Revealed! Guest Posting Insights From Industry Insiders
Imagine an SEO world without guest blogging.
Where would your website be in terms of ranking and authority?
What would your organic traffic numbers look like?
And most importantly, would you be better or worse off in terms of leads, conversions, and sales?
Digital marketers will line up to tell you how guest posting remains an integral part of their SEO strategy to this day. From in-house SEO teams to freelancers, most SEOs have utilized guest posting in some way, shape, or form.
On the other hand, there are those who believe guest posting is not really worth it and their time and money would be better spent elsewhere.
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A world without guest blogging might slow down SEO. But some people won’t mind if guest blogging is out of the picture because it has a ‘perceived’ reputation.
Guest posting got its perceived “bad” reputation after the Penguin Update. This update targeted link volume and de-ranked websites that got their links from link farms and PBNs. So many outreachers and guest bloggers had to make changes to their guest blogging masterplan.
The update was not intended to affect high-quality guest blogs or backlinks. But it ended up creating distrust in the SEO industry. As a result, a lot of opinions were swayed when it came to guest blogging for SEO.
The point is, all of our online research led us to a lot of conflicting views with no concrete answer. So, we decided to conduct our own first-hand research, straight from SEOs, marketers, and business owners.
As a digital marketing agency with thousands of clients, we wanted to get to the bottom of this. So we asked industry insiders how they felt about guest posting and the reasons behind those sentiments.
41.6% of our respondents were either business owners or had their own SEO agency. 25% of respondents were from the top-level management. Finally, 33% of respondents were middle-level managers from digital marketing managers to SEO strategists.
Here are all the questions we asked.
- How many guest posts would you normally include in your monthly SEO strategy?
- Do you believe guest posting is still valuable for link building in 2022?
- Have you paid for guest posting?
- If you have paid for guest posting, then how do you determine whether the asking price is fair?
- What would turn you away from a website/blog offering guest post opportunities?
- How much do you spend on guest posts in a year?
- What is the most significant benefit you have received from a single guest post?
- What niche do you usually guest post in?
36% of the respondents said they included 1-2 high-quality guest posts in their monthly SEO strategy, while 33% said they would get anywhere between 5 and 20 guest posts per month.
A fair few of the respondents obtained 20+ guest posts per month, while some were held back by their budget. Website domain age, target audience, and rankings played an important role in the number of guest posts our respondents published per month.
Most of our respondents agreed that guest posting is still valuable for link building and SEO in 2022.
“…Guest posting on blogs that get read create links that drive real traffic, boost rankings and sometimes lead to additional links from other bloggers who read the post.” – David Leonhardt President THGM Writers
Most respondents only swore by high-quality content published on high-authority websites.
In fact, 41.6% of our respondents believed that content should be relevant to the reader, not just the publisher. By adding value, guest bloggers can increase their chances of getting their content shared on social media.
In addition, informative and high-quality articles can help forge professional relationships.
“…Writing informative and helpful articles for industry-relevant magazines and
websites also helps forge professional relationships with reporters. And
the more you engage with them, the more inclined they’ll be to turn to you
when they need a reliable quote for a story.” – Chris Gadek (Vice President of Growth at AdQuicK)
But that’s not all, 58.3% of respondents shared that guest blogging is an excellent SEO technique for link building making it highly relevant in 2022 and beyond. Because when you provide value for someone else’s readership they are inclined to reward you with a backlink.
“…When the insights we provide in the guest posts are valuable to the readers, they are more likely to share them with their followers, resulting in more links back to our website.” – Harriet Chan (Co-founder and marketing director at CocoFinder)
This is where guest posting gets its perceived reputation from. Many digital marketers are concerned about the ethical aspect of paid guest posting. We wanted to get to the bottom of this so we asked our respondents to explain why they don’t pay for guest posts (if they don’t).
None of our respondents mentioned anything unethical related to paid guest posting itself. In fact, 60% of respondents that didn’t pay for guest posts said they didn’t trust guest posting sites and didn’t want to mess up their backlink profile.
The remaining respondents that didn’t pay for guest posts believed that the prices asked by webmasters were notoriously high.
In contrast, 16.66% of respondents who paid for guest posts shared that they paid in six figures from 2020 to 2021.
A significant deterrent with paid guest posting is that many high authority websites tend to charge a lot of money. Among several guest post site evaluation criteria, the overwhelming majority cited DA/DR and web traffic.
63% of respondents cited domain authority/domain rating and website traffic as their go-to evaluation criteria. The remaining 37% based their evaluation on multiple site metrics such as topical relevance, keyword ranking, and more. Here’s a breakdown of all the responses.
Most respondents confirmed that they didn’t pay for guest posting because it was either too expensive or they didn’t trust the guest blogging site. But we wanted to know more – especially from the ones who were paying for guest posts.
Low-quality content and a low-quality backlink profile of the publisher were the most significant factors when it came to “turn-offs” from paid guest posting.
In addition to these stats, one of our respondents shared that unnatural keyword placement is more than a turnoff.
“….For instance, an article with no geographic aspect that features a link to “personal injuries lawyer Baltimore” in the middle of a paragraph. This is more than a turn-off. This is a complete by-pass.” David Leonhardt President, THGM Writers
In question 3 we determined what percentage of industry insiders (from our sample data) paid for guest posting. So we asked how much our survey participants spent on guest posting per year.
Here are the results.
Over 12% of the respondents admitted to spending upwards of $50,000 per month on paid guest posting. Most of our respondents didn’t want to share their yearly guest posting budget. But what we got from the rest was enough.
- Those who paid $1000 – $5000 per year on guest posting opted for 1-3 guest blogsper month.
- The 11% respondents with $5000 – $15,000 budget paid for 5-20 guest blogsper month.
- Finally, large-scale companies with a budget of ≤ $50,000 made 7 guest blogsper month.
As you can see, when the publisher profile is authentic and relevant to a certain niche, brands are willing to shell out the big bucks.
We learned that a lot of the respondents believed that guest posting is much more than getting a backlink. A significant portion (71%) of our respondents confirmed a massive increase in their organic traffic and leads.
This shed more light on the importance of guest posting. In fact, one of our respondents generated more leads than usual – $3,500,000 worth of new clients each year from a single guest post.
“…This lead sharing is now responsible for 30% of the property law firm’s new clients each month, or $3,500,000 worth of new clients each year.” – Oli Baise (Founder & Managing Editor at Drinky Coffee)
Among other significant responses, participants claimed upwards of 225% increase in web traffic and more than 10% increase in social following.
At Search Berg, we publish guest blogs for our clients. This got us thinking about which guest blogging niches are the most popular among our respondents. Since we knew how much they spent and why some of them refrained from paid guest posting, the final question was aimed at understanding our respondents’ niche.
We weren’t surprised to see scattered results because most businesses would focus on their relevant niche. However, we discovered that majority of our respondents were inclined to guest posting in the marketing and business niche.
The “others” segment represents every respondent’s related niche. For instance, some of our respondents sold sporting goods. Therefore, their guest posting niche and preferred sites were within their industry.
Contrary to the “perceived bad image” of guest blogging, an overwhelming majority of SEOs, business owners and digital marketing managers believe that guest posting is one of the most popular SEO strategies in 2022
However, quality content remains a cornerstone of guest blogging because high authority websites want to add value to their blogs for their readers.
About paid guest posting. Companies have no problems spending big on guest posts if it means significant exposure, leads, and new clients.
- High-quality guest posts are better than spamming.
- 58% of industry insiders confirmed that guest blogging is an excellent strategy for link building.
- 6% of industry insiders believe content should be relevant for the reader.
- 54% of industry insiders are happy with paying for guest posts.
- 63% of industry leaders value guest blogging sites based on their DA/DR
- 47% of SEO practitioners are turned off by low-quality links on a guest blogging website.
- 12% of industry leaders (big-budget companies) pay around $50,000/year for guest blogging.
- 71% of respondents confirmed a massive increase in organic traffic and leads.
- 45% of respondents prefer guest posting in the marketing niche.