This guest post is by Joe of the New Customer Workshop.
Guest posting is a great way to market your brand. When you guest post you are able to demonstrate you expertise to a new audience. The short term benefits are a bump in traffic to your website. Longer term benefits are sees through quality backlinks which will help with search engine optimization.
One of the questions that comes up when guest posting is “Where should I post?” For me, the answer is often “Whoever will take me!”
As you begin to build a reputation you may become more selective on where you guest post. Part of your process might include research to find sites that are aligned with your brand.
Let’s say you’ve done the research and authored some guest posts. Now what? Well, like any good marketer, you must measure the results of your campaign. If you have Google Analytics installed, this is a snap.
All of you should be running some analytics software on your website. If you’re not, stop reading and go install Google Analytics.
If you aren’t running Google Analytics, the fundamentals of what I’m explaining are the same even if the mechanics are different.
The secret sauce: campaign variables
When you insert the link back to your website you are going to add some extra information tags on the end of the link. This data will help you classify the traffic. Google calls these tags campaign variables.
Using campaign variables you can add extra information to your posts which will help you to answer questions like:
- Which guest posts drove the most traffic to my site?
- Which websites with guest posts drove the most traffic to to my site?
- Which posts resulted in opt-ins to my email list?
- Which websites gave me more opt-ins to my email list?
- Which source of traffic is better for me? Facebook, guest posting or search engines?
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Once you start using campaign variables on your guest posts you will come up with all sorts of cool ways to look at the data.
Tag your links
Google provides a number of campaign variables that you can use when you tag your links.
The following tags are available:
There isn’t a hard set of rules for what to put in these tags. What I’m going to show you is how I use the variables.
utm_src: I set this to the website I’m posting on. In this case it would be problogger.net. Once I do this, then I can compare problogger.net to my other traffic sources, not just other site’s I’ve posted on but also Facebook, and Twitter.
utm_medium: I set this to
guestpost. Then, I can compare guest posting as a whole to my other marketing efforts.
utm_campaign: I use the name of the article. If I post a couple of articles on problogger.net I can see how they compare to each other.
I can also look at all of the articles across multiple sites to see which ones are more effective. You might want to abbreviate your post title but that’s up to you.
I don’t use
Put together, the tags look like this:
I then apply this to each link back to my website:
If you don’t want to do this by hand each time Google provides a link building tool that will take care of all the messy work for you.
Check your data
After you publish your guest post, you’re going to want to look at your analytics dashboard to see what type of traffic the post is giving you. If you are using the new Analytics dashboard, you can find the information under Traffic Sources > All Traffic.
Select All Traffic, and you will see a report that shows visits by Source/Medium.
This will show you traffic from all referring sites and uses the value set in
Select Medium to the right of Viewing, and you can see all of your guest posts.
This allows you to roll up your reports and compare guest posts as a group with your other traffic sources.
If you want to see what articles drove the most traffic, it’s easy. Click Other and then type Campaign in the Traffic Sources box.
This is just a very high-level overview of the kinds of reports you can create. Check out the book Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics if you want to learn more.
Google Analytics is a great free resource that, when used effectively, will help you zero in on the effectiveness of your guest posting efforts.
Armed with this knowledge, you will understand which articles and websites drive the most traffic to your website.
I’d love to learn how you measure your guest posting efforts. Please share them in the comments.
Joe writes at New Customer Workshop and offers training for small business owners who want to increase their business through Internet marketing. Visit his blog for more information.