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The Holy Grail of Free Guest Posting

Monty-Python-and-the-Holy-Grail

When I first started my job at 3 Door Digital, one of my key goals was to find guest post opportunities which are both free and high quality. But finding such opportunities has become like finding a needle in a haystack – not impossible, but tough and time consuming.

To find these hidden but great opportunities, I had to think outside the box and play with different strategies – some more successful than others!

Unfortunately, it’s us – SEO companies, link builders and digital marketers – who are to blame. We oversaturated the blogger world with our constant pitches, emails and messages offering article contributions. And as we continue expanding this market, we inevitably change the direction of guest posting.

The changing economics of guest posting:

It’s a simple game of demand vs. supply.

Where there’s more demand than supply, there’s an inevitable increase in costs. If a website is receiving dozens of guest post requests per day, they realize that they have a high-request service and can charge for publishing the content and link.

In many cases, the rise of prices is our fault.

We teach bloggers that they can make money through guest post publishing. There are SEO companies who no longer bother to offer the content and link as a free exchange but directly offer payment. As a blogger myself, I’ve seen a variety of financial offers in the initial email. Why would bloggers take free content when they are taught so early on that they can get paid for it?

Where there’s high demand, new services will fill the gap.

It’s no longer uncommon for me to contact a webmaster only to be offered additional guest post opportunities in one of their other 30 websites. It’s a sensible progression of taking advantage of a profitable business opportunity. After all, creating blogs is relatively easy, fast and cheap, and by creating blogs in a variety of niches the webmasters can focus on profiting through the sale of guest posts. To the trained eye, some of these websites are clear from the get-go… but others look fully legitimate.

So how do we find free guest posting opportunities? Below are five of my best strategies – all tried and true.

1. The Holy Grail: move away from the search terms “write for us”, “guest post”, “submit a guest post”, etc.

Every SEO guest blogging tutorial that I’ve seen including my guest posting bible John Cooper’s Point Link Building Course (which is excellent by the way) advises that the easiest, fastest and most productive way to find guest posts is by searching for websites that openly take guest posts.

I don’t contest the efficiency of this strategy, BUT unfortunately we’re all doing it and abusing it. The websites I find through these search terms have most likely already been contacted by hundreds of others and will charge me to publish the content.

Instead, try to use other terms. Look for websites and blogs in the niche area you are writing for that have no mention of guest posts or contributor authors. These websites have barely been touched by link builders. Just because there’s no mention of guest posting doesn’t necessarily mean that they are closed off to the idea. You may even notice a refreshingly cheerful and appreciative response!

Not only is there usually no demand for payment, but as an added benefit, you add some diversity to your link profile that your competitors most likely don’t have.

Do keep in mind: With websites that are not accustomed to taking guest posts, the back and forth is more time-consuming, content goes up when they can fit it into their schedule, the offered topic and content must be appealing to them, and it must be high quality writing to be accepted.

2. Search for websites in other regions of the world

Stay away from .com websites and look for other relevant country code top-level domains for your guest posting. I guarantee that Australian, New Zealand or South African websites have not received nearly as much of an abundance of guest post offers… nor any other ccTLDs that post content in English.

To search for websites by ccTLDs use the command site: in your Google search.

For example, below I am looking for Australian mommy blogs that feature articles on saving money. Alternatively, look for different results by clicking on “More -> Blogs”

regions-of-the-world

3. Find company websites with blog sections

Instead of focusing on the more standard blogs, try to find companies and websites in the desired niche that happen to have a blog section. In my experience, they are surprisingly open to taking content for free as long as it works with the flow of the rest of the website and is not in direct competition with their product/service.

This is how it works :

Place search terms that would most likely provide companies’ websites as results. In the example below, I looked for online companies selling point of sales software. I then added the term “inurl:blog.” to ensure the results will show relevant websites with blogs, which are usually set up as subdomains in corporate websites.

searching-for-companies

Search terms:
“point of sales software” inurl:/blog/
“point of sales software” inurl:blog.

4. Use free guest post submission websites

You can find hundreds of websites looking for content on Blogger Linkup, My Blog Guest and Postrunner. Weed out websites that don’t fulfill your requirements and contact the good, promising websites that do. If they’re not relevant for now, keep them in mind for the future.

For a comprehensive list on sites accepting guest posts, check out Pratik Dholakiya’s list on SeoMoz.

Behold below a partial list of guest posts needed on Blogger Linkup! (and it goes on, with bi-weekly updates):

free-guest-post
5. Barter the guest post

If there is no talking about taking a guest post for free, are they open to bartering a service in exchange for the post?

Evaluate both what you could offer and what he webmaster may need. Maybe they could use an upgrade in their logo/header? Some help with CSS or SEO? Offer them a few options and try your luck.

Recently, I bartered with a webmaster looking to charge me a whopping $175. We worked out an arrangement where I was able to publish the content for free on his blog, and in exchange he received WordPress technical assistance and advertisement of his giveaways on my blog. As far as I’m concerned, it was a win-win for us both: I got my link and he got some valuable technical guidance and advertisement.

How do you find free guest posting opportunities? Ideas and strategies are always welcome.

Ronit Epstein

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