How to Pick Quality Sites for Guest Posting (15 SEO Check List)

pick quality sites for guest posting

How to Pick Quality Sites for Guest Posting

The most common query I get most of the time is “What SEO metrics you check to pick quality sites for guest posting?”

All professional link builders know how important it is to find good quality sites for their guest posting campaign

Because they know if they pick the wrong site to publish a guest post, it will not only waste time & efforts but also damage their brand credibility and ranking.

Three main reasons that you must care to pick quality sites for guest posting:

  1. Publishing guest post on low-quality sites won’t help improve the ranking for your pages. Surprise? But it’s true.
  2. There is a risk of a major drop in your ranking at the time of the Google update because low-quality sites are the first to get penalized.
  3. Picking sites without checking its quality will cost you time, efforts & money. 

Most of the guest posting campaign fails for the same reason. 

The link building agency provides guest posts from high DA blogs (having very low or 0 traffic with bad link neighborhood) and such links can never provide good SEO results.

Please don’t commit the same mistake that most people don’t spend enough time to check the quality of sites. 

Guest blogging is one of the smartest ways to get your name out there as a brand. You write articles for guest blog that contains links that direct back to your blog. 

However, since it requires a lot of time and effort, it can be frustrating when done wrong.

Here are the top 15 SEO metrics that I usually check to pick quality sites for guest posting:

1. Is the site relevant to your business niche?

The relevancy of the website’s niche to your niche is a key factor when pitching for guest posting. A big waste of your time, as well as energy, would be pitching to sites whose content are unrelated to your niche. 

It’s a common mistake amongst new bloggers who want to build a backlink profile. A very important SEO factor is relevancy. Your links need to be relevant to the niche of the blog content to the required clicks.

Say your website sells travel insurance. So you should pick the other tour & travel related sites. Instead, if you will pick sites that speak about education, it isn’t worthy.

A backlink from a relevant site is still one of the key factors in SEO. In fact, this is the very first seo metric that I check. If the site isn’t relevant, I remove it from my list even if it has high DA or traffic.

In many cases, you will come across a blog having content on multiple niches (usually a News blog or lifestyle blog). Just make sure that one of their categories must be having your niche.

You can find millions of such sites (multiple niches) available for guest posting created just to publish the paid post.

So, you must be alert at the time of picking such a site.

2. The Site’s Credibility

Another important metric to put into consideration before choosing a website is its credibility.

 Is the website credible? Reliable?

Consider navigating through the website’s landing pages to see it’s about us section and see if it sends a strong message.

Navigate through its other pages like privacy policy & terms. Ensure also that the website looks updated and well put together.

3. The site should have some traffic

A factor you should look out for is the monthly visit that the site gets.

The higher this is, the greater the chances are for your blog to be viewed by more people and the more referral traffic that would be generated.

If a website has a DA 50+ with 100 monthly traffic and another website has DA 30+ with 900 monthly traffic, which one will you pick to pitch your guest post?

You must pick the site having higher traffic. But still, most of the people chase high DA guest post without checking if sites are getting traffic or not.

One more important thing, you should also check the location of the traffic. If your blog’s target audience is the USA, it won’t be useful to publish a guest post on websites having traffic from Australia or India.

There are several tools you and use to track the traffic that a website gets. I use Ahrefs & Semrush tools to check traffic.

4. The site’s affiliated blog

There should be a blog associated with any website that you’re going to write guest posts for and you need to be sure of this. 

If there are no associated blog, your content cannot be posted, and you would have wasted your time and energy writing a guest post for that website.

5. SEO metrics for selecting quality sites for guest posting.

You need to properly verify a few important SEO metrics of a site to see if it can contribute positively to your sites SEO. 

It would be best if you looking for sites with the following SEO metrics:

  1. Domain Authority (DA) – Always target sites having DA equal to or greater than the DA of the site you want to provide backlinks. E.g. if the DA of your website is 20, then avoid picking sites less than 20 DA (unless any site has very good traffic).
  2. Spam Score – It is also important SEO metrics. The Moz tool provides spam score from 1% to 100%. Lower the spam score better the quality of the website.
  3. Trust Flow – TF is SEO metrics from Majestic SEO, another backlink analysis tool. TF measure the trustworthiness of a website from the quality of relevant links. It provides a score from 1 to 100. The higher the TF better the quality it is.
  4. DR & UR – Domain Rating & URL Rating are the important metrics that Ahrefs uses to score the website according to the quality of its backlinks. DR measures the quality of backlinks pointing to the main domain, and UR rates the specific page according to its backlink profile.
  5. Organic Ranking – It means if your site or pages are coming in the search engine results for searching particular keywords organically. One link from such a good site is far better than ten links from a site with no organic ranking.

6. Webpage Design of the website

There is several aspects of the website design you should look out for that are Indicators of what the website can offer. Mainly look out for some basic things that you can easily check without the help of any web designer.

  • If the site has a professional design
  • its unique custom-designed images
  • ease of navigation
  • mobile responsiveness
  • the number of pops and ads
  • the number of low-quality external links associated with the website.

7. The site’s social influence & popularity

If you want to know the quality of a site you want to choose for your guest posting, then a very good criterion to check is its social platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram & others. 

The metrics that you should check include

  • the number of page following
  • its engagements on its social platforms
  • its active follower,
  • its frequency of posts,
  • its content niche.

Usually, the PBN or low-quality blogs don’t invest time & efforts in creating & maintaining their social audience.

8. Check the published contents of the site.

An important step to take before you pitch an article for guest blogging is to check previously published contents on the website. 

This is necessary for you to get an ideal feel of the kind of content that they post, the ideal word length, their writing style, article format, content quality, writing tone, and their use of unique images.

If a site is publishing content on the irrelevant topic, it’s not a good sign. You can notice most sports blogs (like football blog) publishing content about online games and providing links to casino sites.

It will help your SEO campaign if you avoid outreaching to low-quality sites for guest posting.

9. Check & Analyze Website’s Traffic

It’s very important to check the site’s traffic and ensure the traffic is coming from the same location that you are targeting for your own site.

For example, if you want to rank your site’s pages in the USA location, you should avoid getting links from sites getting traffic from different locations, i.e. Australia or India.

You can easily check & analyze the website’s traffic from the Ahrefs tool.

10. The domain history

You need to check if the website domain is expired. An expired domain is a domain that has not been renewed and it can be dangerous when used to sell links. 

Many sites are created with dropped or expired domains. Such domains have high DA but usually very low traffic and mainly used as link farm sites, i.e. sites mainly provide paid guest posts.

You can use tools to analyze domain history and determine if the site is a real one or using an expired domain for a link farm. I mainly use the internet archive to check if a domain is expired or not. 

11. Avoid PBNs – Private blog Networks

Like expired domains, using PBNs to generate backlinks can have awful consequences if you don’t know how to use them properly.

PBNs are like link pyramids or networks. A network of blogs is created to keep exchanging backlinks to manipulate the SEO ranking of the site. 

A penalty is being associated with such acts by Google, and so it neither worth the time nor the energy.

12. Check website’s backlinks quality

You can use several tools to check the quality of the site’s backlinks that you’re going to be pitching for. 

You need to check if they have high quality and reputable links and even brand mentions from some big and reputable sites. 

If a website has the most backlinks from directories, forums, blog comments & web 2.0 properties instead of real blogs, it will be a good idea to skip that site.

13. Article Indexing Style of Website

Before you write the articles for guest blogging, you should ensure that Google indexes the web page quickly. 

Start by viewing the web site’s most recent article and then put the article’s title using the search operator in Google. This process should be repeated to understand how articles get indexed. 

If you find some articles aren’t indexed after publishing many days, there might be some technical issue or done deliberately by the blogger. Such sites aren’t good to pitch for a guest post. 

What’s the fun of doing so much hard work when Google won’t notice the published post?

14. If there is any fee to publish a guest post?

Note that some opportunities may cost you to get your articles to the editor’s eyes. There may be fees associated with posting publications for some sites. 

Do make sure that the site in question has excellent authority and engagements accruing to it. Remember, you can always do the negotiation to get the best price.

In a situation whereby the site does not pass this check and still request payment, you should pass on that opportunity.

15. Check the ratio of outgoing-to-incoming domains

An important factor to check is the ratio of the outgoing to the incoming backlinks on the sites. 

The website receives inbound links from other sites like yours while outbound links are pages linked to another site.  Ideally, the number of inbound linking domains should be higher than outbound linked domains. 

If website outbound links are more than inbound links, it’s not a good sign and you should avoid such sites.

Final Words

These are very useful SEO metrics that can help you find good quality sites for your link building campaign. It pays to take time to select the good website but really worthwhile your efforts.

If you find any person claiming that guest blogging posting doesn’t work anymore. Just ask them if they really put serious efforts to pick high-quality sites for guest posting?

If you find any other seo metrics that should be included in the above list, feel free to share with us by writing in comments.


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