Organic vs. Paid SEO

When telling my clients about the benefits of blogging, I will always highlight the fact that a regular blog is good for “organic” SEO. Some get the concept. Some don’t. That’s why I feel this article may be helpful for some.

There are many ways to boost your websites search engine optimization (SEO). Ultimately, those different methods will fall into one of two categories: Organic SEO and Paid SEO.

Paid SEO will entail running ads on search engine services and other pay-to-play services that can be expensive if you want to reach the top ranking. You’ll notice when you go to Google and perform a search, the top several listings will all say “ad” next to them. The same thing happens on Yelp and other sites where the more you pay, the more you are seen by searchers. As you scroll down, you will see other listings that come up. Most of these are using some form of paid SEO combined with other organic SEO strategies to achieve a higher ranking.

Is paid SEO bad? Heck no. If you can afford it, you want to take every advantage you can to make sure your website is seen first. It does add up, though, so you have to budget accordingly.

At the same time, you want to improve your site’s organic SEO appeal as much as possible. This is done through the content on your website, as well as other strategies like blogging, social media posting, internal/external links, etc.

Yes, you may end up paying someone (like NextGear Marketing, for example) to handle your blog or you may have to hire an in-house social media person. Unless you are doing all the work yourself, “organic” SEO does not necessarily imply “free.” It still goes back to the classic business adage that says you have to spend money to make money. Web content creation, blog management and social media activity should all be a part of your overall marketing budget in today’s digital age.

I consider myself an organic SEO specialist focused on creating engaging, searchable content for my clients. Whether it’s in the form of website copy, online press releases or weekly blogs, the organic side of things is where NextGear Marketing can make a difference for your small business.

To learn more about my business blogging packages and my personalized approach to content creation (there is nothing boilerplate here), contact NextGear Marketing today!

Why You Should Use Recurring Article Themes in Your Blog

This week, I want to talk about recurring blog article themes and ongoing article series. These can be great to utilize over the lifespan of your blog content campaign.

I’ve been working with more clients lately to establish recurring themes. This is a different concept than what I call “recycling” article topics, which is about doing a different take on a topic you’ve already written about in the past.

It’s More of a Publication Approach

Recurring themes are more like sections in a newspaper or magazine. Think about how your favorite magazine has an opinion article from the same author every month. Or, there is a sidebar section that follows a similar structure and headline, but speaks about a slightly different topic each month. A monthly newsletter is another good example of this concept.

Monthly Themes vs. Recurring Article Series

This same kind of approach can be used in a blog very effectively. Earlier this year, I started working with a new client and we decided to try and establish a different theme each month. Each article posted that month speaks to a specific topic, but all tie back into an overarching theme.

I have another client who I started working recently. We’re only 5-6 articles into the blog campaign, but we’ve already established several recurring article ideas that we can keep coming back to periodically. Some are monthly. Some are quarterly. Some are less structured. Still, it will help fill out an ongoing content calendar because we have these recurring article themes to come back to when appropriate. Rather than trying to cram everything about a large topic into one article, we can break down into bite-size chunks and talk about very specific topics in an ongoing fashion.

Keeping Your Content Calendar Stocked

If you run a new blog article every week for a year, you will quickly find that it gets harder and harder to come up with new topic ideas. Having recurring themes is one method that will help keep you from running out of ideas as time goes on. You always have some themes to revisit and add to. Some of the content may overlap a bit and you may find yourself recycling some old messages, but that’s just fine.

In fact, another good aspect of recurring themes is that it will give you a lot of internal link opportunities. As you continue the theme with each new article, you can refer (and, of course, link) back to the previous articles in the series. Internal and external links are good for SEO and can also help keep visitors on your site longer as they jump between multiple articles. Just always set the linked article to open up in a new window/tab, so they aren’t taken away completely from the original article!

When you are planning out your blog and content calendars, consider recurring article themes and ongoing series. You will find your content calendars easier to fill out and you will also create some very engaging content that gives readers a reason to keep coming back.

For help with your business blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Blog Campaign

This is something I get challenged with all the time as a professional blogger. Clients want to know that their blog is effective.

How to measure the effectiveness of a blog can be tricky. First, its impact—especially from an SEO perspective—is long-term. It will have a cumulative effect on the overall search engine optimization of your website and individual blog post views should increase over time, as well.

SEO Impact

The biggest appeal of having a weekly blog (or however often you post) is adding fresh, unique content to your site every single week. It keeps your website from becoming stagnant and it should help slowly but surely improve your Google rankings organically.

You can look at the analytics for the site as a whole once the blog has been running for awhile, and you can also review the individual page analytics for each blog post. Unless you strike gold with the most interesting and engaging viral post ever, don’t expect huge numbers for each post’s views.

Viewership Ebbs and Flows

If you share links to each blog post on your social media pages and send out in client emails/newsletters, you can expect a brief spike in views once the post goes up and your followers click through to read the full article. Then, it will likely lull for awhile. A good article will continue to get regular views. Studying the analytics is a good way to know which types of articles get the best response.

Other things you can look at is contact click-throughs and link click-throughs from each individual blog page. Secondary to the overall SEO appeal of blogging, you want to see some engagement. If people are opting in, contacting you, clicking through to other pages on your website or actually buying your products/services directly from a blog page, then you know you have exceptional content.

Think Long-Term

Like any long-term marketing campaign, it’s important not to panic or overthink during the early stages of a blog campaign. You should really run it for at least six months before even looking too hard at the numbers. Even then, you have to remember it’s going to have a more cumulative effect on the SEO for your website, in general. Some posts may not get as many views as others, and that’s okay. If your site is getting ranked higher and/or getting more visitors over time, then the blog is doing its job whether you realize it or not.

It’s the same with other general marketing campaigns like a direct mail campaign, outdoor advertising or print advertising. Unless it’s specifically a direct response campaign, it can be hard to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign—at least in terms of hard numbers. Usually, you just know that business is doing better and people know your brand name. Again, it’s a cumulative impact that takes time to really make a difference in your market.

Business Blogging with NextGear Marketing

To learn more about blogging for your business and how to get the most out of your blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today. Blogging for small businesses is what we do, so let us show you how to do it right!

5 Tips for Recycling Old Blog Content

Inevitably, there comes a time in your business blog when it feels like you’ve run out of topic ideas. You’ve covered all the key things that relate to your business and that your customers might be interested in, and you don’t really have any new things to write about.

That’s okay. It happens to every blogger.

There is a real art to recycling old blog content and effectively repurposing it into new blog content. Here are some tips you can use:

1. It’s Okay to Recycle

You may do a new blog every week over the course of years. You are going to have to revisit certain topics, especially those that are highly searchable and of interest to your potential customers. It’s perfectly fine to write multiple articles about similar topics as time goes on. In fact, it’s recommended.

2. Understand How it Really Works

No one who visits your blog will sit there and read every single article. They might read the one they came for, and if you are lucky, they might click through a few more or come back later. Even your avid followers don’t have a long memory. So if you write a new article about a topic that you already wrote about six months ago, nobody will notice and nobody will care. They will just be interested in that new article.

3. Put a Fresh Spin On It

Another trick to recycling article topics is to put a different spin on the topic. Turn an informational article into a “tips” article. Inject a different opinion or point of view. Look for ways to approach the new article from a different angle than previous iterations.

4. Use Different Verbiage

This is especially important. Don’t just copy and paste content from the old article and consider it new. That doesn’t do you any good. Take the time to write it fresh and use different verbiage. This will help it count as new and unique content from an SEO standpoint.

5. Space the Articles Out

Last but not least, don’t do a bunch of similar articles back-to-back-to-back (unless it is an actual themed article series). If you are recycling topics, spread out the articles as much as you can so it doesn’t feel like you are writing the same thing over and over again.

These are just a few tips for how you can effectively recycle and reuse old blog article topics and repurpose them into new blog articles. It will be very helpful the longer you run your business blog.

For more tips and information about business blogging and web content strategies, be sure and follow the NextGear Marketing Blog and contact us today with any questions or requests you have.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through 2019! I have been focusing on taking care of my clients and trying to grow my business. Sadly, that has left me neglecting one thing that can really help build my business: the NextGear Marketing Blog. That is why I want to make sure and remind any of my followers to sometimes do as I say and not as I do.

A Cautionary Tale

My own story is the perfect example of what a lot of small business owners do when it comes to their own blogs. They are good about it at first, but then it slowly becomes less easy to keep up with. Before long, it’s not a priority at all. I am so focused on taking care of my clients and doing other business activities that I tend to ignore my own advice and neglect my own blog.

Following My Own Advice

I may want to consider outsourcing my own blog content because that is honestly the best way to keep a blog effective and to stick with a desired publishing schedule. My clients turn to me to handle the blogs for them. This means helping find topics, coordinating content calendars, writing the articles, posting the articles on their blog portals and doing all the back-end SEO work that is also required to make each article as searchable as possible. Some clients will also have me post links to each article on their social media pages for more integration.

That’s the advantage of outsourcing the blog to an expert. Let someone like me do all the dirty work and keep your blog content humming along with professional writing, SEO knowledge and organization.

Put NextGear Marketing to Work for You

I may not remember to do my own blog every week, but that’s because I am focused on the needs of my clients. Let me do the same for you. You can rest assured that NextGear Marketing is here to get the job done right, and the prices for monthly blog packages are much more affordable than you might think.

Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information.

Why You Should Share Your Blog Posts on Social Media

I’ve outlined the benefits of business blogging many times over on this site, but ultimately it comes down to two key purposes.

1. To boost organic SEO by having specific searchable content in each article, as well as by improving overall site SEO rankings that will drive more traffic.

2. To engage more past, present and future customers with interesting and/or informative content.

Focus on Engagement

In this article, I want to focus on the second benefit that is often overlooked or undervalued. If you write a really good blog and are consistent with posts, the best case scenario is that a user bookmarks your site and visits it often to see the new content you are posting.

However, this kind of site loyalty is rare, especially with small businesses. This means you need to be proactive about getting your blog articles out there to people who will be interested in the topics. The best way to do this is through social media.

Share Your Blog Links

A link to every blog article you post (along with any YouTube video, podcast or any other content you are creating) should be shared on each of your social media pages. Some blog management portals will include options to autoshare the articles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Business and other social media. If not, it’s worth taking a few minutes to manually share the link on each of your pages.

This gets the content directly to your followers who you know are already interested in your business, your products or your services because they already took the time to like and follow your page. You should get more click-throughs to the blog articles and ideally also some engagement on the social media pages themselves. This will include likes, shares and comments. Speaking of comments, keep a close eye on all comments and respond to each one of them to improve the engagement even further. If a competitor or troll posts something nasty or negative, there are various ways to block users and hide/delete comments so you can keep the engagements positive.

You may also consider boosting posts and running targeted online ads to increase the amount of people who see the blog links.

Another method for sharing your blog posts is through email campaigns (e-news) targeted to past customers or prospect lists. This is another topic for another day, though.

Get More Out of Your Blog

The point is you took the time (or spent the money to hire an expert) to have great blog content written and optimized. Why just sit back and hope someone finds the articles? Get the links out  there on social media and through whatever means necessary. This increases the number of eyes seeing your blog and your website in general, which in turns boosts the organic SEO benefits even more.

With the right combination of SEO strategy and engagement techniques, you will get more out of your business blog and your business will benefit.

To learn more about business blogging and social media integration packages, contact NextGear Marketing today.

5 Tips for Using Featured Images in Your Business Blog

If you have a blog for your business, you must take advantage of using a featured image (or multiple images) in every blog post. The use of imagery can help draw in the reader, especially if your site uses thumbnail previews along with “teaser” text on a home page blog feed or on the blog page itself. A good featured image will also make a huge difference on social media when you are sharing article links and boosting posts.

Here are a few tips for using featured images from NextGear Marketing:

1. Take Your Own Photos

We’ll get into the use of stock imagery in a second, but another option is to take some quality photos of your own. Display your products, show your employees in action and take shots that represent your business and its personality. This can be one way to help your business blog stand out from competition using generic stock photos. Just make sure the photos are of good quality. If the photos look cheap, then it’s usually a poor reflection on your company.

2. Use Stock Photography

If you don’t have the resources or the subject matter to justify taking some of your own photos, you can effectively use stock photography. Make sure you are buying royalty-free images. Never use anything with limited rights. Some stock sites charge as little as a dollar per image, while others offer subscription services that allow you to download a certain number of images (or unlimited images) for a period of time.

3. Never “Borrow” Images from Other Sites

This is very important because it’s every blogger’s nightmare to get dinged for using a copyrighted image. Don’t just search Google images and pull whatever you want, even though it seems like the Internet is pretty much the Wild West these days. Eventually, you run the risk of getting caught with one or more rights-managed images. Best case scenario is you get a “cease and desist” letter/email. Worst case scenario is a huge bill for past usage rights—maybe even legal threats. In other words, be very careful about any photos or graphics you are using.

4. Name Your Images Strategically

Take the time to rename the image files with your focus keyword and your company name. Depending on your blog system, you can also add descriptions and/or captions. This is one more way to help with organic SEO on the blog post.

5. Look for Interesting Photos

Sometimes, a featured image might be a literal representation of what you are talking about in the blog article. In other cases, it may be more abstract or metaphorical. Finding the perfect stock image isn’t always easy. Don’t kill yourself looking for the photo, but give it some thought and find something that is eye-catching and at least somewhat representative of your blog topic.

These are just a few tips for using featured images on your business blog. If you have questions or need help with your blog, contact NextGear Marketing today!