The Ins & Outs of Guest Posting (& Why You Should Do It)

  • At Redefine, we still believe guest posting to be a great way to build up your blog’s presence and drive awareness for your brand. 
  • Guest posting has a host of benefits when it comes to marketing your business, including building up thought leadership and your backlink profile. 
  • When kicking off your campaign, it’s important that you create some link building guidelines to follow. Link building guidelines help you create a “bare minimum list” of websites you’ll reach out to. 
  • When pitching topics or trying to figure out what to write for the publisher, always lean towards informative content.

Over the years, there has been a lot of back and forth about guest posting. In its early beginnings, it was the best way to build links and increase the SEO visibility of your website. But, in recent years Google has been more vocal about its value and how Google’s algorithm sees it. At Redefine, we still believe guest posting to be a great way to build up your blog’s presence and drive awareness for your brand. Let’s get into the in’s and out’s of guest posting!

What is a guest post?

Guest posting is a tactic leveraged in SEO to get content, and ultimately links, published on another publisher’s blog section. With links being a huge deal in SEO, guest posting can be a great tactic to get links from relevant blogs in your niche. The guest post tactic typically has high success rates since there is some exchange of value as opposed to cold link building outreach where you ask a publisher to link back to you with nothing in return for them. 

Controversy around guest posting (J. Muller)

Over time there has been a lot of controversy around whether or not guest posting is still a valuable tactic. Some say that it’s still a good tactic while others say it goes against Google’s guidelines. Google’s stance is that guest posting is an OK practice however you should not get credit for those links. Google’s reasoning is that it’s fundamentally an ad for your business therefore, the link should be ‘nofollow’.

Here’s John’s tweet on the matter:

With that said, there are still many benefits of guest posting from an SEO and brand marketing perspective.

The benefits of guest posting

Guest posting has a host of benefits when it comes to marketing your business. Some of these can probably be argued from an SEO standpoint, but we’ll lay them all out here and let you decide if it makes sense for your business! 

Brand awareness

First, brand awareness is the broader impact of guest posting. At the end of the day, guest posting is simply a brand collaboration. Therefore, any placement you get on a publisher’s website is an opportunity to introduce your brand to a new audience. If you’re able to strike an opportunity on a large publication or one that’s super relevant, then all the better!

Thought leadership

Thought leadership is a concept used in marketing to describe tactics that increase the credibility of a brand. There are multiple ways to build up the thought leadership of your brand like through webinar series or fireside chats. Guest posting, however, is one of the best ways to develop your brand’s thought leadership via written content. The reason this is so important is that it positively positions you as a knowledgeable source in your industry.

Authority & backlinks

One of the primary reasons guest posting is such a huge topic in SEO is because it helps site owners build up their site’s authority and backlinks. It’s believed that Google analyzes all backlinks pointing to a site in order to determine your rankings in search. Since you are getting content published on an external site, this creates a backlink to your site, which can be a positive ranking factor in Google. In theory, the more backlinks you secure, the higher you climb in the ranks of authority.


The final benefit of guest posting is that the contextual relevance of your guest post content, your link’s anchor text, and the referring domain’s relevancy can help Google gain a deeper understanding of your website. Google is in the business of serving users the most relevant content for their search so, any content you publish ultimately helps Google’s search algorithms determine what queries to rank you for. 

If you frequently write about digital marketing then Google is going to test you against digital marketing-related keywords. Whether Google is actually ranking you higher because of a guest post is up for debate, but it’s clear that Google’s search algorithms are taking cues from each of those aspects to understand more about your website and to determine what keywords to rank you for.

Guest posting KPIs

If you’re looking to incorporate more guest posting into your SEO campaign or link building strategy, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be looking out for. Each of these indicators will help you judge the performance of your guest posting tactics and how it may help improve the performance of your site. Here are the six KPIs we look out for when securing guest post opportunities for clients:

  • Authority of site: Generally speaking, the higher the authority of the site you are guest posting for, the better. This isn’t an end all be all but the higher the authority, the more valuable the link is from an SEO perspective.
  • Nofollow or Dofollow: Similarly, the link type is another good KPI to look out for. Nofollow links mean that link equity isn’t transferred over, while “dofollow” alludes to the opposite. Ideally, in your guest posting strategy you want to go after “dofollow” links. The importance of nofollow links can also be debated but the good news is that Google has stated they take “hints” from nofollow links too.
  • Anchor text: Google is thought to take cues from the anchor text of a link. So it’s important that you aim for anchor text that’s relevant to your site and the page being linked to in your guest post. It’s also important that you aren’t overly targeted with your anchor text. This can cause Google to devalue the importance of the link if it’s too keyword-targeted. 
  • Referral traffic: An indirect benefit of guest posts is referral traffic. Since you’ve added a link to your guest post, you’ve created a portal for readers to click through and access your content. To judge the performance of your guest post, you should keep watch over how much referral traffic you get from the article!
  • Social media shares: Social media shares are another good metric to look at if you have the right tools to check this. The more social shares you get on your guest post, the more reach, brand awareness, and rankings you might get!
  • Rankings: Similarly, rankings for your guest post can be a good indicator of how good Google deems your guest post. The more rankings you are able to get the more likely you are to gain more referral traffic and boost your brand awareness.

The steps to source guest posting opportunities

Sourcing guest post opportunities can be completed in a variety of ways. We will share some of the best ways you can source great guest post opportunities for your site. 

Search operators

If you’ve been in SEO for a long time, then you definitely know what search operators are. If not, you can think of these as refined searches on Google. These can be leveraged in a variety of ways to target your searches more accurately, but here are a few search operators you can use for finding guest post opportunities:

  • {Popular niche keyword} “write for us”
  • {Popular niche keyword} “guest post”
  • {Popular niche keyword} “guest post guidelines”

Relationship building

This is as simple as it sounds! Be a good neighbor online. Keep your past guest blogging contacts close and focus on building relationships with them. This is a longer-term play, but over time it’ll make your work a lot easier when you need to drum up an opportunity.

Cold outreach

Unfortunately, most link building still consists of the dreaded cold outreach! Frankly, it’s the best way to reach sites directly. So, pick your favorite link-building tool, our’s is Buzzstream, and plop in a few popular search terms and kick off your opportunity search. 

Once you’ve found the right publishers to reach out to, you can use this template!

Things to keep in mind

Have some standards!

When kicking off any link building, it’s important that you create some link building guidelines to follow. Link building guidelines help you create a “bare minimum list” of websites you’ll reach out to. If they fall outside of those guidelines, then you pass. Link building guidelines will help keep your campaigns focused and set up for success!

Keep it informative

When pitching topics or trying to figure out what to write for the publisher, always lean towards informative content. You’ll want to develop a strong guest post that the publisher’s audience is going to like. If it’s over promotional and geared toward promoting your product/service, you’ll either not get any responses to your pitches, or Google will detect the post as being sponsored. So, keep it informative!

Pitch relevant content

More importantly, pitch guest post publishers content that’s relevant to their site. Actually, spend some time digging through their past blog articles (both editorial and guest contributor) and pitch them a topic that’ll resonate with their audience. 

Find out content guidelines

If possible, find out if the site you are pitching has any guidelines. Guidelines are beneficial in two ways:

  1. Most importantly, they help determine the editorial integrity of the site. Their guidelines will give you an idea of the quality of content they are willing to accept. If they just accept anyone and everyone, then maybe it’s best to pitch elsewhere. 
  2. Content guidelines will help you get content published more quickly so long as you follow their rules. Whether it’s you writing the content, or someone else, you’ll be grateful you had the guidelines handy!


We hope this guide gives you a comprehensive understanding of guest posting and the value it can bring to your brand. If you have any questions or need a little help getting your link building strategy started, do not hesitate to reach out to the team here at Redefine Marketing Group.

Author avatar
Jason Martinez
Jason is a Cal Poly Pomona Alum, extreme fan of marketing, and social media advocate. As a Brand Marketing Manager at Redefine Marketing Group, he is responsible for the development and execution of strategy for reputation management, link building, and social media marketing for both the agency and its clients.
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