organic search – i.e. when people are Googling content relevant to your blog, they might stand more of a chance of finding it, resulting in more traffic to it. So while you can tinker and tweak your site’s internal workings to improve its on-site SEO, you can also improve its off-site SEO by acquiring inbound links.

But how do you go about getting links? Where do you start?

As an SEO who’s also a keen blogger, here are a few ways of getting links back to your blog that have worked for me:

1) Guest blogging

StOD guest posting bio screenshot
Although this tactic has lost some of its impact due to people spamming it too much (although it’s not all bad – you can read my views here), there might still be some good opportunities to guest blog on other bloggers’ websites in your niche, so it’s worth looking into. In addition to the link back to your blog, the hosting blogger is likely to promote it via their social media profiles, too.

It’s worked for me. Beyond recently becoming a regular contributor on State Of Digital, I have also written posts for Moz, SEMrush and other industry blogs. In addition to getting some good industry exposure, getting links from such high profile websites to my blog has helped with its SEO.

2) Attending blogger meet-ups

Going to local blogger meet-ups simply to get to know other local bloggers and to offer advice can be a good way to get links. I’ve seen people get links because someone’s published a write-up of the event and they’ve included links to all the bloggers that they met there. I’ve even been added to a few bloggers’ blogrolls simply due to taking the time to get to know them.

Cardiff Blogs used to be the big player a few years back, but they run less events now than they used to. Despite this, there are a few blogging-related events that seem to crop up every now and again in the South Wales area – so it’s worth keeping an eye out.

Click to read more!

20 Ways That Freelancers Can Drum Up Sales During Quieter Times

WILL DROP PANTS 4 FOOD sign
(Note: that’s not me in the pic!)

Whether you call yourself a freelancer, a solo/independent consultant, a solopreneur or maybe even something else entirely, one of the biggest challenges that we face as one-person bands is the ability to balance our workloads effectively – in particular by keeping the sales pipeline filling up while we’re busy working on other projects.

And I can speak about this from recent personal experience…

I have a confession to make…

I dropped the ball on the sales front earlier this year. After a busy Q4 in 2014 (resulting in December being my most successful month income-wise to date at the time) and a very busy January running CR 25 single-handedly, followed by two large one-off projects in Feb-Mar (which both overran), I was simply too busy to fit sales into the mix.

Big mistake.

Then in April: quiet. Well… I had enough to keep me going, but things were a lot quieter than I was used to. It was my quietest period since my first three months in business (way back in the summer of 2013) and therefore in over 18 months. Yikes.

Things have picked up rather nicely since then, but I wanted to take the time to blog about some of the ways that I went about drumming up new business during that quiet spell. And while working on this list of sales tactics for freelancers, I just kept adding more and more ideas to it and ended up with 20 different ways…! For the record though, you might not see some tactics that you’re expecting to see… For example, I don’t condone cold-calling, door-to-door sales or any other type of ‘interruptive’ marketing like that, so that won’t be in the list below. I’m also not keen on freelancer marketplace websites (e.g. PeoplePerHour) – I’m not saying that they don’t work, they’re just not for me, and I’m sure that there are other freelancers who feel the same way.

…So what else can you do?

A slight disclaimer: some of these are probably really obvious, but if fellow freelancers (SEO or otherwise) browse the list, see 2 or 3 points and think to themselves: “damn, why didn’t I think of that?” then that’ll do for me…! :-)

First things first…

1) Remove any “I’m not available” type messages from your blog/website

"Not available" message example screenshot
Taken from Formfett

If you’re in a position to network and drive leads and enquiries your way, the last thing that you’ll want to do is to put people off with a message on your site that says “I’m unavailable at the moment” or “I’m unavailable until [future date]”… It’s all well and good to have this on the site when you are full-up capacity-wise, but be sure to remove it when you aren’t and when you’re actively seeking work. While this might seem really obvious, it’s crucial that you make sure to remember to remove the message everywhere and anywhere it’s featured: is it on your Contact page / your Hire Me page / site-wide? For me, it was on this very blog’s Hire Me page and my freelance site‘s Contact page, but it could be disasterous if I only remembered to remove it off one of the pages and not the other – so be sure to remember to do it…!

As an aside… Some people swear off using these type of messages entirely, which is fair enough (after all, what if a dream enquirer sees it and it puts them off from enquiring?), but @ChrisLDyson of Triple SEO raised a good point that it usually still brings in the more serious enquiries while putting off the “can I just get a quote?” types. Besides, they might not read it anyway and just get in touch regardless.

Right, got that sorted? Good. Onto the next one…

Leveraging existing business relationships

2) Touch base with old clients

If you work with clients directly and you’ve already done work for somebody – maybe on a one-off basis – and you left things on good terms, then it makes sense to touch base and catch up on their current situation. Maybe they’re in need of more of your assistance?

I did some one-off consulting for two companies in the past year and decided to email them asking how things were going. Both of them said that my timing was perfect, that they’d be keen to reconvene things – and I’ve already been to see one of them (the other one is still keen but they’re going to leave it another month or two). Nice and easy.

Obviously this only really works in certain circumstances – for example, if you stopped working with a client because their budget ran out/got cut, or they’ve gone ahead with another supplier, or they’ve brought the service in-house instead, then you may want to give those ones a miss. But think back to all your old clients and get in touch with those who loved what you did for them and might need more of the same.

3) Touch base with your main referral partners (e.g. agencies)

Who usually passes you work? In my case, as an SEO, I get a fair bit of work from web design agencies and PR agencies. Similar to the point above, get in touch with those that you’ve worked with before and find out if any of their clients currently need help with anything.

Click to read more!

Stick Your Fork Elsewhere… Thoughts On Matt Cutts’ “Guest Blogging Is Done” Statement

Fork imageYesterday, Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts posted a new blog post containing a very strong statement:

“Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

As expected, the SEO industy went nuts on Twitter (I have to admit that a lot of the responses were actually pretty funny). In the 12-ish hours or so that have passed since the announcement, there have already been some great response posts by SEO greats including Joost de Valk and Ann Smarty (to name just a few). Given that I’m a strong advocate of guest blogging, I wanted to chip in, too.

My immediate thought was this: the statement is intended to scare the spammers. People who spam guest blogging will (hopefully) be put off. But people who do guest blogging properly aren’t (or shouldn’t) suddenly be thinking of stopping everything. That would be crazy.

Here are some other thoughts…

Matt specifically mentions paid guest blogging

In Matt’s post, he complains about some guest blogging outreach that he received, especially the fact that they offered him money if they published it:

“If you ignore the bad spacing and read the parts that I bolded, someone sent me a spam email offering money to get links that pass PageRank. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.”

I’m curious to know if Matt would’ve made such a fuss if they didn’t offer him money. Granted, it was still a lousy outreach attempt (and of all the people to target…!), but it’s true: money shouldn’t be involved in a conversation about guest blogging (more on this below).

Not all guest posting is spammy

My concern is that people will suddenly think: “oh no, guest blogging… eee!” and run for the hills. But Stephen Kenwright makes a cracking point:

YouMoz, man! I challenge anyone to read YouMoz and find one post where someone’s blatantly only done it for the SEO-ness. I’ve had the pleasure of writing for YouMoz 6 times (2 of which were promoted onto the main blog), and not once did I think: “this is gonna boost my SEOz” – if anything, it’s an added bonus.

Click to read more!

SEOno News & GB Posts: Part 2

Following on from last time, just a quick update…

News

I finish my coursework at the end of this month, after which I’ll finally get on with the site redesign. I’m serious. I’m not kidding! I’ve been talking about it for well over a year, so it’s about bloody time I got it sorted. Seriously though, I’m marking it as a priority from September, even at the expense of writing less content until I get it done.

Speaking of content, I have some great posts lined up. I’m in the process of asking for people’s comments for a post relating to online marketing for live music, which will probably end up being one of my next posts. I also have half a dozen or so ideas for content – it’s just having the time write them that’s the issue!

Oh and I have a new job! I started my new role as an SEO Strategist for Box UK in July, as part of their new Digital Marketing division. Exciting stuff!

Guest blog posts

Not really guest posts per se, but 4 new posts on other sites…

Before leaving Liberty, I wrote a two-parter titled ‘What Is Keyword Research?’ The first part covers what it is, why it’s important and how to go about it. The second part covers a few common mistakes people make when conducting keyword research. I was supposed to have another post about PPC appear on a well-known PPC blog on behalf of Liberty, but I don’t think they ever published it unfortunately.

I’ve also helped to produce two posts for Box UK (already)! Before I’d even started, I was asked to write an introductory post, so I wrote a list of do’s and don’ts in carrying out SEO in 2012. I was also involved in an interview on SEO and UX (User Experience) with my colleague Chris from the UX team – we talk about how SEO and UX should work in unison and not be treated as separate entities.

I also have another YouMoz post in the works, which I submitted back in June. I wrote my first one a year ago, which seemed to go down well, so I’m very excited to have another post pending publication. Fingers-crossed this one makes it onto the main SEOmoz blog – I’d be absolutely delighted if that were to happen!

Rant: Guest Blogging is NOT Article Marketing 2.0

SEO Spinning TopGuest blogging is possibly one of my favourite offsite SEO strategies. There’s tons of benefits in doing it and it’s (mainly) good, honest, ethical work. It’s certainly not an easy link building strategy (but then again, these days, link building shouldn’t be), but in my opinion, it’s worth it.

It seems as though the SEO world has ‘woken up’ to guest blogging this past year or so. Obviously there are those who have being doing it for longer or who have always carried it out, but now it’s considered a typical and popular strategy. Unfortunately though, when something gains popularity, there will be those who taint it – they’ll try to be lazy, cheat the system and automate it if they can.

A few industry peers have shared some of their guest blogging nightmares, from the perspective of the blogger accepting content. Mike King of iPullRank has shared an example of some low-quality spun content he was offered, while more recently, Mike Essex of Koozai has shared examples of some of the terrible outreach he has received, claiming that “around 80% of the guest blog requests [he] received went straight in the bin.”

Of course, the authors are not the only ones to blame. While some of those wanting links will try to do it in the easiest way possible, some of those giving the links will take advantage of the opportunity – and attempt to profit from it.

At my previous job, we tried to do a lot of guest blogging, not only on behalf of our clients but on behalf of ourselves as well. I first started guest blogging over a year ago (early-ish 2011). Back then, with one client, I didn’t have a single blog come back to me and say “actually, we only accept posts if you pay us as well.” For a later client, a couple of weeks ago, the 80/20 rule kicked in: in one industry, about 80% of the people I approached asked for payment in addition to the post that they were receiving for free. As I said earlier, I do wonder if the difference between the two times was not because of the types of industries (although it could’ve been a factor), but because people are getting wise to guest blogging, especially recently. After all, why give away something for free (i.e. a link from your blog) if you could make money from it?

A few weeks ago, I resorted to Twitter (as always!) to let off some steam:

Perhaps an overreaction (hah)! Anyway, a friend of mine @replied to me, giving his thoughts:

While I do see his point, and guest bloggers should be grateful for the exposure (even at a cost beyond the time it has taken to write the content and conduct the outreach), my concern is that the overall quality of guest blog posts – and therefore guest blogging as a practice as a whole – could be affected.

I’d argue that if someone is not charging money to receive guest blogs then quality will be an extremely important factor. They’ll only want good quality content and dismiss poor content and poor outreach (similar to the two Mikes I mentioned above). However, if someone says “pay me £100 and I’ll publish it,” is quality really going to be that big a concern to them? After all, for people who are that way inclined, if they had to choose an excellent post for free or a mediocre post that also earns them a tidy £100, which one would they choose?

Spam Gift SetAnd this is the problem. Guest blogging will become tainted and ultimately lose its shine and its value. Similar to infographics, which are a current concern due to the abuse they’ve been receiving in an attempt to get links. In an ideal guest blogging utopia, guest blogging is about offering good content for free, which is hosted and published for free. Everyone wins – the blog owner gets good content for free and for his/her troubles, the link builder gets a link. But when a spammer approaches a blog that accepts payment and may or may not give a crap about the quality of the content it receives, then we have a problem.

Unfortunately, guest blogging is becoming Article Marketing 2.0. Lazier, spammier SEOs think they can just send someone a spun article, give them a few quid and happy days. Instead of an article directory or a ‘fake’ blog network, the content is going on a more ‘legit’ blog (even if it’s not really more legit, but just looks that way), so the spammer gets the added benefit of looking less spammy, too.

I know it’s not something anyone can do about it, and that unfortunately this stuff happens. It’s the way it is. When something gets abused, it devalues the process for everyone, even for those who were playing nice and doing things properly.

But sometimes it’s good just to let off some steam, even if it’s just a few hundred words in a blog post.

Rant over.

[Image credits: “SEO” spinning top: Todd Hall (note: it actually says “SEQ,” but that “Q” looks so much like an “O,” don’t you think?); spam gift set: Seoulful Adventures]