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!

Is it Time for a Website Audit?

It’s crazy to think that 2020 is already here. Yet another year (and decade) has gone by so quickly!

Website Audit Time!

From a business perspective, there are a lot of New Year tasks that you have to complete. One thing you might want to add to your list is an audit of your website. Most people hear the word “audit” and shudder with fear of the IRS. If you prefer calling it a review or update to make it sound less painful, that’s fine with me.

The point is you (or someone important) should be taking the time to go through your entire website at least once or twice a year. Being that this is the beginning of the year, it’s a good reminder to accomplish this particular task.

Some websites are more in-depth and complex than others, so how long it will take will depend partially on the site itself. It should take as long as it needs to take to do it properly.

Why You Should Periodically Review Your Site

The goal of a website audit is to review everything to make sure it works, while necessary updates, revisions and corrections based on anything that has changed since the last time you went through it.

Go page by page and read all the content. Is it all still valid? Does the verbiage need changing or updating? Does content need to be added? Look it over carefully. Sometimes it’s just a good idea to make some edits while you are in there. It can help your content from becoming too stagnant. Even a few minor wording tweaks here and there can ultimately help with SEO.

At the same time, look at the design elements and functional aspects on every page of the site. Do all the links work? Do the pictures look right (clear images that are proportioned properly)? Are the colors, fonts and branding elements consistent? Make sure everything looks good and works appropriately. Think about the consumer experience when they visit the site. It should be easy to navigate and all the features should function as intended.

Other Tips

Don’t forget to look at the site on all platforms, including desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices. Try different web browsers, as well.If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you are already missing out on a ton of opportunities. Just because it looks good one place doesn’t mean it looks good everywhere.

If you have a blog with a lot of regular activity, you probably don’t need to go back and review every single post. That can be extremely time consuming. At least look at the main blog feed page to confirm that things are displaying properly with feature images, titles and intro blurbs. Also, you may notice some articles that are no longer valid or are way outdated. It may be time to delete them or update as needed.

If things are way out-of-date with your website as a whole, it may be time to consider a complete overhaul of the site or building a new one altogether. No website is designed to last forever, especially as technology keeps changing and altering the way the Internet is consumed. Updating the content regularly is a start, but eventually comes a time when you want to do something new.

If you would like an objective audit of your small business website, NextGear Marketing is here to help. Contact me today for more information about the process.

How to Be Proactive, Not Reactive

I have numerous clients that I am working with regularly. Many fall into one of two broad categories. They are either proactive or reactive in nature, and it definitely affects my role as a marketing consultant and content provider.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Proactive means they are always on top of things and ahead of the game. They like to explore new ideas and think things through, which helps make sure we’re on the same page before working on various projects. It provides more time to strategize and develop materials.

Then, there are those who are reactive. This means they typically don’t know what they want until they need it. It’s a lot more frantic because projects end up getting rushed and the results are much less predictable.

I bet you can guess which type of client I prefer working with! Truth be told, many clients fall somewhere on a spectrum in between proactive and reactive, which is perfectly normal. Sometimes you need to rush a project that comes up suddenly. Other times, it’s nice to have plenty of time to work out the details in a more methodical fashion.

Proactive vs. Analytical

Really, this boils down to human nature. Some people are thinkers and planners, which isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it’s easy to overanalyze things to death. “Paralysis by analysis,” if you will. Other people are procrastinators and like to fly by the seat of their pants. This way of life brings its own challenge. I talk a lot about finding balance on the NextGear Marketing Blog, and this is another instance where it helps to fall somewhere in the middle. That said, my goal is usually to try and get clients to skew more toward the proactive side of the spectrum.

It’s almost always beneficial to look before you leap or follow the carpenter’s rule of “measure twice, cut once.” However, if you stand there staring at your goal without ever taking any real action, you won’t get anywhere either. That’s why I prefer using the term “proactive” rather than “analytical.” It’s important to think about what you are doing, but still have to be willing to take positive and decisive action to achieve your goals.

Where Do You Fall?

Are you more proactive or reactive when it comes to running your business and implementing marketing strategies? Is there room for improvement? How can we help you reach your goals?

NextGear Marketing is here to help with your marketing needs, from graphic design and copywriting to blogging and web content services. Contact us today for more information.

I’m Living Proof Why You Should Outsource Your Blogging

I’m pretty transparent about the fact that I’m not as active on the NextGear Marketing Blog as I’d like to be. My first priority every week is making sure all of my clients’ needs are taken care of. In addition, I am always working to find new business. Then, if I have time I will put together a blog article like I’m doing right now.

My own situation is comparable to that of many small business owners. You have a lot of things to worry about and blogging often becomes an afterthought. Having someone in-house to manage the blog is nice if it’s a clear part of their job description. However, they may not have the proper writing skills or SEO knowledge that a professional blogger can provide.

In most cases, business blogs are started with the best intentions and then things fizzle out. It becomes less of a priority as you stay busy with other important business activities. That’s why it makes sense to outsource your blog content management to someone who knows what they are doing and can keep your posts consistent. Believe me, if I had the resources to have someone else manage my blog, I would. Until then, my clients always come first and this blog is a secondary priority.

If you have the means (and I should mention a weekly custom blog package from NextGear Marketing is incredibly affordable), then outsourcing your blog management makes perfect sense. You can have an expert doing the research and writing the articles for you. The articles will be optimized for SEO and ready to share on social media for additional engagement. All the heavy lifting is done for you and it won’t cost you much. It really is a win-win situation.

To learn more about professional blogging packages from NextGear Marketing and for examples of the weekly blogs I manage for all my happy clients, contact me today.

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.

10 Ways to Make Your Business Blog Better

I see many small businesses out there who are pretty good about blogging, but there is always room for improvement. Having a blog is a nice start. However, you have to actually use it. Just posting a little blurb every once in awhile (when something comes to mind) simply won’t cut it. If you want to get the absolute most out of your business blog, follow some of these simple tips from NextGear Marketing.

1. Maintain a Consistent Frequency

It’s a good idea to set up a content calendar that will keep you on track with your posts. If you have a goal to post a blog once a week, set a day and time each week that the article needs to go up. Let’s say every Wednesday at 10:00 is your target. Put it on your calendar and make it a habit to make sure a new post goes up every single week at that specific day and time.

2. Use Your SEO Tools

Every blog platform has many built-in SEO fields that you need to be utilizing. Focus keywords, preview text, keyword/phrase lists, blog categories, custom URLs, page titles, etc.—familiarize yourself with what each one of these does to help improve the SEO of the blog post and then utilize these tools. If not, you won’t get the best organic SEO out of your blog.

3. Use Links

Every blog article you post should have some internal links (links to other pages on your website, including other blog articles that may be relevant to a referenced topic/term) and at least one or two external links (links to other websites with a relevant news article or informational resource).

4. Embed Videos

If you shoot videos on different subjects pertaining to your business, embed one of those video clips in your blog articles if they are relevant to the topic at hand. Sometimes, you can get in the habit of recording a simple video where you talk about the blog topic that’s being written about. Some people may prefer to watch the video. Others will read the article. Some will do both. Either way, it’s another way to grab attention and it also helps with SEO (especially if your video is properly titled and tagged).

5. Include a Feature Image

A feature image will act as a header which helps draw the reader into the article. It is also what will be featured on social media along with the article link—another way to draw more eyes to your blog posts. Use only stock photography that you have the rights to use (or take photos yourself) and rename the photo file to include the focus keyword and your company name.

6. Share on Social Media

Whether your blog is set up to autoshare any blog posts you make or you have to do it manually, make sure every blog post is shared as a link (along with that feature image) on all your social media pages. You may also consider boosting the post if you really like the content and think it will attract new customers.

7. Write Quality Content

This tip should probably be #1 on the list because it’s so obvious. If your going to have a business blog, make sure that you write quality content that is interesting, informative and engaging. Otherwise, what’s the point?

8. Proofread!

Take the time to proofread your blog articles before they post, or have someone else you trust (someone who knows how to write) proofread it for you. Typos and grammar mistakes will turn off many readers and you’ll immediately lose some professional credibility.

9. Strategize

Don’t just write about random thoughts or opinions that come to your mind. Give each article some thought and really invest your time in writing a good, relevant piece. Do research if you need to and create a content calendar at the beginning of the month to you have a strong strategy going into each article you write.

10. Hire a Professional

Last but certainly not least, consider outsourcing your blog to a professional blog writer who will offer the expertise and insight to make sure the job gets done right. It’s one less burden on your shoulders if you struggle finding time to keep up with your blog. More importantly, it’s about getting the most out of your business blog by hiring someone who knows what they are doing.

These are a few tips that should help you maximize the effectiveness of your business blog. For more information about NextGear Marketing‘s affordable blogging services for small businesses, contact us today.