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Guest posts are often spider junk food

If you receive unsolicited offers of guest posts for your site or blog, be a little wary of them - it may be just a waste of your time; or even worse.
The offer of original content for nix can sound like a dream come true to many site owners and bloggers as content development can be a very time consuming task. 

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On the flip side, offering to write guest posts for another site can be a good way to get inbound links to your own site; while retaining a degree of control over the content and how your site is linked to.
Like any good squeaky-clean content and link building concept, it's fallen victim to the "junk food" approach. 
I'll often get emails worded like the following, from sites not really related to one of my own:
"We were impressed with your site and wanted to know if you would be interested in having us write a guest post for your site, on the topic of your choice.
The articles are generally 600-800 words long, unless you specify otherwise, and would be on an agreed upon topic that is relevant to your site. Let me know if this is of interest or if you have any questions."
So, this person can write on any topic of my choice? They must be pretty knowledgeable which is impressive given their site's topic is far removed from my own. And why would I want to link back to a totally non-relevant site?
What usually happens in these situations is because the article is being supplied for "free", the job of creating the article is farmed out to someone who will be paid peanuts. It's not unusual for it to be written by someone who makes it apparent English is their second language or just has very poor writing skills. Sometimes the only thing they'll get right is the anchor text for the inbound link to the other site.
Other times, the "article" will be basically just a sales letter.
On a couple of occasions, I've also found large chunks of the articles supplied were plagiarized. Not good for me, and really, not good for the company involved should the copyright holder get on the warpath.
This doesn't mean to say all articles you'll receive from such approaches will be of very low quality; but there's a good chance some of them will be. Even if an article seems good, do your due diligence and check to see it hasn't been ripped from somewhere else.

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What this "junk food" approach has done is to also make it harder for bloggers and writers who craft quality content to get a guest post spot. If you are one of these people, make sure in your approach email you make it really clear who you are and your related experience in the area. Include a reference to an article you have written that is representative of the quality you'll provide.
Even just a couple of lines at the start of your spiel covering these points will help the person you're addressing quickly determine your offer is wheat and not chaff.

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
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In the interests of transparency and disclosure, please note that the owner of Taming the Beast.net often receives goods and services mentioned in reviews for free, or may receive payments or affiliate commissions for advertising or referring others to merchants of products and services reviewed.

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