In January, we told you that guest blogging is a bad idea, and for the most part that is very true. The practice has evolved into a tactic used by spammers to gain links for specific keywords and becomes less and less associated with relevant blogger-to-blogger relations.
This information was recently passed down by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, so we know it’s a serious issue. Because when Matt speaks on trends in linkbuilding, everyone listens and follows suit.
But the act of making a “guest” post on another site is still a great way for bloggers to reach a new audience and build a portfolio that ultimately translates into a higher reputation within their targeted community. It’s also a great way for blog owners to post information and expert opinions on topics they feel uncomfortable writing about themselves.
So, moving forward in 2014, how do you still accept guest posts on your blog or reach out to other blogs as a guest blogger without getting caught up in something Google frowns upon?
Have a Screening Process for Guest Posts
Just as a business screens its employees, you should be checking up on your potential guest bloggers before publishing their work.
If they haven’t provided any links to their social networks, do a quick search and see if you can’t uncover some of their activity. They may be pitching tons of blogs similar ideas and you could find yourself walking a fine line between similar writing and duplicate content.
If you can’t find any activity, or their email appears impersonal, as if your name and blog were simply inserted into a message, you’re likely being targeted by spammers.
Use Guest Blogging to Build Reputation
As a blogger, the only way to build your reputation as a quality writer is to get your work seen by as many people as possible. Having a portfolio of posts on all sorts of different sites not only helps you network with blog owners, it can give you an advantage over other writers when searching for paid work.
When guest blogging, do your best to make every post the most popular on each site you write for. Make those posts social media-friendly by tackling topics that are currently making headlines in your industry or create resourceful guides worthy of clicks and linkbacks.
Job seekers, especially those in the automotive seo and social media marketing industries, will find that blogging is one of the best platforms to network with established professionals and get noticed.
If you’re writing guest posts to grow your own blog’s readership (and not for search engine optimization), successful bloggers are much more likely to help if you work hard to provide them with great content.
Create a Standard for Guest Posts on Your Blog
If you’re wondering why you’re not receiving requests from higher quality guest bloggers, you may want to take a hard look at the quality of previous guest posts.
More often than not, spammers target blogs with large audiences and high pagerank, but if your blog is not receiving any legitimate requests, it’s time to work on your standards.
On your blog’s post submission or contact page, have a list of guidelines that will drive away the majority of spammers. For example, you could state that you require posts be written on specific topics, have a high word count, and that you do not allow promotional links of any kind.
Invite Guest Bloggers to Become Authors
As a manager and editor, I’m always looking for skilled writers who truly understand a topic and show that through their work. Guest bloggers are often some of the hardest working and most skilled writers you can find, so don’t discount them as one-offs once you’ve published their post.
Whether you can afford to pay or not, reaching out to your guest bloggers for additional contributions could be the best move you ever make. Their goal may be to simply get their name out in the world, and they believe they need more experience before you’ll bring them on as a regular contributor.
In my experience, the most skilled guest bloggers are often the most humble, so reach out and work with them to grow your blog.
Only Reach Out to High Quality Blogs
When you’re starting out as a writer with little experience, it can be intimidating to email popular sites such as Business2Community, Thought Catalog, and Lifehack for opportunities.
But those sites aren’t worried about who you are, where you went to school, or what writing experience you have; the editors simply want good, interesting content that can be promoted to draw in new readers.
A quality site is not defined by a large readership, though. As long as the site you’re reaching out to has great content, a great layout, and a passionate staff, you should put your best work out there and use those opportunities to grow as a writer.