Guest Posts as Scam?

coffee_cup_pens_pencils_writing_bloggingI’ve recommended guest posting in the past to increase your visibility, credibility and traffic. I was a guest poster a few years ago on a couple well-respected media and PR sites and I’ve hosted guest posts on my blog, though not for several years. It was a great blog exposure technique that has unfortunately been abused by scammers.

Here’s how: The other day I received an email through my website contact form from a woman who said she was a new writer and offered to write an article for my blog. I was a new writer once and was flattered for about a half-second.  I felt something did not smell right (trust your gut).

Her greeting was “howdy,” nothing personal though if she had read my blog, as she said, she would know my name..hmmm.  Her email address was gmail but that’s okay.  I use it too.

I looked at her article samples which were acceptable, but not great and not in my subject area.  Should I give a newbie a chance with some visibility on my blog? 

A line in her email read:

“All I ask in return is the chance to link back to my social media profiles and/or company in the author bio.”

Okay, sounds reasonable. Let’s check out her social profiles, company, etc.

I did a google search and found absolutely nothing about her – NOTHING.  No LinkedIn profile, twitter, Google + or Facebook, no photo – NOTHING, 

Oh, actually, I did find something.  I found a link to an email solicitation exactly like the one I received, but for a different industry.  Obviously it is a fill-in-the-blank template!  That link was taken down about a week later…hmmm.

Apparently a tactic used by scammers is to get bloggers with good web traffic to accept their guest posts to manipulate search results.  They bury unrelated links in their posts to earn advertising backlink fees from other companies.  And your blog can actually be penalized by Google, if it decides guest posts you've published are only trying to get a backlink. 

Online business connections are like offline ones. It is about relationships. There are legitimate sites for guest blogging and honest writers who want to be guest bloggers. If you invite people to write for you, develop a policy for guest posts, put it on your website and email it to potential guest posters.

If you plan to put a guest post on your blog, do a thorough online check of the writer and their existing content. (Back when I was guest blogging, around 2009, we also spoke over the telephone before submitting posts to each other!)

Plus in the spirit of “trust, but verify,” check the links and run the post through Copyscape.com or Plagium.com to make sure the article is original, not duplicate content, before you publish it.  Most scammers submit cut and paste jobs you will find all over the Internet.

You are your own media company now. Beware of unsolicited offers to give you free content.  Make sure you do your homework.

What do you think about guest posting?  Please leave a comment.

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Janet Vasil

On-Camera, Speaker & Media Coach/Trainer at Vasil Media Group | Your Media Moment & Beyond
Virtual Communication Specialist Janet Vasil is a former award-winning, EMMY®-nominated TV Journalist who teaches business professionals to communicate with impact on-camera, in media interviews, and as public speakers. Contact at http://bit.ly/Talk2Janet

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