Depending on who you talk to, guest posting can be a scourge on the internet or an incredibly useful tool. Instead of shying away from guest posts, develop a clear understanding of what good and bad guest posting looks like and how to protect your blog from spammers and poor content creators.
Guest blogging has a bad reputation in some circles, especially based on what some refer to as, ‘Google’s impression of guest blogs,’ but to lump all guest posters in one category is both inaccurate and deceptive. There is a right and a wrong way to utilize guest posts and if you use it in an accepted fashion your blog will benefit from relevant and engaging content.
It’s true; Google does weigh in on guest posts, but perhaps not the way you think. According to Google’s Webmaster FAQ page…
“The key to getting links to your site is to create unique, compelling content that other people want to link to.”
In plain English, if an article is relevant, well written and original, why wouldn’t you want it on your blog?
So What Can Get Blog Owners In Trouble?
Google penalizes sites that engage in shady behaviour. A few examples include;
- Paying for links—i.e. pay $20 for 1000 links,
- Auto generated links.
In addition to link building schemes; poorly written, unrelated articles on your site will also hurt your online reputation.
Recognize these potential articles before they’re written. The initial email for a guest poster can tell you a lot about their end game and what kind of content they would likely generate for you.
Warning Signs From Guest Posters To Watch Out For
- Is your name listed on your blog? If you receive emails beginning with; Hello, Dear sir or madam, or even no greeting at all, it’s a bad sign. If the individual didn’t even bother to read your name or look for it on your site, what are the chances they became familiar with your content and can produce like-minded work?
- Something along the lines of, “I like your site very much, I read a great article and decided I would like to write a blog post for you.” Look for people who mention your site specifically by name, this indicated they are not sending out mass emails, but instead took the time to become familiar with your site. If they mention liking a specific article and reference it by name, this is an especially good indication they are genuinely interested in producing relevant writing for your blog.
- Send it to spam if it smells generic. Could the same email you received also be sent to almost any blog? If it looks that way, then so can their articles. That is not an indication of quality and original content. Instead this is the trademark of a spammer.
- If someone emails you and includes a number of links to their previous work you must have found a winner, right? Not necessarily. Evaluate their work and the sites they are linking to. You don’t want your site compared to low quality sites.
- They offer to pay you to publish their work. Now you’ve hit the jackpot… unless this person is paying your to publish their poor quality writing. Then, in actuality you lose. A guest author who is genuinely offering to write informative and relevant articles for you will not offer to pay you to publish their work, they will view your relationship as mutually beneficial. You get fresh content for your blog and they get the benefit of your engaged audience reading and sharing their work.
- An email riddled with typos and grammatical errors is a nightmare. An article filled with the same is even worse. Avoid individuals who couldn’t be bothered to spell check their emails.
What Happened To Basic Etiquette?
If there is a living, breathing human being on the other end of the emails hitting your inbox, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for basic relationship building. Obtaining a guest article should be more than a single emailed submission and a publication confirmation.
Requests for editorial work, discussion of potential images and other relevant changes should be expected by both guest posters and blog owners. It’s an unrealistic expectation by bloggers to assume their article they submitted yesterday will be published today.
Think of your blog as your (online) home. You wouldn’t just invite a stranger into your home without first having some degree of familiarity, the same should apply to your blog. Be critical of potential contributors just as you would be critical of new acquaintances and don’t shy away from getting to know a little about each potential blogger.
What sort of guest post requests have you been sent? Do you have any examples of really bad pitches? Do you have any examples of really good pitches? Please let us know in the comment section below.