Guest posting is a powerful marketing strategy that bloggers and website owners are increasingly utilizing. It serves dual purposes – it provides exposure for the guest writer and fresh content for the website or blog owner. However, guest posts can be a double-edged sword – if not appropriately tailored for the site, they can cause harm.
Blog owners should be aware of the pitfalls of poor guest posts. Here are some guidelines and tips that site owners should consider when deciding which guest posts to accept and which to reject.
1. They Are After Your Backlinks
A site with a significant number of backlinks achieves a higher page rank on Google’s search engine. The manipulation of this criterion to secure a higher page rank has led to a surge in spam. A site owner may hire guest writers to produce articles for their site, or they may choose to write for different websites in exchange for a backlink to their own site.
If a post lacks quality content or appears to be created solely for a backlink, avoid it. Instead, look for well-written guest posts that are of high quality and align with the content of the blog or site. The post should never seem like mere filler – ensure the post adds value to the blog.
2. Stay On Topic
A post should be relevant to the blog’s category. For instance, a health blog should not feature a finance story unless it is absolutely necessary or somehow adds value to the site.
Relevant guest posts provide the information that visitors are seeking. 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 them. Adding pages to a blog without emphasizing the need for suitable posts will degrade the blog’s value and deter visitors.
3. Be Wary of Duplicate Content
Content should be original and not copied from elsewhere. Copying content is not only a violation of search engine policy, which could lead to penalties, but it could also decrease the search engine ranking of sites and blogs.
Duplicate content also tarnishes a site’s reputation and may lead to a decrease in viewership. Blog owners are advised to carefully select their guest posts. They should use content checkers to trace the origin of the content.
Never publish a post without verifying its source or authenticity. While borrowing ideas from other blogs is acceptable, copying sentences, paragraphs, or entire articles from other blogs is not.
4. Encourage Similar Writing Styles
The more authors writing guest posts for a particular site, the more likely there will be a variety of writing styles in the posts. Different writing styles are generally not beneficial for a site as they can lead to confusion, particularly for the readers. Readers may not know what to expect from a blog.
A site should have clear policies or suggestions for a specific writing style that must be followed. Do not choose or publish guest posts that do not adhere to the stated writing style. Having a consistent writing trend is highly recommended and crucial for a blog’s health. It keeps the readers coming back.
5. Reject Offensive Content
A blog owner should be prepared to perform extensive moderation to identify and remove any offensive content. Some guest writers may view writing for other blogs as an opportunity to be more opinionated than usual. These guest posters are not at risk, but the blog owner could face significant criticism from readers and fellow bloggers if they allow abusive or offensive content to be featured on the blog.
Always review the post before publishing. Remember, the responsibility of posting offensive content falls on the owner, even if they did not write it.
6. Limit Links in the Author’s Bio
Every blogger is likely aware of sites being paid for posting links. Posting paid links on a site or a blog is considered spam by Google. Therefore, if Google catches someone doing it repeatedly, they could be penalized.
Many guest posters write for other blogs and use the author’s bio section to post more than one site link. This could be risky and could lead to a severe penalty if caught. The penalty ranges from a drop in page rank status to a blockade in search engine results.
However, links to Twitter or Facebook profile pages won’t harm the sites.
7. Monitor Self-promoting Posts
A blog is a place where information is provided based on the author’s experience. ‘Promotional’ content on a blog implies that the post has been published in return for money. A promotional post promotes products or services and therefore, is likely to annoy a reader. Readers generally do not expect or appreciate blogs publishing promotional content. They visit a post to gain information and learn something new.
Promotional guest posts can give the impression that the site has been paid for publishing the post, which many readers will not appreciate. Some may view it as a breach of trust.
8. Avoid Grammar and Sentence Construction Errors
These days, owning a laptop, a blog, and a basic understanding of English can make anyone a ‘writer’. However, many of these writers are unaware of the errors they are incorporating into their articles. Sometimes, 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 portray the blogger in a poor light, and will result in readers avoiding future posts from these bloggers, which isn’t beneficial for the site owner. Some site owners take the matter into their own hands, hiring editors to scrutinize each sentence and point, to correct 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 Beneficial
A guest post that offers “how-to” tips is more likely to be accepted by readers. Instructional guest posts often help blogs become popular. Blog visitors get the impression that the blog is an instructional blog, and they will probably return frequently to look for similar content.
10. Conduct a Background Check
There are many writers who submit similar posts 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 on 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 engage in spamming activities.
Guest posts offer certain distinct advantages for blog owners. They are one of the best ways to establish blogs in the blogosphere. However, guest posts also present a lot of disadvantages, which can be detrimental to a blog.
Blog owners are therefore advised to establish strict codes or policies for guest posting, and display these rules in at least two locations on the site. Guest posters should be aware of what is expected of them before they offer to write a post for your blog.