Monthly Archives: August 2013

How Do You Use Calls to Action in Guest Posts?

What is Your Call to Action?

What is Your Call to Action?

Photo published with permission by Chuckumentary.

Tommy Walker on Ubounce just created a new post talking about a few of the things that many guest bloggers overlook. There are a number of problems that could top the list, but one of the most common is a call to action.

Why is a Call to Action Important?

Many guest bloggers forget why they are guest blogging in the first place. Too many of them treat it purely as an SEO linkbuilding tactic. There is nothing wrong with using it to boost your SEO, but there are so many other reasons you should be guest blogging.

You should also be trying to get exposure and drive relevant traffic to your site. Creating a guest post on a site that is relevant to your niche can be a great way to find prospective customers for your company or build readership to your blog.

How can you bring traffic to your site? There are actually a variety of ways. The least effective is to simply drop a link in the middle bio. I have seen so many author bios that read something like this:

“This is a guest post from Matt Brown. Matt is a freelance writer who works for domainname.com.”

Does this bio make you feel like clicking the link to this site? Me neither. That is why your guest blog post needs a strong call to action.

What Do You Put in a Call to Action?

Creating a call to action is actually pretty straightforward once you know what to do. You may need to wrap your mind around writing a guest post purely for search engines and remember that actual humans may be reading your post (trust me I have made that mistake before too).

In order to do that, you will need to get in the mind of your readers. Figure out what will inspire them to click your page. Here are a couple of things that you will want to do:

  • Make sure the call fits with the theme of the post. One of the most effective ways is to stimulate people’s interest in the content. This softens them up for your call to action. From there you can easily encourage them to visit the site for more information.
  • Understand what your audience needs. What are their desires? Their fears? Play off of the factors that drive them to make decisions.
  • Make sure your call is polite but still strong. You need to sound assertive and authoritative so that people feel like you have something to offer and seriously want to help. However, you also can’t sound too pushy or they will write you off as another sales pitch.
  • Don’t use weird keywords. These can often dilute or even destroy the meaning of your call to action.

There are a number of different ways that you can pull this off. Here is an example of a good call to action:

Tammy is the founder of Productive Solutions and has used her her asset ROI analysis to help her clients increase productivity by as much as 35%. Companies that are striving to increase productivity can reach Tammy at her her website (link to her website can go here).”

There are a lot of different ways that you can do to incorporate your call to action. You may be surprised by how much more effective a strong call to action is to drawing traffic to your site.

What Do You Want When Choosing Sites to Guest Blog On?

Choose your guest blogging sites carefully.

Choose your guest blogging sites carefully.

Many people aren’t realistic when they set their guest blogging expectations. They seem to think that they can have it all.  They want excellent sites that will publish articles with multiple anchored links. They also want those articles published overnight. Unfortunately, most quality websites don’t allow you free reign to do whatever you like. You will need to decide what your priorities are when you launch your guest blogging guidelines and choose sites accordingly.

What Do You Want from Guest Blogging?

Practically every website has requirements that guest bloggers need to meet. You need to make sure your goals align with the expectations of the sites you hope to guest blog on. Take the time to define what you want from guest blogging before you pursue it. Here are some common things that guest bloggers often look for.

Authority Sites

Almost every guest blogger wants to post on quality websites. They want sites that have good traffic, pagerank or domain authority. This ensures they will receive the exposure and SEO benefit they are looking for.

Non Spammy Sites

Many sites are basically content farms. They are probably on Google’s blacklist and many visitors aren’t very engaged. Most bloggers don’t want to guest post on these sites because -well – frankly they don’t get much out of them.

Free Opportunities

Most bloggers don’t like the idea of paying for a guest post. They may not have the budget to do so. Even if they do have a modest budget they may be afraid of getting in trouble with Google for buying links.

Specific Link Needs

Some guest bloggers are very specific about what types of links they want. Some guest bloggers (or their clients) feel they need two links and require at least one of them to be embedded in the content. Multiple links can help you rank better. Having some contextual, anchored links could arguably do so as well.

However, some sites feel that certain anchored links look very spammy. You may have a harder time getting published if you are too picky. It is best to use high quality, generic links.

Quick Publishing Schedule

You need to know when your post is going to be published. Many guest bloggers have clients that are on a very strict schedule and need to turn guest posts out quickly. You can find a variety of sites that will do this, but they may not be the higher quality sites that you are looking for. Many high quality websites receive dozens of pitches a day and often need to schedule posts weeks in advance.

Outline Your Priorities

You will need to review guest blogging guidelines on different sites before you start pitching them. You may need to reassess what your priorities are when you read their requirements. For example, you may need to have real (nonspammy) websites with a domain authority of 25 or higher. You may find that most of the sites that meet these requirements don’t allow keyword links in the content.

At this point, you would either need to lower your site requirements or be more conservative with your links. I personally would prefer to have a higher quality site with a branded link in the bio over a content farm that allows keywords in the body. Make sure that you are realistic about the types of sites that you can use.

 

Avoiding Keyword Spam in Guest Blogging

guestbloggingimage1Guest blogging has been one of the best ways to boost your presence online. However, some SEO companies are ruining guest blogging by treating it as a very spammy guest blogging tactic. One of the mistakes many SEO companies are making is that they overuse their keywords in their content.

I just read an article that discussed a formula that guest bloggers should follow. This article had some very good points, but I had to disagree with some of those covered in the infographic. The article suggested that people use keywords a lot more than I think is really necessary.

Common “Wisdom” About Using Keywords in Guest Posts

Many companies use guest blogging as a way to boost SEO rankings for themselves or their clients. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. The problem is that some SEOs use an overly aggressive approach. Here are some of the suggestions about keyword usage covered in the Bit Rebels article:

  • Use the keyword in the title
  • Use a keyword density between 4 and 5%
  • Use the keyword in the author bio
  • Use the keywords in headers and subtitles

I am vehemently opposed to taking such a formulaic approach when writing any  type of online content and guest blogging articles are no exception. You should always strive to make your articles look as natural as possible. Following any rigid process could signal to the search engines that you are trying to manipulate your rankings.

My Perspective

I understand the mission that these guest bloggers are trying to achieve. You want to convince the search engines that the content you are writing is relevant to the page you are linking to. However, you may need to try taking a more basic approach. Here are some things that you may want to try instead.

Realize Relevance is More than Keywords

Every guest post should certainly be relevant to the page that you are trying to link to. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to be overly repetitive with the way that you use keywords.

It is more important to make sure that your content is semantically relevant to the keyword. Google, Yahoo! and Bing are all becoming more adapt at understanding relationships between various words and concepts. You will want to think about the keywords you are optimizing for and find other words that help support it.

For example, let’s assume you are optimizing your site for the keyphrase “financial ebooks.” You can make your guest post more relevant for that keyword by talking about stock investing, Forex trading, the Federal Reserve and Wall Street.

Once or Twice is Enough

I have worked with SEOs who think that you need to use a keyword at least once in every paragraph that you write in a guest post. This is very difficult to do. First of all, it looks very spammy to Google. Secondly, most good publishers are probably not going to want to publish something that is clearly stuffed with keywords.

You can probably get away only using your keyword once or twice. It is more important to make sure that the content is highly relevant.

Incorporate Keywords Naturally

Google has almost completely stopped paying attention to keyword density. They are much more interested in seeing how well keywords fit into the content. Find ways to incorporate your keywords into the content in a natural way.

Be Careful With Titles

Using keywords in your title has always been one of the best ways to boost your SEO rankings. If you can find a way to incorporate your keywords into the title of your guest post then you are golden. However, incorporating keywords into your titles in an unnatural way can also look very spammy.

You need to be realistic about how relevant your keyword is to the overall article. If it isn’t the central focus of the article then you probably shouldn’t include it in the title.

You also want to be careful about trying to use the title in every guest post that you write. This can be a sign to Google that you are trying to manipulate your rankings. You also run the risk that you are going to end up having to reuse your content too much and get flagged for duplicate content.

Use Keywords Properly

Your guest posts should be as relevant to your site as possible. Incorporating keywords into your post can help you achieve that, but there is a point where it starts to look spammy. You need to find a careful balance between the two while guest blogging.