Guest Posts: 10 Tips to Distinguish the Good from the Bad
The guest post is one of the best marketing techniques, which bloggers and site owners have begun using more vehemently nowadays. It serves at least two purposes – exposure for the guest writer, and also a new post for the site or blog owner. However, guest posts can be a tad tricky – it can cause harm, if the post is not suitably written for the site.
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A blog owner should understand the nuisances of bad guest posts. Here are guides and tips a site owner should follow before choosing which guest post to feature and which to reject.
Recommended Reading: Marketing Your Blog: 10 Essential Tips You Should Know
1. They Come For Your Backlinks
A site that has a good number of back links gets a higher page rank on Google’s search engine. The manipulation of this criterion to ensure a higher page rank has led to an increasing number of spam. A site owner may hire guest writers to write articles for his site, or the site owner himself/herself may choose to write for different websites in return for a back link to his/her own site.
If the post lacks quality content, or gives an impression that it has been created just for a back link, avoid the post. Look instead for well-written guest posts that has quality and are better suited to the content of the blog or site. The post should never give an impression that it is just a filler – make sure the post adds value to the blog.
2. Don’t Go Out of Topic
A post should be relevant to the blog’s category. A health blog, for instance, should never run a finance story, unless it is absolutely necessary, or in some ways adds value to the site. Relevant guest posts give the visitor the information that he is seeking for. Your visitors should not be misled into believing that the site features articles that have no relevance to the topic or article titles. This will not sit well with your readers.
If a site has multiple categories, ensure that the post fits into at least one of the categories. Adding pages to a blog, without stressing on the need for suitable posts will degrade the value of the blog, and turn visitors away.
3. Beware of duplicated content
Content should be original, it should not be copied from somewhere else. Copying content is not only a violation of search engine policy, which could lead to being penalized, but it could also decrease search engine ranking of sites and blogs.
Duplicate content also damages a site’s reputation. It may lead to a decrease in viewership. Blog owners are advised to carefully choose their guest posts. They should use content checkers to trace the origin of the content. Never publish a post without checking for its source or its authenticity. There is no apparent harm from copying ideas from other blogs, but copying sentences or paragraphs or full-length articles from other blogs are not allowed.
4. Welcome Similar Writing Styles
The higher the number of authors who are writing guest posts for a particular site, the likelier that there will be many different writing styles embedded in the posts. Different writing styles are never considered a good option for a site. It will lead to confusion, particularly in the minds of the readers. Readers would never know what to expect from a blog.
A site should carry clear cut policies or suggestions of a certain pattern of writing style that must be followed. Do not choose or publish guest post that does not adhere to the stated writing style. Having a similar writing trend is highly recommended, and important for a blog’s health. It keeps the readers coming back.
5. Say No to offensive content
A blog owner should be willing to do extensive moderation, to pick out any offensive content embedded between the lines and remove them. Some guest writers consider writing for other blogs a good opportunity to let their hair down and thus may be a bit more opinionated than their usual safe. These guest posters are never at a risk, but the blog owner will come under tremendous criticism from readers and fellow bloggers if he or she allows abusive or offensive content to be featured in the blog.
Always check the post before publishing. Remember, the responsibility of posting offensive content is the onus of the owner, even though he may not have written it.
6. one or Two Links in author’s bio
Every blogger is perhaps, aware of sites being paid for posting links. Any act of posting paid links on a site or a blog is considered as spam by Google. Therefore, if Google catches someone doing it repeatedly, he could be punished for it. Many guest posters write for other blogs, and use the author’s bio section to post more than one site link. That could be dangerous, and will lead to a hefty penalty, if they get caught. The penalty ranges from a drop in page rank status to a lockade in search engine results.
Although, if there are links to twitter or facebook profile pages, this won’t harm the sites.
7. Keep an Eye on Self-promoting posts
A blog is a place, where information is provided based on the author’s experience. ‘Promotional’ content on a blog means that the post has been published in return for money. A promotional post promotes products or services and therefore, it is likely to annoy a reader. Readers usually do not expect or like blogs to publish promotional content. They have arrived at a post to gain information and take something back with them. But with promotional guest posts it will leave an impression that the site has been paid for publishing the post, and many readers will not be impressed. Some may deem it a breach of trust.
8. grammar and sentence construction errors
These days, having a laptop, a blog, and a fleeting grasp of English automatically makes anyone a ‘writer’. However, most of these writers care or know not of the errors they are putting into their articles. At times, they have good content which is marred by these minor but repetitive mistakes. Content filled with grammatical errors will annoy informed readers. Rather than just an honest typo, grammatical mistakes will show the blogger in a poor light, and will result in readers shunning future posts from these bloggers which isn’t good for the site owner as well. Some site owners would take the matter into their own hand, getting editors to look through each sentence, each point, to clear each mistake. It is a time-consuming effort which is necessary to keep the readers coming back for more.
9. Advice and Tips Posts Are Good
A guest post that offer "how to – tips" is more likely to be accepted by readers. Instructional guest post often help blogs become popular. Blog visitors get the impression that the blog is an instructional blog, and they will probably come back often to scout for similar content.
10. Conduct a background check
There are many writers who submit similar post on more than one site. It’s thus important to know some details about your guest poster. Perform a background check on Google to see their writing history: where they have written for previously, their online reputation and the feedback (if any) received of their writing.
There are many articles that are similar, but don’t get caught in Copyscape, because of alterations in the article’s content. Don’t accept such posts, and avoid guest posters who indulge in spamming activities.
Guest posts have certain distinct advantages for blog owners. It is one of the better ways to establish blogs in the blogosphere. However, guest posts also outline a lot of disadvantages, which can be detrimental for a blog. Blog owners, are therefore, advised to prepare strict codes or policies for guest posting, and paste these rules in at least two locations in the site. Guest posters should be aware of what is expected of them, before they come knocking and offering to write a post for your blog.