Yes, guest blogging for backlinks is worth it. Guest blogging is awesome, and you should absolutely do it. End of blog.
Ah, you want to hear more. Ok, no worries. Let’s get into it.
If you don’t want to just take my word for it (fair enough) I’ll help you get to grips with:
- What is SEO (super briefly, we don’t have time)
- How backlinks help small businesses with SEO
- How guest blogging gets you backlinks
- How to set up a guest blog exchange with another small business owner
- Important tips and pitfalls in guest blogging
ONE: What is SEO (super briefly, we don’t have time)
SEO means “Search Engine Optimisation”. You can “optimise” your blog, your website, your website copy, your product descriptions, and even your pictures for “search engines”. This means your website and its content has been created in a way for Google to know what they are.
You need to use keywords which Google will find helpful, known as SEO keywords. This is where SEO copywriters come in very handy. There are also quite a few other things you need for good SEO. The structure of your website is important. Your H1/ H2/ H3 tags, your meta data, and your URL slugs are also important. And, on top of all of that, backlinks really help SEO.
The stronger your SEO, the more Google thinks your website is safe and trustworthy. When someone searches for words which are on your website, it knows your website is reliable and it’ll pop your website higher up the rankings.
Ok, if you’re thinking “WHAT?!” let me give you an example.
Let’s say I’ve got a house plant business and I sell house plants, pots, compost, and super cute mini watering cans.
Here’s what I’m going to do to make sure my SEO is good:
- I’m going to work with a reputable website developer to build my website and handle all the technical SEO.
- I’m going to work with a qualified copywriter who knows about SEO to research all my relevant keywords and write my website copy for me. (If they’re any good, they’ll indicate the H1/ H2 tags and meta data.)
- I might work with a VA who knows about SEO to upload my content for me so the copy goes in the right place. (My website developer might do that for me, but they also might not.)
- I’m going to have an up- to- date blog which has a range of blog topics and headlines packed with SEO keywords. If I can’t write this myself, I’ll get a copywriter to do it for me. The copywriter needs to indicate the H1/ H2/ H3 tags and the metadata here too.
- I’m going to have product descriptions packed full of relevant keywords, including dimensions, colours, and delivery instructions.
- I’m going to have gorgeous photography (to impress customers, because Google doesn’t care about pictures). I’m going to label them things like [LargeGreenMonsteraHousePlant_Bristol_UK_ForSale_SmallBusiness] because Google does care about picture names.
- Last but not least, I’m going to get backlinks.
SEO is a giant puzzle, and all these pieces make up the overall picture. Which, is why it can feel complicated and a bit overwhelming. And, it’s why you can never trust anyone who says they “get you to the top page of Google”, because there’s no way any person can guarantee that.
TWO: How backlinks help small businesses with SEO
So, as mentioned in the previous section, backlinks are kind of like the sprinkling of chocolate chips and walnuts on top of the vegan brownie just about to go in the oven… They’re a great SEO tactic for when your SEO is already pretty on point.
Backlinks are when a link to your website appears on someone else’s website, and, ideally, their website appears on yours. Literally, your websites are linked back to each other.
The reason this is great for SEO is because backlinks tell Google that both websites are trustworthy. Google assumes that when one website has good SEO, and links to another, then that website must also be good.
Before you go searching for backlink opportunities, make sure you’ve done all the stuff in that top section. When you’re sure you’re well on your SEO- way, you’re ready for backlinks.
THREE: How guest blogging gets you backlinks
One guest blog gets you one backlink.
The idea is, you write a blog for another small business owner about a topic you’re an expert in, while still being relevant to their audience. At the end of the guest blog, you include your mini- business bio, a link to your website, and a call to action.
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The good thing about backlinks is that the link to your website could be clicked by a human reader who’s interested in your guest blog and expertise, but it is also read by Google who knows you’re your website is safe.
You can repeat this process as many times as you want, with as many different businesses as you want, and get as many backlinks as you want. Each time you connect with another small business owner to arrange your guest blog exchange, you’re networking and you’re getting content for your website.
The only downside is the whole process can be time consuming. Getting in touch with each other, agreeing a topic, setting a deadline, and then researching, writing, and editing the blog can take quite a bit of effort. Which is why the actual writing of the guest blogs is often outsourced to copywriters.
FOUR: How to set up a guest blog exchange with another small business owner
Here are three types of blogs which work really well for backlinks on another small business owners’ blog.
- A two-part blog
This is where you really dig into a topic which is relevant to both of your businesses. It could be a controversial topic, or a complicated part of your industry, or an in depth ‘How to’ blog. Inevitably, this blog ends up being quite long, so split it into two parts, and post part one on your website, with a link to part two which is posted on their website. Not only do you both get backlinks, but you’ve got yourself some extra website traffic too.
- Q&A blog
Write ten questions about a topic which is relevant to both of your small businesses. Person A interviews person B and writes a Q&A style blog all about them and their business. Person B can also interview person A with the same questions, creating a piece of content for their website too. Using Otter AI during the interviews means the pieces practically write themselves.
- Listicle blog
A listicle tends to be quite a superficial kind of blog- that is, it doesn’t get in depth into a topic- but there are opportunities to get lots of different backlinks in one blog. Write a blog with a headline which inspires lots of different answers. Then, ask people in your industry their opinion, and share their answers in the blog. Share their websites with their comments. Here’s an example: four wedding florists give their advice on getting the cheapest wedding flowers. The answers might include one florist saying “buy flowers in season”, and another might say “use dried flowers”, and a third might advise “buying in bulk”, a fourth might suggest “DIY your flowers after a workshop”. Each of these comments will appear as their own paragraphs with the business owners name, business name, and website. Four backlinks in one blog!
FIVE: Important tips and pitfalls in guest blogging
Two important things:
Tip one: as a small business owner you have probably received emails and messages on LinkedIn from random people promising to get you hundreds of backlinks from “trusted” sites, which will shoot you right to the top of Google. These are very dodgy and should always be ignored. Connecting your site to an untrustworthy site will negatively affect your SEO position. There are some reputable SEO backlinks agencies, but they will never spam you with messages or make concrete promises for ranking positions. Backlinks should be arranged between business owners organically.
Tip two: whatever you do, don’t duplicate content. Don’t post the same blog on your site and another business owner’s site. Google will presume this is plagiarism and think one of you stole the content from the other. This will call the trustworthiness of your site into question and could have damaging consequences for your SEO.