Back in 2014, guest blogging got a bad rap. Google's web spam expert, Matt Cutts, said the practice had become so spammy that it would be rendered useless - potentially even penalized - in the future. Fast forward a few years, and here we are in 2017. Guest blogging practices have survived and they're still in full swing.
Why hasn't guest blogging gone the way of the dinosaurs?
Because marketers stopped wasting their time on low-quality guest blogging and started investing in guest blogging services that are focused on quality over quantity.
How guest blogging services have evolved
Old-school guest blogging involved networks that distribute a keyword-stuffed article to multiple low-quality websites.
These days, guest blogging strategies are mostly focused on building relationships with people at well-known publications. They get to know the editorial team, learn the style and audience preferences, and establish professional connections. Using those connections, they negotiate posting opportunities on behalf of their clients. For a fee, the clients get to publish guest posts on A-list websites.
Some companies that offer guest blogging services like this include:
What should you expect to pay?
There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to guest blogging costs:
1. The fee for the guest blog service itself
When considering the costs of guest blogging, it's important to remember that you get what you pay for. If you choose a bargain basement solution, you’re going to get to results to match. If you pay for a premium service, you’re going to get topnotch results.
That said, let's talk numbers. For one mid-level Domain Authority link (20 or higher), you'll pay $150 at The Hoth. For one high Domain Authority link (40 or higher), you'll pay $400 at The Hoth. With Stellar SEO, the equivalent links would cost you $167 and $367, respectively.
But links can run north of $1,000 apiece for a guest post on A-list sites like Forbes, Huffington Post, or Entrepreneur, according to Ahrefs. So really, the sky is the limit.
2. The cost of the writer
What you pay for a writer will also depend on the quality of the content and service. Expect to pay a premium If you only want to work with someone who is an expert in your field, who has years of experience, and who is willing to meet your tight deadlines.
An experienced writer will run you about $0.10 per word. That's $100 for a 1,000-word article.
You might pay more than that for someone who has a lot of subject matter expertise in your area, or you could pay around $0.07 per word for a writer with less experience.
Learn why business blogging is one of the best ways to build your business: Attract Customers To Your Website With Business Blogging.
What's the ROI?
One of the reasons why guest blogging didn't disappear is that there’s a huge potential for digital marketing results:
- Increased organic traffic
- Quality backlinks
- Increased referral traffic
- Increased brand exposure
It's difficult to tie these outcomes to hard numbers because the success of the campaign really depends on how it’s conducted.
But to give you an idea of what you can expect, consider this case study: A small business that makes mobile websites and native apps published 44 guest blogs over the course of five months. As a result of this effort, the business' website saw a sustained increase in organic traffic (20 percent), Domain Authority increased by 5, and it received 38 quality backlinks. That's a pretty solid outcome for an isolated effort.
It's the promise of ROI like this - and even beyond - that gets marketers really excited about guest blogging strategies.
If you're considering the service, here are the best practices you need to follow:
1. Avoid black-hat guest blogging services
First and foremost, make sure the guest blogging provider you’re partnering with has a good reputation. Google penalizes sites that use spammy guest blogging schemes, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the vendor you choose is only using white-hat practices.
You should also ask to see some credentials for the sites where they’ll distribute your content. Check for:
- High domain authority: Is it a respected publication that will pass a lot of trust signals to your site?
- Audience relevance: Is it the type of site your customers would visit? How big is the audience? Are they engaged?
- Editorial practices: How do they treat backlinks? Do the posts look professional? Is the blog updated often?
2. Outline your goals and expectations
Provide specific information about what you need to achieve to consider the campaign a success, so your guest blogging service can help you find the right solution.
- Are you more concerned with getting on an A-list blog?
- Are you mostly focused on getting as many quality backlinks as possible while staying under budget?
- If they are running into editorial roadblocks with the ideal publication, is the deadline a deal breaker?
The last thing you want is to hand over your credit card, and later find out that you and the vendor were on different pages about where the guest blog should go, what it should cover, and what it should be promoting.
3. Vet your writers
Make sure the writer(s) you're working with has a clear picture of what you need the blog post to achieve. Some things that you might want to be on the lookout for:
- Style: Can the writer achieve the type of post that you want to have? Do they understand the vocabulary you use? Can they do the research?
- Experience: Has she/he written guest posts before? Articles in your niche? Content to support marketing goals?
- Proven track record: Is the writer able to finish the project by the deadline? On spec?
Any red flags during the vetting process should be a signal to find another writer for the project. It's important that you're working with someone who you can trust, as the results of your guest blogging strategy hinge on their performance.
And if you have any thoughts you'd like to share about guest blogging best practices, let us know in the comments section below.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!