I am by no means a successful blogger and, yet I receive at least a dozen guest posts requests every week. Sadly, more often than not, I have to respond with the usual "I am sorry I cannot publish this" assertion.
Guest posts can be both good and bad. While a quality guest post can enrich your blog and offer something new and unique to your readers, a poor post alone can undo all the good work you have been doing on your blog for years. It is therefore important that you select the right posts for publication. A guest post should add to and not take away from your blog.
In this post I will discuss a few tips to help you vet guest posts for quality in an effort to determine their suitability for publication.
1. Consider Links Carefully
You might be well aware that links play a very important role in determining a site’s search rankings. It is primarily for this reason that search engines like Google are so fussy when it comes to links, demanding that you carefully 'screen' the sites that you link to or the sites that link back to you.
It is therefore of primary importance that you do not link to a site that flaunts the Google’s Quality Guidelines; as this could negatively impact your search rankings. By endorsing a site which is in the bad eye of Google, you risk being seen in the bad light yourself.
Examples of sites that go against Google’s quality guidelines include sites that publish ‘scrapped’ or ‘spun’ content or sites that participate in unnatural link building.
While vetting a guest post, make a careful evaluation of each and every site the post links to and determine whether the same goes against the Google’s Quality Guidelines. If it so does, you should as a rule refuse to publish the same.
2. The Quality of Writing
While vetting a guest post for quality, consider the following pointers.
- Error-free writing; proper usage of grammar. For example, check adherence to the rules of agreement: singular nouns being accompanied by singular verbs and plural nouns by plural verbs
- Extent of Coherence. Check for organisation of thought and smooth flow of language.
- Clarity. Consider whether the article is easy to understand and act upon.
- Focus and expression of ideas i.e how well the author is able to support the idea ‘central’ to the post. This to a great extent depends upon the author’s understanding and knowledge of the topic at hand.
3. Value Delivery Quotient
At the third and final stage, you need to consider how high the article scores on the value delivery quotient. Does the article repeat the same things which have already been said over and over again in hundreds of other blog posts or does it bring out the true thoughts and ideas of the author? Ultimately you would want to publish an article that offers real value to your audience.
Protecting yourself against Plagiarism
Plagiarism in the online world is rampant these days and guest blogging is not immune to the same. More often than not, in today's world, organisations outsource their guest blogging functions to copywriting and SEO agencies. These agencies produce content in the bulk with the view to get the maximum possible links for their clients (their commissions are tied to this).
In such a situation, where link and profit maximisation are their sole objective, content often takes a beating. A large portion of the articles commissioned by these agencies are either a direct copy (with minor variations) or are 'spun' from one or more existing articles.
Protecting yourself from plagiarism is important primarily for two reasons. One, publishing plagiarized content could expose you to copyright infringement proceedings. Secondly, this might also lead to a possible Google penalty and consequent loss of search rankings. Remember that Google algorithms actively monitor sites for copied content.
There are a lot of online tools available that allow you to check articles for plagiarism issues. I would personally recommend that you use the Copyscape premium plagiarism checker.
Thanks for your time and do share your views on the issue with us.