Whether you sell hand-knit baby booties or high-end technical gadgets, when you have an online business, the number one most important thing you can do to increase sales is to drive more traffic to your website.
No one wants to think about it that way. We like to believe that our products will sell themselves.
But the hard truth is that even if you have the most useful and most innovative product in the world, no one will buy it if they don’t know it’s there.
Marketing is Key to Selling
That’s why companies are continuously looking for new ways to drive traffic to their websites.
Any time you research new ways to drive traffic to your website, you’re bound to come across stories online of people who made it to the top of their field in a manner or months.
These stories feel too good to be true, especially if you’ve been slogging along for a while, fighting for every new view on your website.
But the truth is that it’s possible for anyone to get their websites receiving views by using proven best practices.
One Best Practice is to Treat your Current Customers Well
People will tell you the importance of building a community on your website and offering good customers service.
These techniques have held over from the days of brick and mortar stores when being personable was the best way to keep customers coming back to you over your competitors.
And these techniques do matter.
But unlike when mom and pop shops cropped up on Main Street downtown, you can’t rely on people to stumble across your website. There are so many websites to peruse that this just isn’t realistic.
As a result, new techniques are needed to get those customers in the door, so to speak, the first time around.
Here at SerpTrust, we believe that the number one way to do that isn’t to buy advertisement space on Facebook or banner ads for YouTube.
We believe that the number one way to drive traffic to your website is through the use of guest posts.
And today, we’re going to show you why we believe that and exactly how you can hack your way to the top through guest posting.
What Are Guest Posts?
Before you can hack your way to the top through guest posting, you need to know what guest posting is.
At its very foundation, guest posting means writing content for someone else’s website with a link somewhere in the post that directs readers to a page on your website.
A successful guest post will fit into that other website’s niche so well that they’ll want to promote it to their target audience.
They’ll share it on Facebook or Twitter and do a lot of the back-end side of promotion for that piece, so you won’t have to.
Good guest posts are well-written and provide value to the people who are reading them.
They’re Not just Keyword-stuffed Nonsense
While that strategy would have worked a few years ago, nowadays, there’s so much noise on the internet that the only things that stand out are pieces that matter.
As a result, for guests posts to work, they have to answer questions people want to know the answers to or tell stories people want to read.
Typically, guest posts work best on blogs because successful blogs require new content on a consistent basis.
Meanwhile, bloggers sometimes want to take breaks or have time for their families. Offering them high-quality content that their readers will enjoy provides them with a service.
Since it will simultaneously increase traffic to your website, it’s a win-win situation for both sides.
Other sites that enjoy having guest posts are websites that need a lot of content produced regularly, which includes news sites, forums, and trusted informational pages.
These websites only keep their visitors by having interesting new things every single day, so a free article tends to go over well in those locations.
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.
How Do Guest Posts Drive Traffic?
So, to summarize, guest posts drive traffic by creating high-quality content for other websites and then linking back to your website from those websites.
This, in turn, tells search engines that not only do you have something to say about a given topic but that what you have to say is so unique and important that another website wanted to share that information with their audience.
Search engines see this as an endorsement for your website and rank you higher than competitors who don’t have reputable websites endorsing them.
Ranking higher in search engines, in turn, drives more and more people to your website, and as a result more conversions and profit.
A Quick Outreach Guide
Now that you understand why guest posts are an important part of your brand-building strategy, your next question is probably how you go about getting guest posts on other websites.
The outreach process can be complicated, so let’s go through it step by step.
The first step to getting guest posts on websites is to find prospective websites where you might want your content posted.
An ideal website has enough traffic to be relevant and ranks for some of the same keywords you want your website to rank for, but isn’t a direct competitor of yours.
Direct competitors will rarely be willing to post content on their website that will send traffic to you, so reaching out to them is a waste of time.
One great way to locate websites that might be a good fit for you is to visit a handful of your direct competitors and look at their categories.
Also, consider the categories you use on your website, these become keywords that you should use to find relevant websites.
For Example, Say you Sell a Protein Bar
Protein might be a keyword that you use to find websites. While you wouldn’t want to reach out to other websites that sell protein bars, you might reach out to fitness websites where the importance of protein comes up sometimes.
Tools like Scrapebox and Linkclump can allow you to search for keywords and then gather links to relevant sites.
That way, you can just click through link by link rather than having to go into each page one at a time and write down the URL.
Keep in mind that certain website footprints are a red flag.
If websites have a “write for us” or “become a contributor” footprint in their posts, it’s a sign that the majority of their traffic may be generated by guest posts from other companies.
While these links may drive you some ranking and traffic now, Google could easily track this in the future and make those backlinks obsolete.
Though it takes more time, it’s better to write guest posts on websites that genuinely create unique content on their own on a regular basis.
Importance of Relationship Building
So, how do you get genuine websites to want to publish your guest posts?
The key is in relationship building.
No one wants to do a favor for someone they don’t know, and a request to publish a guest post can feel a little spammy if it comes out of the blue, but if they feel like they have some rapport with you, they may be more interested in hearing what you have to say.
The first email you send out should have a compelling title and should not just be selling what you have to offer.
The goal here is, first of all, to prevent your email from winding up in the spam box and, second of all, to ensure the recipient actually reads the email.
One approach to this is a shotgun approach where you send them a simple question that they can answer quickly.
The question might be along the lines of
Hey, I was impressed by your website design. I’m in the market for a web designer myself; can you share with me who you used?
These quick questions don’t feel salesy, but they can get you a foot in the door and open the way for you to have a conversation with the owner of the site.
Once you receive a response, look further into their website and come up with a unique pitch for a guest post.
The pitch should be something that’s relevant to their audience that they haven’t already written about.
For example, say you did sell protein bars and were about to send a pitch to a blog for hikers. You could pitch a post on great snacks for the trail, which would be relevant to their audience.
Within that post on great snacks for the trail, you know you can mention the protein bars that you sell, but you’ll also be able to offer other information.
The Technical Part of Emailing Prospects
We mentioned earlier that it can be hard to get your initial email opened.
One of the reasons this can be difficult is that email spam filters can prevent your email from even being seen by its recipient.
This is especially true when the people you are mailing use Gmail. In that case it’s best to use G-Suite to reach those people.
Certain email filtering tools can also help.
Tools like Never Bounce or ZeroBounce can clean invalid and unknown email addresses to ensure it doesn’t affect your deliverability rates.
From NeverBounce’s website:
If over 10% of your emails are bad, less than 44% are delivered.
While email delivery services like Mailgun and Woodpecker can help make sure your emails get delivered to their prospective recipients.
Writing the Actual Guest Post
Once you’ve pitched a guest post idea to a website and they’ve agreed that they would like to pursue that idea, your next step is to actually write the guest post.
It’s important to keep in mind that even once a website has said they’re interested in a guest post idea, they’re not locked into publishing it.
If you write low-quality guest posts that they don’t believe their audiences will care about, they’re likely to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Once they’ve decided that you can’t produce high-quality posts, any relationship building you’ve done up until that point goes out the window.
Most of the time, you don’t get a second chance to prove that you can write the type of content they’re looking for.
Once they’ve decided that the content you have to offer isn’t what they need, they’ll move on to find someone who can give them what they want.
To keep that from happening to you, it’s important to ensure your guest post offers high-quality information people will actually care about.
This means that you don’t just want your guest post to be a sales advertisement for your product.
Be sure to stick to the topic you agreed on and do your research so that you give their audience the best information possible.
Don’t just Copy a Post Someone Else has Already Written
Write new, unique content with your own spin on the information.
When you do use a source to do research, link to it in your post to give credit where credit is due.
Consider whether or not you’d be interested in reading the article you’re writing if you were the target audience.
If the answer is no, add something to make it more interesting.
Within the guest post, link to your website in a way that is relevant and uses key terms that you want to rank for in google.
If you want to rank for the term “protein bars,” then have the word protein bars be what links to your website.
However, make sure that it works into the article well and doesn’t feel like a strange throw-away line.
When your guest post is written, use a service like Grammarly to double-check the spelling and grammar before sending it over for publication.
Between finding prospects, building relationships, and writing guest posts, it’s easy to see how this process can take a lot of time to do correctly.
Using guest posts as your main traffic-driving strategy is undoubtedly effective, but it can easily be a full-time job by itself.
Outsourcing some of the work can allow you to scale up and complete this process more efficient and, in the end, more effectively.
How Do We Use Guest Posts?
If you’re interested in using guest posts as part of your overall traffic-building strategy but don’t feel like you have time to do everything involved with guest posts, outsourcing may be your best bet.
The Value that SERPTRUST provides
SerpTrust’s business model revolves around providing companies with guest posts that will actually work to drive traffic to their website.
We do this in the following way:
· First, we vet out websites, being sure to choose high-quality websites that will actually work to drive traffic to your website while eliminating spammy websites that won’t work.
· We build relationships with these websites over time by consistently giving them high-quality pieces that their audience cares about.
· We use our team of talented writers to come up with creative topics, forming the perfect match between your product and the website we’ll be posting the guest post on.
· We write posts using tried and true practices to ensure they’re high-quality and will get published.
· Finally, after letting you take a look at the post, we send the post to the high-quality websites we selected and get them published quickly so that you can start reaping the benefits of the backlinks.
Growing business for our clients is the rule, not the exception, for SerpTrust.
We have done this over and over again with numerous customers.
In fact, let’s take a look at the results just one customer of ours had when using guest posts as their main strategy for building their audience.
Case Study Summary
On our website, we discuss how one of our clients went from 0 to 60k visitors per month in less than one year. The key to their exponential growth curve?
You guessed it: they used our guest posting service to skyrocket their traffic — and, as a result, their profits.
In fact, we started working with this client on this website right after Google launched its Medic update.
After the Medic update, a lot of companies had to change their strategy just to keep their traffic steady.
In the case of this client, however, they didn’t waver.
That’s because, as we mentioned earlier, guest posts continue to be a viable way to drive traffic to your website, no matter how search engines change their strategies.
Because guest posts rely on providing high-quality content to customers, search engines like Google have no reason to change their algorithms to limit the success of guest posts.
In fact, the customer we outline in that case study has used this strategy more than once. Over and over again, hiring our guest posting service increases their traffic and, in turn, their revenue.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Any time you consider hiring a service for your website, you question whether or not the cost of the service is “worth it.” That’s just good business sense.
The important thing to consider here is the return you get on your investment.
A little bit of money up front can kickstart your traffic and keep it growing over time. This, in turn, increases the number of eyeballs seeing your website day after day.
One great thing SerpTrust offers is a variety of packages based on your needs.
You can choose to have guest posts produced a la carte, which allows you to select which websites your content gets written for, allowing you to have a hand in deciding which traffic you receive.
Or, if you don’t have time for that but still want to have guest posts written, our guest post packages allow you to have guest posts written on websites we select from our comprehensive database.
We also offer custom outreach services and link insertion services.
The truth of the matter is, we’re old hats when it comes to guest posting.
We care about this business, so we’re continuously updating our database of websites, coming up with new and innovative pitches, and building relationships.
All of this is work that would take time out of your day for you to do yourself — and as any business owner can tell you, time is money.
When you consider what it would cost to pay an employee to do this work full time, the cost is more than worth it — especially since a paid employee still wouldn’t have the experience and resources that we have at our disposal.
Here at SerpTrust, we truly believe that anyone can drive traffic to their website as long as they know the most up-to-date SEO techniques and are willing to put in the investment it takes to drive traffic.
In 2019, guest posts are key to increasing your website traffic and, in turn, increasing your revenue.
The investment you put in to make that happen can either be your time or your money — and when time is money, it equates to the same thing.
Letting our experts handle driving traffic to your website leaves you the time in your day to do what you’re good at.
Because we can get the traffic to you, but only you can give them a product or service they care about when they get there.
How to Hack Your Way to the Top Through Guest Posting in 2019 was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.