Posted by Clayton Johnson | March 8, 2017
Some time ago, I came across some interesting statistics from Hubspot that got me thinking about how high value guest blogging factors into my business’s content marketing strategy.
According to the post, marketers who prioritize blogging are “13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI”. Another claimed that “Companies who blog receive 97% more backlinks to their website.”
The post is almost two years old, and a lot has changed since then. So I was curious to know – do Hubspot’s statistics still ring true? Is blogging still an effective strategy to drive traffic to your business?
In my case, turns out it still is.
But as I always say, don’t just take my word for it.
Follow me on a trip down the Google Analytics memory lane (and pick up lessons for your own strategy) as I show you how targeted, high value guest blog posting (on my own blog and on other blogs) drove massive traffic to my business.
Guest Blogging Marketing Strategy
A few years ago, then-Google Head of Webspam Matt Cutts said guest blogging is dead, the digital marketing world – particularly content marketers, were thrown into a state of uproar.
“Stick a fork in it,” Cutts said. Guest blogging has gotten too spammy, and It. Is. Done.
But thankfully, we don’t take everything Google’s PR machine spits out for fact, we look at real data!
Fast forward to 2017, and I wanted to take a look back at my own guest blogging efforts to see if guest posting has been, indeed, rendered useless.
So I went over to check Google Analytics for my business site, NinjaOutreach.com, and I was pleasantly surprised to see evidence to the contrary.
Here was my process, and you can do the same for your website if you’ve been guest blogging frequently.
First, go into your Google Analytics.
Set the calendar on the upper right corner to cover the period you would like to check.
In my case, I set the period to cover January 1, 2015 to January 25, 2017. This gives me an overview of how our website has evolved since then.
Next, head over to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels on the left-hand menu.
You’ll see your total sessions for the period entered.
For NinjaOutreach, our total was close to 500k sessions.
Of this, referral sources came up third and made up around 84k, or 17.06% of total sessions, with Organic Search and Direct Traffic making up the bulk.
Focus on Referral traffic, since this statistic reports site visits that came from an external source – such as a guest blog post.
Click Acquisition > Referrals.
This shows you which sources referred traffic to your site.
Lengthen your list a bit to show 50 rows.
Now I can see all the important referral sources.
Of the 50 top referral sources for my business page for the whole two-year period, nine of those came from sites I had guest blogged for.
I lump those together and this is what I got:
In total, those sites drove 5.47% of the entire two years’ worth of referral traffic – ranking guest blogging as third among referral traffic strategies.
Actually, it’s better than not bad, it’s really pretty good. Let me reiterate – 10 posts that I wrote contributed to over 5% of all of the referral traffic that my business received over the course of two years. From a value perspective i.e. what that traffic is worth, it’s a very good ROI for a finite time investment for all the inbound links.
So from my perspective, I can say guest blogging is definitely not dead.
Not only did I get referral traffic from the posts, I got links that helped my site rank (which then got me even more traffic!)
Lessons Learned in Guest Blogging
And what lessons can we learn from this trip down memory lane?
1. All the guest blogs that drove the most amount of traffic to my business page are high quality and relevant to my niche. I only reached out to blog owners that met my criteria before I became a guest blogger for the site.
3. My guest posts provide value to the blog audience readers, and link out to other authoritative sites (not just linking to my site). Don’t just get a link in the author bio, get a link in the actual content. Final takeaway: Write killer content.
In short, my strategy was to target quality blog sites, and produce high value blog posts with the end target in mind: a real, thinking, working, paying human.
Editors Note: If you want help executing a guest blogging strategy like above, check out our guest blogging service!
The Constant: In-House Blogging (Blogging on your own website) Marketing Strategy
Now let’s look at our own in-house blogging efforts, where, to be clear, the majority of the benefit was derived.
Go to Behavior > All Pages in Google Analytics.
Again, I clicked 50 rows, and the data below showed me the top performing pages on the site.
The results painted a fantastic picture about the value of our in-house blogging.
The number of pageviews and unique pageviews indicated that many people found our blog posts valuable.
Our top post, 500 Ways to Make Money Online, which is a comprehensive list post that I wrote, has almost 30k unique pageviews.
Another post, which is my in-depth review of Rami Sethi’s earn 1k course, showed readers’ average time on page went for as long as seven minutes!
These were posts published way back 2014, but are still among our top performers through 2017. Overall, our blog has accounted for ~50% of the traffic that the website has received.
Lessons Learned in In-House Blogging
A quick look at our WordPress showed that as early as 2015, we didn’t have a regular blog posting thing going on yet.
Frequency of blog posts would go from 11 times a month, to five, and sometimes up to 23.
We only stabilized frequency around 2016, when we would consistently post between 13 to 15 posts per month, usually between Tuesday and Friday.
What did I learn from this?
From what I’ve seen overall, when it comes to publishing our own blog posts, quality and consistency were the most important factors.
We didn’t publish every day. In fact, for the whole month of November 2015, we only published four posts.
Of those four posts, the collection of digital marketing case studies that I published November 19 of that year is actually still one of our top performing blog posts.
It’s got almost 12k unique pageviews, making it our third most viewed blog post to date.
Both guest blogging and blogging on your own site works together. It’s much easier to get a natural in-content link to a value-driven blog post.
The stats don’t lie – here’s what we now know years later.
One. Targeted guest blogging (guest posting) WORKS.
Armed with just a handful of killer guest posts, if you target quality sites – blogs that have a good authority and are niche relevant, (hence a high trust rating), you can get a very nice amount of traffic.
Two. Blogging on your own website WORKS.
Quality is the most important factor, but you need to also commit to content.
Publish high value, well-researched posts, focus on promoting it well on social media, and you’ll get the eyeballs and trust of your audience.
Now, if you’re worried about how you’re going to affordably and efficiently produce all of this quality content, allow me to recommend the Hoth’s Blog Writing Service, which will take care of all of this for you, so you can sit back and let the results pour in.
Clayton Johnson is the CMO of The HOTH SEO company. He has over 8+ years experience in the SEO industry and has spoken at events like SEJ Summit. The HOTH has been featured in Inc 5000, Forbes, SMX, Pubcon, Content Marketing World, Affiliate Summit, Brighton and more.