There are myriad agencies out there promising their clients 20 blogs per month as a part of a search engine optimization package. Be wary, very wary. While blogging should absolutely be considered an integral facet of a well optimized website, not all blogging strategies are made from the same silk. Writing quality content is labor-intensive and any service providing you with a too-good-to-be-true quantity of writing is really too good to be true. Usually, instead of writing 20 unique blog posts for each site, the agency will publish the same content on multiple sites. Search engines recognize this as duplicate content and will penalize your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. At Now Media Group, rather than quantity, we focus on quality.
Of Means and Ends
To understand what kind of content search engines prize and what kind they penalize, imagine a world where there is no Google, no Yahoo!, and no Bing. Instead, doctors must market their blogging directly to their patients, whether that’s in the office or through social media. What kinds of blogs are most likely to attract readers? The kind that contains information a patient can read on dozens of other websites or the kind that is unique and available only at your website? The latter, of course. Bring search engines back in and the picture doesn’t change.
Search engines do reward fresh content, because they want to make sure that the websites they’re sending traffic towards contain information that’s accurate and relevant. But, those are only two parameters and if you forget the rest, the blogging campaign will fail. That’s because search engines are also looking for unique content. That doesn’t just mean unique to your site, it means unique to the World Wide Web. To illustrate this point, let’s conduct a mental experiment. Suppose we’re comparing two competing websites, A and B. Website A posts 20 blogs per month, but all of the content can also be found elsewhere. Website B posts two to three times per month, but the writing is exclusive. B is clearly more useful than A, because A doesn’t offer patients anything they can’t already get somewhere else.
Think about the signal duplicate content sends to the search engine algorithms. Actually, forget about the algorithms for a second and think about the signal duplicate content would send to a patient. If site C and D have the exact same content, but belong to different doctors, it’s difficult to come to a conclusion other than plagiarism. Search engines see it similarly. They interpret it as if you were trying to game the system, adding content for the sake of tricking search engines into increasing your SERP rankings. Instead, they want to see that you’re adding content for the sake of informing patients.
Remember, ultimately search engines are only intermediaries between you and your readers. The true intent behind an informative website is to deliver information to the patient. Treating search engines as the end, rather than as a means to an end, is going to hurt your website. So what kind of blogging campaign would communicate the value of your site to Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and the numerous other search engines out there?
Writing is labor-intensive. Apart from our computers and our research, the rest of the work is done by our brains and by our quickly-moving fingers. It takes time — 30–60 minutes — to produce a high quality blog post. Writers have to research and then communicate their findings to a broader audience. These tasks are difficult to automate, because they rely heavily on the creativity and intelligence of the author. An effective blogging campaign has to be molded around that reality. It’s not a problem, because intelligence and creativity are the key ingredients to a high quality blogging campaign. Rather than 20 blog posts that add up to a combined value of less than zero — remember, duplicate content will be penalized —, our talented group of writers produce a smaller number of high value posts. Now Media Group’s approach yields a much higher rate of return on your investment.
Now Media Group’s objective is to use your blog as an interactive tool to address the questions, concerns, and interests of current and prospective patients in your area. We want to make sure that when a patient sees your website or that blog post on Facebook, Google+, or through a search engine they’ll be interested enough to click the link and read the content. When it comes time to choose their dentist, they’ll be familiar with your name and they will trust you, because you will have provided them with information they couldn’t find anywhere else — your practice will stand out from the rest. That trust translates to how search engines rank your website; bringing people to your site, motivating readers to share your blogs, and establishing yourself as a reputable source of relevant, exclusive information are vital components to a strong SERP presence.
A Strategy That Works
Now Media Group doesn’t have a magic bullet or a golden goose, but we can combine hard work with an intimate knowledge of how search engines really operate to design an online marketing strategy that really works. That’s why our infosite for Dr. Tischler comes up as the first dental practice listed in a local, organic search for “dental implants.” Not his main site and not the site of any of his competitors, but the site we blog on. That’s why Pope McGlamry comes to us when they need a systematic blogging campaign to draw in clients. Prospective patients want to read quality content, which is exactly what Now Media Group delivers.
Formerly at [Tony] Robbins Research International and at Now Media Group as their Director of Marketing, Jonathan has a background in quantitative economics and analytics.