Choosing Sites for Guest Posting – SEO’s Answer

What is the best way to choose sites for guest posting? Everyone has their methods on what makes a site the right choice for getting a backlink from. 

We have our link building method and shared it publicly in our ebook, but there are also some key factors that a lot of SEO’s tend to miss out. What are those key factors? 

Well, we’ve decided to reach out to SEO’s who’ve been in the game and decided to ask them what their best tips are when choosing the right backlinks:

Website authority.

The absolute core of link building is, of course, domain authority. It’s essential to know how many links the site has, if you’re going to build a link on a site that’s 10 DA, then you’re not going to get much power from it. 

There are various ways to check a domain’s authority rather than just using Moz. 

“There are multiple metrics in the market that can approximate authority. The most well known is Moz’s Domain Authority, which benchmarks relative strength of domains across all websites they’ve scored.” says Tommy Landry from Return Now. “If you don’t have access to (or don’t want to use) Moz, other options include Domain Rating, Citation Flow, and Trust Flow. DR is Ahrefs’ version of Domain Authority, complete with its own version of the algorithm. We often find differences between DA and DR, so if you can get both, that’s not a bad idea. Of course, you can also use Majestic’s link scoring system, which rates sites based on Citation Flow (strength of linking domains) and Trust Flow (based on quality of the linking domains), both of which factor in some way into Google’s algorithms.”

Maddy Osman from The Blogsmith says “One of the most important considerations for choosing the right sites for link building is the website’s domain authority (I use Ahrefs for this). Not all backlinks are equal, and websites with a higher domain authority will have a better impact on your chance to rank in relevant search. Speaking of which, relevance is just as important as domain authority because if you’re link building on websites in a totally unrelated industry, you’ll confuse Google and possibly hurt your backlink building efforts.”

Which I completely agree on, it’s not just authority you should be looking at. You also need to look at relevance which leads us onto the next and most common SEO tip.

Is the site relevant to your niche?

“I would say that perhaps the most important thing to remember is that niche matters.” says David Tile from Article Writing. “A lot of newcomers to link building try to get their link on whatever platform will allow it, thinking they are creating a better SEO profile. However, Google’s algorithm is smarter. If your link doesn’t match the content on the page, it’s going to penalise both that page and your actual link itself. As a result, don’t try to go for the easiest option – focus on targeting high-traffic publications in your niche. Even if it takes longer to get a link up, that link can count for dozens of low-quality alternatives.”

Which is why blogger outreach and guest posting is important; using this link building method properly will allow you to obtain relevant links from blogs within your industry.

“Domain Authority isn’t the most important factor when selecting the right sites for link building. It’s all about contextual content – does it even make sense for your target website to link to your webpage?” says Elijah Masek-Kelly from Powerful Outreach. “You wouldn’t want a yoga blog linking to your construction website because there is no obvious connection or relation between the pages. Don’t be foolish enough to think that the all-mighty Google bot won’t know this too! It’s ok to sacrifice the DA of a website if it means that you are embedded in a piece of content that is directly relevant to the page that you are backlinking.”

Hans van Gent, from User Growth says “I think one of the easiest and first things to look into is that you make sure that the places you reach out to are covering the same industry as you. It used to be that getting a link from any website would bring value, but those days are long gone. Random backlinks lack relevance. Search engines will look at the content around the link. The context in which it is placed matters. No matter how good the link from an authoritative fashion blog might be, it will not bring significant enough traffic or leads to a website that is all about cooking.”

Relevance is more important than authority.

I would say relevance is more important and should be looked at first before authority, as relevance will make your link more genuine and organic. 

Tony from JVT Media says “The most important thing to focus on when choosing sites for link building is to look for relevance. In 2020, relevance is even more important than authority in a lot of ways. A 90DA link from a dog grooming website to your SEO website isn’t going to do you any good. In this case, even a 15DA SEO website would be more useful to you. So make sure to look for websites that are RELEVANT to what you’re doing, and make sure they’re high quality and not full of spam.”

Does the domain receive traffic? 

A commonly missed step in link building is checking a domain’s traffic and traffic history – we use Ahrefs and SEMRush for this. When looking, seeing organic traffic growth is a good sign that the domain is genuine. Any sudden jumps or drops in traffic is a sign that the domain is using blackhat tactics to obtain its rankings.

Jeff Romero from Octiv Digital says “You’ll want to see if a website is ‘real’. Several websites allow links on their posts and may even allow for guest posts, but there’s a vast majority that do not receive real traffic. They may have great domain authority metrics, but without traffic, they will not provide much value and may even be seen as questionable by Google.”

Nikola Roza says “I use Ahrefs and SimilarWeb to check this and if they get visitors from Google, that’s a great sign a link from that site would be valuable.”

Checking domain’s traffic is a great way to evaluate its authenticity, but how would you check it?

You can also see whether the site has previously been penalised. Nikola continues “I use Ahrefs to see their traffic trend. Let’s say they have traffic now, but they used to have way more in the past. They obviously got hit with something. Then I pause to think. If they lost traffic during a known Google update, then that’s ok, because core updates don’t target specific sites. But if Google was peaceful at the time and they suffered a severe rankings drop, then I suspect a penalty. So I dig into the site’s link profile and if I see they have a bunch of low-quality links, I forget about this website. Link from a penalised website is not worth spending your time on.”

Choosing sites your competitors have links on.

I would say yes, this is a good way to check backlinks, and it’s something that we’ve incorporated into our strategy. 

The way I would think of it is if a competitor that’s position #1 for a keyword you’re trying to rank for has those specific backlinks, it would mean that Google loves the backlinks they are using – so why not and try to obtain them yourself? 

You still should evaluate them and have a standard process for checking if they meet your criteria before getting them.

Dan Young from Loud Digital says “To save time finding high-quality backlink opportunities, Identify websites that link to your competitors and try to attain links on the same or similar websites by providing stronger content. You can do this using software like Moz, Monitor Backlinks, Ahrefs and pretty much any tool that allows you to scan a domain’s backlinks. Then just have a look through and look for backlinks that clearly are a guest post. Once you find a site that meets your needs, don’t hesitate to just reach out to them with a compelling pitch to collaborate together. “

Check domain language and cTLDs.

Domain language is crucial when matching the right links for your site. While there are mixed opinions about this, I would avoid getting backlinks from sites that are in a different language. My reasoning is Google checks the keywords and surrounding text from that backlink’s site for relevancy and if the keywords don’t match then link juice won’t be passed.

cTLDs are also an important factor, Alice Bedward from Flyparks says “I would suggest checking the distribution of a website’s cTLDs as an indicator of the backlink quality, before reaching out to the site owner. For instance, if the domain has a ‘.com.au’ cTLD and its content is in English, a good proportion of the site’s backlinks should come from ‘.com.au’ sites as well. If most of the backlinks point from different countries, where people don’t speak the website’s language as their native tongue, it can be a red flag and worthy of further investigation. Just bear in mind that there are some restrictions around registering cTLDs in certain countries. In Australia for example, only registered businesses can purchase and use a ‘.com.au’ domain. This means that an Australian website may have many natural ‘.com’ backlinks, as a result of successful content marketing initiatives.”

Check if the site is genuine and its reputation.

Rob Sanders from Socially Found says “If you’re going to be provided with an opportunity to be provided a backlink to a website, a factor for me is noise. Now, when I say noise, I mean how saturated is that website with advertising and pop-ups. This sort of advertising can have negative effects for the website’s reputation and in turn, won’t be as big a benefit that you thought it was going to be. I also like to get a sense on how active the website is, too. I like to check if they have made regular updates and generally avoid those that haven’t updated for some time.”

Focus on Quality Rather than Quantity

Google won’t let you play with their system for undeserved traffic. If it’s done right, Google will also help you to shine on the top rankings.” says Ashwini Dave from Acquire.io. “I would say to focus on the quality of links rather than quantity of links. Whenever you see the offer of 20,000 SEO links for 20 dollars with guaranteed results, just run away. Google will ban your site faster than you got the backlinks and penalise you for manipulating the guidelines. Make sure you look for the high domain authority sites and relevant traffic generating sites. Also check out the competitors backlinks to find out quality sites. Also high-quality content is also as important as high-quality links because it leads to high-quality links. You need to design an outreach strategy for the quality link building and also a follow-up strategy to get it done right. 

Alistair Dodds from Ever Increasing Circles says “ensuring that the site is highly relevant to my audience and offers real value to their users. By that, I mean that it is a genuine publisher and not a site simply set up to promote links. Therefore it will have a genuine audience of readers. And those readers will have an interest in the products or services our clients offer. If it does cover those twin bases then the bonus is that it should have a decent Domain Reputation value (DR) (PageRank effectively) and therefore the link will bring with it value in Google algorithm terms also.”