Guest Posts 101: How to Know if a Guest Post Is Bad or Not
Publishing submissions from guest bloggers isn’t just a way to improve your content marketing strategy. It also adds more credibility to your blog. Almost 63 percent of respondents stated that blogs with multiple authors have more credibility, according to a survey conducted by Social Marketing Writing.
There’s a catch, though. Bad guest posts can actually hurt your credibility and derail your content marketing campaign. Fortunately, you can ask yourself a few questions to avoid posting bad guest blogs. Once you know the answers to the questions, you’ll know if the post is good, bad, or somewhere in between.
Is It Unique?
Whenever you receive a guest blog post, you need to check it for uniqueness. There are a couple of ways guest bloggers fail to be unique. First, some beat a topic to death. Articles about Google PageRank are a perfect example of this. Google “PageRank is dead,” and you will get over half a million results. People keep writing about it, even though everything that needs to be said about it has already been said.
Second, you need to see if the guest blogger has already written about the topic and is spinning it for your blog. This happens much more than it should. A guest blogger comes up with a great topic and then writes a variation of the same post five or ten times. Look at the person’s other guest posts. If the submitted post is just a rehash of something he or she has written about before, send it back and ask for something fresh. You don’t want your blog to piggyback off other blogs. You want to be a trailblazer, not a follower.
Other things to consider include:
- Does it pass plagiarism tests such as Copyscape.com. Many people may copy and paste content from different sources. This can hurt your website rankings. Always check for duplicate content to see if it is actually unique.
- Do you have the topic already on your blog? With the many guest posts you have on your blog already it’s always good to check to make sure you don’t already have that subject but just forgot about it.
Unique guest posts are essential to help build your blogs reputation. This is why it’s always good to reject any post that isn’t unique.
Is It Detailed?
Details count with guest blog posts. These posts provide an opportunity to get insight from an authority in your niche. That authority should be as descriptive as possible. As a rule, these posts should be at least 1,000 words. That gives the guest blogger ample time to explain the topic fully. Some things to consider:
- Look for step-by-step instructions and evidence that backs up points. The more detailed the post is, the more trustworthy it will be viewed. Good blog posts build trust, so this is important.
- Does it show screenshots and imagery that helps to bring the point across?
- If adding a study or quote, does it have a reference or resource to this to make sure it’s legit?
- Does it offer positive tips and tricks that help your readers, or is it just a basic, everyday blog post?
- Does it provide in depth information that digs deep into a subject or does it just offer surface information?
Details matter and the more detailed the post is, the more informative your readers will find it.
Does It Fit into the Blog’s Theme?
Every blog has a theme, and the narrower the theme, the better. Take Quick Sprout, for example. The blog is about entrepreneurship and marketing. It doesn’t take blog posts that are outside of that theme, no matter how amazingly written they are.
Someone might submit a well-written, engaging blog post that you love, but if it doesn’t fit in with your blog’s theme, it’s not a good fit for you. As much as it hurts, you have to turn it down. It might be a good post, but it’s bad for your blog. When checking a blog:
- Does it keep on point with your website theme or does it start out ok and then change into another off-topic theme?
- Does it provide your audience the right information within your blog theme that will help them? Is it a post about small business tips but your blog only caters for large corporate businesses only?
Keeping within your theme is essential as it helps to keep the credibility and quality of your website. Don’t move away from this unless you really need to.
Do the Facts Check Out?
The best guest blog posts contain facts and useful information.
Most guest bloggers are careful when providing information. They fact-check it and only provide accurate information. However, you can’t assume the information is accurate. You need to fact-check everything before posting, and if one fact is wrong, disregard the entire post. That is a sign of a sloppy writer, and you can’t take the chance of the person being discredited in the future. Someone who wants to post on your blog needs to have all the right facts.
Does It Self-Promote?
There are two schools of thought on this. Most blog owners prefer that guest bloggers only promote in their author bios. Others allow a bit of self-promotion, such as saying, “My company did X and it worked.”
Regardless of which school of thought you’re from, you can agree that too much self-promotion is a bad thing. You don’t want to publish a post that’s essentially commercial. If a blog post contains too much self-promotion, you should pass on it. However, if the blogger uses the space to provide useful, helpful information, there’s a good chance you have a solid post on your hands. How to know if the post is self promoting?
- Does the post talk more about the company or person that writes it, instead of offering quality content?
- Does the content start off talking about the company or person at the beginning of the post?
- Does it have more than one sentence that talks about the company?
- Does it continually mention the company or person throughout the post constantly while providing tips and tricks?
All these things signal self promotion and you need to decide whether you want this or not on your blog.
Does It Link to a Legitimate Site?
Sometimes, people write amazing guest posts but then link back to a spammy site. The link might be in the guest post or the blogger’s bio instead of the body of the post, but either way, your audience will see it. If the site isn’t up to your standards, it’s best to reject the post. It’s a sign that the person isn’t someone you should do business with, so it’s a good idea to cut your losses and move on to another blogger. Remember, guest blog posts are about adding value, and spam sites do anything but that. They make your entire blog look bad. To know if a website is spammy it’s best to check it’s metrics using tools such as Ahrefs or Moz.
You can open your blog up to new ideas by publishing content from guest bloggers, but it has to be of a high quality. You want to have the best content possible on your blog, and if something is subpar, your blog will take a hit because of it. Make sure all content passes the test before you publish it. Then, you can benefit from guest blog posts. Have you seen some bad blog posts over the years?