How to Hack Your Way to the Top Through Guest Posting in 2019
How Do Guest Posts Improve Rankings?
We’ve talked about what guest posts are, but what we haven’t yet explained is how guest posts drive traffic to your website and improve your rankings.
It may seem counter-intuitive to think that writing content for someone else will increase traffic on your website, but it will!
In order to explain how this works, we first need to discuss something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO and You
The number one way that customers find websites is through the use of search engines.
Placing ads on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is one strategy to increase traffic to your website, but getting ranked higher than your competitors on Google and Yahoo search is much better.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fancy term people use which just means making sure that search engines know what your website is about and which visitors will be most interested in visiting your website.
Why does this matter?
Studies show that the number one position in google gets 32.5% of all search traffic. Position 2 gets 17.6% of traffic, and position 3 gets 11.4% of traffic.
This means that the top 3 positions in Google get over 60% of the traffic.
If you think about how you use the internet, that will ring true.
When you search for something in Google, you probably also click one of the first items you see rather than going through several pages of data.
By making sure that your website has one of those coveted top 3 spots for search terms that matter to you, you’re taking customers away from your competitors and driving them to you instead.
Search engines are dedicated to providing their customers with the best content for a particular search term.
When you google “gluten-free recipes” you want the first several results that come up in the search engine to actually be gluten-free recipes.
In order to provide their viewers with the best possible content, search engines are programmed to look for two important things:
- Keywords on your website that tell them what your content is about.
- Links from other websites proving that people trust you enough to talk about you and link to you.
In the past, companies who understood SEO would overuse keywords in their content, trade backlinks with people, and create automated links to their website.
As you can imagine, this created choppy websites that people didn’t enjoy.
As a result of these sketchy practices, Google modified its search engine to ensure that they weren’t directing people to these indecipherable websites.
Today, search engines know to look out for things like keyword stuffing, backlink trading, social bookmarks, web directories, donation & scholarship pages, and spammy blog comments.
These dishonest practices not only don’t help your website rank in Google, but they’re actually a red flag that causes you to rank lower in Google.
Search engines know that no one cares to read that content, and promoting that content makes searchers less likely to use their engines.
Because of that, search engines are getting smarter every single day.
The more that people try to fool search engines, the more Google improves their algorithms to ensure users have a good search experience.
That’s why it’s important to know what your company is about and ensure you have a solid backlink profile that directs traffic to you when it should.
Guest posting is all about creating genuine content that directs traffic to your website and will continue to direct traffic to your website regardless of the changes search engines make to their algorithms.
Content is Key
Why do guest posts work?
Guest posts work based on a simple premise that all smart business owners understand: content is key.
A search engine’s business model only works because people count on search engines to give them the best available content based on whatever they type into the search bar.
Users are looking for things like detailed answers to questions, how-to articles, tips & tricks, and recipes just to name a few things.
In other words, they’re looking for high-quality content!
Because that’s what people are looking for, search engines will never lower the rankings of websites who are actually providing good content.
That’s the Key to Guest Posting
Providing content that actually brings traffic to another website and linking in that content to your website will, in turn, drive traffic to you.
Consider it this way:
Any time a website links to you, they’re telling search engines that what you have to say on that topic matters.
The more authoritative the website linking to you is, the more Google sees your website as a relevant and reliable source of information.
It’s like the difference between your brother giving you a letter of recommendation and Bill Gates giving you a letter of recommendation.
Bill Gates’ name alone would give that recommendation more weight because more people care about what he has to say.
On the other hand, they would assume your brother is saying something nice about you because you’re related or because he hopes you’ll return the favor.
Editorial links, which are backlinks that comes from a site with quality content, are the number one trust factor search engines look for when determining how high to rank your website for specific key terms.
This is why it’s important not just to offer guest posts to other websites, but to offer guest posts that are relevant to their audience.
The more that the website you’re posting for wants to promote your content, the more people will see your company’s name, and the more Google will see — and care about — your company associated with your targeted keywords.
The importance of editorial links also explains why it’s better to write for a website that doesn’t make a name for itself simply through guest posts.
Some websites will allow anyone to write for them and openly invite people to do so through footprints like ‘write for us / become a contributor’ and so on.
However, those websites don’t drive good, consistent traffic.
And while search engines haven’t caught on to these practices yet, it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how to vet out these sites.
So if you’re relying solely on guest posts for those types of websites, you’re likely to see your traffic drop significantly when Google creates a new update.