I’ve noticed that I’m increasingly getting emails from “copywriters” asking if they would like them to write guest posts for The Red Rocket. Some offer to pay me, others claim to be experts who give me great content. They’re all a bit fishy.
So why is this suddenly getting popular? Two reasons: links and coverage.
Search engine optimisation experts know that getting links to their clients websites from blogs is great for natural search, especially those that are relevant and on high page ranked sites.
At the same time, PR people know that coverage opportunities in traditional media are diminishing and feel that blogs are becoming more important (and may perceive them to be easier to get hits with).
This has led to the emergence of SEO and PR people offering bloggers “free content”. To be fair many SEO people are up-front enough to offer a fee, but will take control of the post and insist on links to their clients’ websites.
My main bugbear is that they rarely seem to read my blog beforehand (the emails are almost always generic) or provide any indication what they’ll actually blog about. I’ve never taken this opportunity further, so no idea if they can even write.
Although I’ve decided not to publish guest posts on my blog, I’ve written a few for other people. The difference is they’ve always been for people that I know.
If you’re thinking of accepting guest posts, an important factor to consider is the effect on your Google ranking.
Matt Cutts put a video up about this topic very recently and answered the question,
“Does Google take action on spammy guest blogging activities?”
“If you are doing so many guests blogs that you are doing article spinning, and likewise if you’re allowing so many guest bloggers that they allow things like spun blogs, where people aren’t really writing real content of their own, then that is a pretty bad indicator of quality.
“And if your website links to sites that we consider low quality or spammy, that can affect your site’s reputation. So the short answer is yes, Google is willing to take action if we see spammy or low quality blogging, guest blogging, whatever you want to call it.”
So, no surprise there that guest posts can be a bad idea, although Cutts implies that it’s the spammy end of the spectrum will give you problems rather than the odd PR guest post.
However, whether or not it damages your Google ranking is fairly irrelevant – I think the main issue is the unknown post quality. Guest posts that don’t reflect the quality of your blog will diminish your readership. Is that really worth the $50 or so you’ll get from an SEO consultancy?