Over the past 10 years, SEO has changed drastically.? It wasn’t too long ago where you could comment on blogs, blast 1,000 links on some lousy blog network and watch your website shoot to the top for a competitive keyword.?

However, things have changed — a lot.

Building your brand and rankings today will require a lot more work, and it won’t come easy.? One particular method that has worked for ages is guest posting.? Guest posting is an amazing way to build your brand, bring in traffic and yes, increase your search engine ranking.? As long as it’s done right, you can see a lot of benefits for the time you invest.

If you’re unfamiliar with guest posting, it’s the process of reaching out to other bloggers and offering them unique content.? In exchange for the content, they will allow you to place your website link in your short bio at the end of the piece.

To get you the best guest posting opportunities possible, here’s how you can make the most out of your ventures:

What are your goals?

Before you even begin guest posting, you’re going to first want to decide why you want to guest post.

.   Do you want to build your brand??

.   Are you looking for traffic?

.   Do you want to increase your ranks?

If you’re looking for traffic, then it’s ideal to find websites that have a larger readership.? This can usually be done by checking their social media accounts, Compete.com traffic estimates and the comments left on the blog.? If the website continually updates their content and hundreds of people comment on their posts, then there’s a good chance they have a good following and a good amount of traffic.?These are the websites you will want to target if you’re looking to build your brand and get traffic.

However, if you’re interested in building your search engine rank, you don’t necessarily have to think about traffic, but instead, think about the domain authority.? In the world of SEO, backlinks are still a great way to show search engines that you matter.? If you’re getting links from worthless WordPress and BlogSpot blogs, the search engines aren’t going to take you seriously.? Instead, what you’re going to want to look out for is their domain authority and who links to them.? You can get this information for free via the OpenSiteExplorer.org tool.? The more powerful the domain is, the more powerful that link can be.? Just remember that when you’re looking to link out in your byline, try to switch up the anchor text.

Finding the Opportunities

Here comes the fun part — finding blogs who want your content.? Before you shoot off that email, you’re going to want to have a few goals in mind.

.   For starters, always focus on your niche.? Don’t blog on a cat blog if your website is about health.

.   Always make sure that the audience will be interested.

.   Are there people who will see your post?? It’s kind of silly to write for a blog that has no readers and no authority.? Why waste your time?

.   What kind of opportunities will present themselves after writing this?

As long as you’re targeting the right websites, you’re going to be able to draw in targeted traffic and make the search engine gods happy.

Google and Bing

These search engines are amazing ways to find guest posting opportunities.? As long as you use the right search parameters, your list of contacts could be endless.? To find websites that are searching for current guest bloggers, here are some searches you can use:

.   “submit a guest post” + your keyword

.   “guest post” + your keyword

.   “write for us” ?+ your keyword

.   “writing guidelines” ?+ your keyword

.   “contribute” + your keyword

Simply swap “your keyword” with your the niche you’re looking for.? Be sure to play around with these keywords to get a lot of different results.

Twitter

Using the same strategies mentioned above, Twitter is a great way to find guest posting opportunities in real-time.? With their search function, use similar search queries to see which bloggers are accepting posts now.

Bylines

Just about every website and blog on the internet accept guest contributors.? If you ever come across a blog that accepts guest posts, see who wrote it in the past.? For example, let’s say it said, “Bill Jones writes for ABC Company.”? You could copy that byline and search for it on Google.? If this person used a similar byline and wrote a lot of guest posts, you could see a list of websites that they have wrote for.

Communities

If you want to find website owners who are looking for guest posters, consider joining BloggerLinkup or MyBlogGuest.? These two free communities allow you to create free accounts and get massive lists of what owners are looking for in terms of content.? Simply email them with a pitch and wait for them to respond. If you do join these communities, just keep in mind that it can be competitive with other bloggers, so make sure that you offer some of the best content possible.

Pitching your Guest Post Topic

Now that you know how to find guest posts, here comes the hard part — writing up a topic idea.? When writing to a blog owner, you don’t want to just send out some boring topic that doesn’t fit their theme.? If it’s a fitness blog, they probably already have a topic on how to lose weight.

To help you develop the best guest posting idea possible, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

.   Know the blog’s audience.? Who are you writing for?

.   What kind of content is it?? Funny?? Professional?

.   What kind of guest posts did they accept in the past?

.   What type of post gets the most comments?

.   Who were the old guest posters?

To find topic ideas, check out social media websites, search popular newspapers and just be creative with it.? Unique topics are going to work great.

Sending the Email

The last part of guest posting is sending out an email and waiting.? However, even if you have the best topic ever, you can still screw things up if the email isn’t sent the right way.

These are absolute musts when sending an email:

.   Always read their guidelines and follow their rules

.   Make sure you’re personal with the mail.? Find out who the owner is and greet them by name

.   Tell them who you are

.   Why should they accept your guest post?

.   Compliment them

.   Give them at least two to three topics

.   Make it sweet

If you follow this guide, there’s no reason you can’t land some amazing guest posts.? As long as you’re linking back to a website that is reputable, you shouldn’t have a problem getting some successful responses.? Remember, you can have the best website in the world and still not receive answers from everyone.? Plan on getting a response from every 20 emails you send out.