I have been guest posting for a long time now, and at the risk of sounding big headed, from the moment I first heard about it, I totally got what it meant. I knew instantly the posts would have be good quality, informative, interesting and (hopefully) share-worthy. The whole concept of it made total sense to me.
But as I took my first steps into this new world of content marketing, I came across a big barrier….
“We do not accept guest posts from freelancers or SEO agencies acting on behalf of third parties”
Many times I would come across this statement, written into the article guidelines published on sites I had identified as possible hosts for my content. For a time it was a thorn in my side, then after about 6 months I began to see it less and less. However, I’m sad to say, it seems to be making a return.
Given the somewhat cyclical nature of internet marketing these days, I am seeing a whole new wave of guidelines featuring this or similar statements. And, annoyingly, they are actually passing over the opportunity to publish great quality content.
So why would a site owner/editor decline articles from freelancers, marketing and SEO agencies? Personally I see them fall into one of two categories:
1. The Purists: Guest posting is not a new idea – it has actually been going on for years, but mostly between bloggers themselves – it was not until recently and no doubt spurred by Panda, that others, including SEO agencies, realized the value of it as a linkbuilding and marketing strategy.
So the purists really are those that will tell you in no-uncertain terms that guest posting is just for bloggers. SEO agencies should stay right away. They are also those people who will readily tell you guest posting is not for linkbuilding.
2. The Bandwagoners: These are the people who read something negative about the use of guest posting for linkbuilding, usually an article from one of the big blogging sites out there, and immediately think that what they have read is true and they need to implement some form of drastic action to avoid what they are led to believe will be severe penalties from Google.
Lately, I have seen site owners take action such as immediately making all links on their site no-follow, charging for links because they read an article which said Google allows this, and in extreme cases stripping links out completely because they believe all links to be detrimental.
However, whereas the purists can be tough nuts to crack, the bandwagoners can oftentimes be shown the error of their ways! Agencies such as Everspark Interactive have taken time out to try and ‘educate’ site owners on good linking practices, Google guidelines and dispel any myths or rumours currently circulating.
Yes, this has the added benefit of getting posts published. But I should stress that the majority of agencies take relationship building very seriously and have developed strong relationships with many great sites because they go that extra mile in giving them what they want. I have even had sites reaching out to me for help and advice when it comes to linking practices and Google guidelines.
So Why Should Sites Accept Posts from Freelancers, SEO and Marketing Agencies?
I appreciate I am not coming from an entirely neutral position here, but there are several solid reasons why you should at least consider and review guest posts from those writing on behalf of a third party.
- They are not all grey-hat-black-hat-churn-it-out-as-cheaply-and-as-fast-as-possible content mills. There are many great agencies out there doing high quality, reputable work. Their content is well researched, written by real people and is always original to the site which publishes it. There are freelancers who take great pride in what they do, who spend many hours crafting articles and are often paid very little in comparison to the time spent writing.
- They have a strong editorial process. This means the content will be written by people with at least some basic knowledge of the subject matter. Articles are reviewed by an editor before submission to check for overall content, grammar, spelling and formatting. Articles will be double checked to ensure they meet the original topic pitched, they meet the required guidelines and that the overall depth of content is sufficient to make it relevant, useful and interesting.
- They are backed by strong and sound SEO practices. The best agencies will not engage in keyword stuffing; furthermore the use of exact match anchor text versus brand names/site url’s will be carefully balanced. The use of reference/authoritative links will be prevalent and those links will point to useful and trusted sites, not just Wikipedia!
- They stay on top of Google guidelines. Any agency worth its salt will closely monitor everything Google says and does and will adjust its practices accordingly.
- They don’t just post anywhere! Feel flattered that an agency has contacted you looking to place a guest post – the best agencies will have strict criteria in place to ensure the longevity and quality of the sites they work with. Most will be seeking to establish long term posting relationships, supplying you with content as and when you need it, working with you on editorial schedules, and giving you posts on the topics you want.
- They offer plenty of social sharing potential. The team set-up of most agencies can provide plenty of social sharing; meaning posts are hitting potentially dozens of social accounts – increasing awareness and engagement for your site.
I guess the point I am trying to get across is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. If you are approached about guest posting from an agency then don’t immediately dismiss it because of previous bad experiences or because of the merry-go-round of misinformation and misrepresentation of current best SEO practices. Consider what is on offer from the viewpoint of your audience and whether they would find it interesting and useful.
Guest posting is here to stay, despite what you may read on a week-to-week basis. The internet relies on good quality, natural and organic content (and links) and guest posting is the best way to ensure variety, build audiences, build reputations and create engagement. By narrowing your options for obtaining content you will inherently narrow your chances of achieving any of the above.
Georgina Clatworthy is the Outreach Acquisitions Manager for Atlanta based SEO company, Everspark Interactive. She has been a guest author on numerous websites and across many different niches. As part of an SEO company with a growing reputation for results, she knows the power and impact great quality content can have for both authors and publishers.