- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On March 16, 2015
If you read enough marketing blogs, you’re probably familiar with guest blogging. For years, it’s been a popular way to reach new people, build your following, and boost your reputation and search engine rankings, but there are some things you need to know before you make the decision to do it yourself or to allow guest bloggers on your own blog.
Like most tools at your disposal, guest blogging can be beneficial if utilized properly within the scope of its effectiveness. But just like taking a hammer to a screw, it can be ineffective or even harmful if you’re not careful. Keep reading for what you need to know about guest blogging and what it can actually help you do.
Guest blogging as an SEO tool
Once a powerful tool, guest blogging for SEO purposes is all but dead. If you’re looking at guest blogging as nothing more than a way to build backlinks to your own site, you’re wasting your time and should look at other methods.
Last year, Matt Cutts, Google’s spam guru, declared that it was time to “stick a fork” in guest blogging (cached link because Cutts’ original post no longer loads), tracing its gradual decline from organic content to spam in all but name and warning that Google’s algorithms were likely to “take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward.”
If you think Cutts was painting with too broad a brush, you’re not alone, but that doesn’t change the fact that the king of all search engines has changed the way it looks at this type of content. Guest blogging for SEO is a classic case of one group of people utilizing shady tactics ruining things for everyone else.
In the end, though, SEO has always been about reacting to often-unannounced algorithm changes, so in a way Cutts did everyone a favor with his pronouncement. If you’re still writing guest blogs as a way to build backlinks, you should update your strategy immediately.
Guest blogging to reach a larger audience
Don’t think that Google’s gone and made guest blogging extinct once and for all, though. In response to people who quickly came to the defense of guest blogging, Cutts added a very important postscript:
There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.
The reasons above are especially relevant for hospital marketers. Here are some of the ways you can expand your audience:
Growing hospital networks
With more and more doctors and medical practices joining overarching health systems, there may be more blogs in your organization than you think. Guest blogging is a fantastic way to promote doctors with blogs and to promote your hospital to their patients. It could even be a talking point in your recruitment process. When both parties reach new people, everybody wins.
Industry thought leaders
Another way to find potential places to guest blog is to think about the blogs you read every day. The most important thing to keep in mind as you think about where to post your content is that quality counts, and you’ll naturally have a much better sense of the quality of something if you’re familiar with it. There’s a reason why you read it, after all.
Carefully research any sites you don’t already read to ensure that they’re up to par. Take a good look through their archives or subscribe to their RSS feed for a while before approaching anyone. And if you do choose to send a proposal, don’t send just anything. Their reputation is at stake too, remember, so your best content benefits everyone.
You already know how important your email list is. If you guest blog, make sure you include a call-to-action to sign up for your email list. Name recognition is great and all, but growing your email list is the most tangible result you can get from guest blogging.