2014 Oscar For Worst Guest Post Outreach Goes To…


Email outreach is an intrinsic part of SEO and whether you are looking to promote your latest article or are looking for guest posting opportunities, crafting the perfect outreach email should be a key part of any internet marketer’s skillset.

Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to suck at outreach and this particular gem (from a guy called Daniel) popped into my inbox yesterday.

Let’s take a look at the email first and then discuss: –

  • Where he went wrong
  • What he should have done

The Offending Email

Hello Sir/madam,

I visited your web site earlier today and just wanted to congratulate you on a well presented, and informative web site. I have a site which has content relevant to your site. I am interested to do Article Post on your site as par Google update we all known that unique and relevent content is more important for a site. So i want to submit my SEO , Web Design , Technology , Computer , Printing, Electronic Product related article or post on your site, I also have good sites to post your. So if you are interested please inform me soon.

Thanks & regards,

There are so many things wrong here…

Let’s break them down.

Say My Name…

Ok, firstly, he kicks off with the dreaded: –

‘Dear Sir/Madam’

It should be pretty obvious to anyone who has actually been on my site that my name is David McSweeney. All the articles say ‘by David McSweeney’ at the top, my g+ box is on the sidebar and the about me page is (funnily enough) all about me.

The only thing worse would have been ‘Dear webmaster’.

What He Should Have Done

Either ‘Hi David or ‘Dear Mr McSweeney’ would have been just fine.

If You’re Going To Try And Ego Bait Me…

Then at least throw me some sort of bone.

Generic statements, i.e…

‘I visited your web site earlier today and just wanted to congratulate you on a well presented, and informative web site.’

… just scream ‘I am throwing a load of mud at the wall and waiting to see what sticks.’

What He Should Have Done

Nothing wrong with ego baiting – people like to be complimented – but at least try and pick out something specific.

You might point to a recent article: –

‘Loved your post about the price of fish in Indonesia. Who knew that carp was so expensive!?’


‘I really like that default wordpress theme you’ve got going on…’

A little joke at my own expense there… 😉

Starts Bad, Continues To Be Bad…

‘I have a site which has content relevant to your site.’


What He Should Have Done

Be open. Something like…

‘I run a site all about Indonesian wines (indonesianwinesareamazing.com). It’s at the early stages, but I’ve been working hard on my content and building up my audience’

Gets Worse…

‘I am interested to do Article Post on your site as par Google update we all known that unique and relevent content is more important for a site.’

I’m guessing he means ‘as per’ and relevant…

Erm… which google update are you talking about here? The one where they (totally unjustifiably) hammered my blog guest and made everyone twitchy about guest posts? That’s not exactly going to make me want to post  your article.

Are you talking about google panda in 2011? Not exactly recent…

You don’t have a clue do you (and you’re hoping that I don’t either).

What He Should Have Done

He didn’t need to say anything about google updates. It’s just annoying.

Plumbs New Depths Of Low

‘So i want to submit my SEO , Web Design , Technology , Computer , Printing, Electronic Product related article or post on your site, I also have good sites to post your. So if you are interested please inform me soon.’

Em… which one is it?

Post my what?

I’m not interested.

What He Should Have Done

How about something like…

I’m trying to spread the word about my site and noticed you accept guest posts. I have an idea for a post (already started on it!), which I think would be well suited to your audience. The title is: –

The 5 Tastiest Wines To Accompany Fish In Indonesia

If you’re interested I can go ahead and finish up the post and of course you can cast your editorial eye over it before publishing!

You could also add something like..

‘If you’re not accepting new guest posts at this time I’m going to finish writing it up anyway and post on my own site, so if you could help me out with any shares that would be great.’

There is an argument that you shouldn’t give an opportunity to say no, but on the flip side if they don’t accept your article there is a good chance they will share your post and may even link to it, so it’s up to you.

Build Relationships… Not Links

Outwith taking the time to actually craft a decent email and being transparent, he could have increased the chances of me accepting his article (or at least engaging with him) if he had developed some sort of relationship with me first.

Actually getting your email read is sometimes half the battle and if you’re anything like me your inbox will be bombarded on a daily basis. I tend to scan my emails and ignore most of the obvious spammy requests.

If he had taken the time to introduce himself first on social media, or been a regular commenter on my blog I would be much more likely to listen to what he had to say and consider publishing his guest post.

Difficult to build relationships though when you are sending out hundreds of emails and just looking to build links, which sadly is exactly why we are where we are with guest blogging.

Some Fun…

Just for some kicks I decided to reply to his email. Here was my response:-


I wonder if I’ll hear back…

About the Author

I'm a web developer, programmer, blogger and SEO expert from Glasgow, Scotland, with over 15 years experience in the industry. When I'm not writing about marketing and SEO you'll find me strumming the guitar in my band or listening to Revolver on repeat. Follow me on twitter, connect with me on google+ and add us on facebook to keep up with all the latest trends in SEO and online marketing.

Arthur Burlo - April 12, 2014


I love your site and your way of doing SEO. I’ve been following you for a while, and I do agree with every single point you make in this post, but your reply to this guy was outright cruel.

Yes, his email is pathetic, but behind that email there may be a father in some other country trying to feed his kids, or someone who is working hard to make it out of a difficult situation with little results and being made fun of is the last thing he needs.

I’ve been made fun of by other marketers myself (because English isn’t my first language, my personal history and other reasons) and it HURTS when you’re putting 100% of yourself into it. The guy may not be doing it right, but he is still a human being and should be treated as such.

I don’t mean my comments as an attack against you. I just don’t like spammer witch-hunting, which seems to have become a popular sport among Internet marketers lately. Like I said, love your blog and never miss one of your posts. Btw thanks for following me on Twitter. 🙂

    David McSweeney - April 13, 2014

    That’s a fair comment Arthur, although to clarify I actually did some research before I replied and the guy doesn’t even exist (it’s just a fake google profile for an SEO agency). What gets me going though is that it is this scatter gun approach to SEO that has caused us to be where we are with guest blogging. If we consider that this could have been a guy trying to make ends meet, then we must also consider that the actions of this guy (and many, many others) have caused other businesses to lose traffic and revenue (recent myblogguest penalisation + fall out with lots of other sites/marketers affected). It doesn’t take long to write a personalised email and I have absolutely no problem if the English isn’t great, but sending out a default template email just gets my goat.

      David McSweeney - April 13, 2014

      you will note that I didn’t reveal the name or email address either.

    Arvid Linde - April 14, 2014

    “there may be a father in some other country trying to feed his kids”

    Arthur, if that’s the case, all I can say is “poor kids” and hope education is free in his country because by the time the kids reach 18, there will be very little money in the college fund.

    I think David’s answer is helpful. If you have a spare moment, it’s better to answer than to provide no answer at all. The way I see it, it’s like giving him “tough love” – maybe this “seo expert” will come to realise that he does it wrong.

Arthur Burlo - April 13, 2014


I get what you mean and I understand your frustration about the MBG situation. The thing is, like you said in your other article, Google shouldn’t have done that. There was nothing black hat about MBG or the whole concept of guest blogging.

And yes, some people can be annoying and unquestionably that guy is one of them, but I still believe that kindness can go a long way. Hopefully he won’t contact Matt Cutts for real though. I can only imagine how furious MC would become.

If he does, we will send Matt your way. j/k 😉

Marcus - April 15, 2014

Hi David,

I think it’s fair game to take an email like this and point out it’s mistakes. Afterall, you weren’t being very disrespectful and information like this does help other avoid poor guest post submissions. I’ve written a somewhat similar post about a template SEO pitch email I got in February, and I think that should help warn people away from accepting services via such emails.

Samir - April 22, 2014

Great reply by david to the above email, I usually get these types of emails but I just ignore them. I don’t have capacity to reply them like you 😛

You are utterly right about these guys and probably they are the reason to make guest blogging worst and finally Google is penalizing the sites.

Anyway it was really fun reading this post.


    David McSweeney - April 22, 2014

    Thanks Samir!

Kulwant - July 3, 2014

ha ha.. I loved it David.

Being a blog owner, I can understand your frustration.

People send me such mails daily.. so after being in the industry for more than 2 years, I can differentiate the real and fake outreach mail in the very first sight.

SEO companies or third party guys are using so wrong approaches to pitch blog owners that they might not be even getting 2-3% success rate if they are trying to contact big blog owners.

This article was an eye-opener for all those people who run such guest blogging campaigns and a guy like me who is working hard to get more exposure for my blog by writing articles on great blogs.

Thanks for pointing out the silly mistakes in this mail and helping us to correct them by giving us right examples.

Have a great day..

PS: I loved your blog.. so I have been surfing it for atleast 3 hours.. 🙂

    David McSweeney - July 3, 2014

    Thanks Kulwant, glad you enjoyed my post and good luck with your own outreach 🙂

Carol Graham - April 9, 2015

I was drawn to your blog by the title of this post – “2015….WORST guest post….” I assumed it would be a post I could learn from and I did. Using that email as an example of what not to do and dissecting it was a terrific idea. I do guest posting and always appreciate good tips in pitching my ideas.

Thank you and…….. I’ll be watching you! 🙂


    David McSweeney - April 9, 2015

    No problem Carol, glad to be of help.

Tharun - January 8, 2016

Hi David,
Surely it’s not just your own problem. These days getting such kind of junk emails has been common issues to very webmasters. I do receive such emails regularly and most of my time is getting wasted by deleting them.

I do believe that guest blogging has been dropped when compared to past years. In 2014 it was purely done for link building but later on in 2015, ,due to google updates almost everything got vanished..

Now 2016, what kind of changes you expect…?
Please change and update the article with latest info…

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