Why Easy Guest Blogging Is Bad Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is easy, right? All you have to do is come up with a Google operator search which features a relevant keyword and something like “inurl:guest post” and you’ll have hundreds of prospects to evaluate.
And you will. But more likely than not you’ll find most of them are of a very low quality indeed.
Why? Because a lot of sites use guest posting as a way to get content fast, wrongly thinking that if they can get hundreds or thousands of pages indexed with Google, then they will be on the fast track to an internet fortune.
Basically, they are content farms and as anyone with an ounce of interest in search engine optimisation will know, Google has already dealt with that particular problem.
The upshot of this is twofold – first, the site owner is unlikely to achieve their dream of making millions through organic search although they will undoubtedly pick up a bit of cash from people who are taken in by a half decent PageRank and quantity, rather than quality, of content.
Avoiding the easy link
Of course, as guest bloggers we don’t really care about these guys the site owners and those silly enough to waste their money buying banners on their pages.
What we do need to care about is the impact of second part of Google’s smack down of content farms; which is the links on these places now count for next to nothing.
Admittedly, you will be able to find some sites worth getting a link from via a basic Google operator search featuring guest post related terms, but you have to be ruthless in terms of quality.
For example, if you find an online marketing blog which features content about how to reduce your credit card debt, the chances are its links aren’t going to pass on much value even if it has decent-looking metrics.
Why? Because these kinds of sites don’t pass on much value to readers and that is Google’s main concern.
The same goes for sites that feature poorly-written articles, or articles that are just a few hundred words, or articles that don’t bring anything new in terms of ideas.
If you’ve done a Google operator search involving any sort of variation on guest post, you will have seen tonnes of these sites. You may even have built links on them and if you did, you’ve probably wasted your time.
That said, the message here is one of “don’t bother”, rather than “don’t” it’s unlikely getting links from these kinds of blogs will harm your rankings, and if your site is very new or has very few links it they may even provide some small benefit.
But for everyone else there is no point.
So how should you be directing your guest blogging efforts?
Make guest blogging hard for yourself
To get the big wins, you need to accept things are not going to be easy.
In fact, you need to accept that you are going to be ignored, rejected and maybe even insulted while pitching your ideas.
If you’re getting articles on sites without these things happening, you’re either a content genius, or targeting blogs that add little value.
If you fall into the latter category, you need to up your expectations.
Start by asking what you want from guest blogging if the answer you come up with is just “links” you may as well give up now, but if you want quality links and referral traffic then you’re on the right track.
Next, come up with a list of the blogs where you’d really, really want a link but think you’re never in a million years going to get one.
Then, focus your efforts on pitching these sites.
You will be ignored, you will be rejected. Hopefully, as the people who run the best sites tend to be the most professional, you won’t be insulted but, you never know.
Now and then though, you will be accepted and that link will be worth a hundred of the easy-to-get guest posts.
As for the ones who seem reluctant to have you post, there are ways you can change their minds.
Turning negatives into positives
You can’t really do much about being ignored, other than try and reach someone again.
Don’t spam though, leave at least a couple of weeks between your first and second pitches and don’t just send the same template again if they ignored a message once, they’re certainly not going to respond to it just because you sent it twice.
People respond to people, not copied and pasted templates so if anything your second email should be even more personal and well-crafted than the first.
If you get a rejection, evaluate their reasons for turning you down to see if you can convert it into an acceptance.
Clearly, if it’s a flat out “no, we don’t take guest posts” then you’re not going to get anywhere, but if someone says they don’t like your idea, then work with them to develop one they do like.
Just going “oh, they don’t want my posts” isn’t acceptable when you’re trying to get links on top-quality sites.
If you’re getting ignored all the time and the majority of the rejections are flat out nos, then look at your initial pitch email.
Using a standard template is a bad idea for approaching high-quality sites, keep things individual and remember that offering to write follow up pieces which take a different point of view to a recently published article always goes down well.
The hardest part of guest blogging?
But if you’re still getting nowhere, you may have to face up to the hardest part of guest blogging accepting your own limitations.
Maybe you’re just not a good enough salesman so that’s why your pitches never hit.
Perhaps your pitches are structured well, but you’re not creative enough to come up with the ideas that the best sites want.
Or it might be that your writing skills are poor and that’s why your ideas are accepted, but your finished articles are rejected.
Accepting you can’t do everything is hard, but by doing so you’ll know how to bring your guest blogging efforts up to scratch.
To do so, you’re going to need to invest time, money or both. Either by training yourself to overcome the issue, or paying someone to carry out that part of the job.
Alternatively, think of other ways you can use your skills to build links. For example, if you’re a designer but not a writer, create infographics. They’ll do the job just as well as blog posts.
So set your aim as high as you can, be positive even when the responses are negative and find people with the skills you don’t have.
That way, you’ll get guest posts on top quality sites and you won’t ever have to do another “inurl:guest post” search again.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Guest post by Will Stevens, who is part of the 123-reg.co.uk blog team and has in the past written articles for the Guardian and Website Magazine.