Should You Accept Guest Posts?

SMS Text

It’s no secret in the SEO world that Google’s recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates have killed off a number of backlink building techniques that were effective in the past. And with the elimination of these low-value tactics, SEOs have turned to linking strategies that focus more on providing value and building meaningful relationships between websites. In particular, SEOs are focusing more on one technique than ever before: the process of guest posting.

But while the specifics on how to find and secure guest posting gigs have been pretty well covered online, what about the inverse of this proposition? How should you handle being approached by other guest post authors who are interested in posting their content to your blog?

While it may be tempting to say “Yes” to anyone who wants to provide you with free content for your site, there are a number of different things you’ll want to keep in mind when determining whether or not to accept guest posts on your website. Specifically, consider the following advantages and disadvantages before opening your site up to this promotional technique:


Guest posting reduces your writing burden

Every time you choose to publish a guest article on your website, that’s one post you don’t need to invest effort into writing. For busy website owners, the idea of being able to take a break from the constant “write-edit-publish” schedule of running a successful blog can provide a welcome relief, as well as the time needed to focus on other priorities.

Guest posting allows you to leverage knowledge in other areas of expertise

Though I’m sure you’re smart, you aren’t likely an expert on every aspect of your chosen niche. As a result, your website is probably lacking content in key subject areas that would benefit your readers. When it comes to filling these gaps, you have two options: You can either commit an extensive amount of time to researching and writing articles on these topics or you can solicit guest posts from other site owners who have extensive experience in your weaker areas.

As you might expect, going with the guest posting route can save you a significant amount of time!

Guest posting can increase your perceived authority

Publishing guest posts on your website earns you a certain amount of industry cachet, especially if you’re able to secure articles from prominent figures within your niche.

When website visitors arrive on your website and see guest posts, they see you as someone with strong enough industry connections that other authors find it beneficial to share their work on your site. After all, as a website owner, you wouldn’t waste time posting your guest content on young, unestablished blogs.

In this way, receiving requests for guest posts indicates that you’ve gained clout within your industry, making their publication an indication to your readers that you’re an authority figure within your chosen field.


Guest posting may dilute your message

Now, while accepting guest articles may help to increase your perceived authority, you’ll want to use caution when posting them to your site.

As a website owner, one of your goals should be to develop a memorable voice and a series of helpful content pieces that enable readers to build a relationship with your brand. But by posting too many guest articles, you dilute the very voice you’re trying to create, making it more difficult for readers to understand and engage with your site’s unique message.

Guest posting funnels visitors away from your website

In addition, most of the guest articles you accept will come with a caveat, that the original author be allowed to link back to his or her own website. And while this is often a worthwhile trade-off in exchange for free content, be aware that every guest post you publish will divert visitors away from your own sales funnels and onto competing websites (where they can’t make you any money).

Guest posting requires editorial effort

Finally, bear in mind that deciding to accept guest posts isn’t as simple as “copy and pasting” other authors’ content into your own website. As soon as you open your doors to guest articles, you’ll be on the hook for corresponding with authors on potential topics, reviewing posts that are submitted to you and coordinating any necessary changes to ensure that the articles you accept meet your stringent quality guidelines.

Given all these different factors, it’s up to individual webmasters to determine whether or not to open their sites up to guest articles.  However, if you do decide to go down this road, you’ll want to pay attention to the following advice in order to make the process as easy and rewarding as possible:

1. Establish your guest posting terms

First of all, be aware that deciding to accept guest post submissions doesn’t mean that you must say “Yes” to anyone and everyone who contacts you to arrange a guest article. It’s perfectly fine to limit the number of posts you’ll accept. In fact, it’s recommended that you do!

To avoid allowing guest authors to dilute your voice on your own website, consider limiting guest posts to no more than one to three slots per month. Also consider establishing quality guidelines up front that specify how long posts should be, how many links can be included in each article, and what subjects can be covered in order to minimize unqualified requests.

2. Create a “Guest Author” page on your website

Next, with your newly established list of guest posting terms, create a separate page on your website that explains your complete guest article process. Plenty of webmasters use search queries that include the words “guest post” or “guest author” to find potential submission sites, so setting up this type of page in advance will help increase your exposure to a wider audience of authors (as well as eliminate any confusion about what you expect from your guest authors).

3. Don’t be afraid to reject guest post submissions

As you begin to receive guest posting inquiries or submissions, be aware that you’ll likely receive a handful of articles that don’t meet your quality expectations. The articles may be off-topic, poorly-written, or lack the depth of subject matter you desire. But whatever the case, you need to become comfortable with rejecting posts that run afoul of your editorial guidelines.

It isn’t easy or fun to do, but it’s best to address these situations head on. Instead of letting status update queries sit unanswered in your inbox, follow up with authors whose posts won’t work for your site in order to inform them of the situation and let them know whether you’re outright rejecting their pieces or if changes could be made to make their articles acceptable for your site.

4. Reach out to guest authors on other industry websites

If you’re having trouble attracting qualified guest post submissions, consider reaching out to website owners that have posted good articles on the industry sites you frequent. In many cases, these webmasters haven’t heard of your business before, but will jump at the chance to promote their content on your website.

5. Pair up with guest authors to create reciprocal exchanges

One final piece of advice to consider when it comes to getting the most out of your site’s guest authors is to request that webmasters who submit content allow you to exchange a reciprocal post for their websites. As a business owner, leveraging these connections in order to increase your own online exposure can present a welcome trade-off for the time needed to manage your own internal guest posting program.

Clearly, these recommendations come from my own experience managing websites and soliciting guest posts, but now, I want to hear from you. Do you allow guest posts on your website? If so, share your words of advice for webmasters who are thinking about doing the same in the comments section below!

Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel has over 12 years of digital marketing experience and has helped hundreds of clients increase web traffic, boost user acquisition, and grow their businesses. He’s currently the VP of Marketing at When I Work, the top rated employee scheduling software. In addition to his role at When I Work Sujan co-founded and wrote the book on Growth Hacking titled 100 Days of Growth.
Sujan Patel
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Nicki Escudero

    Nice article, Sujan! You have lots of great points in here. While it does require diligent editing to make sure the tone and message are appropriate, we really love featuring guest blogs here at CX because there is so much great knowledge we can share with our readers in a variety of areas!

  • Matt Beswick

    Great post as always, Sujan 🙂

    For me, it’s always a question of quality and what that person brings to the table. If they’re just there for a link, it’s always a no. If they bring knowledge, a bit of extra promotion, and a voice that will stand out then they get a tick in the box.

    As there’s so much spam out there nowadays, having specific instructions on your guest post page really helps weed out the spammers and find those who are a bit more creative. Even asking something like “In your email, tell me a little bit about your favourite nursery rhyme” is a winner – those who understand the process will write something great. Those who don’t will ignore you completely.



  • Adeel Sami

    Ahhh !! Thanks Sujan. One having the busy blog, it will be so lot of effort for him/her to keep engaged with the guest posters and to moderate what’s being posted.

  • Dean Saliba

    My BIG problem is when guest posters sendin a great article and the links are to relative sites but then they never bother coming back to reply to the comments and I’m left alone to try and answer questions and comments on a subject I might not have ANY knowledge on.

    How do other people combat this?

  • Aaron

    Wow! The timing of this article could not have been better. I’ve been waffling between looking for guest authors and writing everything on my own. Excellent points to consider.
    For a new blog would you recommend building an audience and establishing my own voice before soliciting guest bloggers?

  • Dominic Dean

    Great article Sujan, thanks for sharing it with us. There are some really good points. In my opinion, guest blogging is excellent way of broadening the scale of your blog. However, it takes great deal of time and effort to do the editing and moderating to keep the tone of the sent message the same as if you would have written it. Nonetheless, I think it`s worth it.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    Keep in mind that just because you aren’t writing the content you are still responsible for it. Are your guest bloggers adding to or hurting your brand and messaging strategy? Your brand is still going to be associated with that content, even if you aren’t the author.

  • Eric Scism

    I love guest blogging. I t hink it gives your audience a chance to hear something fresh and from a fresh perspective. you just have to set their expectations and let them know that you may not agree with everything said. If the guest blogger does a good job promoting their post then you might get some more readership out of it. I think it’s a win / win.

  • Andi the Minion

    Hi Sujan,
    I would love to have more guest posts on my site but the truth is I get offered a lot of very poor quality posts that would ruin our site and reputation. Because of the recent Google backlink issues many corporations have realised that guest posting is a good way to get natural backlinks and exposure so they hire worthless writers for a few dollars who write nothing but weak and poor 500 – 800 word posts that are simply regurgitated rubbish,

    I really cannot allow that kind of stuff on our site, Any guest posts have been written by people that I know by my request. It does seem that laying out my conditions for a good post often gets ignored and I still receive emails offering me rubbish lol

  • Rahul

    Hi Sujan,

    Any possible recommendations on handling the comments on the guest post ?

  • Winardi

    Hi Sujan,
    Great article, i have a question here:
    My recent guest poster make link to a website/url that not related to my website category, is that will hurt my link building strategy? However the article is in my category.