5 Advanced Guest Post Link Building Tactics
to Get You More Links for Less Money
Whether you’re already neck deep into multiple guest post campaigns, or have only just started dabbling in the increasingly popular link building strategy, you’ve likely encountered some of these recurring problems:
- Your conversion rates suck and aren’t as high as you’d like them to be.
- You’re tired of being charged “publishing fees” for every guest post opportunity.
- You’re running out of, or having a tough time finding the right sites to outreach to.
I Gotchu 🙂
In this advanced guest post link building guide my goal is to help you walk away with at least one “aha” moment that’ll help improve the efficiency and/or effectiveness of your guest post campaigns.
Over the last few years my team and I have sent out thousands of outreach emails and run hundreds of individual campaigns for clients and my own sites in various niches, and have come up with a bunch of different tactics to increase link acquisition rates while reducing costs.
What you’re about to read below are some of these tactics that will hopefully help your guest post link building campaigns do the same.
- 1. Creating Personas
- 2. The Rewind Tactic
- 3. Avoiding Guest Post Fees (or at least reducing them)
- 4. Creative Search Operators
- 5. Tiered Linking – Guest Post Style
- Wrapping Things Up
1. Creating Personas
This first tactic is one that really helped scale my link building campaigns.
It involves creating personas of freelance writers with expertise in whatever niche you’re building links in. Then using them for your outreach.
Why Do We Do This?
Helps avoid fees
As more and more website owners continue to get emails asking to accept guest posts, they’re quickly realizing that they can start charging money since these types of links are in such high demand.
If you’re emailing on behalf of a blog or business website, the link prospect is immediately going to go into their spiel about how they charge X amount for “publishing fees”.
As an innocent freelance writer with no commercial intent, they’re less likely to present these fees, or are at least easier to negotiate down.
Let’s be real. When guest post link building, you’re not always going to land links from high authority sites. And that’s ok, you can still rank by getting links from other sites that are on the lower end of authority.
These sites actually make up the majority of the link prospects you’ll find, so you’d be foolish to ignore them.
The thing with these lower authority sites though is that they usually don’t require top-notch quality content.
And if you’re not comfortable with being credited for average content, then having a persona to write for these types of sites is the perfect solution to getting a contextual link to your site, without being associated with the authorship of the content.
Multiple outreach opportunities
So you’ve created one persona for your outreach campaigns, but why stop there?
Not all link prospects that you reach out to are going to accept your pitch, or even respond to it. Do you just blacklist that site and never contact them again?
For each guest post link building campaign that I run I have at least two freelance writer personas (one male, one female) that I use for outreach. We’ll go deeper into this method in the next tactic.
Here’s What You’ll Need to Come Up With:
First and last name – Obviously avoid known generic names like Jane Smith. Use sites like this to help come up with your personas name.
Gmail account – Try to get an address that has some variation of the first and last name you came up with (even use a middle name initial to help you out). Stay away from using numbers in your address.
Headshot – Don’t use stock photos. Go to flickr.com and type in any name of the same gender of the persona you came up with. Change the filter from Any license, to Commercial use & mods allowed. Find a photo of someone that would make for a good headshot for your persona. You’ll likely need to crop it.
Author bio – Talk about your personas niche relevant experience/credentials. Keep them fairly generic/safe so that you don’t get questioned about them (i.e. “award winning author” is a no-go). Include something quirky/unique to add a bit of personality.
Twitter profile (optional) – For that added credibility I create Twitter profiles for my personas. Not brand new ones though. I buy aged accounts, then change up the all the details over to my personas information (shoot me an email if you want more details on how to set these up).
Once you have your persona all set up, then you can start using them to send your outreach pitches to your guest post link prospects.
Is It Unethical?
Ya maybe it’s a little deceptive, but if you’re creating quality content for your guest posts, then do you think your link prospects really care who it was actually written by?
You’re still providing value to them, and that’s what link building is all about – the value exchange.
If you really look for it, you’ll start noticing personas all over the place when link building.
I’ve personally seen big ecommerce brands like Wayfair utilizing this for their link building. So it’s definitely a powerful tactic to be implementing for your own campaigns.
2. The Rewind Tactic
Utilized when you have more than one email account available for outreach (*hint hint*, freelance writer personas), the Rewind tactic is what helps you increase your link acquisition conversion rates.
For most link building campaigns that I’ve seen, the link builder will simply move on from a link prospect if they never ended up responding to their emails or weren’t interested in their pitch.
Seems like a quick way to burn through your link prospect list, no?
- What if the link prospect was super busy when you tried reaching out?
- What if they were having a shitty week and weren’t in the mood for conversations?
- What if you’re a male and the link prospect is more likely to respond to females? *gasp* in 2019?!
While a lot of link building success comes down to your actual email pitch, there’s also a major uncontrollable factor that comes into play called timing.
You can’t predict when the perfect time is to reach out to each individual link prospect. You just gotta get lucky sometimes.
So by having a second email persona to use for unsuccessful link prospects during the first round of outreach, you can help increase your chances of hitting them at the right time.
For my guest post campaigns I use three different rounds of outreach for each link prospect, using three different emails.
1) A male freelance writer persona.
2) A female freelance writer persona.
3) A persona (or real person) from the website I’m building links for.
If at anytime the link prospect turns down my pitch or doesn’t reply to any of my emails, I move them onto the next round and send them a new set of email pitches about a month later using the next email persona.
The great thing about having other personas to fall back on is that when the link prospect asks for a fee to publish your guest post and doesn’t bite on any of your negotiations, you can oftentimes catch their bluff by giving them some form of a, “thanks anyways” reply.
You’ll find they’ll sometimes come down on the price, or even drop the fee completely.
Which leads nicely into our next tactic…
3. Avoiding Guest Post Fees (or at least reducing them)
Guest post link building is not only time consuming, but expensive to boot (so why the hell are we doing this again? Oh ya… fat rankings).
As more website owners start realizing they can start charging money for guest posts, our cost per link acquisition continues to rise.
So beyond the obvious solution of, “just don’t pay for links, bro”, here are some practical tactics to try for your own campaigns to help reduce or preferably negate these guest post “fees”.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do For You?
As I said before, the core of link building is the exchange of value.
For guest post link building, the value that the link prospect receives is fresh, quality, done-for-you content to post on their site, and the value we receive is getting that contextual backlink.
In a perfect world, writing a guest post for a link prospect should be enough value for them to provide us with a link at no extra cost. But supply and demand is a thing, so here we are… having to provide even more value for the link.
In almost all cases, this means forking over some cash. However, there are other ways to increase your value beyond a simple PayPal transaction.
Here’s one of them:
Flex your expertise
I can assume most people reading this have a fair bit of SEO expertise. Every link prospect that you’re in contact will have some sort of SEO related issue with their site.
See if they’d be open to having you run a quick audit on their site or recommend some on-page optimizations in exchange for them dropping their guest post fee.
If SEO isn’t your thing, then I’m sure you have some sort of skill set in something else that can benefit a website owner.
How’s their social media game? Their web design? Can you spot anything to help improve their conversions?
Anything you can think of that the link prospect might find valuable is worth trying.
Here’s an email template you can use when a link prospect mentions some sort of guest post fee:
I appreciate the offer. Unfortunately I don’t have the budget to pay for something like this at the moment.
However, while I was going through your website before I first contacted you I did notice a few issues regarding your sites SEO that are likely holding back some of your progress.
I can put together some of those issues and how to fix them if you want? Would that be a fair exchange for accepting my guest post?
Better Link Prospecting
Get creative with your link prospecting. If you’re still using the same old, “keyword inurl:guest-post” search operators then you’re almost always going to get smacked with a guest post fee.
Think about how many other people are using those exact operators and seeing the same sites in the top 100 as you. These guys are getting pounded by outreach emails, of course they’re going to charge a fee.
Instead of prospecting for sites that advertise that they accept guest posts, try looking for ones that don’t. You’ll likely need to modify your outreach pitch a bit, but you’ll find you’ll get more replies, and less people asking for money.
We’ll dig deeper into other search operators you can use to uncover better link prospects in the next tactic.
Not your traditional, “I’ll link to you if you link to me” type exchange.
There are two different ways you can go about implementing link exchanges to help drop link prospects guest post fees.
Build a network
Instead of risking creating a footprint by doing a bunch of one-to-one type link exchanges, we can mix it up a bit by building relationships with link prospects and doing cross link exchanges.
For example: You’re in contact with a link prospect about guest posting – they say there’s a guest post fee – you’re like, nah, how ‘bout I get you a backlink from another relevant site instead? – they’re like hmm ya ok I like that.
Then you dig from your network of sites that you’ve already made deals with and get one of them to link to your prospects site, and in return they’ll accept your guest post at no cost.
And then you’ll need to make sure you get a link from a completely different site to the site that linked to your link prospects site to complete the exchange.
Future guest posts
Another link exchange method is something a little bit simpler. It involves linking to your link prospects site within one of your next guest posts that you get published.
So when a link prospect says there’s a fee for guest posting on their site, you hit them back with a proposal of getting them a link in one of your next guest posts on a relevant site instead.
Here’s an email template you can use:
That’s an interesting offer. I was wondering; instead of that fee, would you be interested in this idea?
I’ll be guest writing for a few other sites within the next month that are closely related to [link prospects website name], and I can make sure to include a backlink in my article that points to your website.
I’m sure you’re well aware of how difficult it is to get quality links to your site, so this could be a perfect opportunity to help you out in that regard.
What do you think?
4. Creative Search Operators
We’ve all used the classic list of search operators like:
- Keyword inurl:guest-post
- Keyword inurl:write-for-us
- Keyword intitle:”write for us”
- Keyword “guest post”
They definitely work, and can be used for getting a nice chunk of guest post links. But by only sticking to these same search operators you’re leaving a ton of other link opportunities on the table.
So let’s go through a few different search operators you can start using to discover more link prospects for your guest post campaigns.
Blogs That Don’t Advertise Guest Posts
We briefly went over this a bit earlier, and while I wouldn’t exactly call these “advanced” search operators, it’s still worth discussing to help remind you to shift your mindset away from only focusing on sites that accept guest posts.
Some search operators you can use:
- Keyword inurl:blog -”guest post”
- Keyword inurl:article -”guest post”
- Keyword “view all comments”
- Keyword “view all posts by”
When using your standard search operators, you’ve likely noticed that a vast majority of the sites that show up in the SERPs are .com domains.
But what about all the other sites using different top level domains (TLDs)? They’re rarely shown. So to find them, tack on the “site:” operator to your normal search operators.
So “Keyword inurl:write-for-us” becomes “Keyword inurl:write-for-us site:.net”.
Here are some of the most popular TLDs to use:
Even if your site is targeting the U.S. there’s no harm in getting a link from a .ca or other country specific domain.
Quite a few sites have .html and .php at the end of their URLs, so to single these types of sites out to find new link prospects, add these operators to your queries:
Another great way to pull in different search results to find new link prospects is by including common text that sites have in their footer, or even sidebars in your search operators.
- “powered by WordPress”
- “Theme by”
- “Made with”
- “Subscribe to”
While link prospecting, always try to keep track of text footprints you see sites commonly use so you can implement them into your search operators to pull up fresh prospects.
5. Tiered Linking – Guest Post Style
This fifth and final tactic is likely something you’ve heard of before but maybe haven’t thought about implementing for your guest post links.
We’re talkin’ tiered link building.
Typically in your guest post articles you not only include a link pointing to your site, but a few others as well that act as source/reference links.
What if you used those source link opportunities to link to your other guest posts instead?
They’d need to be contextually relevant of course, but this isn’t an issue if you’re constantly guest posting in the same niche.
So the basic idea is to funnel link juice from new guest posts to your existing guest posts, which in turn boosts the link power of the links pointing to your site from the guest post sites that you’re tiered linking to.
Ya – confusing, right?
Here’s an image to make things make more sense:
If you’re wanting to implement this for your own campaigns, here are some general guidelines to follow:
Tier 1 Sites – Have Tier 1 sites be your guest posts with the highest DA, DR, and/or Traffic.
Avoid linking to lower tiers from these guest posts, only link to your target site.
Tier 2+ Sites – Tier 2+ sites will have lower DA, DR, and/or Traffic than your Tier 1 sites.
Prioritize linking to your target site and Tier 1 guest posts. You can link tier 2s to other tier 2s if the relevancy is there.
This is exactly what huge gaming brand, Turtle Beach is doing for some of their link building campaigns. Plug this URL:
into Ahrefs or whatever backlink analysis tool you use and have fun going down the rabbit hole.
Wrapping Things Up
So what’d you think?
Like I said at the beginning of this guide my goal was to give you at least one “aha” moment that sparked an idea to improve your guest post link building campaigns.
If that did in fact happen, then I’d love to hear what you learned. Leave a comment below and let me know!
Beyond that, if you have any questions or want to share your own advanced tactics, then feel free to contact me anytime, or again, drop a comment.