As some of the more observant amongst you may have noticed I have a page inviting guest posters for my site. I have to admit I am very picky about who I do allow to post on my site and to be honest I never accept posts from people I don’t already know from Twitter or Inbound.org for example.
Every day I must receive at least five guest blog requests from dubious guest blogging providers with pitches such as:
“…We may be able to offer you some free of charge content for your website, in return for a link back to our site. We have a dedicated team of professional writers. We can have them (at our expense) research and write some content specifically for you to publish on your web site…”
I don’t need to tell you how bad that pitch is; it screams I’m only here to get the link mate, and we all know that guest blogging is about the relationships not the links – right?
It’s quite interesting to see how many of these people actually include a link to their client’s site within the first email. It doesn’t take a genius to realise if you are pitching an SEO blog for a guest post it’s probably not a great idea to include your clients site in the first one?
Just to show you how prevalent this practise is if I look through the last 20 guest blog requests I received 14 (70%) of them include some kind of a footprint, whether that’s the name of the company they are writing on the behalf of, the url or a link to their last couple of guest posts.
So, I wonder how many people actually check the back link profiles from the guest blog requests they receive to find possible blogs to approach for their own activities. At the end of the day running advanced search queries to find blogs who are open to guest post pitches can be a monotonous affair, so why not let the prospects come to you?
Before you get your frilly little knickers in a twist, I’m not saying that you should chase after these guest posting opportunities entirely, it’s quite easy to see that many of them are just glorified article directories, but there are often a few hidden treasures.
But, with a little time and research you could easily determine whether the blog is a worthwhile candidate or not, and you already know that these sites are pretty open to responding to sloppy guest blog pitches.
Qualifying your Guest Blog Opportunities
Last year I invited a few smart link builders to share their thoughts on blogger outreach and prospecting links. The main elements that they looked for in prospecting for quality partnerships which came up again, and again, were:
- Look and feel – is the content of a high quality? Is the design of the site fresh? Is the site cluttered with advertisements and affiliate offers?
- How many RSS subscribers do they have? If this isn’t displayed in a prominent position then have a quick look in Google Reader to get a flavour of the number of subscribers.
- Do they have an active following on social media? Use Followerwonk to quickly assess their number of Twitter followers and influence metrics or look at Facebook to see how often they engage with their community and how many likes and comments they receive.
- How many social shares do their posts receive? You can quickly run their last few posts through Social Crawlytics to determine the blog’s social reach i.e. numbers of Stumbles, Pins, Tweets and Likes.
Once you have found your diamond in the rough you have a choice to make – depending on how dark a hat you’re wearing that day:
1) Engage with the blogger on social media and eventually pitch them an awesome post they will love
2) Fire off a cold guest blog request, after all the guest blog spammer probably did the same, what have you got to lose?
3) Email the blogger telling them that they’ve allowed some dirty spammer to post on their site and that they are linking out to a “bad community” – offer to write a new article to replace the spam on their blog
I’d never recommend the last option but I’ll leave it to your own moral compass guide you. However, I’d expect a very high response rate from these types of sites.
How to Setup your Guest Post
Spam Capture Page
So you’ve made it this far, I must have managed to sell you on this shady idea!
This is probably one of the easiest SEO tutorials you’ll read all week.
- Create a Write for Us page in your WordPress site – make sure that you include the keywords that relate to your blog as a list of topics that the guest blogger might want to submit. For example I have “Link Building”, “Social Media” and “SEO” on my page.
- Create a contact form or email address to go to a different inbox – you don’t want to be inundated with rubbish in your main inbox, we all know that’s used by Google+ for your SEO community invites
- Index the page so it appears in the SERPs – we want to make it easy for our guest post spammers to scrape Google and find you. If you don’t want to the page to be in your main navigation use your SEO super powers to make it happen.
- Sit back and wait for the emails to arrive, it might take a few days, it might take a few hours it all depends on how high your Toolbar PageRank is as these guys don’t care about anything else.
Caution Penalty ahead!
I’m not in any way condoning these practises and I would never use this as part of a client’s link building campaign. Mr. Cutts has already warned us that low quality guest blogs are under the microscope so be prepared that these types of sites (links) could be devalued in the future.
Until then happy guest posting!