Identifying & Avoiding Toxic Blogs

181,000,000. This is the rough number of blogs in the world tracked by NM Incite at the end of 2011. That’s a pretty big number. This number can be pretty overwhelming for bloggers trying to guest post on sites. Where do they start? At CopyPress, we don’t just guest post on any of these 181,000,000 blogs. We have a thorough quality assurance process that we use daily to stay clear of toxic blogs which in return allows us to make connections with the crème of the crop blogs.

There are great tools to allow you to narrow that long number down to find sites that are 1) actually accepting guest posts 2) fit your vertical 3) high quality. There are a massive amount of ways to fine-tune your search, and to find the high quality sites that are accepting guest posts. Dave Snyder’s Outreach Specialist’s Bible has a ton of information and proven techniques and tools to do so.

Metrics

A great way to see if a blog will work from the start before getting into the nitty gritty, is to take a look at their metrics. At CopyPress we analyze the blog’s PR, Alexa rank, and Domain Mozrank. However, as you read on you’ll see we go way past these figures and take a deeper look into the raw quality of the site.

  • PageRank
    • PageRank is the rank value of the importance of a particular page
    • What PR level determines high quality? CopyPress works with sites that have a PR of 2 or above. The higher the PR, the better.
  • Alexa
    • Alexa calculates traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from other traffic data sources.
    • What rank does CopyPress find to be high quality? CopyPress mainly focuses on the top 250,000 Alexa sites and when applicable top 750,000. The lower the Alexa, the better.
  • DmR
    • Domain MozRank (also known as DmR) measures the popularity of a particular domain compared to all other domains.
    • What DmR shows top quality? CopyPress believes that a DMR of 5+ is top notch quality. However when applicable a rank of 3-4 works as well.

Engagement

You may find a site that has some pretty good metrics, but, do they have a strong following and active community? Just because the site meets the mark when it comes to the metric levels, it does not mean we want to make a connection with this blog. Who wants to post on a blog that has not received a social share since March? Who wants to post on a blog without a single comment on the last 20 posts? Not us. These are clear indicators that a blog is not very active and not attracting enough engagement.

Social shares

You’ll want to look at the last 5-10 posts to see what kind of social shares the site is working with. If the last 10 posts don’t have a single like or tweet, it’s safe to say that this site has no social life. No one is finding the content worthy enough to share to others which is an indicator of what will happen when you post on the site. You want to guest post to get the word out whether it be for your name, brand, company or client. This is why posting on sites with high social activity will go the extra mile to getting you more unique visitors.

Comments

Digging even deeper, you will want to look at the comments on the recent posts. If the last comment was made a year ago, it’s a clear sign that this is not a very active and engaging blog. Social shares are great but a good amount of comments makes a blog much more appealing and shows that people are actually reading and just not tweeting.

Dates

Outdated blogs are absolutely toxic. If you’re looking at a site with their most recent post is from last Christmas, then you’re in poisonous territory. Clearly, the farther away the recent post dates are from the current date, then the less active the blog is. No one is coming to the blog because no posts are being published.

Content

Does the blog content look like a non-english speaking writer wrote it? If so, run for the hills. The content should be high quality and definitely be written by English-speaking writers. Here’s some examples of clear signs you’re dealing with a site owner who does not speak English as their first language…

Geo

Unless we’re building connections for a Geo-specific campaign like UK, DE, CA, etc. we want to focus on connecting with US blogs. When the site is hosted in the US, located in the US, and targeted to a US audience, we are increasing our chances that the content is going to be quality and grammatically correct.

Other Things to Look Out for

  • Is the site google-indexed? It should be.
  • Does it rank for any keywords? It should.
  • Are there way too many spammy images on the page? There should not be.

Signs of Poison

Obviously, outlining all the quality metrics we, at CopyPress, look for does not always eliminate all of the bad sites. Many sites may meet the metrics but fail at matching the other pieces of the puzzle. Even with our strong QA techniques, we still have to dig deeper and look past the numbers. Here are the main signs of poisonous sites that fall outside of the metric requirements:

  • Bad English
  • Content has links to casinos, payday loans, etc.
  • Ads everywhere
  • Blog topics are all over the place – meaning anyone and everyone can post there
  • Blatantly says the blogger resides in a non-English speaking country
  • 2 people like their Facebook page

How Do We Measure All of This “Stuff”?

You might be thinking that this is a lot of “stuff” to look for, before even attempting to make a connection with a blogger. We thought the same thing at first. We found it time consuming to have to look at several different SEO toolbars to get multiple pieces of information. So, we did the only natural thing—we created our own toolbar that holds all the pieces of the puzzle.

This toolbar saves time and makes the QA process much easier and efficient. It shows the site’s metrics, possible QA issues and the last 5 blog posts. It’s a life saver and definitely helps eliminate dealing with all those toxic blogs out there.

With the QA tool and the proper amount of attention to detail you’ll be able to easily identify and avoid these hazardous blogs for good.

About the author

Ryan

Ryan graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's in Business Marketing in 2010. She has worked at CopyPress since September 2010 and has had many roles which include: Community Manager, Marketing Manager, Connections Manager and presently the Client Manager. Ryan lives in Tampa, Florida with her Fiance, David and her crazy Shiba Inu pup, Brew.