You might be aware of guest posting as an online marketing strategy, but are you aware of its full range of benefits? Guest posting isn't just useful for the small niche of writers trying to earn a better reputation for their authorship--it's potentially useful for any business in any industry, or even any personal brand. That's because guest posting, when done properly, can lead new traffic to your site, and not just one kind of traffic. By my count, there are actually five different ways guest posting can lead new visitors to your site, and all of them result in quality traffic.

Guest Posting the Right Way

In its barest definition, guest posting is the simple act of featuring your own written (or alternative media) material on someone else's site. Since most site owners are constantly working to produce new content, this results in a mutually beneficial relationship; site owners get more content to publish, and authors get to feature their content to a new audience while building their brand awareness and credibility. The higher the authority of the site you're guest posting on, the harder it is to be featured, but the more views and traffic you'll receive, and the more benefits you'll gain from posting.

There are a few things you'll need with every guest post:

How Guest Posting Influences Traffic

Assuming you're able to follow all the requirements above, your guest posting strategy can earn you traffic in the following ways:

1. Direct Referrals. The first source of traffic is the most obvious. When a user reads your material and encounters a natural link to learn more about the subject (or a related matter), he/she may click that link and end up on your site.

2. Social Traffic. The amount of social traffic you receive depends on two share sources. First, the publisher you posted on may syndicate your article on your behalf (and theirs). If they do this, they could mention you by name, and you could get traffic from those interested in learning more about you. Second, you can syndicate the article via your own social networks. The name recognition of the publisher (especially a high-profile one) will earn you credibility among your followers, and encourage more visits to the other content on your main site.

3. Search (Organic Traffic). There are several SEO factors positively influenced by guest posting--you'll get greater brand authority from brand mentions, and greater domain authority from any resulting inbound links to your website. Assuming your content is high-quality, your links are natural, and your sources are diverse, your guest posting strategy should, in theory, not only earn you higher search engine rankings, but also more brand trust and awareness. Combined with an effective on-site content strategy, you'll see a significant increase in rankings, traffic, and conversion rates in just a few months of pursuing the strategy.

4. Compounding Name Recognition. This effect only takes place once you have multiple guest posts on multiple different publishers, but it's one of the more powerful means of earning traffic. When someone reads one of your posts (but doesn't click through to your site), they're likely to recognize your name when they see it again. The more they see your name published, the more they'll come to see you as a trusted authority. That means you'll be the one they think of when they're ready to purchase a product or service relevant to your industry.

5. Future Visitors. Finally, some users will find your content especially memorable, and they'll remember you as a quality source of information. The next time they have needs in your area of expertise, they might seek you out directly, on social media, through search, or of course--through a direct visit. They might not follow your links or engage with you directly, but they will remember you as an authority and visit you directly eventually.

As with any inbound marketing strategy, guest posting offers compounding returns. The more guest posts you have floating around the web (and the more diverse your range of publication sources is), the more potential traffic you'll earn and the greater benefits you'll see. Invest in the strategy, and your return will more than make up for the effort.