A client approached me this evening with a unique challenge. They were working to coordinate guest blog posts in a couple different scenarios.
- People that wanted to write an article for my clients very popular site
- People that wanted my client to write a guest blog post on their less popular site
- People that wanted to have my client socially promote their guest article on clients site
- People that wanted to have my client socially promote his guest article on their site
- People that wanted to connect with 3rd party sites for guest blog article exchanges as well.
My client has been blogging for years and has hundreds of thousands of followers in various social networks. They love to share the love around, curate good content and connect people, bloggers, and companies to each other.
So they put together something of a form on their site to start collecting responses from people that were interested in any of the above scenarios. Due to the nature of the internet some of those offers were fantastic, some were very spammy and some were somewhere between spammy to newbie website owners looking to get initially connected to websites or writers that were far from new but also a long ways from being super connected themselves or having a well developed site.
Going old school in an age of Panda updates and Penguin updates my client thought maybe in their form they could collect the url of the domain in question that might receive a guest blog article or might get linked to in a guest blog article. They asked me the following question:
How do we use some automated tool or service to rank or value these websites? maybe something even as simple as calculating the Google Page Rank? (did I mention old school?)
I’m not knocking the idea and off the top of my head, I could not think of any free service that could take say a csv file of urls and run them all to identify their page rank (if you know of something or a plugin please share! Note I’m not charging my client for any of this just writing up my tips here in a blog article for everyone).
But the more I thought about the psychology of essentially soliciting guest blog articles and trying to coordinate the sharing and exchange of guest written articles I thought there might be a low tech, scalable way to achieve mostly the same result.
Simply have the people submitting this information tell you! (and one more key thing)
So on the form include something like:
1 Please submit the url / hyperlink of the site that you might link back to in the author’s block of a guest blog article that you propose to write for this site
2 Please submit the url that you would like us to write a guest article
Or it could even go a step into the coaching realm….
Are you looking to network your site, your blog even more but don’t want to do something spammy that gets you into trouble with Google? Well writing guest blog articles on other sites could definitely help! You could even benefit from inviting others to write guest articles on your site. Let us better understand your goals and your situation and more importantly start to measure if the efforts we are recommending are actually helping you (assuming you do start!)
1 What is your current Google Page Rank? (include link to instructions for finding that)
2 What would you like your Google Page Rank to be? ( yes a 10 sounds good to all of us, but lets keep thing real)
3 How many followers do you have on Twitter? (not spammy bots but real people?)
4 How many followers do you think you could really stay connected with successfully?
These are just a couple samples, and I’m sure you could think of more. But consider what these questions and their answers will do.
On the one hand it allows you to crowd source the collection of some useful demographic information for the people that might participate. Also if you see a lot of Pagerank 0 submissions from people with 10 followers, that might be a good tip off that you are hearing from a spammy person. In a more cold way, you might even just shuffle those to the bottom of the priority list.
On another front you might pick and choose different samples of sites with a range of pagerank and a range of twitter followers to receive your own guest articles or articles from others you might refer to them. Keep in mind in this day and age, it would probably be bad from a Penguin perspective to go in and cherry pick say all the PR4 and PR5 sites. You need a random sample of different ranges.
More importantly, you should get them to also write up some demographic information about what they blog about. You will need this anyway to help figure out if they are a good fit for your site or anyone else’s that you refer them to, but in doing so you can also start to determine what types of content might be a good fit for them on the receiving end.
Psychologically, when you ask the questions about where are they and where do they want to be, this gets them doing something with the intention of improving their site, their efforts and their network but doesn’t push them into the psychological trap of filling out a form and expecting instant results with no effort. (that would be a sure fire way of attracting even more spammers not fewer)
In fact any submissions that don’t provide a decent demographic write up (you might set a minimum of say 150 – 250 words) probably should get canned right away. If they can’t make the effort to describe their writing in a request to do blog articles, just imagine how bad those actual articles would be!
I hope that helps and I will likely add some more details and other tips in this article in future updates, including but not limited to some of the services that help on the SEO side and some of the services that facilitate guest blog articles in general. (In fact I’m going to be meeting and hanging out with a couple companies from both categories next week at BlogWorld in New York.)