24 Jan 2013
Bloggers: Making Spammers by Avoiding Spam
Guest posting in its purest form can be helpful for both the writer of the post and the blogger who posts it. The host blogger gets a new perspective on their blog, and some free content. The author gets a link to their site, with all of the PageRank that passes through that.
The problem is that it takes time to go through so many guest blogging requests. Even worse is that going through these requests often reveals only a few worth accepting. Requests with broken English, articles with spammy links, and other poor-quality markers can be frustrating, especially when received in bulk.
This has caused some bloggers to stop accepting guest posts altogether, or charging for posts containing links. There are a couple of reasons why these techniques aren't only throwing the baby out with the bath water, but creating more spam.
If Guest Posts Vanished
If all blogs stopped accepting guest posts, a couple of things would happen. More “guest posting sites” would pop up. These sites are dedicated purely to content creation. Their whole purpose is to provide a place for people to put links.
While not necessarily bad if maintained correctly, guest posting sites aren’t known for their quality. What readers do such general sites attract? Blogs with a specific target audience are much better for guest posting, and for users.
If quality blogs show that guest posting can be a legitimate practice, then content creators won’t flock to the undesirable sites, and they will eventually fizzle out.
By upholding high standards, bloggers can actually unite and reduce the useless content on the web. Yes, there will always be crummy sites, but we can make them less successful by making our sites more so.
Charging for Links
Some site managers have decided that the best solution is to charge people for guest posts with company links in them. This is meant to be a deterrent for spammers and generators of low-quality content. The reasoning is that if an SEO company or even any business, is making money off of this article, then so should the blogger.
As a deterrent, this method is ineffective. You still have to go through all of the requests, and then you end up charging the people who give you good content and aren’t wasting your time. The spammers face no consequences.
The argument that companies should have to pay also has some flaws. The biggest problem is that Google looks down on do-follow links that are paid for.
If you decide to charge for guest posts, you had better assign the links as nofollow to avoid breaking Google's webmaster guidelines. People who are willing to pay for do-follow links are likely practicing other black hat SEO methods, and you probably don’t want your site linked with them.
If companies are providing good content though, what makes them different from a writer promoting their blog? The important thing is that you provide posts that are useful for your readers. If that includes a link to a company’s site, then isn’t it still worth it? Better to be associated with a company doing things the right way and adding useful information to the internet than someone just inserting random links.
The Moral of the Story
It’s easy to discount guest posting as a legitimate practice because of all of the scammers trying to manipulate the SERPs. This doesn't mean that all guest posting is bad though.
Posts must be judged case by case. Yes, this takes time, but it’s worth it.
Broken English is easy to spot quickly, and you can always ask that submitters complete a CAPTCHA or other proof of humanity or include a specific line in their email to prove they’ve read their guidelines.
There will always be people trying to game the system. The danger with trying to profit off of company links is that it attracts those people, and encourages breaking Google’s established rules. And going to extremes like eliminating all guest posts only means that you lose that potential asset to your site.
Figure out what method works best for you and judge articles by the writing, not by the fact a company is providing it.