Guest Post ROI: The Data Behind 273 Guest Posts Says It’s No Good

guest-postI bet that you have at least one guest post under your belt.

So let me ask you something:

– What was the ROI of that guest post?

Did you achieve what you expected? Are you happy with the results?

Or maybe you didn?t have any specific goal in mind and wrote your guest post just because everyone else is doing it?

I reached out to 500+ bloggers (big and small) and asked all of them pretty much same questions.

The amount of feedback and data that I got from that outreach was totally overwhelming (to say the least) and I can’t wait to share all these golden nuggets with you.

But first?

HUGE THANKS to everyone who contributed! This post would not exist without your help.

What do you get from publishing a guest post?

Initially I wanted to focus on tangible metrics only.

Specifically – the amount of referral traffic that you can get from a guest post.

A lot of people eagerly shared their numbers with me. Some even took things a step further and did a small research of their own.

Check out this spreadsheet by Ryan Robinson, where he calculated his conversion rates from different guest posts and suggested what could influence them:


But quite a few people insisted that the ROI of guest blogging went far beyond these “tangible metrics”:

Donna Moritz

?Guest blogging for me, is as much about the opportunities as the traffic.

Through guest posting on a whole range of sites, I have:

  • been offered bigger roles as a contributing writer at sites like Entrepreneur and Social Media Examiner from earlier blog posts;
  • developed relationships with blog owners that lead to being affiliate for their products and programs or them being an affiliate for mine;
  • attracted new clients and projects;
  • been interviewed on podcasts;
  • booked quality paid speaking engagements.

…all of which developed through guest posting for blogs I developed a relationship with.

Think of each article not just as a way to get traffic to your site but a way to build relationships with the people who might promote your business and your content to their own communities in the future in a myriad of ways.?

So after bouncing emails with about 400 bloggers and marketers (in the course of 4 months) and processing all their data and insights, I have distilled 5 main benefits of guest blogging:

  • Referral traffic;
  • Quality backlinks;
  • Exposure & Credibility;
  • Nurturing relationships with great people;
  • Monetary reward.

Now let me go deeper and explain why you’re unlikely to get any of that with your next guest article.


I consider myself a rather experienced guest writer.

I wrote guest articles for many well-known blogs like Moz, Problogger, SocialMediaExaminer, SearchEngineJournal, etc.

So based on my personal experience I can confidently say that:

Guest blogging is a terrible strategy of generating traffic to your website.

That’s not something you hear very often, right?

But don’t just take my word for it.

While reaching out to hundreds of people I have collected the exact traffic numbers behind 239 guest posts that were published on 78 blogs in the marketing niche.

So do you want to know the average referral traffic across these 239 guest posts?

56 visits!

Not impressive, huh?

You can easily get visits for as low as $0.10 via Facebook ads, which makes a guest article with 56 visits worth about $6.

How pathetic is that?

But I’ll tell you more.

Out of these 239 guest articles, 35% generated less than 10 visits and only 15% generated more than 100 vists:

[tweet_dis_img inject=”Average referral traffic from a guest article is only 56 visits!”]01-traffic-guest-post[/tweet_dis_img]

At this point I should note that “referral traffic” was measured for a period of the first 7 days since publishing a guest post.

If you would like to know why I limited the timeframe to first 7 days only, please download the bonus materials to this article, where I go a bit deeper into this research and explain a few extra takeaways:

[fancy_box id=5]BONUS: [content_upgrade id=5774]CLICK HERE[/content_upgrade] to get extra insights and takeaways from my research of Guest Blogging ROI.[/fancy_box]

But I’m sure you would like to know which blogs generated the most traffic.

So here’s the Top 10 (based on the data that I have on my hands):


Please don’t rely on this chart too much though.

I only compared blogs where I had referral traffic on 3+ guest articles, which allowed me to calculate an average number. These were 35 blogs out of 78.

But if you would like to get the full spreadsheet with all 78 blogs – go grab the bonus materials from the yellow box above.

All in all, these traffic numbers are not impressive if you ask me.

Even with a maximum of 539 visits from a guest post, I can easily get 3x more traffic from publishing that article on my own blog.

So I will repeat it again, and this time, make it “tweetable”:

[tweet_box]Guest blogging is a TERRIBLE strategy of generating traffic to your website.[/tweet_box]

But on the other side, I love what Dominic Bnonn Tennant has to say about it:

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

“I’d say it very much depends on how much guest posting you do, and how much traffic you need.

One post won’t have a huge effect. But posts on a dozen different blogs will start to add up ? especially if you can keep producing new content, since there is always a small trickle from each post, and over the long term these can combine into a decent stream.

I’ve actually found guest posting to be the most effective way to get traffic a website, all things considered.

Remember, I did say “all things considered”.

That was my way of saying, “For the average solopreneur like me who has limited time, energy, and expertise.” :)

For people like us, ranking in Google is not an effective strategy because it’s not even feasible, let alone reliable.

Obviously all the big blogs get massive search traffic. That’s because they’re big.

But solopreneurs don’t run big blogs. They run tiny blogs.

So really, their best bet for traffic is to get second hand search traffic off the big blogs anyway ? which means guest posts.

Because of this, until you’ve built up a massive audience, there’s no point even having your own blog.”

So let’s see what “an average solopreneur” could do if he wanted to squeeze more referral traffic out of his guest articles.

How To Get “Second Hand” Search Traffic

One of the best ways to grow traffic to your website is by making it rank on the front page of Google for a bunch of nice keywords.

But ranking on top of Google is incredibly hard.

So in his quote above, Dominic mentioned a cool workaround that I don’t see many people talking about – “second hand search traffic”.

Let me explain what that means.

I bet you already know that when Google decides which of the two similar articles should rank higher, it looks at these two factors:

  • The authority of a website – how many other websites are linking to it;
  • The authority of a page with the article – how many other pages are linking to it.

(at Ahrefs we have metrics for that: “Domain Rating” and “URL Rating”)

So if you want to analyze your chances to rank for some keyword, just search for it in Google and see how powerful the pages that already rank there are.

You can use Ahrefs Toolbar to quickly check that:


Quite often you’ll see that UR and DR of the pages that rank for your desired keyword are way too strong in comparison to those of your own website.

So your chances of ranking for that keyword with a page on your site are very very slim.

That is why, instead of publishing that article on your own site, you might consider submitting it as a guest post for some other big authority website (that has all the necessary SEO metrics to rank well).

Once your guest article climbs to the front page of Google – it will start bringing consistent search traffic month after month and some of these people will click the links in the article and land on your own site.

That’s what Dominic meant by saying: “get second hand search traffic off the big blogs”.

And it works!

Take a look at this guest post by Peter Sandeen.

Peter told me it has brought him 2310 visitors and 1549 email subscribers to date:

Pasted Graphic

And the traffic doesn’t seem to fade!

All because this guest post ranks on the front page of Google for many great keywords.

I used Ahrefs to check which keywords Peter’s guest post ranks for in Google, and here’s what I saw:


So if you want your content to show up on the front page of Google but your own site is too weak – consider writing a guest article for a big and well-known resource.

However I would still prefer to publish the article on my own blog and hustle real hard to make it rank in Google, so that I could enjoy 100% of that traffic.

And Ryan Stewart seems to be with me on this one:

Ryan Stewart

“With StartupBros looks like that guest article ranks in Google and that is why it’s bringing me consistent referral traffic.

Yet in the first 7 days there were only 120 visits.

But I don’t take ranking in Google into account, because I’d rather make articles on MY site rank in Google, than try to make my guest articles on other sites rank in Google.”

As well as Nick Kolenda:

Nick Kolenda

“All of my articles are extremely long, detailed, and research-driven.

With those “epic” pieces of content, I think they’re best suited for your own blog.

That way, you can attract the links and build the brand and authority of your own blog and domain.”

How To Determine If The Blog Is Worth Writing For

It’s totally awesome when your guest article gets to the front page of Google and starts sending consistent “second hand search traffic” your way.

But more often than not you’ll see this:


That’s a screenshot of my referral traffic coming from a recent guest article at SocialMediaExaminer.

At first there was a small spike – that’s when regular readers of SME checked out my newly published article and clicked the link to see my blog.

But then my guest post got pushed down by a bunch of newly published articles and the traffic from SME faded to nothing.

I got a total of 26 visits from that article.

Which is a pretty miserable result for SME blog with 5,294 Alexa Rank, right?

But wait…

Who said that Alexa is the right metric to evaluate the referral traffic that you can get from publishing a guest post on that website?

I had enough data to study the correlation between Alexa ranking of a blog and the referral traffic coming from a guest post that was published there.

And it turned out that there’s almost NO correlation between Alexa and referral traffic.

At first it sounds counterintuitive, but when you give it a second thought – it starts to make perfect sense.

If you would like to know my thought process behind this, grab the bonus materials below:

[fancy_box id=5]BONUS: [content_upgrade id=5774]CLICK HERE[/content_upgrade] to get extra insights and takeaways from my research of guest blogging ROI.[/fancy_box]

So is there a better metric that you could look at in order to evaluate blogs for guest posting?

I studied how referral traffic correlates with a few different metrics across 273 guest articles and here’s what I’ve got:


As you can see, all correlations are pretty poor.

With “1” being “direct correlation” and “0” meaning “no correlation at all” – anything below 0.3 is not significant.

And yet the number of comments seems to be a much better indicator of the size of a blog’s audience than Alexa ranking.

I was also surprised to see a high correlation with Pinterest pins, considering the fact that social shares are generally a vanity metric and they never correlate with traffic.

And I didn’t include Twitter in my research, because they recently discontinued their share counts.

All in all, my data set was very small but the gut feeling tells me that on a bigger scale these correlations would decrease even more.

So please don’t rely on any of these metrics if you want to learn how many people will read your guest article and click the links in it.

If that is important to you – just ask this question directly to the owner of a blog.

How To Maximise Your Referral Traffic

Now here’s the actual reason why my guest post at SocialMediaExaminer didn’t bring me much traffic:

There was only a single link to my blog in that article – from my author byline.

So remember this:

If you want to get referral traffic, you need to link to your website from the body of your guest article.

(actually I did have links in the body of my guest post at SocialMediaExaminer, but they were edited out. *sigh*)

I studied how links in the body of the article improve referral traffic across 152 guest posts on 23 blogs.

On average, posts with links in the body of the article generated 387% more referral traffic than posts that only had links in the “author bio” section.

[tweet_box]Guest posts with link in the body of the article generate 387% more referral traffic[/tweet_box]

And to be honest, most bloggers have noticed that long ago:

Lesley Vos

“A link should be placed at the beginning of a guest post, and it should be mega relevant to bring us so desired referral traffic.

I think that guest bloggers should keep it in mind if they are going to get max ROI with content in particular.

Sure, it’s not always possible to place such a link because blog hosts have their link policy and guest posts guidelines. But if you succeed here… Well, lucky you :)”

But here’s the fun part.

Including a link in the content of your guest post doesn’t guarantee that readers will click it.

For example, this article that you’re reading right now is full of links to further reading, but did you click ALL of them?

Of course not!

Here’s what Mary Fernandez says about it:

Mary Fernandez

“I also imagine that the traffic numbers will vary quite a bit depending on how effective the call to action is.

For instance, I think the reason my Facebook ads post did so much better was because I had a highly relevant call to action (to view a video walkthrough of the steps detailed in the post). Plus, the call to action was not only in the author bio but also in the body of the post.

By contrast, the post on standing out had just one, much more general call to action in the author bio (to join my private Facebook community for more tips).”

So placing a link within your article is not enough.

You need to make people click it!

There are quite a few ways to do that, but the single most effective one is a cool psychological trick called “curiosity gap”.

I don’t tell you what it is though, because there’s a great article that I want you to read: “Should You Use a Curiosity Gap to Persuade Your Visitors to Click?”

(see what I just did? I created a “curiosity gap” and added a “call-to-action” to make you click that link)

Becoming A Regular Contributor Is Bad For Traffic

I don’t have any actual data to support this claim, so it will be based purely on the feedback that other bloggers shared with me.

Peter Boyle

“The more you write for one blog – the less traffic you’re going to get as their audience starts to remember your name.

I?m actually on the writing team at Crazy Egg. The amount of back traffic I receive decreases steadily as my name becomes known with their audience.

They see me as a CE writer, not as an independent marketing consultant who?s utilising a high traffic blog (and thus, not worth checking out my own site).”

Paul Jarvis

“What I?ve noticed is that the first time you write for a new publication is the best chance to gain signups. After that, their audience has already heard of you and signed up if they were interested.”

Think of writing for blogs outside your niche

I know that most people who read BloggerJet are marketers. And since our core expertise is marketing, we feel most comfortable when we write guest articles for other marketing blogs.

But don’t you think that we have completely oversaturated the marketing niche with our content?

I hear a loud “YES”.

So why don’t we just look around and bring our expertise to other niches?

Will Avila clearly has a point:

William Avila

“When we post on marketing blogs like SEMRush or other marketing sites, we don’t usually get much traffic.

However, when we post on say a Real Estate site explaining to them on how to do marketing, we’ll get a ton of traffic.

Industry blogs for us are good for relevant links, but traffic that converts to sales is usually non-marketing sites.

Honestly I never thought that the low traffic numbers from guest posts in marketing niche may be because the audience is pretty well educated and it?s very hard to impress them with something really new and make them click through.”

How To Not Waste Your Referral Traffic

And lastly, after mastering the art of squeezing more traffic out of your guest articles…

Don’t just land these people on random pages of your site!

The best practice is to create a landing page that would turn these visitors into your email subscribers.

This works really well for Devesh Khanal:

Devesh Khanal

“If you don’t send people to a dedicated landing page to turn them into email subscribers, it’s not worth it.

Look at the numbers from CrazyEgg blog. 209 visitors isn’t worth it. But 132 subscribers is.”


And I absolutely love how Alex Turnbull from GrooveHQ tailors the greetings on his landing pages to the blog where the traffic is coming from:


Unfortunately, most blogs will not let you put links to your landing pages into the content of your article.

But you can put this link into your author byline, like the PROs do: “What Elite Internet Marketers Do With Their Bylines That You?re Missing Out”.

Use content upgrades in your guest articles

I’m a huge advocate of the “content upgrades” strategy.

And if you care about growing your email list (which you should), the single most effective thing you can do with your guest article is put a content upgrade in it.

Here’s how Bryan Harris generated 500 email subscribers from a single guest article by doing just that: Part 1, Part 2.

He calls this strategy “Expanded Guest Post”, but in essence this is just a guest post with a content upgrade in it.


As you may already know, I work at Ahrefs – the best backlink research tool on the planet (yes, I am biased, but these people aren’t).

So here’s the data from our latest research study, where we were looking at correlations between higher ranking in Google and the amount of backlinks pointing to the page:


As you can see from this graph, the amount of referring domains that link to you has a very high correlation with Google rankings.

But the best correlation belongs to native Ahrefs metric called “URL Rank”.

That’s because “URL Rank” focuses on quantity + quality of backlinks, while “# of Ref.Domains” is a purely quantitive metric.

In other words…

If you want to rank high in Google – you need a lot of backlinks coming from diverse QUALITY sites.

And guess what is one of the best ways to get these backlinks?

Guest Blogging!

But hey, didn’t Matt Cutts say that guest blogging for SEO is dead?

I don’t think so.

Here’s a recent case study which proves that guest blogging still works like a charm for building quality backlinks and moving your content to the top of Google’s search results.

So did Matt Cutts lie to us?

I don’t think so.

Go read his article again and you’ll realise that he is talking about “spammy” guest posts, not the genuine ones:

It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I?ll add a bit more context.

I?m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water.

There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they?ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.

I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I?m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

Sure, if you order 30 articles at Fiverr and submit them to “no name” blogs – you’re going to get yourself in big trouble.

But if you opt to write 2-3 guest articles per week and pitch them to best blogs in your industry – this will work like a charm.

Unfortunately, most people still prefer to look for the loopholes instead of hustling hard.

That is why many famous blogs have removed their “Write for us” pages and are no longer accepting guest articles:


And even if you manage to get through with your guest post, their editorial team will most likely delete all your “self promotional” links (like it happened with my latest SocialMediaExaminer guest post).

So building backlinks via guest posting is now harder than ever, but it’s still possible: “How to Build Keyword Rich Links With Guest Articles When All the Odds Are Against You”.

In fact, most bloggers that I’ve talked to are writing guest articles mostly for the sake of landing quality backlinks other than generating referral traffic to their sites.


Whether you get any referral traffic or not…

Whether the editorial team allows any backlinks or not…

You’re still getting your content seen by thousands of people that have never heard about you before.

This alone can lead to many things:

Jeffrey Kranz

“This post brought almost no referral traffic, but an acquisitions editor saw it and reached out to me about writing a book.

We’re in talks!”

Ryan Stewart

“I’ve landed about 90% of my clients from guest posting.

In fact, my largest client came from the first post I wrote for you guys (Ahrefs Blog).”

But don’t let these raving feedbacks fool you.

Most of your guest articles won’t result in any great opportunities.

And here’s why:

“The results can be hit or miss depending entirely on how the host wants to give you attribution for your article.

If they don?t introduce you properly at the top of the article, many readers may not even know it IS a guest post and won?t even think to click back.”

But you still have one perk left that is absolutely impossible to take away from you – credibility.

The fact that some famous blog has published your content can only mean that you’re 100% legit.

That is the reason why many bloggers put the logos of the big blogs they wrote for on the homepage of their sites:


In all honesty, if I were offered to write for – I would not care about traffic or backlinks, but you’ll see Forbes logo on my blog pretty much the same day my guest post is published.

But the real magic happens when credibility is combined with “second hand search traffic”.

Credibility + “Second Hand search traffic”

A few months ago I met with Josh Steimle at “ClickZ Singapore” conference and he told me about his guest article at Forbes, that has been a consistent source of leads for their company pretty much from the day it was published:

Josh Steimle

“We average around 25 leads per month from that single article, and at the moment it accounts for $50,000 or more of our monthly revenue.”

And I’m not surprised actually, because look at all the keywords that it ranks for in Google (and the monthly search volume of these keywords):


How amazing is that?

People search for “best seo company”, find that article at Forbes and think: “This guy must be a real deal if he writes for Forbes, let’s see if I can hire him”.

Too bad it’s pretty damn hard to replicate this.


I love this quote by Sir Richard Branson:

[tweet_box design=”box_15_at” pic_url=”” author=”Richard Branson”]Succeeding in business is all about making connections.[/tweet_box]

Ask any successful guy if there’s some “mentor” or “advisor” behind his success and more often than not the answer will be positive.

Here’s a screenshot from Brian Dean’s AMA at Inbound:


So as you can tell, having a mentor is a must.

But where do you get one?

There are many ways to connect with awesome people in your field.

I have already described some of them here: “3 Easy Outreach Hacks To Make Influential People Notice You“.

But if we’re talking about connecting with bloggers, one of the best ways to melt their heart is to write a guest post that will generate boatloads of traffic to their blog.

Do that a few times in a row – and this blogger will become your best friend. (I?m exaggerating quite a bit, but you get the idea)

And I’m not the only one who thinks so:

Leo Widrich

“Of course, that?s the one thing I keep coming back to. Relationships are hard to track, but are actually the most valuable things that you gain from guest posting.

At the end of the day, if you do a lot of guest posting you simply make a lot of friends.”


Here’s the best part.

What if I told you that you could get all of the above… PLUS a monetary reward!

A lot of blogs are desperate for professional writers.

Just look at Problogger’s Job Board, where a bunch of new listings appear every single day:


I myself have used this job board 3 times to find experienced freelance writers and paid them from $50 to $650 per article (sometimes even more).

Obviously, when you’re getting paid for an article you can’t self promote too much – you have to focus on the business of a person who hired you.

But you still have your name on that article and a link to your personal website in the author byline.

So you’re getting all the aforementioned benefits anyways.

Here’s a quote from someone who preferred to stay anonymous:



“I don’t do unpaid guest blogs. The ROI isn’t there anymore.

Around half my posts on popular marketing blogs are paid for by the site, and any time I do an unpaid guest post (I still do quite a few), I have a company paying me to organically include a link in the article.

To write the type of high-value, in-depth marketing articles people want these days, you need to be linking to case studies, tools, studies, and authoritative blog posts.

So I have simply accumulated a lineup of companies that will pay me to link to their case studies, tools, studies and blog posts when I’d otherwise be randomly picking between them and their competitors.”


If you only need fast cash and you don’t care about all these other “side benefits” – consider “GhostWriting”.

This is when you write an article that will later be published under the name of your client.

In this case you don’t get all the perks that guest blogging has to offer, but you can ask for up to 2x more money.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how some famous bloggers seem to be everywhere with their guest articles and you wonder – “how do they manage to write so fast?”

Well, they use ghost writers.

So if you want to scale your guest blogging – consider hiring a few ghost writers to help you out.

And this wraps up my study of “guest post ROI”.

But I have a few more guest blogging tips to share with you.


I’m sure that after reading my study you have mixed feelings.

On one hand the data clearly shows that the vast majority of guest articles fall flat.

But on the other hand you regularly stumble upon success stories like this one:

Bryan Harris

“On the day of the guest post it received 1,086 and 686 the day after. Of those 1,782 visitors 73% of them were new visitors.

The traffic influx was from loyal readers of the blog that heard about me and came here to learn more.

But they didn?t just checkout my site, they became members. In the two days since that post 215 new people have subscribed to this site, an overall conversion rate of 12%.”

Without a doubt it IS possible to get a lot of traffic from your guest articles.

As well as generate high quality backlinks, enormous exposure, instant credibility, amazing relationships and some nice money.

But the truth is…

All these success stories where people nail it with their guest articles are nothing but statistical OUTLIERS.

You see them so often, because no one will talk about dozens of their failed guest blogging attempts.

But after they get a SINGLE win, they’ll be talking about it everywhere: on their blog, in their guest posts, on podcasts, on Quora, etc.

There’s even a term to describe this phenomenon – “Survivorship Bias”.

James Clear

“Survivorship bias refers to our tendency to focus on the winners in a particular area and try to learn from them while completely forgetting about the losers who are employing the same strategy.

There might be thousands of athletes who train in a very similar way to LeBron James, but never made it to the NBA. The problem is nobody hears about the thousands of athletes who never made it to the top. We only hear from the people who survive. We mistakenly overvalue the strategies, tactics, and advice of one survivor while ignoring the fact that the same strategies, tactics, and advice didn?t work for most people.

When the winners are remembered and the losers are forgotten it becomes very difficult to say if a particular strategy leads to success.”

This is how you get an impression that guest blogging is such an effective marketing tactic.

Don’t let these shiny success stories fool you!

These “outlier” guest posts are a perfect combination of knowledge, experience, hard work, timing and pure luck.

It would be silly to expect this kind of ROI from every guest article that you write.

Unless of course you have a clear objective and you are ready to do all it takes to achieve that.

By saying “do all it takes” I mean using all these tips that I’ve shared above plus one more thing that I didn’t mention.

But that one last thing actually matters more than everything else.

Secret Guest Blogging Hack: “Write Something Epic”

If your article is nothing new and you’re just re-hearsing stuff that has already been said dozens of times on dozens of other blogs – please don’t expect any extraordinary results from it.

In other words…

If you don’t want to get average results from your guest posts – don’t write average guest posts!

[tweet_box]If you don’t want to get average results from your guest posts – don’t write average guest posts![/tweet_box]

So how do you write a truly outstanding article and get the ROI way above the average?

Well, this question surely deserves a big meaty article of it’s own (which I am planning to write someday), but for now I will give you two short tips:

  1. Learn everything that’s already there on this topic, because it’s the only way to make sure that what you’re about to write is somehow unique.
  2. Walk the walk; experiment; do something; act! – you’ll often find out that your output from applying a certain knowledge is different from what was promised. But now you have something to write about, don’t you?

Sorry for such a vague advice. I promise to write a full fledged article about this. (someday)

Meanwhile I suggest you to check out this article of mine: ?The Guide To Strategic Writing: How to Get Traffic, Subscribers & Sales With Your Articles?

Smart Alternatives To Guest Blogging

As you can tell by now, guest blogging is not some kind of a magic pill that will make your blog and business grow as soon as you start doing it.

Just like with many other things in business – [tweet_dis]you have to work to make it work[/tweet_dis].

And since we’re often limited in resources (time, money, team, etc), we’re always looking to focus our efforts on things that have the highest ROI for our business.

So why don’t you consider these cool alternatives to guest blogging:


Just recently I was invited on a podcast, which was entirely based on a huge article that I published last year here on BloggerJet: “The Guide To Strategic Writing“.

Let’s see the ROI:

  • A bit of traffic – check;
  • Backlinks – check;
  • Exposure – check;
  • Relationships – check;
  • Money – hey Loz, why didn’t you pay me? (just kidding)

In other words, I got everything I get from an average guest post – all in about 45 minutes.

Writing a guest article would take me much longer than that.

And actually, many bloggers prefer podcasts to guest posts these days:

Douglas Lim

“Yeah that’s exactly what I mean, searching out opportunities to be a guest on a podcast.

You talk for 30 mins, people get to hear your voice and your personality.

For me, talking is way easier than writing.

And usually the presenter will ask you to share your URL at the end where people can find out more about you.

I find people resonate with that a lot.”

Here’s some further reading, if you’re interested: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Featured on Podcasts (and why you should)


In case you’re not familiar with the term, “syndication” is when an article from your blog is being republished on other sites.

For example, Gregory Ciotti has his personal blog syndicated by LifeHacker on autopilot:

Gregory Ciotti

?I happen to be syndicated with Lifehacker for my site Sparring Mind, which means that the contributions editor checks out my new posts, and if they are a match with the Lifehacker audience, she?ll republish them.?

I’m not sure if syndication has a better ROI than guest blogging, because it’s not that simple actually.

But in any case, that is a nice guest blogging alternative to be aware of.


If your primary objective is traffic (and leads) – you might consider going all in on one of the insanely popular platforms and milking traffic from it.

For example…

I see that people get mind-blowing traffic from Slideshare: “Breaking SlideShare: How I Got 2,000,000 Views from Only 16 Presentations


And some of the bloggers who I’ve talked to confirm that:

Henneke Duistermaat

“Early last year when I compared guest blogging to SlideShare, I found that SlideShare was performing better in terms of generating subscribers.”

Other people are nailing Quora: “Easily Growth Hack 1,500+ Visits From Quora“.

And actually I’m not that bad with Quora myself:


Don’t know about you, but for me answering a specific question on Quora is much easier than writing a full-fledged article on the same topic.

I’m not too active on Quora right now, but back in the days I was easily landing around 500 referral visits per month by answering just a few questions every week.

And finally, you can be nailing the all famous Reddit: “I gained ~770 subscribers by spending a few minutes each day commenting on posts“.

Though for me personally Reddit has been a hit and miss.

Over To You

Thanks a lot for making it to the very end of this guide!

6.000 words is no joke and it scares me to think how many evenings I’ve spend emailing back and forth with hundreds of bloggers and marketers to collect the data and insights for this post. Not without the help of liters of coffee, brewed in all ways possible.

So now I’m keen to learn what you think.

What was your own experience with guest posts?

Do you agree with the takeaways of my research or would you argue with them?

I’ll be glad to talk to you in comments.

UPDATE: I know that many people never read comments, but there’s an awesome one from Jon Morrow (CEO of Smart Blogger, Former Editor at Copyblogger) that you just can’t miss, because he clearly has a point.

Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer and Product Advisor at Ahrefs, a leading tool trusted by hundreds of thousands of SEOs and marketers worldwide. His SEO-related data research studies have been cited by media giants, including Inc, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat. He's also a regular speaker at some of the largest industry conferences around the globe, such as PubCon (US), BrightonSEO (UK), and the Digital Marketers Australia Conference (AU).