Content marketing is a must have in any inbound marketing strategy. If your small business has a website, you will benefit from content marketing. It is also one of the most important tasks of search engine optimization. With all of the recent Google updates, it’s the one task you can control and keep track of what does and does not work.
High quality content marketing is easily exposed with social media, therefore, increasing lead generation and conversions. All types of content are important including, blog posts, updates and postings on Facebook and Twitter, infographics, email newsletters and whitepapers.
Below is an excellent infographic on 10 tips for writing content that will rank in 2013. It was put together by Henrik Bondtofte and Amy Porterfield. (Click to view entire image)
No matter how great your products and services are, if you don’t set up an effective online marketing strategy, nobody will know. The goal of online advertising is to reach your target audience and attract new customers. If done effectively, advertising can be an excellent return on your investment. If done poorly, you might as well set your money on fire.
Here are four tips to help set up an effective online advertising strategy:
- Advertise in the right places. Your product doesn’t appeal to everyone. Know who your audience is and find out where they research and learn about your services. Do they only research on the major search engines? Do they engage with their friends and family on social networking sites to see their reviews or feedback?
- Promote what makes you unique from your competitor. Don’t bore your audience to death with features, but promote the benefits they will receive by using your services or buying your product. If they don’t know the benefits, you won’t be able to deliver value to your customers.
- Build your brand. Hire a professional to design your company logo and assist with custom images for your business website. You want to create a consistent image on all advertising and marketing platforms. First impressions go a long, long way.
- Believe it or not, you have to spend some money to make some money. Don’t have a big online advertising budget? With so many advances in technology today, you have so many options to create a cost effective advertising strategy. Regardless of your budget, diversify your strategy. An effective search engine marketing strategy will include, but not limited to, pay per click advertising, social media marketing and email marketing.
Social Media Networking sites provide many ways to distribute your content and grow your email list. Remember, it’s not always about distributing new content for the sake of distributing new content. It’s about increasing your exposure and gaining new followers. You need to show your new followers that your content is important and build a relationship with them – and hopefully that new relationship leads to new customers.
It’s obviously huge right now. But it’s a vital piece to any social media marketing strategy because it lets you communicate to a vast audience using short, yet powerful, messages. In most cases, each new follower has chosen to follow what you have to say about your business. Stuck deciding what to tweet about? Tweet about your most recent blog or newsletter by including a direct link to it. Ask your followers to read and offer feedback. Ask your employees to tweet for you.
Facebook is a great way for small businesses to reach local people who share a common interest. If your business page is new, ask your personal Facebook friends to like your page and share your page with their network. Like Twitter, it’s a great tool to start up a conversation about your most recent blog and newsletter. However, don’t keep inviting your network to like your page. They might get turned off and never like it.
Facebook is also a great platform to include graphics and images relevant to your content. Images are more visually appealing to your audience than just plain old text. It “humanizes” your posts.
Include a “Join My Mailing List” tab on your business page for followers to subscribe to your newsletter. Show your followers that you have a community of followers that are interested in staying up to date with your products, services, or expert advice.
Do you stay in contact with past and present colleagues in your LinkedIn network? Do they know you have a newsletter? Become familiar with LinkedIn’s message features to reach out to your connections by inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter. Join groups relevant to your industry and target market and inform them about your newsletter and what content you cover. Make sure to provide a direct link to your website where they can sign up.
Social media is not about how many fans and followers you have. It’s about expanding your reach and turning the casual follower into an actual customer.
As the owner of your own business, you want to be all things to all potential customers. Your business sells a few up to many products and services to customers in a specific geographic area. Your products and services might be very niche and that can further your business success.
Then why isn’t your SEO strategy similarity focused?
The number of visitors your website receives every week can be very misleading if you are not accurately tracking and measuring it. Would you rather have 1,000 weekly visitors to your website only to bounce or would you rather have 50-75 qualified visitors that are ready to buy from you NOW?
Many small business owners make the mistake of optimizing their website for general keywords like “Auto Glass Replacement” or “Phoenix Plumber.” I’m not saying you can’t rank for these keywords, but it would take a huge SEO and SEM strategy that could end up wasting time and budget. Also, most of this traffic is either from visitors that are not going to buy or they are looking for something else. For example, “Auto Glass Replacement,” you will see many of these visitors are looking for insurance carriers that provide free auto glass replacement in their insurance policies.
So what is the next step?
Narrow your target market service area
It may seem like a no brainer, but include the cities that your business operates or provides services in. Don’t spam the search engines by listing every city in your county. If your business is located outside of a major metropolitan area, like Phoenix, AZ, include your entire business address on your website and list a few of the major cities within your service area like “Serving Goodyear, Glendale and Phoenix.”
Tie in keywords to your geographic location to help increase your local rankings quicker and to target more local customers. Example – “AC Repair Company Goodyear, AZ”
Develop a content schedule
Developing fresh and relevant content on your website will attract potential customers to your website during the buying cycle. The more fresh content you have, the better chance you have to show up in the search engine results for the specific product or service in your specific target market area. Review your website’s content on a monthly basis making sure it is detailed and easy to read. For beginners, schedule 30-60 minutes each week to writing a blog on your website. If you get writer’s block, ask one of your employees to help you each week.
The rules of today’s SEO content writing follow our basic writing guidelines for spelling and grammar. Double check for errors, don’t stuff too many words into one sentence, and organize your content towards one specific point.
Below are some easy to follow SEO content writing tips for website owners to focus on:
1. Publish content for your customers, not the search engines.
Why waste your time writing content for your website if your customers don’t read it or follow you? Your content may look good to the search engines, but they don’t care about your business products and services. A perfectly optimized business blog should be written for customers first, search engines second. Once your content is written, optimize it later when you review it and read it out loud to make sure it makes sense and sounds natural.
2. Avoid “keyword stuffing” from your content.
A few years ago, keyword stuffing was a popular SEO tactic to help increase your website’s ranking for a specific keyword. Today, this tactic can land your website in some deep trouble with the search engines. There really is no “golden rule” on how many times a keyword should be used in your content. SEO friendly content attracts your customers and provides them with valuable information.
3. Add internal/external links to your content.
Links still provide a major boost to your search engine optimization strategy. A well-written, informative piece of content can provide valuable links to your website by people wanting to share your content. Each time your content is shared, your website gets a little shot of link juice and drives traffic to your website. Internal/External linking includes, but not limited to, internal pages on your website, social media profiles and an external blog post.
Great work! Your business blog is up and running and you have been blogging each day or week on it. Is your blog being read by your target market? Maybe, maybe not. It might be time to focus on the quality of the blog versus the continuous requests on Facebook and Twitter to read your blog.
Ask your current followers if your blog titles and content are compelling enough for them to read your blog. Creating a compelling blog title for each post is one of the hardest tasks to master. Keep your titles short and to the point. Make sure your content is well written and use videos and photos to describe what your blog content is about in each post.
Avoid giving away something on a continuous basis to increase your followers. This tactic may have worked for you with some success for social media marketing, but try not to use it more than once since your local business has become more established online since then. Remember, one of the main reasons behind a business blog it to show your target market that you are an expert within your industry providing expert advice.
Look around your office and mix things up a little by asking some of your employees to write a guest blog post on your business website. Your staff can provide your audience with valuable insight and advice on your products and services. Ask your product manufacturers if they will write a guest blog to your site and offer to do the same for their company. This will help generate fresh ideas and content for your business blog.
Finally, don’t forget to make it easy for your audience to share your blog post. This is one of the easiest ways to grow your audience. On each post include sharing buttons to multiple social networks like, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
A small business owner wears many faces to make their business a success. In addition to being the owner, they are marketing and sales, customer relations and much more. And they do most of this with very little help. A lot of business owners will cringe at the thought of adding an SEO campaign to their already thin online marketing strategy, but it is possible to manage. Below are four simple tips to start an SEO strategy today.
- Before you buy, learn how basic SEO techniques work for yourself. This is why I love what I do. One of the most common practices of my business is teaching and educating my customers about what I do and what to look for. Take the time to learn and understand what SEO is and what the search engines are looking for in a small business website. It’s not good practice to discuss your SEO campaign with an SEO consultant if you don’t know what to look for or understand SEO. SEO providers need to be held accountable and provide you reasoning behind their campaign strategy. This will make your outsourcing efforts much easier when you are ready to.
- Repeat after me: SEO is a long term investment. SEO is a long term investment. If you’re lucky, you might see some decent traction after three months of results. Typically, I will advise any business owner to expect solid results after six months. If we knew all of the ranking signals that Google uses, SEO firms would be out of business. In addition, we don’t completely understand the ones we do know. If your website is newly developed, it’s going to take longer to get to the top of the SERPs than your competitor that’s been online for 10 years. It takes time to build your online presence and reputation with the search engines. Finally, don’t fall for any guarantees. Many SEO companies and consultants pitch guaranteed results within so many days to get your business. There are NO guarantees with SEO! This is a long term investment so sit back and relax.
- Research your industry within your local market. How competitive is it? You have a good chance of climbing up the SERPs quicker if you operate your small business in a local market with few competitors. However, if you’re a small business website designer in Phoenix, AZ, there are hundreds of businesses competing for 1st page Google using many of the same keywords your business is. Researching your local market will tell you how aggressive you need to be with your SEO campaign and offer some insight on how long you can expect to see some results.
- Track your results. Keep track of how many new visitors your website is getting each month. Look for what and how many organic keywords is driving traffic to your site. Track these results every 30 days to see what keywords are working or not working and adjust accordingly. Even if you only see a small jump in traffic each month, it’s a good sign your website’s SEO is working.
Before any business blog can be successful, do some research on your target market and customers to see if they even want one. Based on the industry your business is in; will they even read your blog? Look at your competitors. Most likely they have a blog because another competitor does too. Don’t set yourself up for failure by doing the same. Ask your customers if they want to stay up to date on your business by reading your blog. Providing awareness to your target market will only increase your chances of a successful blog.
Once you decide a business blog is the right decision for your search engine marketing strategy, define what goals you want to accomplish. Is your blog used to keep your customers up to date or is to going to be used for lead generation? After you define your goals, set an attainable timeline to measure how your results are doing.
Be consistent to keep your customers interested and to grow your blog readership. Depending on your local market and industry, set a daily or weekly schedule for your blog. If you’re in a highly competitive field, like a SEO firm in Phoenix, AZ, schedule a daily blog. For smaller markets, I recommend publishing a blog 1-2 times per week. Finally, try to keep your blog posts on the same day and the same time of day.
Use Google Analytics or inbound marketing software to measure your success and failures of your blog. Measuring your results will tell you where you need to make adjustments, if any, with your initial goals and what content your followers enjoy. By understanding what content works and where your readers are coming from, your blog becomes more strategic in your overall marketing strategy.
Just when you thought your small business SEO strategy was diverse enough, Facebook announces their soon to be launched Facebook Graph Search. If it works as well as it’s promoted, it could become an effective local search engine marketing tool for your business. According to Facebook, local search will be offered from day one. Search results will be a combination of shared information and the social network of the person doing the search. This information is driven from the business page. It will be more advantageous for a business to have their own page, but your business will still show up if someone has added your business as a “place.”
Your business Page is what you can control the most, and Facebook has three specific tips for business owners for optimizing your business Page for Facebook Graph Search (and this is straight from their release):
- The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
- If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
- Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis.
If you have a business Page, but have not invested any time in developing a social media marketing strategy, now is the time to do it. This is another cost effective tactic you can add to your search engine marketing strategy. Below are three easy tips for your strategy.
- Increase your number of Likes. This is more important than ever for your Facebook business Page. Local businesses with a large fan base will turn up in local searches more often.
- Interact and engage with your fans. Search results are based on the content shared by businesses and fans. The more engagement, the higher your business will appear on the search results.
- Don’t be afraid to invest in the appearance of your business Page. Make sure your content is up to date by completing the “About” section. Invest in customizing your Page with new images and custom tabs for promotions.
If your Phoenix, AZ and Goodyear, AZ area business would like to integrate an effective social media strategy, schedule a free consultation with a local internet marketing expert: (623) 399-9116.
The primary goal of any website should be to engage your visitors and provide them with valuable content to make the right decision about your products and services. Your local landscape is always changing and competition is always increasing which may require you to implement new strategies and tactics to dominate your local market.
Google implemented a lot of changes in 2012 that specifically focused on the quality and the value of the content on your business website. Quality content, when provided on a consistent basis, will help drive more qualified traffic to your website. Good content needs to be unique in regards to the topic you are discussing. Make sure it is resourceful and provides enough information to your reader so you don’t leave them hanging looking for answers.
A couple of years ago, Social Media Marketing was regarded as the new SEO. What is it today? Today it is Content Marketing. Content marketing can generate new links to your website and provides your website visitors with added value. Utilize your social media networks and email marketing tactics to share your content to increase the value of your SEO strategy. Fresh and engaging content will make Google very happy and take your search engine optimization rankings to the next level.
How will you know if your content is worth sharing? Keep track of your social signals. How often is your content being shared or retweeted? You may not like Google+ and that’s too bad. Websites should be building a collection of +1’s. Google will look at your Circles and the value you are providing your Circles.
Like 2012, in 2013 we will see a continued increase in preferential treatment of local websites. Local businesses that apply local SEO strategies effectively will see higher rankings and online visibility. Keep up to speed with maps, local directory listings and local reviews.
If your Phoenix, AZ area business would like to integrate effective local marketing tactics, schedule a free consultation with a local internet marketing expert: (623) 399-9116.