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Guest posting is a great way to build links that drive website visibility, but the gurus of content marketing land have different opinions when asked if the strategy helps with search engine results.

Aaron Agius, a content creator, starts his guest post at Content Marketing Institute with an unequivocal, it doesn’t. He softens that later in the post saying, “it shouldn’t be your primary strategy for a quick SEO fix.”

That sounds like he’s saying guest posting is useful in the long term, which dovetails nicely with  Constant Contact’s recommendation that creating and publishing high-quality content consistently can lift SEO results—over time.

Still, whether you’re writing as a guest blogger or publishing guest writers on your site, guest posting is business critical. It opens opportunities for you to position yourself as an authority in your market, establish relationships with other thought leaders, and lift your brand profile.

What Is Guest Posting (aka Guest Blogging)?

Typically, guest posting involves someone writing content that another site will post with a backlink to the originator’s site. The benefit for guest bloggers is more traffic to their blog via the backlink. What does the host get out of it? Fresh content, for one thing: a sine qua non in SEO.

That fresh content better be genuine, helpful, and relevant, though. Otherwise, the search algorithms likely will see it as spam with a lot of links. Not good.

Which brings us to …

What is an Effective Guest Posting Strategy?

A good place to start is to think of a guest post as a value-add for host site’s audience, not an advertisement or product promotion. Instead, the content should inform and engage the reader.

Once you’re clear on the distinction between selling and helping, you’re in a good place to start building out the strategy.

If You’re Guest Blogging, Write for The Right Places

Finding the right home for your content is your first consideration.

No one is going to find the backlink to your blog—which the point of guest blogging—if the sites where you post don’t get traffic. On the other hand, look for sites that get a million monthly, and ask to post there.

Why? Because the backlink from a million-a-month site has the potential to boost traffic and lift your site’s profile.

The big takeaway: Don’t just post just anywhere. If you take the time to look for authoritative, high traffic sites and get the green light to publish on them, you’re halfway to reaping the rewards of guest posting.

Keep It Real

The bedrock of successful guest blogging is relevance. And as content marketing becomes ever more influential, keeping it real for the audience is become ever more important.

Google loves content that appeals to the host’s audience—its algorithms can measure that—and when Google loves something, that thing moves up in its rankings.

Resource articles, how-tos and other informative posts work well because they deliver what searchers want: answers to specific questions. As a result, such posts have the potential to drive more shares, links, and traffic for your website.

The big takeaway: Creating relevant, informative posts with sustainable backlinks may improve your Google profile, if you …

Think for the Long Term

Guest posting doesn’t lead to short-term SEO success. Writing or posting one or two guest articles a week won’t move your rankings—either as a provider or publisher.

Neil Patel, a highly regarded SEO and search engine marketing guru, started out writing a couple of guest articles a week, eventually ramping up production to 700- to 1,000-word posts per day.

It took a year of writing high-quality guest posts for authoritative sites before he began to see improvement in his Google search results. Moreover, he advises, don’t expect to see a SEO return on investment for at least two years.

The big takeaway: Posting relevant, readable content consistently on high profile sites over time builds a cumulative SEO effect, but it’s not an overnight search optimization tactic.

Go the Extra Mile with Content

If you’re a guest-blog publisher, you may have the perfect web presence: respectable authority and relevance in your market and a great idea for a high-impact resource article to draw in visitors.

But—now be honest—can you create the quality content that’s going to drive the results you want?

It is best to buy guest blog posts from an expert that excels at all these aspects, whether it is about finding the right platform to publish the content, pitch them successfully, or create posts that can drive real traffic to your website.

Essentially, your guest post should be informative and relevant to the reader’s intent and deliver them something of value.

The big takeaway: Good content gets you more views and has the audience hooked to your website and brand in the long run.

Consolidate Your Connections

Guest posting is a strategy based on relationships, both with the industry influencers and your audience. Your focus should be on consolidating these relationships rather than just getting more traffic and quality backlinks for your website. Strong relationships with “power bloggers” means you will not need to work hard for pitching them time and again to get your posts published on their website.

If they trust you enough, they will be more than happy to let you share your publications on their blogs on a regular basis. Maintaining relationships is all about staying connected and visible, which you can do by liking and commenting on their posts socially and dropping mails regularly. A good outreach strategy is also important.

The big takeaway: When it comes to building strong relationships with your audience, creating valuable, informative content will bring them back again and again.

Pay Extra Attention to Content Promotion

You may have done everything right, from finding amazing guest posting opportunities to creating compelling content for your guest posts. But you cannot expect great results unless you have a strategic plan to promote your content. Sharing the post on social media is the best way to extend its reach and have more people reading and propagating it. Don’t forget to keep a tab on comments because they give you the opportunity to engage with the audience by replying to them.

You can go a step further with your guest posting plan by sending the site owner a thank-you note once the post is published in their blog. This will help you build and maintain good relationships, which is important as mentioned before.

The big takeaway: Ask visitors to share your post on their social media pages for an extra push.

What’s the Big, Big Takeaway on Guest Posting?

Whether you are a content creator or a publisher who hosts guest blog posts, if you follow these few steps to building out a guest posting strategy, you have the opportunity to stand out in your market.