Have a blog and is running out of ideas for articles? Why not allow guest post?
I know a few websites out there who claimed that they have increased their visitors tremendously just by publishing blog posts contributed by guest authors. While I am not able to verify these claims, it is true that some websites had registered significant increase in new readers after they have invited guest authors to contribute blog posts to their website.
That is one of the reason why many website owners felt that guest blogging is a great method to quickly boost their search rankings and get a lot of traffic. I think this is quite true. Guest blogging adds variety to your blog, lets you bring in expert’s opinion and thus, increase the quality of your website. As a result, you get to increase your readership and hence traffic and that in return, means higher search engine ranking for your website.
What does Google think about guest blogging
Google has always been monitoring websites that publish guest posts. However, it was only recently that they decided to make it stricter for guest blogging to influence your website’s search engine ranking.
Why? Because guest blogging is fast becoming a method that is used by some individuals and organizations to increase their website’s ranking without really increasing the website’s quality! These people would get as many mass-produced guest posts as they can and then publishing these posts on other websites and blogs in an attempt to affect the search engines results to their favor!
Before this, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates had targeted spammers, keyword-stuffing and the over usage of exact-matched anchor text. For those who are unsure of what Google Panda or penguin are they are a series of changes that Google made to penalize sites which are low-quality or are spamming. Of course, these updates also try to reward those sites who are genuinely good quality.
Actually, this “guest blogging penalty update” does not come as a surprise. But, the questions now are can you still accept guest blogs and if yes, how do you ensure that you are not caught by Google’s new ruling?
Tips to accepting guest blogging
Don’t worry, guest blogging is not made illegal by Google. However, it does mean that you should be choosier. You shouldn’t allow just any guest blogs that comes your way in order to increase your content on your blog. Instead, you should only allow guest blogs which fits the following criteria.
The quality of the posts
Google is very particular regarding the quality of your posts. If you have the guest posts, read them carefully before even deciding to post them. If you have not received the article yet or have yet to extend your offer to the guest bloggers to write for you, do a check on the guest blogger’s previous articles.
Do the posts provide information for your readers? Are the articles detailed or did the writer just skim the top of the topic? Even if the previous posts are of acceptable length, you should also ensure that the articles are unique and not “recycled”. Also, don’t forget to keep a look out for grammar and spelling mistakes!
Does the guest bloggers have a proven track record?
If you have a highly ranked website, you may have gotten lots of requests to write guest blogs for your website from both your acquaintances as well as complete strangers. These guest bloggers usually want to increase their own website’s ranking by gaining more exposure.
But the thing is that if you had been allowing guest blogs, you may notice that many guest bloggers hopefuls have a not-too-excellent track record.
Some of the things to look for when accepting or looking for guest blogs are:
Quality of their previous articles e.g. length, information etc
Poor quality articles tend to be short (less than 500 words) and not much information can be gathered from them.
Are they trying to harvest links by guest blogging
Do a simple research and see if these guest bloggers have a tendency to insert lots of links to their own website in their post.
Whether they are spammers
Google their name and see how many articles come out. See if this guest blogger have been posting hundreds of articles in various websites, especially if the articles are all similar.
Are they knowledgeable
Pop over to the potential guest blogger’s website and check if they are knowledgeable in that particular topic you wanted him to write on.
Nofollow your guest posts’ links
Sometimes, you can’t do without links in guest blogs. However, you should treat different links differently.
There are certain links in the article that are expected, for example links to detailed information or to authority websites. For these links, you can go ahead and have a dofollow link.
For those links that are used for self-promoting, well, you must have a nofollow link. What it does is that, it tells Google not to include this link in determining your website ranking. This can easily be done by inserting rel=”nofollow” in the link’s href tag.
Is the post relevant to your website?
Finally, if your findings suggest that the guest blogger has met all the above criteria, one last thing to ensure is that the guest post should fit your website’s topic or theme. For example, if your website talks about online business, you probably would not want to invite a guest blogger who writes mostly on parenting, even though he is an expert in the topic.
Being relevant is very important for you website in order to provide valuable experiences to your readers. How do you find out if the guest blogger will provide value to your website? Simple, just go over to their website or blog to read their articles.
The above are just a few (but important) tips on how to not get penalized by Google when accepting or inviting guest bloggers to write for your website. Be sure to avoid making these mistakes because if you were penalized by Google, the process of undoing the harm can be long and complicated. You may even need to call in the professionals which will then cost you!