Yes, I am challenging the concept of guest posting, one of the final frontiers of commonly practiced SEO tactics. Not in a way to downplay its effectiveness, but in an attempt to benefit your brand. Additionally, if you are paying freelancers, you will learn how to maximize the viral potential in each article.
This spreadsheet shows the stats from my own blog. The left column contains articles that I wrote. Most articles I wrote with passion, I had something truly worth sharing and relevant to my website. I wrote based on experience in the industry. My love for what I did radiated from the page and engaged the readers.
Listed in the right column are the page views of articles that were sent to me by various authors, or “guest posters”, in my niche. Most of them were sent to me in an effort to obtain only a back link and no thought to what it might do for their brand awareness.
If your unfamiliar with the SEO tactic of guest posting give this graphic a read:
Some of the articles I posted were not written by anyone from the website that contacted me. They were most likely sourced out to a freelancer for $25 or less. In my efforts to have a consistent flow of articles being published on my blog I accepted these solicitations of guest posts. Most of them did not perform to my expectations.
Why do guest posts and freelance articles suck?
The short answer: back links were the motive, not brand awareness. Here is a more in depth scenario:
Pretend for a moment that you are a freelance writer. Your dream is to be heard! You want to write articles in an industry that you love and propagate your voice across the world!, wide web, right?
You do what it takes to land that job by combing through Craigslist for freelance gigs, making profiles on websites like WriterAccess.com and GhostBloggers.net. If your really ambitious, you contact big companies directly because you are hustler like that and want to cut out the middle man.
Next, a big company in your niche takes you on as their writer. They want you to write for their website! This is a big deal for you because it’s your chance to be heard in the niche that you’re passionate about!
Now imagine when your article is finally posted this happens:
All your ambition and drive to be the next voice in your industry has been crushed by this “admin”, WTF! Your drive has now switched from “I’m going to be heard” to “I have to write this article so I can make some quick cash” Would you write a good article if your name or reputation wasn’t on the line? I don’t think so.
Real world application
Have you seen articles on the Internet like this? I see them every day and have to admit, I am guilty of posting articles of this nature myself! People who practice SEO are notorious for this. Could you imagine if singers did this? Let’s apply that same concept to the music industry.
Here are some song titles written two ways:
- Right Way: Eminem ft. Rihanna “Love the Way You Lie” or
- SEO Way: Eminem ft. Guest Artist “Love the Way You Lie”
- Right Way: Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes “Look at Me Now” or
- SEO Way: Chris Brown ft. Some rapper and a faster rapper “Look at Me Now”
It only makes sense that guest authors and freelance writers use their name with their content the same way Lil Wayne used his name on Chris Brown’s song title. If you make sense like Lil Wayne then you might just make some $$$ down the road! Now let’s get back to your content.
Author Attribution – Everyone wants to be heard
Writers don’t always write for money, they write for prestige and recognition. If your managing outsourced content make sure you give attribution to the writer on every article. Writers must have their name, picture, bio etc. on every article they write. And try to make sure the bio they give you is real! A lot of guest articles will have a fake pen name on them. Do a search for the author and check out their background, if they don’t have a history of writing in your niche then they are probably going to give you sub-par content.
Give your writers the resources they need to produce quality. They may be willing to write for free but people gotta eat too. DON’T be stingy with you budget! You get what you pay for. My biggest pet peeve is when businesses want compelling content for only $25/article. It doesn’t make sense! Pun intended:)Free information deserves a share!