Blogging is no doubt the most popular way of growing business or brands online. Due to the ongoing rivalry surfacing the blogging industry, many bloggers have been investing in guest blogging just to stay ahead of their competitor's, without looking at the side effect but only concerned about the benefits. Some people consider guest blogging to be one of the more powerful available tactics, but i can assure you that it can be the worst tactic that can get you penalized if you misuse it.
Guest blogging actually mean the act of getting a post for your blog which is written by another author for the benefit of both the blog host and the guest author. Many SEO experts recommend writing and receiving guest posts in other to give your business or blog more exposure, but you the site owner have to be preventative because most of this guest authors are only concerned about the backlinks they will gain and not the quality of content they delivered, which will inversely harm your site reputation.
I don't say guest blogging is bad, nor those bloggers who invest in it will be penalize by search engines. Sure it's one of the best way to get quality backlink, high pagerank, targeted traffic and subscribers, but by providing relevant and quality content. From my own perspective guest blogging has its own merits and demerits depending on how you handle it.
Detriments of Guest Blogging
1. Copied content
The most important thing a blog owner should consider before accepting any guest post, is to check for any duplicate content, know whether the content have already been published somewhere else. Many of this guest posts are spinned articles from other sources, which most of it are generated by robot or tools, but make some little changes. Everyone hate duplicate content likewise the search engines does too.
2. Off topic
As guest blogging become the most powerful and common way of gaining backlink for better search results ranking, So most bloggers are using every means of getting backlink with irrelevant or off topic article just to get some link juice.
No one like reading health tips on technology site, likewise search engines hates referring its user's to wrong information.
Only accept guest posts from bloggers sharing the same or similar niche as yours. Guest post written by off niche bloggers are sometimes questionable with irrelevant outgoing links which might be confused as paid links by Google, and can get you penalized. Give your blog more professional look unlike low-level directories like articlesbase, ezineaticles and others that got penalize by Google panda update in 2013.
3. Lose readers
Let's take this for instance. Assuming you are a loyal reader of problogger.net and you like the way Darren Rowse constructively compose his articles and when you saw several sketchy guest posts by other bloggers that doesn't worth the standard of the blog, you might feel disappointed and lose interest in the blog.
Each time a guest post is published on your blog, you are compared with those guest authors. Probably if you published a guest post that is more constructive and informative than yours, then there is high tendency of loosing your loyal readers to the guest author.
At the author bio section, a few words about an author are written with an anchor text. And these words are arranged so as to catch reader's attention and to get a click on link, and you know what that means.
4. Blacklisted site
Having high quality content published on your blog is not the only thing to consider. You have to thoroughly check maybe the links provided in the guest post is not linking to a blacklisted site. You can't deny linking to an inappropriate site because the post which contain the link is published on your blog with your awareness.
Sometimes, the links may appear to be linking to good sites but it is possible that those sites may have other violations which may not be visible on quick look. Major search engines like Google will penalize your site by blacklisting your site for keeping bad neighbour.
5. Self promotion
The most sure-fire way to loss your loyal readers is to accept guest post that looks like sponsored or promotional post. I have receive couple of emails concerning sponsored post, but since i know the harm it can brings, i have no other choice than to reject it. Most of this guest authors are hired by a client just to promote thier links, and they are not interested in the quality of content they delivered. It would discourage readers when they find out that some of your posts are written by other authors and they are meant to promote some other sites or products. Losing the trust of your readers can be a big loss for your blog.
What to do?
1. Define your guest post guidelines
Set-up a "write for us" page on your blog that define your guest post guidelines, requirements and conditions, so as to reduce the number of emails received from guest poster who only care about their selfish interest and not the development of your community.
You should check each and every article whether it is according to your blog guidelines and standard requirements set by you, if not then simply reject that article to have a strong and authoritative blog.
2. How does their email read?
I just feel unimpressed when i receive email from guest author's stating that "i would like to provide good quality content for your blog in exchange for a link". Seeing this actually tells me that the blogger had no value to add to my blog, but only hunting for a link.
I will be so impressed if a bigwig hit me up with "I read an article on your blog concerning A, how would you like a follow up on B?" This will show me that you really read my blog and understand my community.
3. Check author profile
Don't only care about getting quality content, but also know the record of the author's, those site that the author had contributed to and how interesting do people found his post.
Here are some quick guides:
- Make a Google search of the author name to make sure you are not dealing with a spammy blogger.
- Check how detailed and informative their previous work is. A post with 500 words are meant to cover few information. Accept post with at least 1000 words preferably 1500 words, which will demonstrate the author writing skills.
- Read their previous content very critically and look for errors like typos and grammatical mistakes.
- Now ask yourself if their writing style will conform with your audience liking.
4. Check for duplicate content
Duplicate content can severely harm your site reputation and pagerank. So, it always advisable to make a thorough research to confirm the originality of the content you are publishing.
To confirm the originality of a post, simply make a Google search of every paragraph of the article with a double quote. E.g "i enjoy writing good quality articles for my blog." if a page show up with an exact match of that line, then it is obviously a duplicate content.
If you probably don't find any duplicate content, don't feel relaxed. Some content are also taken from offline sources like newspaper, magazine or books. So you can not easily detect that by using search engine and you can be penalized by Google in the future if you go against copywrite voilation/infrigement. Note that the guest author has nothing to lose in this case.
5. Watch outgoing links
Make sure you check the link in the guest post before publishing it. Try to give links only to sites which have similar content with your blog and associated niche. Linking to blacklisted site like adult or casino site will hurt your site ranking.
Matt Cutts says, “If your website links to sites that we considered low quality or spammy, that can affect your site’s reputation.” Always review the blogger’s site first. Ask yourself: Would my readers be happy if they landed on this site? Does this look reputable? If the answer is “no,” reject the blogger’s request.
Search engines don't really care about who wrote a post (so far you comply with his rules), what they want is something that can benefit their user's, and by providing unique content and not a mediocre, search engine will surely pally with you.
May be there is something we are missing, is there any other factor's that you think it needs to be considered? Which other detriments can a blog get from guest post publishing? Please share your views.
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