There are so many sites that could be utilizing guest posting and just aren’t, and many (not all) of the sites that are actually being proactive with guest posts are coming across as mini content farms because they are not thinking about how each post they accept or publish on another site affects their brand, trust, and authority.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest posting is about creating high-value content that is relevant to your services or products, then identifying a high value and relevant website to give that content to. The content is usually branded as a guest post and includes a link back to your website for users who want to learn more about what you do.
Benefits of Guest Posting
There are many benefits of guest blogging as listed below, but these benefits will only exist if you are doing guest blogging correctly.
- Exposure and brand building
- Increase reach and awareness
- Increase in website rank
- Increase in referral traffic
- Build value for your website
- Build trust in your website and services
Lifecycle of a Typical Online Marketing Strategy
Web marketers are notorious for taking a great tactic (like guest posting) that has value for both users and SEO, and turning it into something that not only has little value to the web’s personas as a whole, but is then devalued by the search engines and the Googlebot Persona. Many online marketers have done it with links and content in the past, causing the search engines to release updates such as MayDay, Panda, and Penguin to combat the spam. Let’s not let this happen to guest blogging too.
How Can We Make Guest Posting Last?
How can we as marketers lower the risk of guest post following the same pattern as many strategies of the past; from valuable to identified as spam by the users and search engines? I would suggest following the below tips for publishing and accepting guest posts. I know you are saying, “damn that’s alot of work”, well duh, online marketing and SEO is not easy, but the alternative is not having an online business worth more than the $6.95 you paid for the domain name.
10 Tips For Sites Who Want to Accept Guest Posts
Keep it relevant
Make sure the content that you are going to add to your site is relevant to your products or services.
Be careful who your guest blogger is linking to
Make sure you check each of the links that your guest blogger is going to link to. There are a few options you have with these links.
- If they look like spam or a site that your audience would not be interested in, don’t accept the link and return the post to the guest poster.
- If you think your audience would like the site that is being linked to, but it’s a new site and you question if it will be around in the long term, add a nofollow tag to the link (check your links monthly to ensure the sites have not changed).
- If the site is a well respected site and seems like a great site for your users, accept the link.
Keep the value high
Make sure the content provides value to your users and is in-depth about a topic.
Keep the quality high
Make sure the quality of the content is high and there are not any major grammatical or structural errors.
Make sure the content is not duplicated or spun
We have been sent a few guest post that just by reading them seem like they are spun. We then took a section of the article (10 or so words in a row) and did a search for them (in quotes) in Google and found 10-15 similar sentences with only a couple words changed. Make sure you are not accepting spun articles, these will hurt your site’s value for both users and search engines.
Once you get a great post on your site, make sure you socialize it throughout your social networks to make sure you are getting the most from the piece of content. This is also a value-add for guest bloggers who want to post content on your site by being able to tell them them that if they provide high value content not only will you publish it but will be socialized across your social communities earning them more exposure.
Have a style guide
Style guides give your writers an outline of what you expect in regards to voice, content style, and quality. It helps define expectations if they want their content on your site and can speed up the approval process.
Not all content is created equal and you don’t have to accept all quest posts that are given to you. If they don’t meet your standards then send them back for edits. This is not uncommon to do, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Remember some of the sites that do guest blogging well (SEOmoz, Hubspot) reject alot of posts, and only accept some of the best.
Audit your guest posts for broken or outdated links
I would suggest going through your guest posts at least once a month to make sure all the links are still active and still pointing to valuable sites. This can be done with a program like Xenu Link Sleuth (Windows) or Screaming Frog SEO Spider (Mac), which will crawl your site and return errors such as broken links.
Make sure the author is reputable
By doing a quick search in Google for the guest poster’s social sites to get an idea of their background will help ensure you’re getting content from someone that could have great author rank and value within your industry.
10 Tips For Bloggers or Businesses Who Want to Guest Post
Don’t just send your guest post, ask first
One of the differences between guest blogging and article submission is that guest blogging requires a relationship to be built before content gets published. We have received many emails that simply have a guest post attached to them; we always delete these. Please email your target site asking if you can guest post, maybe give some ideas of what you want to write about, and even links to past work. This will help build trust and start the relationship off on a good foot.
Edit your post
Please edit your post to make sure there are not major grammar or structural issues before you send it.
Make sure your content is adding value for the blogs readers and community. Again, sending some sample topics to the blog owner first or asking them if there are any topics they need content for that they think their readers will enjoy, is a great way to make sure you provide value.
Link to other high value resources (.edu, .gov, and industry specific sites)
Don’t just link to your own sites. Find sites that are relevant and valuable and add those links to your article as well. Make sure these links are of high value and authoritative about the topic being written about or it could cause your guest post to be rejected.
Follow the style guide
Make sure you are following the style guide that the site has sent to you. Nothing is more frustrating for sites who want your content, then getting a piece of content that does not follow the guidelines that they have defined.
Ask about topics
Not sure what to submit to a high value website? It is as simple as asking. Most site owners should understand their audience and which type of content will do well. If you are having trouble coming up with a topic, shoot the site owner a quick email asking for suggestions or where they have gaps in their content set.
Ask for publish dates
Make sure you know when your post is supposed to go live and check back on that date. Don’t be afraid to ask for a specific publish date, you won’t aways get it, but it does not hurt to ask. It will help you define your offsite editorial calendar and organize your guest posts.
Socialize your post when it goes live
This tips was what inspired my first title for this article “Don’t be an idiot, accept my high value guest post”. Once your post goes live socialize it throughout your social networks. If you can show that most guest posts you publish can not only drive SEO traffic, but have a viral component to them as well, it will give you more value to the website owner. This will also help when you want reach out to higher value websites for publishing opportunities.
Keep it relevant
Make sure whatever you write about that you keep a high relevancy to the primary blog topic where the article will be published. This will help you get the most value from the guest post and gives a higher probability of your post getting accepted.
Don’t spam with tons of article links to your site
Make sure you don’t just link to your own site, add value by providing links to other relevant high value websites. Also remember that with the recent Penguin update, anchor text is not as important, so don’t overdo it.
Websites To Help Connect Bloggers and Website Owners
There are many sites that help facilitate guest posting (which are great), a couple are MyblogGuest or Blogger Link Up. These sites are great for helping make the introduction and connecting site owners with people who want to provide content. My concern is that many (not all) of the sites or guest bloggers who use these services are using them in an unhealthy way to simply build low quality mini content farms or publish low quality content. If you plan to use these sites I would strongly suggest following the tips about guest blogging we have outlined.
What guest posting tips do you have that are helpful to either sites wanting to start accepting posts or bloggers who want to publish their guest posts?