Paid Guest Posting – Among many ways website owners can get backlinks, guest posting is considered to be one of the most effective. The application of such a method allows improving domain authority in search engines and getting link juice from the donor sites.
Webmasters often encounter difficulties, though, when dealing with guest posts due to a lack of relevant resources. If they sacrifice relevance for link metrics, the project can eventually get penalized.
It’s no secret that paid guest posting is essential for SEO, but the approach to working with websites must be planned down to the last detail. Each suspicious mention can lead to a drop in the site’s ranking.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at this issue.
1. What Is Paid Guest Posting?
2. Why Is Paid Guest Blogging Essential for SEO?
3. How Does Google Treat This Promotion Method?
4. Where to Find Websites for Guest Posting?
5. What to Consider When Selecting a Website?
6. What Are the Stages of Paid Guest Posting?
7. Free vs. Paid Guest Posting
1. What Is Paid Guest Posting?
Paid guest posting is a method of posting sponsored publications, which works on the basis of interaction between an optimizer and a representative of an external resource. Many websites allow posting guest content, even if the target domain has not yet gained high rankings.
Cooperation is possible only if the content is valuable. Trustworthy websites are not willing to publish low-quality posts and focus mainly on the interests of their audience.
No one should consider guest posting as a simple method that will help you get lots of links quickly and easily. It can take a long time to approve content, as all the related questions are usually discussed via email.
Posting costs vary depending on many factors, but website age, audience size, and link metrics impact the most. A link can be an excellent addition to a donor’s site if they are okay with these three points and if the subject lines match.
Sometimes, webmasters forget about relevance and focus only on domain authority, page score, and other domain indicators. Using this tactic increases search engine algorithms’ attention, and can lead to bad results.
It is better not to give Google any additional reason to doubt the nature of links. If you choose relevant donors, you can get something more valuable along with backlinks — targeted visitors, some of whom may eventually join your regular audience.
Why Is Paid Guest Blogging Essential for SEO?
Guest blogging allows you to get high-quality links from the donors you visit. One backlink in the profile does not change the big picture, but if such postings are more numerous than links from low-quality resources, the website has a better chance of getting higher in the search engine.
Sometimes, even 2-3 guest posts are enough to attract the attention of Google algorithms. They notice the new website and take it under control. After a while, they check the current level of the project and adjust its ranking.
Constantly updating the resource and increasing the number of mentions may eventually lead to increased visibility. With this approach, you have a chance to increase market share, even in a highly competitive niche.
Paid guest blogging can sometimes be challenging, but if you manage it correctly, you can easily include this type of collaboration in your strategy.
Experienced webmasters often say it’s better to get one link that drives real traffic than ten backlinks that won’t bring targeted visitors to the website. The site’s rankings are more likely to improve with inbound links giving trust and generating traffic.
In terms of SEO, guest posts help you gain the trust of search engine algorithms faster. Website optimization can take a long time in a highly competitive environment, and guest posts minimize this time.
Benefits of guest posting include:
attraction of the target audience;
link retention guarantee;
increasing branded traffic;
opportunity to scale the process.
You will get much better results from guest posts if you don’t just focus on SEO. To increase the link juice of the promoted resource, you must analyze the donor as a whole, not just the main SEO metrics.
How Does Google Treat This Promotion Method?
Paid guest posts are often referred to as a method of getting unnatural links, but it’s not that simple. The search engines may notice if you post an article to get backlinks, which is not beneficial for the site’s audience.
If the content is valuable to users of the donor website and the article does not look like blatant advertising on a blog, the link cannot be considered unnatural. It should solve particular problems of visitors.
It is crucial to understand that Google is against any link exchanges and backlinks acquired artificially. However, search engine representatives have repeatedly expressed a calm attitude toward sponsored articles.
A few years ago, Google added a link attribute named “sponsored,” which should be used to mark all sponsored backlinks. Global researches show that this attribute is rarely used, though.
There is no information about whether your website can get penalized if you do not use sponsored attributes for backlinks, but such a risk exists. And filtering can be applied to both the promoted and donor websites.
You should not take Google representatives’ statements as a specific guide to action. But you must constantly monitor the situation in the niche and pay particular attention to the region where the website is promoted.
4.1. Collect websites from SERPs by keywords
The most basic method for finding relevant donors is parsing search results. You can find websites for placing links using special search operators — special commands that allow you to filter searches in SERP.
For example, you can use the operator ‘inurl’ to find pages with a certain word (or words) in the URL. If you need to get links for an online shop of cell phone accessories, the website should preferably have similar content already published.
The right search query template will help select websites for further analysis. In the example below, Google shows all websites that mention Apple accessories on the site and have the word ‘blog’ in the URL.
4.2. Search for websites using Serpstat
In Serpstat, you can search sites in different ways. For example, look for top blogs that publish materials on the same topic:
Top Pages report, Keyword Research from Serpstat
Here, you can also review sites where your competitors are published, and add them to your list of donor sites:
Links Intersect report, Backlink Analysis from Serpstat
4.3. Explore niche forums
You can always find ready-made lists of the donor sites for placing links, with prices and other parameters indicated.
You should keep in mind that these lists may contain outdated, irrelevant information. However, you can highlight valuable features by looking at the anchors of ready-made posts.
4.4. Investigate competitor’s backlink profile
The backlink profile of your competitors provides valuable information. With the help of such services as Serpstat, you can research it in detail and find all the link-building methods used by your competitors.
Backlink Analysis from Serpstat
It may turn out that a website that has gained visibility in the last six months is actively using guest posting. Its owner publishes content on reputable web portals and gets relevant leads along with link juice.
The main advantage of analyzing the competitor’s backlink profile is getting ideas for link-building. You can partially copy the strategy and make publications on the same projects to equalize the rankings in search results.
It is impossible to predict whether posting on the same donor sites will help gain an advantage in SERPs, but this approach is commonly used. In SEO, it is difficult to make predictions, and you should work comprehensively on all fronts.
4.5. Select articles from thematic resources
The cost of guest posting can be very high, so webmasters sometimes add links to the collection of articles. This is the way to save money and partially solve the problem.
Such backlinks are much less useful than the pages with only one link to the promoted site. However, this is one of the tactics website owners can apply.
4.6. Look for partner websites with a similar audience
Direct competitors will not advertise a similar resource, but you can always find similarly themed sites whose owners do not mind earning $100-200 for posting a guest article.
A similar audience is valued higher than the best link metrics. So, you should prioritize good behavioral factors over link juice. It’s especially important when promoting a commercial website, the goal of which is to sell as many products as possible.
4.7. Search on social media
Social media links have minimal effect on ranking, but you can use social media to find potential donor sites that may not be visible when parsing search results.
When compiling a list of potential donor sites, you should use as many sources as possible. This is the only way to guarantee coverage of all relevant websites.
You should review the donor sites list regularly to stay up-to-date with changes in search results. If the project you are tracking has gained higher positions in recent months, you should definitely pay attention to it and consider guest posting.
5. What to Consider When Selecting a Website?
Many SEO specialists focus on link metrics and forget about the quality of content, target audience activity, and other important parameters. Link juice is essential, but it should not be the only goal for posting backlinks.
When selecting a website, you should consider several important factors that will help distinguish a quality donor site from a website you’d better skip.
Every webmaster has a different list of criteria for assessing the quality of a website, but it is worth adding the factors described below.
5.1. Website content and relevance
A paid guest blog with quality link metrics is not an ideal donor by default. You might encounter problems after posting if you don’t pay attention to in-depth analysis.
For example, it may turn out that the website has a high spam score, the article has several paid backlinks, or the resource representatives don’t mark content as sponsored.
5.2. Website metrics
Site metrics do matter, but only when they are thoroughly examined by an SEO professional. For example, it makes no sense to look only at Page Authority without considering the high Spam Score.
Webmasters often trust SEO services and forget about the importance of manual analysis. It is necessary to additionally check the content and the approach to posting paid links.
Thus, you should pay attention to the following metrics:
backlink profile quality;
Serpstat Domain Rank indicator.
If the project is performing well according to various indicators and has an active audience and good rankings, you can discuss content posting arrangements. The next steps depend on the outcome of the negotiations.
5.3. Website spam score
The spam score is determined based on the outbound and inbound links ratio. It is important not to spam a website with paid backlinks if you want it to be attractive to advertisers.
If a website regularly adds new donor sites while the old ones remain in the same place over time, these sites can be included in the list of potentially interesting ones, and an in-depth analysis can be carried out.
The spam score does not directly reflect the quality of the resource, but it demonstrates the strategy of posting backlinks.
The process of choosing relevant donor sites would be much easier if you use appropriate platforms like Serpstat.
The service allows you to review main site metrics and carry out a comprehensive site analysis in general.
6. What Are the Stages of Paid Guest Posting?
Paid guest posting should be viewed as a comprehensive link-building strategy that can only be beneficial if you make a detailed plan and implement it step by step.
You can post a few links with little preparation, but you must work hard and monitor the situation regularly to get long-term backlinks.
Having a plan prevents problems and increases confidence in the positive outcome. If you ignore the analysis of the donor site, the consequences can be varied. For example, a website can lose 20% of its links in 6 months.
6.1. Get a list of relevant resources
Successful guest posting begins with searching for the relevant donor sites that can positively affect its authority. If an optimizer spends a lot of time on this task, they will find several dozen authoritative websites.
Gathering all the information takes time and requires using as many sources as possible. Losing focus at this stage can threaten all further work.
6.2. Filter websites by criteria
Even before compiling a list of donor sites, an SEO specialist must determine the list of criteria by which they will evaluate the quality of websites for further cooperation. It should not be limited to link metrics only.
The gathered sites should be filtered based on the priority of placement. From the very beginning, it’s better to start analyzing the highest-quality projects and negotiate with their representatives.
6.3. Review the rules for submitting articles for a specific blog
The success of cooperation largely depends on how well the project’s guest posting processes are set up. It can take a long time to agree on all the details if the content has never been published before.
Make sure you are familiar with the website’s editorial policy before preparing content. It will help save time and complete basic tasks in advance. Upon approval, the content can then be published immediately in this case.
6.4. Propose cooperation
The proposal for cooperation is often ranked third in the chain of steps for guest blogging, but it depends on the specific website.
It’s better to start by discussing cooperation and then get familiar with the editorial policy to prepare content. This is how you can save time adjusting the texts or searching for another website.
6.5. Prepare content
The quality of the content affects the speed of posting, the engagement of the target audience, and the evaluation of the page by search engines. If a webmaster only focuses on link metrics, such as nofollow/dofollow attributes, they may not receive other benefits.
It is better to entrust content preparation to an experienced author who knows how to write quality guest posts. You should also clarify all the requirements for posting links in advance. Many sites limit the number of backlinks and do not accept specific anchors.
6.6. Edit the article
It may be necessary to edit the content if the website representative does not accept it the first time. Do not interpret editing as a refusal — it is a common practice. You should just follow the advice and wait for the approval.
Authoritative sites closely monitor the quality of published content and do not allow articles with suspicious anchors. Links should be integrated so that they do not look unnatural.
6.7. Monitor the results
After posting the content, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of the project. Some donor sites will bring minimal benefit, and that’s okay.
If referral traffic comes first, you must select resources with the most active audience and prepare relevant materials. Otherwise, counting on a large flow of targeted visitors makes no sense.
There may be additional steps in the guest posting scheme. It all depends on the chosen strategy and features of a specific website. It may be necessary to engage an opinion leader to prepare an article, for example.
7. Free vs. Paid Guest Posting
Many optimizers want to save money and expect to boost the link juice only with the help of free guest posting. Some websites post free content, but getting their approval is much more challenging.
Free guest blogging has advantages, but it’s better to focus on sponsored content if you want to drive revenue as quickly as possible. It guarantees the retention of links and speeds up the moderation process.
One of the main disadvantages of free posts is that website representatives are not responsible for the backlink performance. After a while, they may disappear, and the link juice will no longer pass from donor to recipient.
Another disadvantage is that editors do not accept all anchors as part of the free guest post. Sometimes, you can add no more than 1-2 backlinks. And if you prepare an extensive sponsored article, you can get more than two backlinks.
Each approach is good enough to use them simultaneously — get links from reputable projects with high-quality articles and save money by posting free content.