Having a strong outreach strategy for blogs can represent an excellent way to boost your SEO, and can help to build strong relationships with high profile sites; a consistent outreach approach can, then, lead to guest posts and blogger promotions that can generate significant leads and inbound links for clients, and can also create new opportunities for collaboration with other bloggers. However, there are some warning signs that should be looked out for when deciding whether or not a site is worth contacting and developing a relationship with.
1 – No Social Toolbar or Social Optimisation
You want a site to be able to generate discussion and social links – the more times that a guest post or article is shared, the more chance there’ll be of you receiving click throughs and links. Sites that have an inconsistent social media policy, and that don’t include a social toolbar for consolidating different networks should be viewed with some caution; moreover, do comment sections on a blog regularly produce useful comments and discussion that can lead to shares, or does the site mostly attract spam responses?
2 – Lack of Post Frequency
This is crucial to look out for on sites – while there may be some good posts on a blog, and it may be in the niche that you’re trying to hit, you might see that posts aren’t appearing that regularly; there may be a lot of posts at a certain time of the year, but these might then drop off. Look at what other content is on a page, and see whether or not the webmaster is producing their own, high quality posts, or whether they’re soliciting a lot of low quality guest posts.
3 – Not Indexed on Google
Any page that’s not indexed by Google should be viewed with some suspicion – this may be due to it being a relatively new blog, or to URLs changing; however, a webmaster that hasn’t taken the necessary steps to get their site indexed may not be updating it very often, or might not be able to provide the crawlability and site optimisation that can deliver a larger audience. Pages with poor HTML headers and no sitemaps should also be approached with caution if possible. If the homepage or worse the entire site is not index, this can be sign of a Google penalty caused by black hat linking practices.
4 – Overly Complex Guest Posting Rules
You may have found a great site, but it may have overly complicated guest posting rules that will drain a lot of time from the writing and editing process; in this context, it’s worth weighing up the amount of time and value that a site deserves. Quantity versus quality is always going to be a key challenge for outreach, and unless the site or blog has a large readership and social value, it may not be worth spending a lot of time trying to please the rules of a webmaster.
5 – Weak Content on a Site
A site that has a lot of ‘thin’ posts and guest posts should be fairly easy to spot; check for repurposed or spun content, as well as posts that seem to be have been copied and pasted from elsewhere; pages that deal in this kind of content are gradually being phased out from PageRank by Google, and should be avoided if you don’t want to create a negative association with your link, even if the webmaster is happy to post or accept guest posts.
Rob James is a outreach specialist, currently working to increase awareness of creative digital agency boxmodel. Rob can be found online blogging about various SEO related topics from a healthy backlink profile to avoiding onsite duplication.