One question we get asked from bloggers is whether or not they should accept guest posts on their blogs. They’re usually asking because they received an e-mail from a company offering to send them high-quality, SEO optimized blog posts in exchange for money or links or sometimes even for free. I typically tell them to pass on that, but that yes, you should definitely accept guest posts on your blog! But there are some caveats, which is what I will be sharing with you today on BlogHer U. Your editorial plans should include posts written by people other than yourself, but only on these conditions:
1. The writer must be an expert on the topic
One thing we love about bloggers is the way they value community. They create it in various ways and often they are surrounded by other writers, doing similar things they’re doing. You have access not only to other experts in your field, but many who become trusted friends. Guest blogging, if done correctly, is beneficial to both the guest author and the blog owner. Work together to support each other and in doing so, you will expose your readers to more great content. And it never hurts to google the author’s name. Check what else have they written.
2. Read their content carefully before posting
Look at what outbound links they’ve included in their post. Do the links seem to land on low quality sites? Are they relevant to the copy they’ve written?
Make sure it’s unique. Take some of it and drop it into Google. Or Copyscape. If you find that they’ve submitted that same content elsewhere, pass on posting. Especially if they tried to pass it off as original. There are some benefits of content syndication, but that strategy follows a different set of best practices.
Make sure it appears accurate and detailed. When it comes to more in-depth topics, your goal should be to have in-depth content. An article on celebrity news might be sufficient at 200-300 words but it’s not common for health articles, legal pieces, financial advice columns to boast 1,500-2,000 words.
3. be selective
Your reputation really matters these days! There are so many articles to choose from as a reader and one bad experience may blow your chances for good. All the content on your blog must shine so set high standards for the content you allow to be on your site. Make sure all content is useful to the reader and provides them an informative and actionable path forward.
3. include author byline & bio for the guest writer
I always encourage our partners to list individual author names for each post. Using generic authors like Website Editors or Entertainment Editors doesn’t exactly scream Trustworthy or Accountable, which are qualities that Google is looking for. There should be 1-2 individual authors listed and preferably short bios somewhere on the site with social handles. Include information like other publications they’ve written for, academic credentials, awards and links to other content they’ve written on your site. All of these factors are taken into account when Google is evaluating your content.
There are many benefits to guest blog posts but make sure your first priority is always your reader. Only show them content you know they would enjoy, from authors you trust.
If you are interested in writing for BlogHer U, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!