The single fastest way to drive traffic to your website, gain new clients and increase your profile on Google, short of spending your life savings on an online marketing campaign, is to run a guest post campaign.
Over the last 7 years I have had well in excess of 100 guest posts published on blogs as diverse as Virgin, ProBlogger, Jonathan Fields, Men With Pens, Dumb Little Man and Tiny Buddha.
Not all have provided me with clients directly (although some have, in fact I got two clients from one post alone on Jonathan Fields site), but all have provided me with Google Juice and important inbound links.
What’s Google Juice?
The phrase (also called Google Guice) was termed to explain the benefits of an inbound link when one website links to another of a lower ranking (often called authority).
Before I go into more detail let me tell you the easiest way to get an idea of a websites authority so we’re on the same page.
I have installed on my Firefox toolbar a plugin called Alexa (it’s free, very easy to install and if you want it click here).
Whenever I land on a site I can glance down to the bottom of the page and see how Alexa ranks that site.
A quick word of warning: Alexa isn’t terribly accurate, however, it is easily accurate enough for our purposes and getting a general feel for the popularity of a blog.
It can also provide you with some amusement. I once got an e-mail from a guy telling me he was an SEO expert and advising me I was missing opportunities to gain more traffic.
A quick glance at his site showed me he had a GPR of 1, an Alexa ranking of 25 million or thereabouts and his real expertise was in looking stupid.
If you are thinking of hiring an SEO expert or someone who is going to help you maximize your website, check they can do it to their own first, because if they can’t, they probably cannot do it for you either.
All sites are ranked from #1 (currently Facebook has the top spot as it has just usurped Google which is #2) to into the high 30 million range. The lower the number the higher the authority and the more Google Juice a link in from that site will give you.
I also have the ability with many sites to see what their traffic level is like, whether it’s trending up, trending down or relatively stable.
A quick glance tells me Google is trending down, but Vine is trending up very quickly (no surprise with the latter!)
I also have the Google toolbar installed so I can see the Google Page Rank of the page I am on (Google doesn’t rank sites in this way, but individual pages), and these range from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.
There are millions of sites Google hasn’t ascribed a Page Rank to and these are usually ones that are brand new (it can take a couple of months or more for Google to rank your site) or have been set up poorly for SEO purposes.
With the latter to all intents and purposes Google doesn’t even know these exist, but that’s ok because the person setting them up obviously didn’t know Google exists either, or they’d have done a better job of doing the basics.
Who Cares About Authority, Ranking And Traffic Levels?
On the A Daring Adventure site my Alexa ranking fluctuates between 95,000 and 115,00 which puts in well inside the top 0.25% of blogs. I have been as high as 55,000 but to be honest the energy and time needed to put into maintaining that was exhausting.
My home page has a GPR of 4 as has my blog with some of my internal pages 3 and below. I am more than happy with that and the jump to a GPR of 5 would take a monumental effort and probably not yield a monumental return.
My high ranking has a LOT to do with guest posting, but not just any guest posting, targeted guest posting.
Let’s suppose you have a blog and ask me to guest post for you. Leaving aside that I rarely do guest posts these days because of time constraints, the first thing I would do is check your authority.
if you have an Alexa ranking of below about 150,000 and a GPR of 3 I’m probably not going to be interested unless you’re a friend, because an inbound link from you won’t have that much value and what value it does have decreases the lower your authority.
Aiming For High Quality Traffic To Generate New Clients Online
Of course there are exceptions to this strategy.
Let’s suppose you have a website that is dedicated to well-educated women between 30 and 55 who have a household income of $100k and above, then all of a sudden my interest may perk up.
Now I’m looking at your site not necessarily with a view to improving my Google authority, but as a potential opportunity of gaining some highly targeted inbound traffic, with targeted being the operative word.
If I can nail a post that piques your readers interest and has them clicking through to read more about what I do there is the potential to gain clients in my ideal demographic.
On A Daring Adventure I probably get 4 or 5 people request to guest post per week.
Almost always they are from blogs with a lower authority than mine who want help climbing the rankings, but sometimes they are merely looking at my readers as potential clients as they too may be a Life Coach.
A Great Post Is A Great Post
I have no issue with this and if I get sent an amazing post I will run it no matter what.
I have run dozens and dozens of posts from other Life Coaches and will continue to do so because a good post reflects well on me as well as the author.
I know some coaches have gained clients on the back of posting on my site, but so what? They obviously connected with the reader in a way I previously hadn’t so kudos to them!
Having said that, it has to be good and I turn down over 9 out of 10 posts or pitches I get sent.
In fact, I turn down every pitch I get because I prefer to read the full post before I ask the person to write it, otherwise I feel I have tacitly agreed to published something before I have seen it.
It clearly says this is in my guest post requirements, but some people don’t bother to do any research before contacting me.
If you kick off an e-mail to me saying. “Hi, I have a great idea” you’re not even going to get a reply.
Not bothering to learn my name or check out my FAQ’s means you’re lazy, spamming lots of sites at the same time, dumb, or maybe all three.
On the other hand kicking off, “Hi Tim, I have been reading your site and I have attached a guest post that I think your readers will love” will guarantee I read it at the very minimum.
All Links Are Not Equal
A word of warning, you may be now thinking, “Woo-hoo, all I need to do is link back from sites like Facebook, Amazon, Twitter et al and I’ll be flying up the rankings”.
Not so fast Tiger, because if it were that easy, SEO companies would be out of business and we’d all be sat on a rather busy first page of Google.
Unfortunately there is something called a ‘no follow’ link and this is what these are.
The ‘no follow’ is an instruction to Google to, amazingly enough, not follow that link.
Blog comments are almost always ‘no follow’ too, so running around like a headless chicken commenting on popular blogs won’t effect your Google authority or Alexa ranking.
Having said that I once left a flippant comment (I know, not like me at all) on Tim Ferriss’s blog after he wrote a post so obtuse and difficult to read, saying something like this:
“Tim, I have no idea what you’re talking about and I’m pretty sure most people here don’t either. I’m just leaving a comment hoping to gain some traffic”
I was amazed that the moderator approved it, but he or she did and I had over 100 click throughs in 3 hours!
See, being flippant can pay off 😉
There is a lot more to running a successful guest posting campaign, but this should give you plenty to think about and if you have any questions ask away in the comments.
Image: ‘Google’ Courtesy of Carlos Luna