Google Ready to Pounce on Poorly Written Guest Posts and Here’s Why

Like many bloggers, I accept guest posts. But I can understand why Google recently stirred up such a brouhaha regarding its policy about guest posts when I read the inquiries from bloggers who would like to submit an article to Write Speak Sell.

I will share several of these pitches below but first you might be interested in Google’s own take on guest posting in this recent video from the official Google blog.

Essentially, Google will frown on guest posts that are “spammy” with too many links to low-value sites. But most of all — and this relates to all website content — Google will punish poorly written posts.

Would You Write Like This?

In recent weeks, I’ve received the following inquiries:

Hi there,
I have wrote an article on ‘How can employee surveys increase productivity’ and I feel it would suit your site wonderfully. Please let me know if you are interested.
Thanks

I have been reviewing your site and what look like your most popular posts and think I have some twists to those that your readers would like. I am a guest blogger and I wanted to write you real quickly to see if you would be willing to look at some topic ideas that I have for your blog “Write Speak Sell”. I have been writing for blogs for a few years now and I feel like I have some interesting ideas that you may really like.

(Health publication) is interested in contributing a guest post to writespeaksell.com. We would be open to contributing any blog that would be of interest to your readers.

What’s Wrong With These Pitches?

First, the pitches are poorly written, so why would I want to publish a post from these writers? Note the grammatical error in the first pitch, “I have wrote (sic) an article…”

The three pitches went on to suggest topics that have absolutely no connection to my areas of interest: social media, employee engagement and branding. I don’t write posts about employee productivity, healthcare and travel.

This is hard to believe, but none of the authors included any contact information or websites where I could check out their companies.

Problogger announced a few weeks ago that it would no longer accept guest post submissions. It gave what I thought was a vague reason. But it became clear why when Google announced its policy about guest posts. Possibly Problogger had gotten a heads-up.

I will continue to publish guest posts on my blog but only if I feel the content will be of value to my readers. Please read my Guest Article Guidelines if you are interested.

Do you accept guest posts for your site? Will you continue to do so now that Google is clamping down on guest posts that it considers are of poor quality and spammy? Please leave a comment in the box below. Thanks.

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Comments

  1. I love your article, Jeannette. I get so many of these guest post submissions. It is rare that they are worthwhile. Sigh.

    I suppose I will leave up my guest post page, because 1 out of 100 articles are worth posting.

    I’m thinking of doing more guest interviews to get other perspectives. Really, my idea of guest posts had been to get other perspectives. But it seems like companies want the posts just to get a link. The content often puts me to sleep before I’ve read the whole article. Zzzz….
    Leora recently posted..Identifying a Painting with Google’s Search by ImageMy Profile

    • Leora — agree about the boring content. One route I’ve gone with my own blog and with client blogs is to seek out guests and do a Q&A with them. This ensures you are getting high-quality guests who are answering targeted questions.

  2. As you know Jeannette I have never accepted guest posts.

    A month or so ago I was contacted by an American who was interested in paying me for publishing sponsored posts on my blog. This is what he wrote:

    “Either I can have content written or you can write content that is relevant to your audience and helps to promote our client’s service. We then pay for that post and the opportunity to have exposure to your readers.”

    Am not interested but if I don’t have time for my blog for some reason I may have a look at what he has to offer i.e. the quality of the articles and how much he pays.

    Honestly Jeannette, I think it’s good that Google start punishing guest posts that are rubbish. They should actually punish any blog that’s written by someone who cannot write. The web is full of badly written essays pretending to be articles, even on sites that should know better.
    Catarina recently posted..Are you innovating on a continuous basis?My Profile

    • Catarina — I agree about the amount of poorly written content on the web. I was contacted a few weeks ago about a guest post but I asked for an outline first. Instead the author wrote the full post and sent it to me. It was from a reputable company but not well written and had nothing new to offer on the subject so I regretfully had to turn it down.

  3. I very much agree with you regarding guest posting. I have turned so many down for that very reason. If they can’t take the time to write a good request then it bodes that they wouldn’t work hard to present a good article either. As far as Google’s position, time will only tell what the effect is in regard to guest posting and the numerous requests that float my (and your) way. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Fear – A Four-Letter Word: StoryMy Profile

    • Susan — yes, it will be interesting to see how this shakes out over time. In reality, no one knows how to read Google’s mysterious algorithms. So my definition of a good post may not align with Google’s. I hope that doesn’t happen.

  4. Hi Jeannette: Thx for this post.

    I’ve turned down a lot of requests for guest posts on my blog – for the reasons that you’ve mentioned: they are poorly written, don’t know my audience, and have never even commented on a post on my blog.

    I’ve had a few guest posts done for me and for the most part, have been pleased. Only had one that was a tad on the “spammy” side. Perhaps I’ll go back in and deactivate some of the links the person had imbedded in the text as they didn’t add value to the content.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..take heed and listen to the signsMy Profile

    • Doreen — Good idea to look at the links in guest posts. I’ll still use guest posts but I’m being more careful about their being too promotional.

  5. This is a great post and very eye-opening for me. I have never guest posted on other blogs nor have I received any requests on my own. My blog is still fairly new but I am looking to expand and accept submissions from readers. I write a party planning blog and I wanted to feature readers’ parties to show that you don’t need a big budget for a great party. I like your idea about Q &A features…like instead of inviting a wine expert to guest post or a sponsor post about choosing great wines for a party, I can do a Q&A with them and ask the specific questions that I want. Thanks again for the information!
    Karen recently posted..Pretty Paper ChainsMy Profile

    • You’re welcome, Karen. Yes, the Q&A post works very well and it’s easier on the guest expert who doesn’t have to sit down and write a post. The Q&A can be done by email — send 5-6 questions and they type in their answers and hit reply. I will sometimes get on the phone and they will do a brain dump for each question which I edit. There is always editing, even when they create their own responses.

    • Jeri — I’m sure that as a former English teacher, you will be aghast at the guest post pitches you’ll receive as your blog becomes better known.

  6. Yes I will definitely continue to do so. I find it adds very interesting and different perspectives to my website. However. I typically reach out to people and ask them to blog rather than responding to requests.

    • Shoya — I’ve always enjoyed the guest posts on your site. I also invite guest bloggers which does add a measure of quality control.

  7. Like Catarina I don’t accept guest posts, however that doesn’t stop people emailing me to write for the blog. I think this is just the start with Google as in some ways it goes with their attitude to links and the quality. Also many guest post requests are done by agencies who probably have told their unsuspecting clients they can get them links and higher rankings.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..Increase Customer Retention The Simple WayMy Profile

    • Susan — good point about agencies writing guest posts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless they represent their client badly with unprofessional posts and bad links.

  8. I appreciate any blogger who finely combs through guest post requests and is willing to reject anyone they don’t feel is right for their blog. I think it is truly a credibility issue for the blogger. It is a shame to find a blog with information you trust only to see what appears to be ‘spammy’ content later on their site. Anybody who writes an inquiry should properly edit it as well as have a friend look at it. There is no quicker way to get rejected than by poor writing in the first sentence.
    Mary Slagel recently posted..Should You Use Student Loans?My Profile

    • Mary – please excuse my delay in responding. Agree, that we all need an editor/proofreader, especially if we’re submitting a guest post.

  9. Well, I doubt that I will accept any quest posts any time soon, and certainly wouldn’t accept any like your examples. I am new at blogging and am a small fish in a big pond, and there is so much garbage out there that I resisted the suggestion for a couple of years. The only reason I finally started it was to give my clients and prospective clients a view into my mind and how I approach mental and emotional health issues.

    It will be interesting to see how Google manages to curtail poorly written guests posts.
    Jeannette Santino recently posted..Do You Have the MTHFR Gene Variant?My Profile

    • Welcome, Jeannette — so nice to meet another Jeannette. You make a good point about your own blogging — that it showcases your skills and points of view to your clients and prospects. They will also be reading any guest posts, which is why it’s so important to vet guest bloggers.

  10. I do get at least 2 or 3 requests to blog a month. I’ve overcome the kind of spammy email you are talking about by a couple of things.

    I belong to http://myblogguest.com/ – and about 90% of the guest requests are on point. Some are a stretch. But the truth is, so many people give ME the chance to be a guest that I then move to my second tactic.

    If it’s borderline, I give them a list of about 6 requirements so they know that is the way I would accept their post.

    This is the first I am hearing about Google’s policy on this so thanks for the heads up Jeannette.

    Patricia
    Patricia Weber recently posted..Quotations and funny sayings to make any introvert proudMy Profile

  11. I think that very often companies hire young people right out of school and give them the task of writing blog posts. They probably think the posts aren’t as important as other communication tasks. But if any of those awful posts were ever published it would reflect very badly on the company.

  12. I will still accept guest posts but I’ve tightened my guidelines and will only connect with what I feel are quality sites. But I can appreciate your squeamishness in accepting guest posts.