The following is a guest post by Kelly Wilson for the 10 Things I Learned in 2010 series.
Guest posting has become a regular part of my life since June of 2010, and before that I had very little understanding of the SEO process. In the last six months, however, I’ve learned a ton of information about placing guest posts on different blogs, mostly by making mistakes. Hopefully you can avoid some of these more common mistakes with the lessons included here!
10 Things I Learned While Writing Guest Posts
1. I can write about almost anything.
In my brief SEO career, I’ve written guest posts for a variety of subjects, including but not limited to crafting a will, using coupons, promoting a local restaurant, how to motivate kids to read, getting the best insurance for your money, and dozens of articles on taking care of your teeth. If a subject isn’t personally offensive, you can probably write about it with enough time and resources.
2. But that doesn’t mean I can be lazy.
No matter what the guest post is about, the content has to be high-quality, accurate, and worth reading. Each guest post also needs to be original and creative, with a hook to entice readers to stay focused. It also goes without saying to proofread your work, but I’ll say it again and again – PROOFREAD YOUR WORK – especially before submitting it to a website owner.
3. Use anchor text and key phrases strategically.
I’ve had a variety of key phrases and anchor text to work into guest posts, some easy to incorporate while others have been more difficult (insurance Portland comes to mind). This particular skill to SEO writing has become easier to implement with Four Easy Ways to Work Key Phrases into Blog Posts, which gave me a few strategies that can be applied regardless of subject matter.
4. Building good relationships is vital.
Good relationships with website owners allows you to build up a list of potential websites to place guest posts when the need arises. Make it a habit to submit high-quality work in a timely manner – following directions for guest posting if they’re available – to increase your chances of being invited back.
5. Keep spreadsheets concerning your work.
If you write for a variety of different clients like I do, there will be dozens of guest posts with different backlinks, anchor text and link addresses. It’s important to keep all of this information organized for easy access. I use Google Docs for my spreadsheets:
*Contact Information – this includes websites, people’s names, and email addresses for future contact
*Client Spreadsheets – for each client, keep track of the date you perform tasks, the tasks themselves (researching, outlining, writing, editing and submitting), the anchor text with backlink, and the final link to the guest post
*Monthly Spreadsheets – if you have many long-term clients, you might also want to break down your work by the month for invoicing purposes that includes date, task, the time each task required, anchor text with backlink, and link to the guest post
6. Track stats when possible.
When I advertise a guest post I have available on a site like Blogger Link Up, I research the websites that express interest. If a website looks promising, I put the name, address, Alexa rank, Google PR and any other statistical information I can find on one of my spreadsheets.
7. Say yes!
If I advertise a guest post that it’s available and a number of different websites want it, I take notes on each potential website. Through this process, I discover if I can write additional articles in that same subject area with special angles. For example, two websites wanted “Five Easy Halloween Costumes,” but I couldn’t submit the same article to two different websites. Instead, one of the websites agreed to post a slightly different but relevant article, “Five Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume Ideas.” The point is, I didn’t say no to either prospect.
8. Stick to firm deadlines.
If you don’t get a deadline from a website owner for your guest post, make one for yourself. I try to finish and submit a guest post within three days.
9. Request changes when necessary.
Invariably, there may be a mistake when an article I’ve written has been published. Usually, the problem has to do with a backlink. If there’s a problem, remember that relationships are important and email the website owner explaining what you need.
10. When in doubt, ask.
When I come up with an article idea that sounds perfect for a blog I’ve written with before, I approach the website owner with the idea. Usually, the pitch is accepted and my clients – and the website owners – are happy!
Kelly Wilson is a freelance writer who places guest posts for a variety of clients like this Dentist in Battle Ground.
Image Credit: Shutterstock