Increase Your Organic SEO with Blogging

There are numerous benefits of having a business blog. You can engage more customers with interesting content. You can generate good response with captivating calls to action. You can promote your business and share information with people, whether they are existing customers or new site visitors.

However, there is no bigger benefit to having a blog for your business than what it can do for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you want to increase your website’s organic SEO appeal, then having a regular blog is one of the absolute best ways to do it. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Fresh Content

Having a blog will help keep your web content from going stagnant because you are always adding fresh information, news and insights in the form of blog articles. As long as you are posting often and regularly (once a week is a great goal to aim for), you will definitely see the organic SEO benefits of your blog over time.

2. Relevant Content

A blog allows you to talk about a number of different topics related to your business or customer interests. You can get detailed and specific within each blog article. Cumulatively, you will be able to cover so many different topics without it ever feeling like too much information.

3. Timing

If you took a year’s worth of blog articles and posted them all on your site at one time, you would surely see a quick boost in your SEO. However, it would eventually dwindle if no new content is added. Regularly scheduled blog posts allow you to space out your new content and make sure there is always something fresh on your site. This not only gives followers a reason to keep coming back, but it is better for SEO.

4. Keywords and Tags

Your blog will allow you to include keywords, key phrases, descriptions and tags that can be as targeted as you want. I recommend a “base” of universal tags that you would put in every article you post (geographic references and words/phrases relating to your most common products or services). Then, on top of those you’ll want to add article-specific tags that speak directly to the content and concepts within that article. This will maximize your SEO results for each article you post. The cumulative impact of all these tagged posts is even more powerful, as well.

5. Image Searches

Even if you use only stock photography in your blogs, change the image file names and image descriptions to include your business name and the service/product/topic you are writing about in the blog it is being used with. Images are directly searchable, and they can be another way that someone finds your site organically.

6. Social Media Integration

Link to your social media pages within your blog and then share links to your blog articles on all your social media pages. This addition of inbound and outbound links will really help your organic SEO.

7. Internal and External Links

In addition to social media, you’ll want to include several internal links (links to other pages on your website or other blog articles) and even 1-2 external links (links to outside sources relevant to the topic being discussed).

If you utilize these strategies in your business blog, your organic SEO appeal will continue to grow over time. A blog won’t replace any pay-per-click or paid SEO-boosting you may already be doing. However, when it’s all done in harmony, the results can be truly amazing.

To learn more about business blogging and organic SEO web content strategies, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’re here to help and we have weekly business blog packages for as low as $299 a month!

Business Blogging Basics: Salient vs. Sales

If you’ve been following the NextGear Marketing Blog, you will have seen the Business Blogging Basics series of articles. In most, I recommend a healthy blend of the different approaches being discussed. In this article, things might be a little different.

Salient vs. Sales

For the purpose of this article, “salient” represents the useful information, ideas and insight being shared in your business blog articles. Whether someone finds your article through a search or they are a regular follower, they are typically reading what you have written to find out more information on a specific topic. Let’s say you sell appliances and you write an article about how to pick out the right dishwasher. Someone is seeking out your article that will include salient points to help them make a dishwasher buying decision. They may be doing this to avoid going into an appliance store and being accosted by a salesperson right when they walk in the door.

“Sales,” on the other hand, is just that. It is the activity of using your blog articles to generate leads or create sales of specific products or services that your company offers. After you’ve given someone the information they sought out, what consumer actions do you want them to take next? You told them how to find the right washing machine, now you want to sell them that washing machine at your appliance store. Working sales messages into an article, though, is a bit like walking a tightrope.

What’s the Right Balance?

There could be some debate on this subject as to what the balance between salient information and sales tactics should be on a business blog. It may depend somewhat on your industry. Some businesses can get away with being more salesy than others. A tax consultant will be different than a used car dealership, for instance.

In general, professional bloggers will heavily slant toward the salient side of things. Having a lot of relevant information on different topics is good for SEO and the sooner someone feels like they are being “sold” in an article, the less credible the information in it will seem.

Calls to Action

That said, pretty much every blog article you post should include some clear call to action at the end. You want the reader to take the next step to explore more information on your website, call, subscribe to an email list, etc.

The call to action should be short, simple, clear and direct. Make it no more than a couple sentences in a separated paragraph at the very end of the article. You’ve given them the information they wanted to find. Now you can spin it back around to your company and make a quick and harmless sales pitch.

Subtle Sales Approaches

In many cases, a call to action at the end will be all the sales you’ll want to incorporate into your articles. However, there are subtle ways to sell your products/services throughout the article. In the information you are providing, you can build value for yourself. The article itself will naturally give you more credibility in the eyes of the reader. Then, you can also work in subtle references to your brand and your products/services.

Let’s say you are a tax preparation company. Write an article providing “10 Tips for Preparing Your Small Business Taxes.” Make one of those tips “Hire a Professional.” It’s actually a wise tip and it will build value for your service without shoving a sales message down the reader’s throat.

There are other subtle sales tactics you can use, including testimonials and case studies. Use third party stories and customer quotes to sell your business. You’re not the one saying great things about yourself. That’s a turn-off. However, when someone else says nice things in a review or case study, it’s so much more credible. Here’s an example of a customer testimonial story I wrote for one of my clients, Ralph’s Transmission.

Direct Sales Articles

In some cases, it makes perfect sense to have a whole article that is a bit more salesy than others. If you want to feature specific products or services, you can’t help but be a little more direct with your sales messages and calls to action. That’s just fine when the situation demands it. I wouldn’t make every article on your blog super salesy, but it’s okay from time to time.

In conclusion, you will typically want to skew much more toward “salient” information compared to “sales” messages when writing a business blog. However, you can work in a little sales so that the reader can take the next steps.

For instance…

For more information about business blogging and custom web content for your company, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free marketing consultation.

 

 

How to Write Better Product or Service Web Pages

Detailed information about your company’s products and/or services is valuable content for your website. Your most important products or services should have their own featured web pages, and your navigation should be clear and easy to enable visitors to find the information they need about your specific offerings.

Why Have Product and Service Feature Pages?

Ultimately, a product or service page serves two primary purposes. One is providing information to someone who is interested in specific product or service offered by your company. Today’s consumers like to research online before they commit to buying, so you want to have that information readily available on your site.

The second purpose for a detailed product or service page is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a lot of details and keywords worked into the page content will be good for organic website traffic. Whether someone is searching without a brand in mind or they are looking for info about your products/services specifically, you stand a better chance of grabbing their attention and converting them into a paying customer if your page content is good.

So, what will an effective product or service page contain? There are several strategies you will want to incorporate:

1. Product/Service Details

This should go without saying, but you want to have plenty of details in there to properly represent what you are trying to sell, and of course, to help with SEO appeal. When it comes to tech specs for certain types of products, though, don’t bog down the page content with too much confusing technical language. Consider a sidebar chart/graphic or a bullet point list at the bottom of the page.

2. Brand Messaging

Always use every opportunity to incorporate your brand message. A site visitor may be there to find out information on a specific product or service, but you still want to sell them on your company as a whole. If they believe in your brand, then they are more likely to purchase your products/services.

3. Keywords

You should emphasize certain keywords and key phrases that are most likely to be searched in relation to the product or service being featured. At the same time, your content should flow and you don’t want to overload it with keywords to a point where it is confusing or awkward. There is a strategic method for naturally working in keywords and key phrases. You can also consider a bullet point list at the end of the page listing out product features or service options. This is a great way to use a lot of keywords and phrases without hindering the flow of the main content. Of course, use your page tags, titles and keywords on the back end of each page for optimal results.

4. Call to Action

Every page should have a clear and compelling call to action. Someone has visited your web page and read all about your great product or service. Now what? Give them a next step to take and tell them how they can purchase the product/service (a link to a purchase page) or who they can contact to get additional information. You can include multiple calls to action and links throughout the page so they always know how to proceed.

Page Length

Some product and service pages may be relatively concise and to the point as long as they convey all the key information and messages. Sometimes quality is better than quantity. Others may be much longer. It might depend on the complexity of the product or service being featured. The important thing is to have separate feature pages on your site for all the primary products and services you want to highlight. You will see a difference in your SEO and in your customer conversion if you do it right.

To learn more about custom product and service web content from NextGear Marketing, contact us today and we’ll help you get the most out of your web pages.

Is Your Web Content Stagnant?

We see it all the time. Someone puts up a nice website for their business. The design is nice and mobile-friendly. The initial content is good. The SEO elements are good enough to help them rise up the search rankings, at least for awhile.

Then, their SEO rankings start to recede and site traffic diminishes. They built a good site, but they wonder why the results aren’t as good as before. It’s usually a case of the content going stagnant.

Inactivity Leads to Natural Regression

Think of it like a rain storm that leaves some puddles behind in your yard. Then, the weather goes back to normal and the puddles go away quickly. That storm is your initial surge of good web content generating some good SEO results. However, if you do nothing else after that, your rankings will dissipate just like those temporary puddles.

Not only is it good to establish a strong web content presence from the start, but you continually have to build up on it. Look for opportunities to update your current content on a regular basis and make a concerted effort to add content as often as possible.

Fresh Content Strategies

Sure, you can add to existing pages and create new pages on the site to generate more content. This will be a beneficial practice as long as you have your site. You have to be careful, though, that you don’t make the pages on your site too overloaded with content. Even though more content is nice, you don’t want to make it overly intimidating for visitors. If it looks like way to much to read or the navigation is super complex, it will turn them off.

A great way to add dynamic content regularly is to have a blog that is hosted on your website. Again, you have to be proactive and keep up with the blog. When done right, it will provide fresh, quality content added on a frequent basis. You can have articles on a wide variety of topics relating to your business, which enables you to incorporate more targeted SEO tags, keywords and key phrases. Last but not least, make sure the blog content is unique to your site. (Next week, we will share the secrets to repurposing existing online articles for use on your blog).

Use Content to Your Advantage

When you can add and update content regularly throughout your site, you will see a natural increase in SEO appeal and organic web traffic. The amount of fresh content, as well as the quality of it, will make your website more effective.

For a complimentary review of your current web content or to discuss blogging options for your business, contact NextGear Marketing today.

What Are Your New Year’s Marketing Resolutions?

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. We’re not really talking about eating less or exercising more, though. We’re talking about your business. What new marketing ideas can you implement to make 2017 your best year ever?

First, you need to view your marketing as an investment. The more time, effort and money you put in, the better returns you will get. If you solely look at marketing as just another “expense,” then it probably won’t work for you like it could.

Next, it’s time to consider taking things to the next level. It’s a technology-driven world and the next generation of consumers aren’t going to respond as well to old school marketing tactics. You may already have a website for your small business, but is it dated? Is the layout mobile-friendly? Is there a lot of dynamic content? How is your SEO? Make the steps to update and upgrade your site to the modern age if you haven’t already!

For better content on your site, start a blog. It will give you new content on a regular basis, and if done right, it will organically boost your SEO appeal and web traffic immensely. It’s also a great way to stay connected with your existing customer base.

Likewise, make the resolution to utilize social media to the fullest. Is your business represented on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+ and YouTube? Maybe you do have accounts, but are you using them to the fullest? Get active with more posts and you will see an incredible difference!

Encourage more reviews from your customers. Follow up with your customers to get helpful feedback about their experiences, and then ask them to write reviews about your business online. Review sites like Yelp!, Google and YP.com (along with industry-specific review sites like RepairPal or Angie’s List) are huge with today’s mobile consumers. Put those reviews directly on your website, write customer testimonial blogs and post every positive review on your social media pages.

These are just some marketing resolutions you can make for the New Year. For a free marketing consultation to discuss specific ways you can maximize your business, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you from NextGear Marketing!

What is Blogworthy?

In the news industry, there’s always a question of what is “newsworthy.” The answer may depend on the type of media outlet and the audience they are trying to reach. The same is true when it comes to your blog. So, how do you determine what is “blogworthy” for your business?

Blogs are powerful marketing tools, and there are a lot of different topics that you should consider blogworthy. In fact, there’s a lot more you could be writing about than you realize. Any news or information that relates to your company, your customers, your industry or your community should be considered for a blog post. In this article, we’ll share a few specific ideas that should help you get more active on your blog.

Here are some blogworthy topics to consider:

1. Products and Services

From time to time, you’ll want to feature stories about different services or products that you offer. Frame them as informational articles (consumer tips, how-to, product reviews, etc.) and then relate the article back to your business. If you offer a warranty or any special services, feature them in your blog.

2. Employee Profiles and New Hires

Employee profiles are great ways to show a bit of your company’s personality and give customers a sense of who they are dealing with. They also make your employees feel appreciated. Do feature articles about current employees and write introductory profiles any time you hire someone new.

3. News and Awards

If something interesting happens at your company, it could be worth blogging about. Certainly, any time you get a new certification or award, it should be featured in an article. If your business is celebrating its anniversary, you can write a story about it and include some history about the company.

4. New Equipment

Did you get a new piece of equipment that will help you improve your products or services? Write a blog about it and show how it will better your business.

5. Customer Testimonials

Turn positive customer reviews into full blog articles. At NextGear Marketing, we do testimonial-based blogs more often than any other topic because they work on so many levels.

6. Community Involvement

If you are involved in the community in any way (charitable organizations, special events, sports team sponsorships, etc.), be sure and feature it in a blog. Include information about the organization, why you got involved and how you are contributing.

7. Industry Training

If you ever attend any industry conventions or training seminars, write a review of the event and post it on your blog.

8. Employment Opportunities

Do you have a job opening? Post it on your blog and provide descriptive job details.

9. Vendor Features

If you have vendors that you work with regularly, do a feature article about them, show how your relationship has developed and discuss why this vendor is helpful to you and your customers.

10. Promotions

Are you offering any current sales or special promotions? That’s another great blog article right there!

This is just a short list of ideas to consider when thinking about blog topics. Really, there is no end to what you can write about as long as you make the story relevant to your company and your customers. If you do that, you’ll be amazed at how powerful your blog will be.

For more information about blogging for your small business, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free consultation.

 

Blog Feed Services: Good or Bad?

It’s a question we get asked all the time at NextGear Marketing. What makes our blogging services different than some of the other available to the automotive repair industry?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a blog feed service and a custom blog service such as NextGear. “Feed” is the operative word with the first option. Blog feeds are typically subscription-based services where general information articles are pre-written and then distributed/posted on the blog pages of all subscribers. They may talk about car care tips or describe different car parts and how they work. The information is general and the exact same articles are sent to every user.

The one positive aspect of blog feed services is the quantity of content. Sure, it can be good for your website to have a lot of industry-specific content that’s added frequently. The quality of the content is much more subjective. The articles are usually professionally written, so we’re not questioning the quality of the writing. The issue is with the information being generic. If you can find the exact same article (word for word) on hundreds of other auto shop sites, it won’t help your SEO as much as you think. Search engines like Google are very sophisticated and can detect even the slightest duplicate (or plagiarized) copy. If your site is not the original source of that text, you’re not benefitting that much from it.

So, what is a custom blog service as provided by NextGear Marketing? “Custom” is obviously the key word this time. Each article we write is unique and contributes what we call dynamic content to your site. You get the same benefits of having fresh, industry-specific content added to your site on a regular basis (depending on the blog package). However, you also gain more SEO appeal because that content is unique to your site. We do not copy and paste around here!

NextGear Marketing isn’t representing hundreds or thousands of clients. We keep our business small to provide a more personal approach. This enables us to write each blog post we do with a fresh perspective.

Now, do we write some general information articles? Yes, having car care tips and information about automotive parts, services, etc. is good for searchable key words and phrases. That said, even if we write about the same topic for multiple clients, each article is written differently. Different wording is used and the structures are unique, so you don’t get knocked by the search engines for plagiarized or duplicate content.

These general information articles are only a portion of what we do at NextGear Marketing for our blogging clients. The majority of our posts are related directly to your business. The more we can get to know your shop and the people in it, the better. Employee profiles, customer testimonial stories, shop news and information, training events, shop awards and recognition—these are just some of the articles we write. Our approach combines SEO appeal (key words and tags, dynamic content, frequency of posts) with a customer-friendly style of writing. We want people to be able to find your shop through search engines and other sources such as social media. And then when they read the stories, they build a stronger connection with your shop because it is more personal.

To learn more about NextGear Marketing and our custom blog packages, contact us today and discover the difference for yourself!