Editor’s Note: We have another guest post for you today. We’re joined by Jacob McMillen, who’s writing on behalf of SmithSEO, an SEO agency that works with law firms across the United States. Jacob’s ‘confession’ is pretty much a universal truth for link builders and SEOs– you have to start somewhere! 

I thought this was going to be a lot easier. After all, I’m a pretty good writer. At least that’s what all my English teachers told me from elementary school through college. I was so confident that I could write articles that blog owners would post in a heartbeat. I was wrong.

When I started working as a link builder for a local SEO company, I was introduced to the two places creativity goes to die: Textbroker and MyBlogGuest. I think I had a figurative heart attack the first time I read the guest posts we ordered from TB. I mean, the grammar was okay, and the articles were complete, but they were entirely devoid of any and all personality. How could anyone ever be entertained by this?

Of course, I quickly found out that entertainment was the last thing these articles were designed for. Our goal was to mass distribute links, and that’s where MyBlogGuest came in. After using the site for a month or so, distributing mostly crappy posts to typically crappier websites, I decided to set up a blog request for my own blog. I was completely appalled by the results. Half of the submissions sent my way didn’t even sound like English. Few, if any, even made it to the level of TB’s offerings, which is saying something.

Trying It Myself
After witnessing this creatively grotesque operation, I decided I surely must be able to do better as a freelance guest blogger. I wanted to supply quality blogs with quality articles, and I knew I could do better than what I had seen. I figured blog owners wouldn’t care about a link in the byline if the article was beneficial and relevant to their site. But I underestimated the effects that tactless writers and spinning software have had on the industry.

Blog owners are paranoid. They don’t want to serve as unwitting hosts to SEO businessmen making heaps of money off of their humble PR3 rankings. While some get the drill, many blog owners don’t know how to differentiate between a quality offering that has been written specifically for their website and a cheap list-style fluff piece trying to use their site for easy money.

But that’s just one element. There are plenty of legitimate options with unintimidated owners. The hard part is connecting with them. For every ten submissions I place, I hear back from two or three. These are all sites with dedicated, detailed “Write For Us” pages, the type of sites actually seeking guest bloggers. Some even tell you when to expect feedback and or indication that your article is being considered. Yet consistently, I will hear back from no more than three sites per ten submissions. At the outset, I would spend 2-3 hours custom writing a blog for a specific site I was targeting, and it was quite discouraging to never hear back.

Big Break?
I thought that perhaps my resume just needed to be bolstered. Perhaps, if I got published on some top blogs, I would be good to go. After reading some tips by blogger Jon Morrow, and hearing about his rise to prominence after being published on Brazen Careerist, I decided I’d give it a shot. You can imagine my surprise when my first submission to the popular site got published, as well as my disappointment when it made virtually zero impact on my subsequent guest blogging pursuits.

It seems that it is simply a tough industry. Perhaps it’s the competition. Perhaps it’s the stakes. Perhaps it’s the waiting. I don’t know, but I like it, and I figure I can only go up from here.

About Jacob McMillen

Jacob McMillen is a quite possibly delusional freelance writer, getting his feel for the industry and guest blogging for SmithSEO while trying to figure out what the heck he’s doing.