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Rules for Guest Contributors

Last updated April 7 2017

We keep these updated regularly. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Disclosure

If you have a relationship with a company or someone mentioned in your post, you must disclose it. “My case study features the Cleveland Zoo, a client of mine.” “My business partner, Grenevieve Focker, wrote the case study below.”

Post Length

  • We’re finding that longer posts get more page views, time on page, and social love. We love posts that are between 1,500 to 2,000 words.
  • Want to write a post that’s longer than 2,000 words? Please ask for approval from the SEJ editors first!
  • We require posts to be at least 1,000 words.

Paragraphs

Use short paragraphs of around three to four sentences. Short paragraphs are easier to understand and digest, drive your point across, and encourage reading in this age of information overload and short attention spans.

Still not convinced? Here’s a post that outlines the benefits of using short paragraphs.

SEO Best Practices

Let’s practice what we preach, folks.

  • Alt tags on all images
  • One WordPress category
  • Titles may be shortened in the meta title section to be tweeted properly

In-Article Links

Links to third-party authoritative sources tell the reader that you are incorporating third-party perspectives and evidence in support of your argument. Otherwise, all you’ve got is a theory without substantiation.

Having said that, our editorial team is always on the lookout for links that appear promotional. We’re marketing to marketers, so if we don’t sleuth it out, our very savvy community eventually will. Our editorial team looks for links to clients, friends, or appear self-serving in some way. In some cases, the promotion may be unintentional, but it will still have the same effect.

  • No links to people’s home pages for their companies for quotes or cited sources. Linking to sources’ Twitter handles is OK.
  • No call-to-actions that are self-promotional (“Our new white paper covers this topic in detail. Click here to download!”).
  • Any links that appear promotional or superfluous will be removed by editorial staff.
  • We reserve the right to add rel=”nofollow” to any link or remove a link at any time, before or after an article is published.
  • No links to websites in these areas: pills/RX, porn, gambling, and payday loans.

Buying, trading, or selling links is strictly prohibited. If someone approaches you to buy links in your articles, we’d appreciate you tipping us off (anonymously) via this form.

Formatting and Grammar

  • Headers in H2 tags
  • Sub-headers in H3 and H4 tags, as needed
  • No span tags
  • No div tags
  • No filler/font formatting that affects content appearance
  • Please add a 1-2 sentence excerpt for every post (below text edit box, if you don’t see it click on screen options in top right and click excerpt).
  • Write out single numbers “one..ten”. 11 and up are written as digits. Percentages are written as digits.
  • For Pete’s sake: one space after punctuation. Please.
  • Example URLs (e.g. http://ABCsite.com) need to be plain text (not hyperlinked).
  • Title Case: Use this nifty tool to easily convert to AP-Style Title Case! For grammar nerds, here’s “coordinating conjunction” words that do NOT get capitalized in titles:

coordinating conjunctions

Images

  • Required: Upload a featured image (found on the right sidebar) that is 1600 pixels wide and 840 pixels tall. Please preview your post before submitting it to make sure your featured image is formatted correctly.

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  • Upload at least one image in your post. Place your first photo after 150 words or so.

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  • All in-post photos must be center-aligned, unless they are aligned with text.
  • Display size for all images must be set to “Large” if applicable.

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  • You can use images from DepositPhotos and sites that release all licenses (e.g. Death to Stock Photo, Unsplash, and Pixabay) only.
  • For DepositPhotos, please send your chosen photo’s ID or link to Rina at rina [at] searchenginejournal.com. She’ll download one for you. 
  • You can also use images that you created or photographs you took. Your own screenshots are great!
  • No promotional images: Images cannot have a company logo or brand. 
  • No external links on images.
  • No memes. While we love memes, and there is debate on whether memes fall under ‘fair usage‘, we have paid too many Getty copyright violation penalties. No memes pleeze.
  • The SEJ editorial team reserves the right to replace or remove images they deem irrelevant to the post or has negative connotation without prior notice.
  • All images must have proper attribution at the bottom of your post:

Image Credits

Featured Image: photogreach/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo: fancycrave1/Pixabay.com
Screenshot by [Author’s Name]. Taken January 2016.

  • All images must have Alt Tags and Title Attributes. This can be the post title or a succinct description of the photo that fits the post’s topic.

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Republishing Content Guidelines

In order to avoid duplicate content issues with Google, we permit content to be republished after 30 days of publication on SEJ. You MUST use a canonical link (the import function does this automatically).

Editorial Review and Corrections

  • If we find out authors aren’t writing their own posts, we reserve the right to reject or delete the post, as well as prohibit the author from writing for SEJ going forward.
  • We may add a disclaimer at the end of any article to disclose any relationships (or lack thereof) that either SEJ or the author may have with organizations mentioned in the article.
  • In the instance of corrections to byline, facts, or updates to published articles, SEJ reserves the right to edit any post at any time. Post changes will be noted with a note from the editor about the change and the reasoning for the update or change, if applicable.

Our Publishing Process

Our goal is ~2 weeks turnaround from the time you submit your post draft to publication.

So, what happens when you’ve finished an awesome post and pressed that blue WordPress button “Submit for Review”?

Post Status: Submitted to Editor

When you’ve finished a post draft, you’ll press the big blue button. Your post will go through the first round of copyediting, link checking, and whether it passes our editorial rules above.

Post Status: Copyeditor Reviewing

This stage is where our Copyeditor gets out a red pen and corrects for:

  • Typos, grammar, content flow
  • Links. If the link is germane to the content, it stays. But include a link four times? Use keywords or calls-to-action? Too self-promotional? The red pen will spring into action.
  • Full disclosure. If you reference your company in the article, your connection as the author needs to be made clear. So instead of “ABC SEO published a case study…” it should read “My company, ABC SEO, published a case study…”.

Post Status: Ready for Scheduling

Get on your mark! This post will be sanity checked one last time by our Executive Editor before it’s sent out on its way into the world.

Post Status: Scheduled

It’s gonna go live!

Questions?

Hit us up here.

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