Guest posting remains one of the most effective ways to gain quality backlinks, improve brand awareness, and drive target traffic to a website. Whether you succeed or fail with your guest posting initiatives depends on the quality of the sites you partner with.
In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of scoring guest posting prospects with the help of Competitive Research. You’ll learn how to assess overall website quality at a glance and then dig deeper to make sure the analyzed website is your perfect match.
We’ve prepared a whole series of guides on how our Competitive Research can help you with various SEO tasks. Make sure to check them out:
- Analyzing website performance with SE Ranking’s Competitive Research
- Expanding your site’s keyword list through Competitive Research
- Identifying and tracking your competitors with SE Ranking
- Make Your Videos Shine in Google SERP and Boost Your YouTube Strategy
Without further ado, let’s get down to the flow of choosing the right site for a guest posting partnership.
Get a bird-eye-view of your guest posting prospect
To get started, simply paste the website URL into the search box and choose to analyze its worldwide performance—to properly assess the site’s value, you’ll need to see the big picture.
Immediately, you’ll get the top-level metrics: the site’s Domain Trust score, the amount of traffic it gets monthly, the number of referring domains, and backlinks. These parameters will give you a vague idea of how well the site is performing.
Pro tip: Mind that a great number of backlinks and a high Domain Trust score do not necessarily mean that a website is a quality one. To get a clearer picture, you’ll need to at least briefly study the site’s backlink profile.
Click the number of backlinks on the dashboard to generate a separate report that will give you an idea of the detected backlinks quality, their anchor texts, dofollow/nofollow distribution, etc.
At the same time, when it comes to traffic, you can rest assured that the data you get with SE Ranking is as complete and accurate as possible. To ensure this, SE Ranking is constantly extending its databases—we cover all the countries around the world and after a major US database expansion, it is one of the biggest in the market.
If the top-level metrics—traffic, backlinks, and DT—look utterly disappointing, you may as well stop there. If they are good, you’ll need to proceed to the charts, which demonstrate how the website’s SEO strategy has been evolving over time.
Ideally, the amount of traffic a site gets, as well as the number of keywords it ranks for and backlinks it gained, should be steadily growing, like in the example above.
Watch out for spikes, which may account for both successful promo campaigns and dodgy activities. Should you want to dig deeper, you can always figure out what stands behind every spike by analyzing the historical data for the period in question.
Analyzing site major metrics in dynamics is essential because it allows you to prevent the following scenarios:
- On the surface, a website is doing pretty well—it ranks for thousands of keywords and gets plenty of traffic. But then it turns out that its days of glory are gone and all the metrics are plummeting. Naturally, you don’t want to invest a lot of resources into such a partnership.
- A website is experiencing one of the spikes right now, and the amount of traffic it normally gets monthly is three times lower, which may be a bit disappointing.
Figure out which topics the site covers
Guest posting works best when the site you contribute to covers various topics related to your industry. If your site and the site you analyze target the topics that hardly intersect, any further actions will be a waste of your time.
To get a quick idea of which topics a site covers, take a look at the Top pages in organic search and Organic keywords blocks of the Dashboard. Click View detailed report to see more entries.
Also, SE Ranking offers a Competitor Comparison module that can demonstrate to you how much any two sites have in common in just a few clicks.
The chart with intersecting circles shows how the sites are related visually, and you can check out the Common keywords tab to look into the details.
Certainly, you don’t want to see that the site targets exactly the same keywords as you. That would make you direct competitors, and in this case, your chances of arranging a guest post publication will be pretty low.
At the same time, you should be able to build a link between the two sites. For example, if your site offers conversion optimization software and the other site is selling email marketing suites, then you should be both writing about marketing.
Validate topic ideas
When crafting your pitch, you’ll need to come up with several topics ideas. Whichever blog ideas come to your mind, check if the topic wasn’t yet covered on the site you target. It will help you make a positive first impression and will save both you and the other party loads of time.
To check if the site has an article on a particular topic, go either to the Pages section or to Keywords. You’ll need to use a search bar to quickly find respective blog posts. Mind that the query you’ll be using for the search may not be in the article title—in this case, you won’t find it in the Pages section. Still, the query may be among the keywords a site ranks for, so you should be able to find the respective page in the Keywords section.
Be aware that simply offering great topics does not guarantee that your pitch will be accepted. We have a whole post that teaches writing convincing outreach emails—follow these tips to skyrocket your pitch email open rate.
Steer clear of questionable neighbors
Spare a few more minutes to make sure the site you want to partner with doesn’t rank for the so-called stop or spam keywords. To do so, you’ll, once again, need to use the search box in the Keywords section. Just type a keyword you don’t want to be associated with and hit enter. For example, you probably don’t want your guest posting prospect to be affiliated with gambling sites or the adult industry.
Once you see the long-awaited No results found—meaning the site doesn’t feature any unwanted content—you can sigh out and quickly check another little thing.
See how it worked for your rivals
Enter your competitor’s brand name into the search box to see if they had any articles posted on the site in question. If they did, the site will probably rank for some of your competitors’ brand keywords.
You’ll want to know which topics your competitors have chosen for their guest posts and how those guest posts have performed. Click the arrow next to the page URL to check out each article. Then, click the URL itself—it will bring you to the overview dashboard with all the page stats we discussed earlier (traffic, number of keywords, backlinks, etc.).
Repeat the flow for every major competitor of your site.
Check if a site is popular in the area you’re targeting
Sometimes, you want your guest posts to be targeted specifically at a certain location. This applies to the following scenarios:
- You try to grow brand awareness in a specific market.
- You hope the guest post will drive target traffic to your site.
- You manage an international website and look for a similar project with a multilingual blog to publish several language versions of your article and get multiple regional backlinks.
In any case, it’s good to know where your guest posting prospect’s audience comes from. With SE Ranking’s Competitive Research, you’ll get the data within minutes.
Right on the main dashboard, you’ll find the Traffic distribution by country table. Here, you have an option to see both top countries that drive traffic to a website and traffic distribution by continent—just drag the toggle to change the view.
The website in the screenshot above is a perfect match for a business willing to expand its US market share. Meanwhile, a company targeting a wider European market would rather partner with a website that has an audience, like in the screenshots below.
Ideally, you’ll want the site you collaborate with to get most of its traffic from your various target markets.
To study the data in greater detail, hit the Compare button. You’ll be able to pick any five locations and analyze how the traffic share of these markets changed over time.
Interestingly, the list of countries that drive the most traffic to a site does not always correlate with the list of countries with the biggest number of target keywords. In the screenshot above, India brings a lion’s share of visitors to a site, being second on the list.
Meanwhile, the Organic keywords graph of the same site, which you can see below, shows that in terms of keywords the site is US and UK-oriented. This allows us to assume that the site’s marketing activities (newsletters, social media posts, webinars, etc) will also be targeted at the US and UK markets.
The whole process takes only a few minutes, so you’ll be able to easily single out websites that will serve your location targeting purposes well.
Find pages you can contribute to
Sometimes, instead of writing a brand-new post, you hope to get featured in one of the existing articles a site already has. To do so, go to the Pages section. Here, all the site pages are sorted by the amount of traffic they bring to the site. If you are lucky enough, one of the top-performing pages may be relevant to your own site.
Use the search box to check if a site covers a particular topic that has been on your mind. If nothing pops up, proceed to the Keywords section.
Again, the keyword you used to search for the right topics in the Pages section, may not be in the page title. Still, if the topic is somehow covered in one of the articles, that page will rank for respective keywords.
Use the search box to quickly find what you were looking for.
Whichever method you use to find the right pages to contribute to, make sure to check out the promising articles. Just click the arrow sign next to the link.
By clicking the link itself, you’ll get a report on a particular page and will learn how much traffic it gets, how many backlinks it has, etc. It will give you an idea of what to expect if you get featured on that page.
Armed with all the insights, you can proceed to writing your pitch and contacting the site owner/blog editor, etc.
Ready to check how Competitive Research could facilitate your flow of scoring guest posting prospects? Then, grab a 14-day free trial.