Blogging 101: A Guide to Guest Posts
Image via Not Another Mummy Blog
In recent months guest posting has acquired somewhat of a bad name, thanks to a blog post by the head of Google’s Web Spam team, Matt Cutts, titled ‘The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO’.
However, from The Huffington Post to The Guardian, thousands of high-quality sites accept guest posts on a regular basis and the practise can hold real benefit for your blog – if you do it properly.
Here’s our guide to guest posts…
Why Would You Accept Guest Posts?
Accepting guest posts can be a great way to source quality content for your site. The key word here is quality, but more on that later.
Google measures content on several levels including quality, relevance to the audience, uniqueness and frequency of updates. The problem is that quality content takes time and many bloggers simply don’t have enough of it.
This is where guest posting comes in. By asking bloggers or experts that you respect and admire to create relevant content for your blog, you can provide your audience with regular high-quality updates – and this will keep them coming back.
Exchanging guest posts is also a great way to build mutually beneficial relationships with other bloggers, and can keep your blog ticking over if you go on holiday. Equally, if you’re looking to expand your writing portfolio and have some spare time on your hands, you could help out other bloggers when they’re in need of extra content.
Google’s Stance on Guest Posting
When Matt Cutts released his aforementioned mentioned post, many bloggers jumped to the conclusion that he was slamming all forms of guest posting. However, look a little closer and you’ll realise that this isn’t the case.
Essentially, accepting guest blogs for the right reasons (adding quality content to your site) is fine by Google. Guest blogging for the wrong reasons (paid for links) isn’t.
The Importance of Quality
So, how do you ensure that any posts you accept are of a high enough quality to truly add something to your blog?
Accept Posts from Contributors You’d Vouch For
A good way to ensure you’re getting quality content is to only accept guest posts from those who you know personally, and who you’d recommend based on their expertise and integrity.
If you don’t know the blogger/writer personally, ask yourself a number of questions:
- Do they have a good online reputation?
- Do they manage their brand in a professional way, which would resonate with your audience?
- Would other bloggers recommend them?
Have Quality Guidelines
Take the time to evaluate what quality means to you and how to enforce it. You can then create a set of quality guidelines that contributors must abide by. Good things to include are:
- 100% original – preventing any duplicate content
- Relevancy – it’s important that the article is relevant to the focus of your blog
- Unique – the topic should be something that you haven’t already covered or offer a fresh perspective
- Minimum length – 500 words is common
- Maximum length – 1500 words is common to prevent waffle
- Images – many blogs request that contributors include at least one image with a creative commons licence
- Tone – specify the tone that your blog uses. For example humorous or scientific
How to Source Guest Posts
There are a number of ways in which you can advertise that you’re accepting guest posts.
Many bloggers include a ‘Submissions’ page on their site including details of their quality guidelines. However, it’s likely that this will result in a huge number of enquiries, many of which won’t meet your requirements.
Directly Approach Bloggers
A more direct approach can be effective. Try reaching out to bloggers that you already have relationships with, or who you’d like to form a relationship with in the future. If you’ve got a great idea for a guest post for their blog, let them know – regularly exchanging guest posts with bloggers you trust is a great way to ensure frequent, quality content for both sites.
Contact Your Mailing List
If you have a mailing list, you could also try messaging its members to let them know that you’re open to submissions.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you always clearly attach your quality guidelines. This will ensure that potential contributors know what you want, preventing them from wasting their time producing something unsuitable.
Do you have any more tips for accepting guest posts? Let us know in the comments.
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