April 19, 2013
Avoiding Rabid Penguins: Common Guest Posting Mistakes
During the last year, guest posting has gone from being all the rage, to the bane of bloggers’ existence and back again. A lot of website and blog owners are realizing the benefits that guest posting can bring to their site. It is now one of the few link building tactics that Google has not penalized. Furthermore, Google’s Matt Cutts has said that guest posting can be a valuable practice if done the right way.
But what is the right way? How can you guarantee that your post will be published? Well, the answer to that second question is; you can’t. There are so many variables in guest posting that there is no cut and dry strategy to getting published on a website. However, there are strategies that will make you much more likely to succeed at guest posting, and will ensure you get the maximum benefit for your time. Below are things you’ll want to avoid.
The “It’s not my blog” Mentality
Many people go into guest posting with the completely wrong mindset. They figure that because they’re not writing for their own site, they don’t need to try as hard. This could not be more wrong. You are guest posting to draw people to your site. Yes, you want a link, but you also need the relationships that come from link building.
Any content you write for a third party should be held to an even higher standard than content on your own site. The first reason why is that until your article is actually posted, the blog owner can decide to reject you at any time. Even if they’ve approved your topic, if your writing isn’t up to snuff they have every right to deny you.
If your post does get published but does not offer value to the blog’s readers, you’ve also failed. Your website’s name is associated with this content. If you write crap, that sheds a negative light on you. People won’t click through to your site, and if they remember your name, they may skip over your content in the future. The whole point of guest posting is to build your authority. If you don’t write quality content, you’re just tearing it down.
Part of the reason guest posting can have a negative stigma is that a lot of posts fail to offer new information. “Top Ten” lists can be engaging, but if there are already a million “Top Ten Dog Names” articles on the internet (there are), then you had better have a new approach in mind before writing another one.
You can write on a familiar topic, but bring something new to it. Compare it to something outside the realm of the ordinary. Make connections that get people thinking. Make jokes that actually get laughs, not “oh, that one again” groans.
It’s not just guest posts that can be inundated with unoriginal material. Bloggers’ inboxes are filling up with guest posting proposals and requests. Many of these are poorly worded. Many more are templates. After reading a couple hundred guest post offers, a blogger can tell if you’ve used a template.
Don’t use the same email for pitching to multiple blogs. It will come off as superficial, and the blogger may not even bother responding. Take time to mirror the personality and tone that the blogger takes on their site. Show them that you have quality information to provide their audience because you are part of their audience. Careful, this means that you may actually have to engage in an online community. If you want your SEO efforts to be successful and long-lasting, you’ll have to get used to this.
Your title is what draws a reader to your piece. Be sure to include words that are relevant to your site. Even if they’re not keywords you want to rank for, if they are related, they will still be helpful. Be sure that your title matches the style of the host blog. Make your title engaging. If it’s too long, you’ll lose interest. If it’s too vague, you won’t get interest in the first place. If it’s not original, you’ve got a fifty-fifty shot. Try including a catchy phrase or pop culture reference. Just don’t get so caught up in being creative that you forget to get your point across.
Guest posting is a lot of work. It’s not an easy-peasy way to get people to your site. But if you take the time to do it right, you’ll gain readers, authority, and traffic to your site. You’ll also be more likely to look good to the search engines and increase your ranking. Have you seen any common guest posting mistakes? Share in the comments.
Jeriann Watkins is a writer living in Boise, Idaho. She enjoys writing about many subjects, including white-hat SEO and new advances in internet technology. She currently works for Page One Power, a relevancy first link building focused company.