Guest posts are an important part of content marketing. While almost all of the content you create ends up on your website, guest posts are what allows you to build incoming links while simultaneously improving your visibility on websites related to your industry. We often encourage our clients to find guest posts as part of their content marketing strategy, and many of our clients have asked us to run their guest posting programs for them.
So guest posting on the websites of other is a valuable tool. But what about accepting guest posts on your own site? When should you allow guest posts, and when is it helpful for your content marketing strategy?
Features of a Good Guest Post
Every good website gets spammed with emails requesting a guest post. It’s actually extremely common, and something that can get irritating enough that some companies actually stop reading emails that have anything to do with guest posting.
The math of guest posting is as follows: Less is more, but less is better than none. Too many guest posts and your website becomes a marketing tool for others, and that’s not what you want. But a couple of great guest posts on rare occasion can actually be very valuable, provided you pick and choose ones that are perfect for your industry and website.
You should only consider guest posts that meet the following criteria:
- Uniquely Written – This is a must. Never take any guest post that has been posted anywhere else online, even if the guest post is amazing. It has to be unique for your website, and something that will help you with your content marketing strategy. Any post that’s already been placed elsewhere is useless, since Google and other search engines won’t reward you for the content. You can check for uniqueness by cutting and pasting full sentences into Google (with quotations) and seeing what comes up, or by visiting www.copyscape.com and running the entire text through a copyright search.
- Relevant Companies – Remember, even if you don’t notice many visitors to your site, you still have readers. People will come to your site and review your blog and article directory. If they see a post that’s just completely irrelevant to your business, they’re going to be turned off. Search engines also don’t like unrelated topics, so make sure that the company is relevant (although obviously not a competitor).
- Good Websites – Similarly, you need to make sure that if your readers visited the guest post writer’s website, they don’t ask why you would post a link to garbage. Their website has to be great – well written, not spammy, and interesting. If they run some terrible money making blog with advertisements plastered all over the side, it doesn’t matter how good their guest post is – any reader that visits the site is going to think less of your company for linking to them, and in some cases so will Google.
- Interesting Content – No promotional pieces, and nothing that you’ve already posted. Any content you place on your website has to be something you would be proud to place on your site as if you wrote it yourself. It has to have value, just like all content marketing has to have value. If it’s not interesting, it’s not worth posting.
- Well Written – Search engines don’t know they’re reading a guest post, and you want to make sure that all of the content they see on your website shows that your company writes informative and intelligent pieces. So make sure the content is well written, uses standard internet formatting, etc. It should be a valuable piece of content that looks like it was written by someone that understands content marketing.
Think of guest posting like getting a free article, and the “payment” for that article is a link to a different website. You wouldn’t just accept any free article that comes your way – it has to be a quality piece that you’re proud to put on your website. Guest posts should ideally be as good or better than the posts you would write yourself.
But always remember that as great as it is to get free content, too many guest posts and your website won’t be as valuable anymore, and that may hurt you in search engines. Google has never been entirely clear on what happens if you post too many guest posts, but they’ve basically stated in various videos and guides: “Some are great, don’t post too many.” So while there’s no way to know what kind of punishment Google gives websites that post too much guest content, make it a rule to accept these posts infrequently.