Are you getting asked to post guest articles on your blog? (Things to consider before saying YES)

Mommy Perks logoIf your inbox is anything like mine, you may be seeing an increase in the number of people asking to guest write for your blog. The emails usually go something like this:

“Hi! I found your blog and I love it. I think it would be a great fit for us. I’d like to offer you a FREE article for your blog on any subject you want. All I ask for in return is two links inside the text to websites of my choosing. And you get unique content at no charge! Let me know when I can begin an article for you.”

I used to think, “Sure! Why not? Content is great.” Then I learned more about links that pass page rank. I have never been hung up over page rank. In fact, the last time I was really concerned about it was back in 2007 and that was only because I had a little contest running with a friend of mine. Many people feel that page rank is an arbitrary figure and far over-rated by the few who get caught up over it (new article coming soon about this).

What I do care about, however, is being used.

Here’s the thing:

These people who ask to guest post for me have found me through online research. They are looking for blogs that have page rank of 3 or higher. If they get those links into my blog, it helps their client websites look better to the search engines. I’m passing my own reputation over to them, in other words. I’m sharing my page rank with them.

This may not seem like a big deal but after seeing some of the articles, I know – I don’t WANT to share my online reputation with them. I don’t want search engines associating my site/blog with spammy websites such as low fee insurance outlets, gaming sites, etc. The writers who contact me are getting paid by the company to find blogs to place their links on. The writer wants me to think I’m getting a great deal by gaining free content for my blog when in essence they are the ones getting the pay-off. They are getting cash for writing and securing links on blogs that have a higher page rank.

How I now reply to these inquiries 

When I get these emails now I reply, “Thanks for writing! While I love having guest authors on our blog I no longer give DoFollow links to articles like the ones you are mentioning. I no longer allow for embedded links inside the posts that pass page rank. If you’d like to submit an article without the embedded links, let me know.”

I never hear from them again.

The articles they write might have text such as this:

Four Tips for Moving with Kids

It’s not easy to move with kids. It’s stressful and tiring! Between the boxes and packing and the moving trucks, it’s a pain!

{The words “moving trucks” would have an embedded link that goes over to a moving truck site. The author is hoping that readers will click on that and perhaps sign up with that moving company, see? It’s an ad. That’s why they want to give you content – in order to advertise their client in the text. The writer gets paid for this and you get spammy content.}

The guest articles I do want

I love having guest authors on my blog! In fact, we are now making that a larger part of Mommy Perks. The guest authors will primarily be by invite only, however. I will ask people I know and trust to write articles in their niche or expert area (parenting, small business, inventing, entrepreneurship, optimizing your site, using videos to promote, marketing, networking, places to promote and advertise and so on). That way, we can all learn more about various topics from websites I don’t mind sharing my reputation with.

I also enjoy having guest posts from non profit agencies. They often have a great online reputation already and I don’t mind linking to them. I don’t allow them to place embedded links into the text unless they are completely relevant to the post and helpful to the reader (for instance – an article written by a non profit debt consolidation company with a text link that takes the reader over to a free financial calculator to help analyze their family debt).

Guest articles can be a wonderful thing and help both parties. I don’t recommend placing the spammy guest articles on your blog, though. You may be getting content but it’s content that helps the other party far more than it helps you. They are getting free advertising on your blog and you could be putting your own online reputation at risk.

Find people you know and trust to guest author for you. You’ll get quality material that isn’t focused on tricking readers into clicking over to a sales site to buy something. Guest writing relationships with respected colleagues will be mutually beneficial and will help your readers learn something relevant and meaningful.

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