As a blog owner, you’re pretty picky about how you maintain your blog. You have a carefully curated list of topics that you focus on. You moderate comments to make sure everyone’s voice is getting heard and being treated respectfully. You make sure the world knows you have a new post by leveraging your strong social presence. In the midst of all the maintenance, moderation and madness, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to come up with a great idea to write about. Even when you do have a stroke of genius, you have to make sure that content is not only unique, but also engaging to those reading it.
Guest blogging alleviates these pressures. When you allow someone else to write an article for your site, you allow someone the chance to share some unique words of wisdom with your readers. This different perspective is something that can help take your readership to new groups of people that you didn’t even know you were missing. It also gives your readers a chance to hear from someone else, and this can help your readers feel more engaged.
People can be hesitant to include guest posts on their blog because — let’s face it — it’s hard to give the reins to someone else. Your blog is like your child, and there’s nothing wrong with treating it as such. But like children, blogs can grow and learn from the influences of others in the world. Set up some guidelines and allow a guest blogger to really make a positive impact.
Here are some basic guidelines you might consider:
Posts should be around 500 to 1,000 words — this is a pretty standard. It ensures the guest blogger is providing an insightful article, not just trying to get a link on your site.
Don’t go link crazy — 3 to 5 reference links is the average per post, because you don’t want to have to swim through a sea of URLs just to get to the article. Make sure that the links the guest blogger uses for reference actually add value.
Inspire the audience — If someone wants to guest blog on your site they should send you an idea that makes you say, “Wow, now that is something my readers will love to hear about.” Scott Stratten, author of Unmarketing, wrote once about a blogger he knew. He didn’t hear from him very often, but when he did, he pulled his car to the side of the road to read what he had sent. If a blogger can pull you over, chances are they’re good enough to be included in your blog.
From an SEO perspective, Google loves guest blogging. When Google sees your link on another site, it’s like a vote of confidence for the URL it’s linking to. Even though guest posts can help the guest poster increase their blog relevance on the Internet, it’s by no means a one-way relationship. Among many other factors, freshness is something that’s important to ranking. If you are not adding content to your site on a regular basis, then you’re not giving readers a reason to come to your blog. If readers aren’t engaging in your blog, then there’s really no reason for Google to rank you higher.
At the end of the day, it’s all about building meaningful relationships. The questions that many blog owners don’t ask themselves enough are, “What am I sharing?” and “How does this add value to my blog and my readers?” If you have a new and interesting topic to cover every day, great! Many times, though, you find yourself struggling to come up with something new and unique instead of the same worn out, “Top 5 ways to (insert desirable topic here).” As humans we’re drawn to those unique, thought-provoking articles. We want something that moves us, that inspires us and leads us to learn more or take action. Guest posting can help in your endeavor to deliver those emotional appeals.
As Google gets more and more human, the same content desires we have will become second nature to the Google algorithm. Use guest posting to always have insightful content for your audience and your readers and Google will keep coming back for more.
Megan Brown is a Social Media Networker at Slingshot SEO.