In this post I’m going to talk about what I guess you could call the state of guest blogging, and the state it’s in is pretty sad.
This will serve as a bit of history for those new to SEO and words of warning for those who are doing things wrong.
There has always been a dark side to SEO which to some of us has remained hidden or has at least kept its distance.
Those who dabble in the dark arts in SEO are known to some as the ‘black hatters’.
If this term is new to you, then the best definition that I can give to you is that black hat is the term given to a number of tactics within SEO that are spammy and you really would not want to tell your mum about. (Think spun articles submitted to thousands of sites that look like a 5 year old wrote them – well that’s just one of the horrible things that they do).
Until April 24th – The day when Google’s “Penguin” update first came on the scene a huge amount of people were content spinning garbage articles, submitting mass social bookmarks, rubbish directory submissions and all the rest of it with optimised anchor text – and they were able to for a time rank for some very big terms in Google.
Now that’s changed everyone who was originally doing things the wrong way has been forced to reassess the situation, some have just opted to augment what they were doing before but by throwing generic anchor text in there.
The rest have jumped onto the guest blogging train thinking it’s the only viable tactic left to them.
Our inboxes and guest blogging communities left in ruin
Now, I understand there’s been a bunch of people throwing garbage poorly written and most likely spun content to us site owners as ‘guest posts’ for a good while (since before Penguin came on the scene). However, the number of people doing this has grown a lot faster recently.
The idea behind these communities is amazing; and both Cathy Stucker (BLU) and Ann Smarty (MBG) do an amazing job at maintaining and promoting these communities. They bring people together and they have been setup purely with the intention of helping people.
It seems that now these communities are being over-run, in a recent test I placed a bunch of articles on My Blog Guest to see what sort of offers I could get on there.
The results were quite shocking.
I had about 5 offers on each of the 4 articles, it was in fact the same 5 people who had offered on all 4 articles. 3 individuals in particular caught my attention as each of them had a site with the same theme that was started 2 months ago, no social activity, no back links and they were all rammed with identical ads.
I repeated the process several times, I did get the odd reasonable site but 90% seemed to be splogs, albeit cleverly disguised.
On to Blogger Link up; I managed to find some diamonds in the rough here but still the number of splogs or just sites obviously setup just to receive guest posts was extreme. Not to mention the annoying individuals that seem to be scraping the latest issue and mass mailing everyone. – Though I must say, Cathy Stucker does a great job at removing these individuals and stopping them from submitting in future.
When I say Splog, I mean spam blog – these are pretty easy to tell apart though, they usually have no social stuff going on, no actual theme for the content on the site and generally looks like the owner doesn’t care about the site at all.
Then we’ve got the guest blogging groups on Facebook, full of people trying to sell opportunities to post on their blog. I even caught someone selling Adsense accounts on a few of them a while ago (most uncool).
That brings me to my inbox, I wouldn’t mind so much if the emails I was getting about guest blogging were thought out or at the very least just written so I could understand them.
BUT … they’re not – email after email where the person sending the email can’t spell my name and then offers me finance and debt recovery articles for my blog on music.
Hi Mada saw your site bloggingwizard.com on blogger link up you have great travel articles, I give you good researched quality travel articles for travel blog sir please reply thanks.
….Yes people have been spelling my name wrong and there were emails that were worse (hard to believe).
CALL TO ARMS – Sploggers are invading quest posting communities, but I ask you, don’t give up on communities like this, if we all pull together I’m sure we can start getting the quality back up there.
The guest blogging scene is flooded?
Now, this can look to some that due to the masses of people now sending out guest post requests and thrashing out all these articles will just make things difficult for everyone else who is doing things the right way.
Right way = Good quality article, well written outreach emails, communicating properly with the blogger that you’re pitching to.
This creates a BIG opportunity for you doing things the right way, sure it may take more effort to find a site to guest blog on, but anything worth doing is always going to take hard work right?? (I hope you agree).
The opportunity here is the ability to differentiate yourself from the rest.
On a personal level, as a site owner I am much more likely to accept a post from someone who has obviously read my blog, seen the content and pitched me an idea based on that and then follows that up with a well written and detailed article while remembering to actually make it personal and actually spell my name right.
It’s actually quite refreshing after being bombarded with poor attempts at outreach to actually get a well thought-out email, and just that element of it being ‘refreshing’ is sometimes enough to get me to consider someone’s pitch.
Oh not that content is king thing!
You’ve probably heard people talking about how content is king, maybe you’ve seen Matt Cutts the head of the Google web spam team give some extremely vague advice on how to get better rankings “Yes, improve rankings by creating great content”.
Well, it’s true.
It comes back to karma, if you don’t believe in it then you might want to start.
There’s a phrase that comes to mind here “you get what you give”, if you give out crap, you’ll only get crap.
Although, there is some AMAZING and truly GROUNDBREAKING content on the internet that gets left out in the cold, so there is more to it than just simply creating the content and letting it sit there, there is leg work to do but creating great content will form the pillars that your site will sit on and if you work hard they will hold your site above the rest (it sounds a bit corny, but it’s true).
Look at Mashable, back in 2007 they created several posts that they called GOD posts, they were pretty much just huge list posts, but extremely helpful and these posts prove that content is king.
Although, I can’t imagine that Pete Cashmore just left it at that and sat on his hands waiting for Mashable to launch into the stratosphere – He built relationships, networked and put hard work in.
If you’re doing things right then carry on because now will be the time for you to shine.
If not then you do have an opportunity here to step back and reassess how you are approaching guest blogging and why you’re doing it.
The true reason for guest blogging should always be to connect and build relationships, you’ll never know how they’ll benefit you at the beginning, and maybe that’s part of the excitement.
This guest blogging thing has allowed me to connect to some awesome people, make friends, help people and even get help and visibility – I truly hope that it can be the same way for you.
What has your experience with guest blogging been like so far? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!