Reverse Guest Posting: How to Generate Great Links Without Outreach
Hey guys this is Tung. Today I want to bring my good friend Greg Nunan on to share with you guys a simple but incredibly effective link building tactic that he's been using with great success.
Today I’m going to share one of my most powerful link building tactics that you can use to land niche relevant, high authority, in content links for pretty much any site.
It’s my favourite tactic because:
- It doesn’t require any outreach
- It works without having to pour hours into creating pillar articles (something you have to do using the Skyscraper Technique)
- You can use it for Amazon Affiliate sites
- I have yet to come across a niche it doesn’t work for
- AND, you actually get free, high quality content for your authority sites along the way
So, what is this awesome new way to generate links without outreach?
I like to call it:
Reverse Guest Posting
It works best for:
- People who have at least two websites in a related niche. For example, a fitness site and a broader health site, a beauty site and a skin care site, a pair of tech-based sites and so on (note: the more sites you have, the better)
Fun fact: Contrary to popular opinion that says you can’t land guest posts with links to the usual “best XY reviews” articles on typical affiliate sites, you actually can with this tactic. I’ll show you many examples BUT, you are best having a site that at least looks like a legit, high quality site. I’ll cover tips on this later.
I don’t recommend it for:
- Thin (at least outwardly thin-looking) sites.
Before We Dig Into The Details, Let's Discuss The Results I’ve Generated Using This Tactic:
I’m using this tactic for about a dozen sites at the moment. And it flat out works.
Site A: The site is a broad Amazon affiliate site in the health niche. The site is just over 6 months old. It’s surging in Google and made $443.16 in July. Of the 15 referring domains picked up by Ahrefs to this point , 6 are from reverse guest posting.
Site B: The image below shows linking domains to a 14-month old niche site (very narrow niche) that I recently sold privately for $11,000 USD in June. 9 of the links are from Reverse Guest Posting:
Note: I consider anything DR (Domain Rank) 35 or above a decent link. It’s pretty much equivalent to low 20s Domain Authority if you’re familiar with Moz metrics. Try getting these high quality links to a typical narrow Amazon Affiliate site using cold guest post email outreach – it’s pretty unlikely.
Site C: Another broad site in the health niche that’s primarily monetized with Amazon. It has 18 dofollow links, 9 came from using Reverse Guest Posting. $857.23 revenue in the last 30 days and it’s trending upwards fast.
With that out of the way, let's explore what Reverse Guest Posting is and how you can use it to naturally build links.
The Process - Reverse Guest Posting Overview
If you’re expecting a convoluted process because the tactic promises relevant, good quality, editorial links, you’re in for a surprise.
And that’s because this tactic is actually really simple.
Its simplicity is probably why you’ve never heard about it. And I don’t mind revealing it here for the Cloud Living audience because I can’t see it ever becoming saturated.
So in short, Reverse Guest Posting is just:
- Receiving a guest post request
- Accepting their guest post request, and following up with a request for them to publish an article for you
Wait. 1-1 link exchange? C’mon Greg, that’s 2006 link building, this is 2017!
The difference here is that you’re not doing direct 2-way link swapping.
Let’s look at how this works visually:
Direct 2-way link swapping looks a lot like this:
This is old school link exchanging.
And although a handful of those type of links are completely normal (think about how often IM/SEO bloggers link to each other from different articles – it’s natural), you’re probably better off avoiding this just to be on the safe side. Too much direct linking is definitely not natural.
So how about this...
Now that’s a whole lot more natural, isn’t it?!
Reverse Guest Posting isn’t your site (Site A) linking to my site (Site B) and then Site B linking back to Site A.
It works more like this…
I take an article from Site A and post to my Site B and then I contact the owner of Site A and say “by the way, would you mind posting an article for me, authored by Site C, to Site A?”
Notice the difference?
It’s much more natural, involves less risk, and it’s very powerful.
And what’s even better is you’re not spending hours doing mass cold outreach.
In fact, this tactic doesn’t feel spammy at all - you’re simply asking for a favour from someone who you have already given a favour too!
Think about it…
- They asked you to take a guest post
- You took their guest post – they now have the exposure and the link from your site (They LIKE YOU)
How much more likely, having done them a favour, are they of taking an article from you? You got it… waaaaaay more likely.
Let me further explain why I like this as a link building tactic, even though I admittedly didn’t intend for it to become a link generator…
The Best Way To Think About This
You’ll read a heap of junk about guest posting being no longer viable because Google will give you a penalty and so on. And to an extent, this is true.
If you use guest post exchange networks, post crappy typical guest post fluff pieces, and only use guest posting for link building (no other natural or earned links), then yeah, you’ll put yourself in line for a penalty.
But reverse guest posting is different.
In fact, you shouldn’t think about Reverse Guest Posting as a link building tactic at all.
It’s an exposure tactic, the links come as a secondary (though beneficial) by-product.
Let’s break it down:
- You’re taking a quality (repeat QUALITY) article from someone else
- You’re putting that article through an editorial process (removing crappy links, asking for a re-write if it’s not good enough, inserting additional links to help users and probably adding content into their article before publishing)
- You’re then posting that article, promoting it on social media and to your email list
- Once you’ve posted their article, you’re asking if you can send an article to them that is authored by a different site of yours
Often when I do this process, I don’t even ask for links. I don’t even expect links all the time. Do follow, no follow, whatever. It’s not a consideration.
I simply ask if they’ll take an article from me that is written by a second site that I’m working on.
Once they accept my request, I send a quality article (again, repeat QUALITY).
And yes, I do insert relevant links into the article because 99% of genuine articles on the internet have links in them – it’s natural.
Sometimes those links are to my sites, sometimes they are links to a site owned by a buddy of mine that provides useful content, sometimes I don’t have any affiliation with the website I link to (in this case I’ll just put a link in the bio box).
The truth is, even if you only get a bio box link, if you’re having a quality article posted onto on a quality site, I still feel that holds SEO value.
But again, we can get too bogged down trying to “get links.”
So, think about the value of this tactic beyond just links.
Benefits of this tactic: You've got your name or brand published on a quality site, you’ve got another guest post live for your writing portfolio that you can use in any cold guest post outreach and you’ve just made a new contact in your niche.
Sounds great – doesn’t it?
Now here’s something important to note…
I only insert links in the articles if they are relevant and genuinely help the reader.
9 times out of 10 these links pass the editorial process and remain in the article.
When this happens…
Congrats, you’ve just earned a relevant, authoritative, in content link.
Now, are you ready to see how this process works?
Let’s take a look at this in action:
(I’ve cut out the initial pitch I received so that the image is shorter).
The image below picks up from me having published an initial guest post for this guy, Mauricio.
In this instance, I had actually responded to his initial guest post pitch to say that he can send an article for two of my sites – his site is high quality so I knew I‘d get two great articles from him.
See how simple and seamless that is:
- Accept his guest post (give him value)
- Publish it quickly
- Casually ask for a return favour
- Answer any questions
- Jag the guest post
Reverse Guest Posting Outcomes:
Your worst case scenario is that you get a high quality piece of content for one of your sites, you post it and they reject your request to take an article from you.
Oh well, you just got a piece of free content and all you had to do was respond to their initial email and post their article. You probably have a VA to do that anyway.
Your best case scenario is that you get the quality article, PLUS they accept your guest post request and you end up with all the benefits I covered earlier.
So, let's talk about how you can increase the odds of a site-owner saying YES to your guest post request...
How To Make It Work For You
The tactic seems simple enough, but there are some key things you can do to increase your success rate.
- Set up a way to generate guest post requests (an optimized write for us page)
- Have two related sites
- Have a canned response to minimize your time spent responding to guest post pitches
- Make sure you have sites that look good so that the response rate to your requests is as high as possible
Let’s cover each of these things in detail below:
1 - How To Generate Guest Post Requests
I’ve found that having a basic write for us page, once your site is ranking on page 1 for a decent keyword is actually enough to start receiving guest post submissions.
You’ll see that number spike significantly if you put some time into crafting a well-written, optimized write for us page.
Most people searching in Google for guest post opportunities will type something like:
- Niche + write for us
- Niche + contributors
- Niche + guest post opportunities
Optimize your write for us page for those types of searches.
Here are some key points on putting your write for us page together:
- Length – I aim for 250 words minimum but some are over 500 words. You could probably ramp that up to 1000 words and do better, but I haven’t tested this. Think of it like usual on-page SEO – words on a page matter.
- Optimize the title – I usually put something like “Fitness Guest Post Opportunities: Fitness Contributors Welcome”
- Optimize the URL – Something like yoursite.com/fitness-guest-posts works well
- Use sub headings – Have a few sub headings on the page with keywords in them (like usual on-page keyword targeting)
- Target keywords – Naturally place keywords in the body of the page. If you have a fitness-related site, you could include sentences in your page such as:
- Are you looking for fitness guest post opportunities?
- If you’re into home exercise or an expert in fitness - Write for us!
- We’re accepting fitness contributors; we’d love for you to write for us!
Next, optimize the write for us page for humans:
You’ll receive sub-standard articles if you don’t clearly outline what you expect from articles. Responding and rejecting articles takes time so it’s better to have a clear set of guidelines on your write for us page.
I don’t make mine too onerous as I don’t want to turn people away, but I do outline some minimum criteria such as:
- Word count – 500 is standard, on my higher authority sites I stipulate 700 minimum.
- Article style – I usually ask for articles to be targeted towards a keyword and I even stipulate minimum monthly search volume sometimes as well. If I don’t ask for this, I make it clear that no fluffy guest posts are accepted
- Spelling & Grammar – free of mistakes, formatted properly etc.
- Format – Let them know your preferred format to receive the article (word doc, Google doc etc.)
- Link guidelines – chances are if you say you only give no follow links, you’ll get a lower response rate. I usually just reference that we do not accept SEO’d articles with exact match anchor text and that we reserve the right to edit articles. If the article is high quality, in content links to genuine resources are fine.
In addition to an optimized write for us page, you can also list your site in directories such as guestposttracker.com (I only just came across this and a couple of my sites that receive a lot of guest post pitches are actually in there so I think it’s worthwhile).
2 - Two+ Related Sites
From an SEO standpoint, to avoid direct link swapping between Site A and Site B, you need a minimum of two related sites.
Both your sites need to be decent quality (10 articles minimum, nicely formatted etc.). In using this strategy, you’re ultimately after two things: Free content for one site, easy and relevant links to the other.
The end result of all this?
You’re going to end up with two good sites over time and it’s my personal view that you should always have multiple sites going at any one time as opposed to putting all your eggs in one basket. Making your sites related helps to streamline link building and cross promotion opportunities.
3 - Pitch Templates
I’ve found that a casual/conversational Reverse Guest Post template pitch works (like the example above with Mauricio). I’ve tried lots of different templates and responses. Sometimes, I ask right away for a return guest post before even accepting their request:
My best advice is to just play around with what works for you and your niche.
But the basics are: have two good sites, do them a favour first by posting their article, then ask for a return favour. Pretty simple.
4 - Making Your Sites Look Trustworthy and Linkworthy
You’re obviously going to get a higher positive response rate to your guest post requests if your site looks like more than just a regular Amazon affiliate site.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Domain type - Regarding domain names, I don’t build sites on EMDs or even PMDs very often nowadays, so I don’t have data on if domain type impacts success rate overall. I suspect having a branded domain would slightly improve success rate.
- Home page non-monetized content – Positive first impressions help. Go for a page like Tung’s ThankYourSkin.com. Most themes allow for home page customization if you display posts. If you display a set page, I’ve found a non-monetized home page or a page that shows a feed of quality articles works best (eg. tuck your main money-making articles away in the site as opposed to having your home page littered with main review articles).
- Recent posts feed - Ensure that your recent posts feed has a mix of articles, not just your latest 5 product review articles. You are probably aware that you need to have some genuine, user-help or how-to type articles nowadays anyway, but having these visible to the person you’ve asked to take an article from you certainly helps success rate.
- 3 past writing samples (preferably on other sites) - Big bonus if you can show writing samples or proof of other quality guest posts. If you haven’t got guest posts done yet, even being able to show a handful of quality articles on your own site, especially if you have plenty of social shares, is a HUGE benefit.
- Social media presence or email list – It absolutely helps success rate if you can offer to promote the article they post for you via your social media audience or email list (if you have reasonable followers and subscribers). I have a few sites with multiple articles that have tens of thousands of real Pinterest shares and once I leverage this fact – success rate is really high.
Understand The Types of Guest Post Requests
Once your site is ranking for some guest post related keywords, on some private lists, listed on sites like GuestPostTracker.com, you’ll find that you get three types of outreach requests:
- SEO agencies doing outreach for clients (generally the pitch will come from someone saying they’re a freelancer working on their portfolio)
- Brands with in-house SEO teams doing outreach – I find that I receive a lot of guest post requests from ecommerce sites doing outreach for example.
- Individuals just like you and I doing outreach for their sites – perfect!
The tactic works best in terms of success rate when you use it in response to individuals like you and I. People like us who are doing link building, understand the value of guest posting or having articles posted on their site and are happy to grant you an article on their site.
I’ve had success with all three. But I’ve learned to screen 1 and 2 above harsher and often just delete the emails without bothering to send my canned response (I get enough requests and have learned over time what type of article quality I’m going to receive just by skimming the outreach email received).
This strategy is not meant to be a silver link building bullet that can become your sole link building tactic. In saying that, the more sites you have, the better it works and you will have continuous opportunities for building links as time goes on. But, hopefully you’ve seen that this actually goes beyond the value of links.
Once you’ve got your system setup, you’re getting quality content for your sites, building new connections in your niche and getting quality exposure for your sites. And along the way, you’re picking up some fantastic links!
So what do you think?
Let me know your questions, comments, or suggestions in the comment section below – I’ll be more than happy to help in any way I can!