Despite what the internet might tell you, guest blogging isn’t dead. Publishing guest blog posts can help your audience learn new skills and get to know experts in your industry.
The problem is some guest bloggers won’t be a good fit for your blog. Maybe they aren’t in your industry or don’t have enough experience to share valuable insights.
Other guest bloggers might be scammers running a link-building scheme to drive traffic to their own website — and that can get your site hit with a Google penalty.
So how do you make sure guest blog contributors are a good fit and aren’t just out to grab a link? Here’s how I’ve vetted guest blog contributors at Search Engine Journal and Classy Career Girl to make sure they’re a good fit and avoid scammers just looking for a link.
Google Their Name
Obvious, right? Not quite — there’s a little more to it than just Googling their name. Take the time to dig into the second and third pages of Google. If there is anything they want to hide, it’s likely a bit further back in the search results.
So what do you look for?
If they’ve written a ton of content for spammy or low domain authority sites, they might not be a good fit. If they’ve had a huge controversy, that could impact your site if they have a bad reputation.
You can also use Google search operators to uncover more information.
For example, search “guest blogger name + scam” or “guest blogger name + link scheme.” This will pull up any mentions of that writer and the words “scam” or “link scheme.”
You can also use search operators to remove unrelated search results. This is useful for guest bloggers with common names. For example, if you’re researching a blogger named “Bill Gates” who isn’t THE Bill Gates, search “Bill Gates – Microsoft” to eliminate results that include the word ‘Microsoft.’
Also, consider using alternative search engines, like DuckDuckGo or Bing, to find results that might be buried in Google.
Check Out Their Social Media Handles
Google should give you a pretty good idea of who the guest blogger is and what they do. The next step is to check out their social media handles. I suggest hitting all the main social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Depending on your niche, you might want to look into other platforms like Snapchat or TikTok.
Start by searching their provided names on social media profiles. Of course, some writers use a pen name or a different name on social media, so this might not always work. Check their email signatures for links to social media accounts as well.
Review whatever posts you can see (some might set their profiles to private.) Look at their bios to see if they have a website, links to other profiles, and past jobs. Make sure this information matches with the information they shared with you.
Pay attention to what type of content they share and who wrote that content. I’ve found link schemes where two or three writers guest post across several blogs, and then all link and share each other’s content.
If they only share content from one or two writers who also only share content from those same writers, it might be a link scheme group, which could negatively impact your website.
On LinkedIn, you can see if you are both in the same groups. Look under “Activity” to see where they’ve interacted in the past. If you are in a few of the same groups and they share useful content, that’s a good sign. On the other hand, if they share spam you know they aren’t a good fit.
The goal here isn’t just to ensure they aren’t scammers — this will also help you see how they are likely to promote the post they do on your site, what industry leaders they interact with, and how active they are on social media in general.
Users who are active on social media may drive more traffic to your site by sharing your post with a larger audience.
Visit Their Website
Not all guest bloggers have a website, but many do. You’ve likely come across their website while digging into their social media. If you do, take a look.
Start by looking at the copy on their website, any blog posts they’ve written, and whether the website is well-optimized. In some industries, SEO might not be a huge deal. For example, if you run a health and wellness website it matters a little less if your guest posters are up to date on SEO best practices. However, if your blog is about digital marketing, their site should be well optimized.
A few things to look for:
- An about page to learn more about who they are and what topics they are interested in. Make sure this info matches what you’ve found in other places.
- Do they use https? Non-https sites display a “not secured” note in the URL bar and tend to be less trusted by both users and Google.
- Do they have a writing portfolio? This will help you see if they are a good writer.
- Their monetization strategy. Do they sell services, run an affiliate blog, or sell their own products? Affiliate bloggers may try to slip in affiliate links, so you’ll want to keep an eye out. (Not all affiliate bloggers do this, to be clear. But it’s worth paying attention to.)
Read Past Posts
You’ve searched for the writer online, you’ve checked out their social media, and you’ve even taken a look at their website. Hopefully, there are no red flags. Now it’s time to dig into their past guest blogs.
Start by looking at which sites they’ve written for in the past. Have they written for your competitors? That isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it could mean they’re an expert in your industry.
What topics do they cover? Are those topics relevant to your audience? A guest blogger who has never written about your industry isn’t going to bring much value to your site.
Pay attention to the quality of the content as well. Do they provide actionable insights or just regurgitate the top tips from a Google search? Do they include images, examples, and sourced data to back up their points? Some features, like links and images, might be formatted to meet a specific site’s preferences, but make sure the content is truly useful.
Guest Blogging Isn’t Dead — But Sites Should Be Careful
Publishing guest blogs on your organization’s website makes it easier to publish content consistently, share a wider range of views with your audience, and build relationships in your industry.
However, it’s important to make sure that guest bloggers know their stuff and are willing to create useful content. I strongly recommend vetting guest posters carefully and using a plagiarism checker like Grammarly to protect your website from Google penalties.