Don’t Accept Guest Posts Unless You Follow These 7 Rules

Have you considered allowing guest posts on your blog? We grew the KISSmetrics blog to over 400,000 visitors a month, publishing blogs which mainly came from guest author contributions. We grew the Crazy Egg blog to over 100,000 visitors a month within a year… using the same strategy.

What you may not know is that search engines might start penalizing sites that accept guest posts or discount posts made by specific authors because a lot of junk content is being guest posted on the web. Even high authoritative blogs such as the New York Times or Huffington Post are allowing guest posts, and many of those posts are filled with mediocre content and spammy links.

Here’s what Google thinks about guest posting…

Now, this doesn’t mean you should not allow guest posts on your blog. Rather, it means that you need to be pickier. Don’t just accept guest posts because you think it will increase your traffic. Accept them because the content will benefit your readers.

Here are 7 rules you should follow if you plan on accepting guest posts:

Rule #1: Authors must have a track record of writing great content

I get a few dozen inquires each week for guest post contributions. Do you know why I don’t accept most of the posts? One reason is that I want Quick Sprout to remain my personal blog, which means I need to be the main writer. The second reason is that most of the authors don’t have a track record of writing awesome content.

Many of these guest authors have never written a guest post, which isn’t a big deal… but many of them don’t even have a great track record of writing awesome content on their own blog.

Here’s what I look for when authors offer me a guest post:

  • Spam – I Google their name to make sure they aren’t pushing out spammy content throughout the web.
  • Links – I make sure they aren’t linking out in their bio or within the content to spammy websites.
  • Depth – look to see how detailed their past content is. I usually look for authors who write content that is at least 1,000 words, if not 2,000. You can’t put much advice in a 400 word blog post, so avoid writers who are just trying to crank out content for links.

Rule #2: Watch outgoing links

This is probably the most tricky part about evaluating guest posts. Some blogs like Search Engine Watch are known for removing all links while other ones like Huffington Post keep almost every link you add.

So, what should be your stance on links within guest posts? Let authors link out as many times as they want to as long as those links are benefiting your readers. The moment those links don’t benefit your readers, remove them.

It doesn’t matter if those links go to the author’s site or even your competitors’ site. As long as the links help educate your readers, people will want to read your blog.

Here’s a general guideline to follow:

  • A bio should only contain 1 or 2 links – either to the autor’s website, Twitter handle, or his/her blog.
  • A blog post should contain a minimum of 4 links – I don’t have a maximum number of links that should be in a post, but I do have a minimum. People have written blog posts on almost every topic out there, so instead of regurgitating the same old information, link out to the sites that have already covered it.

Rule #3: The content must be detailed and unique

I would never accept content that isn’t detailed or unique. What I mean by detailed is that the content needs to be at least 1,000 words with no fluff. You can always make a post meatier by adding details and steps, so why not take an extra hour and write a better blog post?

I also won’t accept a blog post on a topic that has been beaten to death. For example, most people know that Google PageRank doesn’t matter. So, why accept another blog post that talks about why PageRank isn’t important?

Lastly, guest authors who contribute to dozens of blogs have a tendency to continually spin content. They’ll take the same post topic and continually spin it so that they can guest post on more blogs. To combat this, use free services like Copyscape, which will point out any duplicate or similar articles. All you have to do is upload the guest post to a private URL and run it through Copyscape.

Rule #4: Be picky

Even if a guest post is good, it doesn’t mean you should publish it. The content needs to be great! If you don’t set strict standards from day one, your blog won’t be read consistently.

Here are my criteria:

  • I won’t accept posts with spelling or grammar errors. If a post has those, it means the author didn’t spend too much time on it. (I know, I have a ton of grammar errors on Quick Sprout. I need to improve my grammar skills.)
  • Make sure you believe in the post because if you don’t, your readers won’t. No matter how good the writer is, don’t accept content you don’t believe in. For example, at KISSmetrics, we had the option of publishing a post on how A/B testing is useless. It was from a well-known analytics expert. But we as a company believe A/B testing is powerful, and everyone should do it.
  • The content has to fit in with your blog theme. For example, Quick Sprout is a blog about marketing and entrepreneurship. I won’t accept any guest posts outside of those two topics, no matter how well they are written or from whom they are.

Rule #5: Don’t give out author accounts

The biggest mistake you can make as a blog owner is to give out author accounts. You don’t want someone to have a login to your blog in which they can post content on whatever they want, whenever they want.

Why? Because you shouldn’t trust most blog authors. I’ve seen reputable ones plagiarize, add in spammy links into old blog posts and even delete pieces of content when they shouldn’t have. This happens because some authors are desperate, and they will do almost anything for money. If someone bribes one of your authors with a lot of cash, most likely they will take the bribe.

If someone is requesting an author account, something is off. It’s easier for a blogger to send you his/her content in a text document and have you deal with the headache of formatting the post and adding it into your blogging platform.

On the other hand, if you want to give people author accounts to save you time, make sure they only have the ability to save content as a draft. Publishing privileges should be saved for you or someone on your team.

Rule #6: You need to fully own the content

It doesn’t matter who writes the content, but you need to own it. If you don’t own it, people will start publishing the same piece of content on their own site or even on other people’s sites.

If a guest author wants to link to his/her guest post from his/her own site, that’s fine. Giving them credit for writing the post or letting them showcase their masterpiece isn’t an issue. The rights to the content is the issue. As long as you own it, you can do whatever you want.

I usually don’t do anything with content that is guest posted on my website. I just like to own the rights as it decreases the likelihood that the contributor will spin it. Or if a journalist wants to cover or republish the piece, which happens more often than you may think, you can give them authorization without having to reach out to the author.

Rule #7: Authors need to help build and support your community

My favorite part about blogging is creating a community. It is a community that reads the content published on your blog, learns from it, and contributes by commenting. In many cases, its members’ contributions can teach you things that you never knew before.

If you want to continually build your community, you need your guest authors to contribute to it. They need to contribute not just through blog content, but also through replies to comments. Any time someone comments on a post they write, they need to respond to the comment. It doesn’t matter if they write just a simple reply as long as they acknowledge that someone has commented and respond to it.

By doing this you will encourage more people to come back to your blog, which not only helps with social sharing and traffic, but it also helps with creation of brand evangelists.

Conclusion

If you follow the above rules, you won’t have to worry about Google penalizing you for having guest posts on your website. Why? Because the guest posts will be providing value to your readers, which is all that matters.

Search engines like Google want your readers and their searchers to benefit from the content on your website… no matter who is writing it. You just have to make sure the content you are publishing is great and not mediocre.

What other rules should you follow if you want to accept guest posts?

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Comments

  1. Thanks Neil, it’s all about doing, not don’ting

  2. Well said. I just got into the blogging world recently, but it seems like most people’s strategy is to exchange content that’s watered down in return for cross promoting eachother’s audiences. Then spend all your time finding other people to post/cross promote mediocre content. 99% of blogs should not exist. Yours should, love your posts.

    • Billy,
      Thank you! I spend a lot of time creating new ideas for blog posts and I feel that many people are searching for original content these days when it is very easy to repost what someone else has already written. Never underestimate the value of your original ideas!

      • Hey Neil, great post!

        Glad I have you and billy in the same place too… you guys have the only business blogs I feel are delivering real, actionable value… I’m a big fan!

        Keep it coming! :)

  3. great article Neil, I have been looking into writing several guest posts for our site, so these are great guidelines to follow!

  4. Never accepted a single blog post on my own blog…. But since we are looking to do some on the web, we will make sure we are delivering great value to blog who will accept us ! This beeing said, why cant we subscribe on comments on quicksprout so we get notified when you answer our comments !

  5. Just about to add our guest post section!

    Perfect timing!

  6. I know that you can grow your following if you are the one doing the guest posting, because of backlinks. But, I am not completely clear how it raises my traffic, if I allow others to post on my site. Can you elaborate…

    • Google has many ways in which it measures and alots authority to your website. Some of these signals that google and other search engine use for measuring your authority for a niche are:

      1. Content frequency( More important for news site ,etc… site where fresher content will be more updated like in the case of current affairs or breaking news). So in such sites the more frequently we write the better it is. Guest posts are accepted and thus they help in maintaning frequency.

      2. content freshness( The name says it all…A title when competed with Link building starategies will be read more if its posted after google’s penguin update coz before that the penalised methods were working…thats for users) Similarly in the case of Best WordPress themes in 2013…The frsher the better

      3. No matter how lame their are chances for a post to rank high for “long tailed exact match keywords” and this helps in traffic…

      4. There are hell lot more reasons…Think and Thanks

      3.

    • Easy, more pages indexed with relevant keywords, relevant authors have a crowd following them, and also authors tend to share their posts with their audience (social media, blog, etc). And the more unique, useful and authentic the article the more spread will have… so more traffic from social referrals.

      Hope this helps ;)

    • The more content you have on your site that is good, the more traffic you will generally get.

      Good content helps build links, which should help boost your traffic.

  7. Adnan Akhtar@EEgro :

    I cannot agree with you anymore on this Neil.

    People have used guest blogging for just creating links..My personal idea here with the litlle knowledge is Rule #1 Track record of the author…If the author has a tracj record of writing unique and valuable information then it helps the readership of your blog in very positive ways:

    1. A brand new and useful new perspective for your reader
    2. Getting your blog more audience as good authors will be having some followers

  8. Great post, Neil! I recently added a page to my blog that lists my guest blogging guidelines, and it’s easily findable via the top navigation. Since adding that page, I’ve received tons of guest blogging requests, and I haven’t been able to accept any of them. I’ve been really surprised not only about the low quality of the posts, but that many of the submissions have very little, if anything, to do with the content on my site. So I would also add:

    Rule #8: The content must be relevant to your audience’s interests. Don’t feel pressured to accept a blog post that is off-topic from your regular posts if you believe it will turn off your blog readers. It’s a good idea to have guest blogging applicants send you a few ideas ahead of time, rather than sending you a full post right away. This will ensure that nobody’s time is wasted, and that your guest is contributing something that will be valuable to your audience.

    • Dianna,

      Graet Point made here

      I would like to add a pointer or two. We should “Don’t feel pressured to accept a blog post that is off-topic from your regular posts if you believe it will turn off your blog readers.” In the same time we must all just assume what our audinece might reading and it has nothing to do with keyword relevancy and stuff..

      I hope we all remember a post on quicksprout made few months back “The Beginner’s Guide to Mobile App Marketing” . Although Neil always writes about entreprenership and blogging ,digital marketing etcc… but we all liked that post and incase we have noticed it was a guest post . It got 500 tweets which is pretty good compared to other blogposts in this blog.

      This will be a better way to go about accepting guest posts…whats your blogs name??

    • Diana,
      I have experienced the same thing many times. I agree that not only should the content be high quality but it should fit in with your blogs theme like I mention in rule #4.

  9. Very interesting new guidelines, the same debate is going on over at problogger. I think as long as its done correctly its still worth doing though.

  10. Yvonne Abugaber :

    Great post Neil!

    I have been reading a fair amount about guest posting these days, since I am considering doing some for my gourmet foods website.

    I was wondering what you think of this guest post (http://parentingpink.com/?p=15462) and if you recommend that I taylor my guest posts in this fashion?

  11. Guest posting is a growing trend but Google is on it already and superb quality is a must.

  12. These are great tips. Guest blogging is very powerful as long as site owner’s hold high standards and pick only a few instead of accepting any submission. Besides holding high quality standards, it should be a perfect fit for the blog’s niche/market.

    -Amir

  13. Great post, Neil. I’ve only just started accepting guest posts, and I will most definitely be tightening up on our criteria after reading this. By the way, how does Google differentiate guest posts from your own posts, especially if a guest author allows you to post their content using your own author name?

  14. Since text link ads we slapped down hard many try to get their links seen through a guest post. I think this is why Google considers penalizing guest posts.

    As blog owners we can help keep guest posts a legitimate practice to add value to our readers. These guidelines above are a great start!

  15. Great post Neil and very timely as I continually receive guest posts from people and feel guilty when I don’t accept them (as I have strict guidelines as you do).

    For me the key thing is that the content offers value and makes my readers want to share/comment.

  16. I’ve just recently opened my blog up to a few carefully selected authors and welcomed them to guest post on it.

    I think being very selective and not just accepting “any old post” is the key. I’ll only be publishing content that I would be proud to publish myself.

    Your post was more than insightful Neil, thank you very much!

    • Tony,
      I agree, holding your authors up to a high standard is always in your best interest. This will not only enable you to attract higher caliber writers but also establish your website as credible source for information.

  17. Thank you for sharing Neil.

  18. Just theoretically, let’s assume I fulfill the requirement of “a great track record of writing awesome content on their own blog”. If it’s awesome, chances are people are devouring that content on MY blog.

    Which leads to the question: Why should I want to put all that awesomeness on someone else’s blog to benefit THEM?

    Conclusion: If you invite/accept guest posts, make sure the deal is equally beneficial for the both of you. Sales 101.

  19. I’m still stuck on the fact that Google page rank doesn’t matter…. If it doesn’t matter then why do people check the Google page rank often? I’m lost. :)

  20. Well, back-links are loosing importance. My post: http://stretchgo.com/index.php/new-info/27-seo/518-do-not-guest-post has some of these things and more.

    But one thing: as long as every website can be owned by any person, expect back-links to loose importance to zero. Now the importance is like 20%.

  21. Neil, wouldnt it be easier, or maybe there is one but I dont know of, to have an app that ranks spammers and great content writers? I mean c’mon, this means google is going to penalize for having followers that have poop in their head?

    • It would, but the question is how accurate the app would be.

      I understand why they are doing this though… a lot of bloggers are just writing guest posts to build up their backlink profile. And the posts are really spammy…

  22. Here is the real reason why so much blogging is just crap…

    Good writing is hard work, and takes a lot of time. 2000 words, concisely written, researched, thought out and edited will take 4 hours minimum (trust me, I’ve been a professional writer for 20 years). Blog owners want great content, but the value they place on the content is usually nothing – they want it free. Oh yes, and it has to be 100% unique. No true writer is going to work all day to create quality content for your blog with no return.

    A skilled writer brings readers to your site, and what are you offering them? A link? Please. There is no such thing as free quality content. No one works for free. You have to offer something meaningful in return. This is why 99.9999% of blogs are crap. Crap content is what they get, because they offer little or nothing back to the writer.

    A quality publication pays between 10 cents and 25 cents per word. A 2000 word article would be $200 – minimum.. .

    • So true Brad.
      Everyone including the author of this blog should wake up and see that panda, penguin etc. is not causing any improvement in the quality of search results, except of course to put wikipedia, amazon.com and the big boys on page one, these are simply ways for g to attempt to crush independent self-employed people and their blogs and sites, or at the very least, drive them to purchase adwords in desperation.

    • When you have become established online it is easier for you to demand money to guest post. However, an author who isn’t established would just have to use guest posting as a platform to expose his or herself.

      So authors who give difficult ghost posting guidelines are right in that they want unique content not actually for free as you said but in exchange for a service-spreading your visibility.

      Do you know how long it will take for you to rank top in your niche without guest posting… ages, I most say. Because Google consider back-link to be important especially from high ranking site.

      If you’ve been successful online, how did you go about it-share your opinion in the reply button. Don’t send me to any link-just what step you took-and what social media platform is bringing the best traffic.. Hope to hear from you guys.. Thank Brad, Thanks Patel for a splendid article

    • You have a good point. In many cases you have to pay the authors. We did this with KISSmetrics when we started.

      We couldn’t get good writers for free.

  23. I think it makes perfect sense to follow these rules. I am little confused about 1000 words rule. Just wondering if a 1000 word guest post is too big. I don’t often publish posts that big, can I expect others to send me long guest posts?

  24. Hi Neil,

    Almost 1.5 years back when I did not know about guest blogging, I allowed a number of cheap, mediocre, useless posts. What shoild I do with them now? Should I remvoe it? If I do there will be too many “page not found” crawl errors. What do you suggest on this?

    • Do not remove them. Nothing in content is crap. I want to shun you from following what one blogger says. You also need some common sense when reading everything online.

      The best thing is to improve the content. This is very important because every content has something unique. It spares you the time of planning for a post and your work is just to improve the content.

      If you have like 100 posts posted on your blog, and you take your free time to improve them, you have like posted new 100 posts which you cannot do alone.

      My golden rule: think big online. Have your ways and do not follow what one blogger says. You also have your ability to be unique in what you do and that is what will make you a leader and not a follower.

    • I would learn from the mistakes and don’t accept those pieces in the future.

      Not sure if it is worth deleting them. I would just let them be.

  25. As usual, another truly valuable post, Neil. As a writer, myself, I cringe at the vast majority of what I read online.

    In addition to many of the things I have written under my own name, I do a considerable amount of ghost writing for others. Although I do some guest posting on rare occasions, I have yet to write one with any ulterior motives; the only thing in the signature is a link to my profile page. Sometimes, I just have something to say and other blogs are the best place to do it.

    I do have one thing that I disagree with you about in this post and that is the requirement to have at least four outgoing links. Perhaps in this niche it is necessary, but in many others, there is absolutely no need for a single link in a post. After all, truly unique content can certainly be thought provoking, inspiring or simply funny and a piece can stand on its own without anyone else’s opinions. Every post doesn’t have to be a fact proving mission.

    Other than that, I agree wholeheartedly with everything else you have written. I’ll continue to follow everything you write!

    • Thanks for the feedback Scott!

    • While having a minimum # of links set to 4 may seem arbitrary and unnecessary, we need to remember that the web is made up of links.

      The purpose of the web is to make access to information. Even if a post has no need to link to supporting information, there is always room for recommendations. Let the reader know where they can go for more about the topic. Or similar entertainment.

      Outbound links can bring so many benefits to the reader which brings benefits to the site owner and the article writer. Google is tracking engagement metrics, so engage the reader!

  26. Great guidelines Neil. I like to have guest posts that add to my blog value to my readers and a different perspective than I would have.
    I also like to reach out to others who know more about a particular subject than me. We can only know so much about so much, we can’t know everything about everything, right? I’m not convinced of the 1000 word rule though. Some of mine are just over 300 and others in the 800 range. I just did my first 1000. Maybe I’ll have a different opinion a week from now on that one :)

  27. Hi Neil!

    Another great post – I really appreciate your thoughts and dedication to quality posts. I wish everyone had your high-quality expectations.

    I think I’ll be taking most of these “rules” and revising my published blog policy on guest posting both myself on other blogs and other people on mine. I have had some HORRIBLE blog posts submitted by sketchy people; thankfully I didn’t even hesitate when I thought “does this reflect what my audience expects?”

    What do you think (and what does Google do with) syndication blog posts and websites? I syndicated a lot of my Sparkle Agency posts to Business2Community, but it really just seems to be TOO HUGE there are hundreds of posts on every subject & the content is a direct copy from my own blog post…

    PS – LOL on you won’t accept spelling & grammar errors when you admit your own needs work! I’ve even seen you use wrong words before correcting. Honestly, I think it’s more difficult to identify errors on Google Doc or text/word doc than published or preview post.

    Debbie

    • They are fine with syndication as long as there is unique content on both sites. This happens with many sites… more than just blogs.

      For example Citysearch syndicates their content to other sites and they take content from other sites and place it on theirs. Both of the sites in this senario do well as long as they also have other forms of unique content.

  28. Very good work outlining the importance of guest post acceptance. With AuthorRank and all those stuff being talk around so much. Even top bloggers today are trying to clean up their blogs. Tweak old posts, clean up bad content, some even stopped accepting post due to SEO’s writing content that is not really intended for readers but the sole purpose being backlinks.

  29. Oh my….it’s crazy the low quality samples/contributions/articles of people wanting to do a guest blog on my site. Ouch. Haven’t been able to say yes once.

  30. I was with you until you tried to own my content. I am a professional writer. You do not get ownership of my writing to use for your own purposes.

  31. I guess Google is keeping an eye on guest blogging is that it goes viral and another way most people to escape from restrictions of Google regarding on the quality articles.

  32. Your rules are unique . All over the internet there are guidelines for blog owners for accepting guest posts . You mentioned something found nowhere . I have made yours rules for mine too..

  33. Thanks Neil for an awesome post. We accept guest post for our blog too & these rules will surely help us to choose the perfect ones.

    Also I think while evaluating guest authors it’s good to measure the number of shares & comments the previously published articles got. If the number of articles is huge then you can use a tool like Social Crawlytics, which will crawl any site and generate a report of shares by URL. There is a page limit for the free version, but you can always pay to access more credits. You can find more on this on Marketing Land : http://marketingland.com/socialcrawlytics-providing-insight-on-how-your-content-is-being-shared-30393

    • Thanks for the additional input. I think checking to see the activity on a blog through comments and social sharing is good idea as well. I haven’t heard of that tool, I will check it out.

  34. Great advice. In my particular niche there is a lot of redundant content out there. I have to be very clear before the guest post is even written that they have to stick within the mission statement on my blog. So far this has worked very well as my readers consistently thank me for adding completely new content to our niche.

  35. Nice post again, question how many people work on your marketing team?

  36. Fulfilling points to consider, i just have a question regarding OBls, i believe outbound links should not exceed more than 2 or 3 in content, also what do you think regarding Link juice ?

    Creative Themes is accepting guest posts on ecommerec, web design and development, Magento, PHP, programming etc.

    Regards,

  37. Thanks for the nice tips, I really like your your rule # 01 and rule # 05 should follow by all webmasters.

  38. Thanks neil for great article, the first thing i would like to remove the accounts of the guest authors which i have created for auto register. Then to cross check for the links in the published posts to remove the crappy links & hope i will recover from the panda & pengium penalties for my one blog.

  39. Hi Neil,
    I have posted many good Guest Articles on my blog with some bad links in them. Also many other sites have copied the contents from my site. If I remove the links in the article the status of the article will change. My question is will this change treat the article as new one or old by search engines especially Google….. Thanks.

  40. It helps me a lot most of the filipino bloggers wants to have a visitors just like that . with guest posting. now i Know some limits do’s and dont’s to do it … thank you ..

  41. Your Posts are always awesome. I’m getting lots of Guest Posts .Now onwards I will filter them with your criteria.
    Thank you

    -Akshay Patel

  42. Good to know I follow all the tips written in the post. I think this article will help me create my guest blogging guidelines for my blog.

  43. Hi Neil, These are must follow guidelines for every webmaster, currently guest posting is one of trend to get backlinks and most of bloggers accept the links without looking for quality of website which decreases quality of their blogs.

  44. Interesting article. I wonder if Google will start ranking authors this year. If that is the case then we’ll all be looking for highly ranked authors to guest post and we’ll turn lower ranked ones away. The signs are all there that this is going to happen soon. As it shows in the video Google wants good quality guest posts.

  45. I especially like the emphasis on quality over quantity of content and focusing on measurement. Quite a detailed insight into guest blogging.

  46. Wow…a post with some real bite, something all wannabe bloggers should read. I’ve been thinking about adding a “guest post” option on my own blog and I was about to do it haphazardly. Not any more. Thanks for sharing this information.
    Paul

  47. GREAT article! I’m a VA and one client experimented with guest posts. While it was great to have so much content scheduled ahead of time, we realized the requests were all written in a very generic, often misspelled format. We have since closed down open submissions for guest authors due to the awful content and now go in search ourselves for our guest author posts. Ghostwriters can be helpful but often they can’t share the nitty gritty, real life experiences that a true expert can share.

  48. Neil,

    Good post.

    I have been blogging for two years and have been learning a lot. At this point I am more focused on getting better at thinking and writing through blogging, so I have not pursued guest blogging or accepted any guest blogging on my website.

    I tend to blog on topics that come to my mind with what lesson one can draw in business, communication and innovation. I am not sure if I will get a decent following since I don’t focus on one area which lot of people are looking for.

    Any advice?

    Thanks.

  49. The content should be detailed and not written just for getting a back link.

  50. Hi Neil

    I enjoyed your post. Why do you require a minimum of four links?

    Andrew

  51. This was a great read! I am in charge of my companies blog and I have beeb battling with trying to find a good format for how to accept guest posts and the types of guidelines I should follow.

    The question remains, how do you get people who want to submit awesome content to your blog?
    – my guess would be building relationships with people?
    Any suggestions?

  52. Thanks patel all myths about guest posting on other blogs are cleared now and today onwards i write guest posts with these rules.

  53. Useful post – I want to invent a ‘decency’ screening device, since this would cover all the points you raise. Until that time, your checklist will be in use – I don’t see that changing any time soon! :-)

  54. I’m a travel blogger and these are all great posts. I constantly get hounded by “people” looking to place posts on my site, but in fact they are just advertisers offering crap content they paid someone in the Philippines 3 dollars to write, just to drop links for their client. You have to be really upfront in emails before hand to make sure the content that is going to be provided is “kosher”.

  55. I like your thoughts about guest post master. Thank you for sharing.

  56. Your quality and content strategy is never worth sacrificing for an easy post that someone else has written. I love the KissMetrics blog because I know when I go there (like every other day) I get on target, high-quality posts that will benefit me as a digital marketer. Too often we get lazy thinking we have to keep a schedule rather than post the very best content.

    I’d rather wait an extra week for an awesome post than get a handful of junk published right away.

    Great job as always Neil.

    • I agree Seth,

      Even though I believe in consistency with posting on a blog, I wouldn’t post anything if I didn’t feel it was of high quality and could provide value to my readers.

  57. Hi Neil, cracking post.

    I’m toying with the idea of using guest posters at the moment and this will help me preempt a few catastrophes no doubt (esp the tip about copyscape and NOT giving guest posters a login).

  58. Thanks Neil. Helpful advice here. I am about to look for guest authors in my niche and am just gonna apply these rules.

  59. Very true.. in fact golden rules you put up here..

    I completely agree to the point # 5 where you’ve emphasized as not to give out author accounts anyway. Some authors just do not care about the blogs they publish their content on. It’s just difficult to keep track of their accounts, especially in the long run. The most annoying part is that, once they publish the articles, and new posts keep coming on the blogs, they go back and change the links which you’ll hardly notice.

    About #6, I am still skeptical as how you can implement this. Some so called authors (read spammers) will give you rights of their articles posted on your blogs and you feel relaxed but you can never know if they use them on any other blogs. You mail them with no mail in return. You’re the owner but still you may not have rights on its republication.

    #2 This is very important. Relevancy is the key here. I have seen your blog posts with as many as 20 outgoing links and all of them are spot on. The more relevant the better for anyone – Readers, writers, and of course Google.

    Thanks for sharing this valuable advice.

  60. Thanks for this rules. This rules really help me to understand, when my blog need guest authors.

  61. “The more content you have on your site that is good, the more traffic you will generally get.”

    Well said ..

  62. Interesting article ! I really like your rule # 01 and rule # 04 should follow by all webmasters. Thanks.

  63. Neil,

    A great post, but …

    There is one area, what’s in it for the writer? I got asked to do some work for a local paper. Their online content needed a boost. Overall I felt that what I did could benefit a restaurant client as a bonus. They wanted to spread my content across their multiple newspaper and magazine sites. You know this has a google impact, so I stepped back. They went and bought in a lot of shared content and my gut feeling was justified.

    I would clarify on Point #6. Exclusive web rights, fair deal, Exclusive total rights? Not too sure on that. If the author has a collection of material he wants to turn into a book, then why not?

  64. Hi Neil. Thanks for the great advise. I have a followup question to Debbie Horovitch question on syndication. We’ve been approached by sites like Business Insider and others that want to syndicate our content. Sounds like a great opportunity to get some exposure. However, aren’t we essentially competing with these other sites for our own content?

  65. Hi,
    Thanks on the useful tips. I might add that one has to be careful when accepting guest post in respect to the blogger/ author’s internet history. Check all the data on the guest and then go ahead with the posting.
    Best regards.

  66. I started to accept guest post on my blog and every weeks getting few request, and already have published few…but up to know will consider your valuable tips before accepting any guest post…. :)

  67. Awesome Tips.. But I could not get what do you want to say about min 4 links ??

  68. Hi Neil,

    I was directed here by Adrienne Smith as I asked my own readers to do a swap, and I totally agree with what you’ve written here.

    If you let any old crap appear on your site it will hurt you a lot, so it’s important to keep a good level of control.

    Andrew

  69. Thanks for post. I am always looking for new insights or interesting tips on content marketing. Your blog always seems to provide me with several new ideas or avenues to pursue with my content marketing strategies while always keeping quality in mind. Good stuff. Take Care.

  70. Superb! I am in a process to get a consistent number of visitors to my companies blog and then I can start with the guest blogging. So in this case, getting well informed about guest blogging has helped me a lot.
    Thank you :)

  71. Really a good article. I read it carefully and now start following all the principle you have mentioned before accepting any guest blog post. Important issue which I understand only accept if blog post has any benefit for your blog readers.

  72. ok I have opened guest blogging on my websites now. So if you are a guest blogger contact me.

  73. I would not say great article again, I am afraid you may tag me as spammer. But definatly will try to follow all these tips while accepting guest post. I also have a very bitter experience of so called guest bloggers.

  74. Hi Neil !
    Thank you for your excellent guest post guidline. Host blogger should be aware from spam and unethical post which ruin the site traffic. But if the host blogger allows guest post with certain guideline.
    Guest post help to keep a blog site regular updating and increse the search engine visibility.
    http://googma.blogspot.com

  75. Thanks so much for your comment. I am wating for this information. Join now to share
    Love it, will be waiting for your future posts Thank you for sharing
    How interesting ideas! I enjoy reading your posts – clear and well written. Thanks so much!

  76. I have always been avoiding Guest Authors on my website for all the bad reasons. This article made me change my view on Guest Authors. Thank you Neil, very comprehensively written..

  77. Neil another awesome post really… I was so impress I had to share on this guest blog community http://www.guestbloglist.com/

  78. No problem Neil,

    Keep producing awesome content :)

  79. Having a hard time coming up with a strategy to avoid giving out author accounts per Rule #5.

    What author should it be published to – a general, ‘Team at Heyo’ account? Want to make sure I provide the guest bloggers with credit, but don’t want to credit my OWN account with being the author.

    Stuck in a bind!

    Alex Shamy
    alex@heyo.com
    blog.heyo.com

  80. Thanks a lot Neil for the article. This works both ways for me. I haven’t accepted or sought guest bloggers for my site yet, but I have written for several other websites.

    It is nice knowing that I’m not doing anything slimy (that I know of, lol) that would make me poorly received.

  81. One other thing to consider when looking at guest post authors is whether they will bring something to the table for your blog. It can bring exposure for you as well as you providing exposure for them.

    Do they promote their articles well? Do they interact well with comments? Do they do the same with guest posts on other blogs?

    Perhaps a minimum amount of promotion and interaction should be laid out in the guidelines, both for the author and the blogger. It is a team approach. I’ve seen guest posts that have had no interaction by the author, and I’ve seen some that have no interaction by the blogger. They both need to be there.

    A guest post can be a win-win-win: for the author, the site owner and the readers.

  82. An intriguing piece. However, unless I have misread it, you appear to have missed the most important point: your relationship. The guest poster has to add as much value to you as they are getting from being associated with you otherwise the relationship is one-sided. It is no different to any other business venture. It’s not just writing something and then replying to the comments. Its about asking “how can the two of you create something amazing together that you couldn’t do apart?”

  83. Thanks for the ideas before i stopped accepting Guest Posts but now thinking again to start accepting with new guidelines.

  84. Great post Neil Patel,
    Nice information and it will really help us moving forward. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Let such things come and guide us.
    Cheers to you…;-)

  85. Hi Neil your posts are always awesome and it’s amazing you respond to every single comment. do you have a system to efficiently respond to comments? And how much time do you spent the day on writing blogs and responding to comments?

    • Dylan, I find it essential to respond to comments to get the dialogue going and to help people with their questions. I spend a considerable amount of the day doing this, but I don’t feel it’s work. I feel like it’s chatting online with friends :)

  86. Thanks Neil, I was interested in guest posting but when got your article and read all the 7 rules. Thais material really give a chance to thinking before accept other post.

  87. I didn’t get one of your point in this post – Don’t give author account. I have not given authors to access directly to register page. When I receive their mails with good content I instead adding that content myself allow author by giving a account in my blog to go and add your content. Later, I come and edit as per my wish and by making sure everything is good, published their content.

    I don’t find any bad circumstances in this, do you? When they are limited to just add and not publish their content. How it can be harmful to my blog?

    Rest, I feel is quite acceptable points in your post. :-)

  88. A business’ reputation is arguably its most valuable asset. Marketing is all about brand building. We invest in our brand because we believe it is what will make the business grow and flourish.

  89. Some very good points–thought I disagree with your issue with author accounts. Our site does give out author accounts, but we also use the Members WordPress plugin by Justin Tadlock. Our authors can submit content whenever they like, but it doesn’t get published until reviewed by an editor.
    Guest posting is probably one of the last legitimate ways of getting backlinks. In our niche–health and fitness, there’s very little natural linking amongst blogs especially compared to other niches like tech, blogging, or sports blogs. Part of the problem is that it’s really hard to find good blog content to link out to (excluding WebMD and commercial or Newspaper blogs). Consequently, guest blogging is really popular in our niche–so much so that finding a better way to manage our guest submissions is something I’d like to learn more about.

    • I’ve never knew about that plugin… that changes my whole view point on giving people WordPress access.

      I’ll have to check out the plugin. Thanks for telling me about it.

  90. Me too. I haven’t checked that WordPress plugin for guest post. Many writers want to contribute to our blog too but I don’t know if it is beneficial or not to accept posts from them.

  91. Thanks Nail. I just got my first prospect guest post author. I will try to apply your screening principles.

  92. Excellent blog, and this article is just excellent too
    I suggest this site to my friends so it could be useful & informative for them also. Great effort.

  93. Awesome article Neil, by the way I have recently started my blog but has no thinking on approving guest posts on my blog. So, is the decision correct? Or should I allow guest posting?

  94. Thanks Neil, I just accept dozens Guest posts within month, and unfortunately was not following even a single piece of this article. Will follow above instructions to secure my SERP value with useful content for my readers :) thanks Man.

  95. Nathan Brook :

    The given tips are helpful for guest posting.
    It is good that in case of guest post, both the blog owner as well as the guest poster gets advantage. The former has fresh content while the other gets promoted.

  96. Awesome post man. I got a request last week for a guest post on my site from someone and wanted to know what I should do before publishing the content.

    I’ve never dealt with guest posts before so I find your rules very useful. I was going to publish the post tonight as the author submitted it today but I think I’ll get back to him based on the notes I took from your post.

    • Jay, I would suggest finding out everything about this offer and the quality of his webpage. It would be essential to know these things before moving forward.

  97. Hello Neil !
    Now a days accepting guest posts is an issue. This is an awesome post regarding this issue. I really like these points. Specially that we should be picky in accepting guest post. I also prefer this point.
    Thanks.
    Peter

  98. Good tips. I appreciate that. blog should unique and limited. authors must maintain the accountability of content writer. always write the content in precise manner.

  99. Thanks Neil for this post Form last many months i was thinking abt guest posting . whether i can do or not but today by reading this post i can say that Now without any fear i can do this. thanks for this neil :-)

  100. I love it when things get improved, thanks for putting up a great guide. Hope it will help me out in my future projects

  101. Google Pagerank is indeed almost irrelevant these days. You only need to look at the SERPS and see the poor quality of the sites being ranked. It seems that EMD are again back in vogue.

    • Yea, in many cases I don’t see how they can be gone. For example I love hotels.com and I think they should rank for hotels related keywords. Good site with an easy to use interface.

  102. Thank you for this. I just accepted my first guest post a while back, because I believed it was quality. I’m very picky when it comes to selecting guest posts (some guest bloggers like to use their opinion and not much truth) and I don’t really like that so I prefer to blog on my own. Now with these tips, I’ll have guidelines. Thanks.

    • I think one must be very cautious when utilizing guest bloggers. If anything you should at least screen out your guest bloggers to make sure they aren’t spammers or hacks. Let me know how these tips help you out!

  103. Really great advice here Neil (as usual). Really all comes down to having really high standards for your content. Whenever i get a request for a guest post on my blog, i always say “don’t submit it, until you’re sure it’s better than my average post!”

    • Max, that’s a great strategy. Quality content is key. If you are going to let someone guest blog post they better be sure their content is going to outshine yours. Thanks for reading!

  104. Good post….. a few things i like to remember is when guest posting think quality not quantity, If you going to post on someone’s site, make sure there worthy of linking yourself up to, and if people are guest posting on your site make sure they include their Google+ profile link with rel=author, if they don’t know why, give them the heads up.

    • Charles, great point! It’s all about having the right people write the right posts. One should really consider the content, authorship and quality of any posts when making these considerations. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  105. Great post, really informative. I have experienced some of those things though, esp duplicate content and fluff from some guest writers looking for a quick link.

    One question for you though. Where can I find good and reliable guest bloggers?

    I am already a member of My Blog Guest, Post Joint, Post Runner, and Guestr. I am looking to expand and the site I am developing is fairly new. I am looking for guest blogs for both of my sites, but mainly the second one.

    I also prefer the primary site to be solely dominated by my blog posts. but now the challenge I encounter as far as the second website is concerned is that it is fairly new and no one wants to really link out from a new website, and I mean very new. It has like 3 posts. So writers are usually reluctant writing for it.

    But doesn’t everything start from zero and develops or progresses through there?

    Where can I get guest bloggers who could be willing to contribute fresh content to this site?

    • Vincent, my advice for you since you have already used many of the services I would have referred you to is to reach out to webmasters. Find some blogs that you find are within your target niche and go from there. Try to reach out to them and offer them a value proposition. Let them know you can provide quality content and would like them to write on your blog as well. More often than not people will look upon that opportunity kindly. You can also conduct interviews of top bloggers and make a blog post of it.

  106. Thanks for the advice Neil, I will look into that.

  107. Guest posts when done by a reputable or authoritative author not only gives different views to users but also helps the author and his site get lot of traction in the form of traffic and quality links but the other side of it has spam spreading its wings on the web with low quality spun content which is trying to manipulate their site’s search rankings & traffic on Google.

    • Nabeela, you are spot on. Great guests posts employ the tactics required to get traffic and traction. Quality content will always be king and it is important that people continue to realize this.

  108. Hi Neil,

    I am planning to increase traffic to my affiliate website with guest blogging. Do you think it will wok? I can offer other bloggers detailed and good posts. I am just looking at an author bio link back to my affiliate site.

    Or what else you suggest?

  109. I can see why lots of bloggers are getting a bad taste in their mouth about accepting guest posts. A lot of what you are saying here falls in the category of being an ethical business person and decent human being. Thanks for sharing your perspectives on guest posting.

  110. I’m looking for opportunities to guest post now and this content has really helped me to both understand a more successful process but also, because of this shared knowledge, I’m able to write a more appealing email request.

    Thanks Neil!

    Just thought you should know, there’s a typo here:

    “A bio should only contain 1 or 2 links – either to the —- autor’s — website, Twitter handle, or his/her blog.”

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  112. Awesome blog and article too. The given tips are helpful and informative for guest posting. Thanks Neil.

  113. No problem, and yes, I will be sure to keep following your advice! I have my first blog post due at the end of next week so hopefully that goes well.

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  120. hey Neil,
    feels great to see your blog daily!
    will you guest post in my blog…….I just started few days before but no traffic since I have put all original content in it. check it out!

    http://terunch.blogspot.in/

  121. Question for you Neil. How do you allow a guest author to respond to comments on their guest post? Let’s say I post their article either through a plug-in or just copy and paste from an email. Now how would they respond to comments? Thanks!

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  123. This is a good article but rule number seven is offensive. Writers are already underpaid and you expect them to write a post for free and then give you the rights? I’m sorry, that’s total bullshit and I’m sick of seeing it.

    You can state clearly that no guest post should be posted on another blog; I think that’s fair. But there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to publish that same article in print. Or what happens if your site closes up shop? They can’t reprint it elsewhere. Or perhaps they want to make a series of t-shirts that quotes the article. Or, perhaps the author, 20 years from now, wants to publish a compilation of their articles…nope, not if you own the rights.

    You don’t know what the future holds. No writer should give away unlimited rights to their works for free, with no expiration date. It’s insane that bloggers are even asking for this.

    If you want access to exclusive content for which you have total rights, you should pay your authors. Period.

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