As a writer, I would love to have an article of mine be featured by the BBC, or CNN, or the New York Times. That sort of prominence would give me, my name, and my brand a huge boost as I continue my career. Being able to show others my byline on such a well-known and powerful website will give me a great amount of clout as I try to promote myself as a quality writer.
Unfortunately, these prominent websites don’t accept content from just anyone. And while I may disagree with the criteria they use, they get to pick and choose who they feature.
So why do I mention all of this? Because when it comes to link building and SEO, the online world isn’t much different.
As a webmaster, I’m going to want to get as many other sites linking to my site as possible. These incoming links help to promote my site and help it to rank better in search results. I can do this in a number of different ways. There are plenty of social networking sites, directories, and other channels I can utilize. Some of those sites will automatically accept my submission, while others may have more stringent criteria.
While there isn’t really any harm in capitalizing on those sites that have little to no editorial oversight, the value from those sites will be minimal. That’s why your time will likely be better spent focusing on the more ambitious sites and links. They are going to have more strict criteria and they may reject you several times, but when you finally do get your link posted the time you spent will be worth it.
The other side of editorial discretion is guest blogging. Whether you’re submitting or receiving posts, it’s important to note the sites you’re dealing with and what criteria is being established.
If you’re accepting guest posts, be sure to set specific guidelines about what sort of content you’ll accept and what sort (and number) of links you’ll allow. This ensures you don’t turn into a site that is of minimal value.
But if you’re submitting content, you’ll want to make sure you aim for those sites that have a bit stricter of criteria. This isn’t to create more work for yourself; it’s because many of these sites use these criteria to weed out the lazy and weak. People who don’t want to follow directions or don’t want to deal with rejection don’t get promoted on those sites.
But you’re different. You’re willing to put in the work and do it right. You’re willing to follow the directions which have been set. You’re willing to put in the extra effort. You’re willing to do all of this because it will mean your content (and/or your link) will be featured on a website that doesn’t allow just anyone to post.
You’ll have earned a valuable link.