Guest blogging can be great for your business. Not only does it welcome a fresh new voice and perspective to your content strategy, it can grow your traffic, increase your exposer and help develop your authority. This means more subscribers and more business.
Ready to get started? Not too fast, if gone about the wrong way, you may end up on Google’s bad side and actually be penalized for your guest’s work.
What you may not know is that search engines might start penalizing sites that accept guest posts, or discount posts made by specific authors because a lot of junk content is being guest posted on the web. Even high authoritative blogs such as the New York Times or Huffington Post, are allowing guest posts, and many of those posts are filled with mediocre content and spammy links.
Thanks to Niel Patel, owner of QuickSprout.com, he lists the 7 rules you need to follow when hiring a guest blogger:
Rule #1: Authors must have a track record of writing great content
When you’re offered a guest blog, make sure you follow these 3 steps before posting to your site:
- Spam – Google their name to make sure they’re not spam artists
- Links – Check their links to make sure they aren’t linking to their bio or to spammy content/websites.
- Depth –Look to see how long and detailed their previous content is on other sites. “I usually look for authors who write content that is at least 1000 words if not 2000. You can’t put much advice in a 400 word blog post, so avoid writers who are just trying to crank out content for links.”
Rule #2: Watch outgoing links
Let your guest blogger link out as many times as they feel necessary, as long as it benefits your readers. If links do not benefit your readers, remove them immediately.
It doesn’t matter if those links go to the author’s site or even your competitors’ site. As long as the links help educate your readers, people will want to read your blog
Rule #3: The content must be detailed and unique
I would never accept content that isn’t detailed or unique. What I mean by detailed is that the content needs to be at least 1000 words without containing fluff.
You can tell when your guest blogger has put time into their work, make sure this is the case every time your feature somebody new. Most importantly, make sure that your bloggers are not spinning their content. Sometimes, bloggers that produce a significant amount of work have the tendency to spin (or recreate) their work which is significantly frowned upon by Google. You can use a tool called Copyscape, which will alert you if your content is duplicate or similar to other articles posted on the web.
Rule #4: Be picky
Even if a guest post is good, it doesn’t mean you should publish it. The content needs to be great! If you don’t set strict standards from day 1, your blog won’t consistently be read.
Make sure there’s not spelling or grammatical errors and that their information is relevant to your target audience.
Rule #5: Don’t give out author accounts
This is your baby, you don’t have the luxury to trust strangers with your hard work. This may sound harsh, however all it takes is a post that has bad links, spammy or plagiarized content to ruin your reputation (and rankings) with Google. Make sure you see and approve all content before it goes up on your site.
If someone is requesting an author account, something is off. It’s easier for a blogger to send you their content in a text document and have you deal with the headache of formatting the post and adding it into your blogging platform.
Rule #6: You need to fully own the content
If a guest author wants to link to their guest post from their own site, that’s fine. Giving them credit for writing the post or letting them showcase their masterpiece isn’t an issue, the rights to the content is the issue. As long as you own it, you can do whatever you want.
This mean that if somebody wants to republish a guest blog on your site, they can do so by asking your permission (instead of you having to reach out to the author).
Rule #7: Authors need to help build and support your community
If you want to continually build up your community, you need your guest authors to contribute to it. Not just through blog content, but they also need to contribute through comments.