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How Do I Know If I Should Blog

How Do I Know If I Should Blog

As a digital marketing consultant, I am constantly being asked by my clients whether they should have a blog.  And, while a blog is not for everyone, to the majority of my clients I answer in the affirmative.  What comes next is a string of questions.  The most common question after learning that they should write a blog is why they need to blog.

So, in a proactive attempt to help all of the small businesses out there, let’s take a closer look at when a blog is the right form of content marketing and when it isn’t.  At the same time, let’s explore the ‘why’ surrounding blogs and the benefits of proper blog management.

Many ‘leading experts’ will tell you that a blog will solve all your Internet woes ― Blogging will increase your traffic, expand your audience, improve your engagement, and position you as an authority.  But you must look out for the convoluted misconceptions about the power of blogs.

I will never deny the power of a good, solid blog on the right site.  The fact is, a blog has the potential to do all of those good things and more.  What you should be doing, however, is always question anything that’s touted as the right answer for everyone (and everything). So, back to the original question; should you blog?


When Is Blogging Not Necessarily The Best Form of Content Marketing?

When you own the market.

Large companies such as Amazon, Ebay, and Google already have a substantial share of their respective markets. So many consumers already flock to them or know their respective companies are synonymous with particular products. If your company is like this, you would only receive marginal benefits from maintaining a consistent blog.

  • When your audience is this large, traffic is of little concern. Even if, as a consumer, you went to one of these sites and read something interesting, you were probably going to buy product from that site anyway.
  • Places like Amazon have been around long enough and have such large audiences that they don’t need to search out new followers. If your site is the go-to place for a specific product, like Amazon, your site doesn’t need any special tricks to be discovered.
  • One of the greatest examples of engagement comes from Target. They have brick and mortar locations as well as an online presence. Once Oprah and other stars began calling Target, Tarzhay, and the company began carrying affordable designer brands (desired product), they no longer were in need of a blog. If your customers are engaged in your product and not your writings, you don’t need a blog to get new customers.
  • If people already consider you and your site to be the leading authority in a particular area, it is a safe bet that blogging is not a necessary form of marketing for you. In other words, if you have little competition or you are the go-to place for a specific product, you may as well skip blogging.

When there is a better way to fill your funnel.

Every savvy business person understands that a blog is only one method by which to attract new customers. Just because one store has a fantastic blog doesn’t mean I will stop going to the store nearer to my home for my groceries. Another form of enticement, such as a coupon, may get me there.

What I am trying to say is that varying tactics exist for every business trying to get new customers. Now, none of what I have been saying should be construed to mean you will never need to have a blog. In times of slow growth rates or a loss of other marketing channels, you may need to reevaluate the necessity of a blog. For the time being, keep doing what your customers are responding to.

When your most interesting things are complicated or confidential.

Blogging is all about engagement. So, if you are in a line of business that requires extreme discretion or is highly technical, it is important to think about what you would be writing. Consider whether anyone would want (or be legally able) to read or comment on your post.

When you are regurgitating information rather than creating it.

There are just as many blogs in existence that are creative and full of new content as there are those simply regurgitating the material of another author. The reason for this is that most people don’t have the time or energy to devote into becoming a ‘thought leader’.

A blog is a great opportunity for showcasing your company and its mastery of the industry. However, if you don’t have someone capable of expanding upon (rethinking) your existing knowledge base, it is all probably a waste of time.

Your business is not online (truly offline)

A really good reason to avoid blogging is if your business model does not include entry into the digital world. If you are successful and happy at selling your products offline, or if there is enough variance in what you are selling, you have a solid argument for staying offline entirely.

best seo companies to help you build a blog

When Should You Be Blogging?

Having looked at a number of reasons for not blogging, it is only natural that we explore some of the more reasonable times for having a blog.  Just because you almost fit inside some of the above mentioned ‘boxes’ doesn’t mean you are free from creating a blog.  The times you should be blogging are when:

You need/want an increase of website traffic.

It goes without saying that the more pages you build, the greater your chances for ranking. In fact, the more quality content you create and provide on a blog, the more collateral you will have to showcase across your social channels.

You need a larger audience.

People love quality content. If the content you provide is completely awesome, people will read it and share it.  Maintaining a high level of quality in your blogs will keep customers engaged and sharing.

A need exists to better connect with customers.

No matter how simple everything seems to you, there will always be a need for FAQ pages. Taking a proactive approach and answering those questions, not only as they come up but, before they arise will let your customers know you are thinking about them.  At the same time, the content you provide helps your customers get to know and understand you.  You will be able to grow and adapt from the comments they leave on your posts.

You have added value to provide to the discussion.

If you are at the top of your game and have a fresh perspective on the industry, share it. Again, good quality content is interesting to people and they want to hear/read your stories and commentaries.  The content you provide should be building you up as authority in the industry and developing you as the go-to company for answers.

You decide you are ready to invest in the future of your business.

Most individuals assume that a blog can be created overnight and reap the rewards immediately. However, if you are ready to be realistic and understand that it is a long-term process, the rewards will come.  From the time you publish your very first post, you are investing in yourself and your company, building the foundation and shape of your industry expertise.  Stick with it and you will find your blog attracting new customers and followers.

Vectors at iStock

To Blog, or Not To Blog?

The point of my entire rant is to get across the point that you don’t have to blog just because someone told you too. Far too often, a supposed ‘expert’ (friend, family member, agency expert, etc.) tells people they need a blog when that isn’t the case. It is a huge investment and takes a lot to successfully sustain a quality blog.

There are many great reasons to work diligently to provide your customers and followers with a quality blog. The decision, however, is yours to make. If there is a good reason to abstain from blogging, don’t blog. On the other hand, if there seems to be logical argument for providing a blog, do it. Stick with it. Work hard. The rewards will come.

Is SEO Dead or Is It Still Important

Is SEO Dead or Is It Still Important

Is SEO Dead?

A common myth among business owners is the Search Engine Optimization is dead ― no longer necessary to outperform the competition in today’s digital framework.  However, I am here to tell you that is not true.  SEO is absolutely not dead! As long as people use Google search, SEO will be alive.

What you will notice, however, is that the landscape of digital marketing has changed.  Some of the contributing factors for this are:

  1. Specific keywords are dominated by huge brands that 99% of the world can’t outrank (without spamming).
  2. Those keywords are returning fewer product pages and more articles and other various forms of content.
  3. Keywords in the search queries are triggering the knowledge graph, review aggregators, and are more user-focused when delivering the results.

In short, this means that it is time to seriously reevaluate the landscape. The days of being able to rank a product or service page first for these ‘purchase-intent’ keywords have become limited.  But, not to worry.  There are things that can be done moving forward that will help in capturing that traffic.

SEMrush

Pay For Your Traffic

This is as simple and straight forward as it sounds. Using paid search as a remarketing tactic has been hugely beneficial. Paid search allows us to capture traffic from all corners of the web and then, when those people are ready to purchase, we use highly targeted paid ads to grab their business.

Create Valuable Content

We have written, on more than one occasion, that content is king.  No one shares, engages, or links to products and services pages. In fact, no one except for us cares.

Rather than trying to cram those pages with links, your time and efforts are better spent creating a piece of meaningful content that delivers what Google (and users) want. I say ‘what Google wants’ because their algorithms are returning search results that provide relevant, useful, and important information to the users and their search intent.  By providing valuable content, you open it up to earning social media shares and powerful links from relevant sites.

If you want to have any semblance of a chance of competing against the big dogs for organic search real estate, content is your best option.

Optimize Your Website For The Web

It’s all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)!  But, don’t get stuck tailoring your optimization just to Google.

Your website needs to take into account all aspects of web search.  What most people don’t think about is that other search engines exist.  For example: Yelp, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are all search engines. Quora and Amazon, along with YouTube and LinkedIn, are also search engines. Hopefully, you are able to see the pattern of what I am saying.

social media helps seo

Each of these platforms offers unique benefits to the user. People searching for things on these platforms are more likely to bypass Google altogether.  For example, someone trying to redecorate their home may follow this particular path during the purchasing process:

  • Pinterest: In an attempt to kick-start their design inspiration, many people will begin their journey here. Using keywords tailored around their initial concept, one is able to narrow it down to the specific items that appear to be the most promising.
  • Amazon: Once the creative juices begin to flow and there are a handful of items that are desired, it is easy to visit an online shop such as Amazon search with keywords that are based on those items that were liked on Pinterest. If Amazon doesn’t have exactly what they want, that person may turn to another online shop.
  • Ebay: In an effort to compare prices, many will move on to Ebay.  This can be used to compare prices or find specific, second-hand items (antiques) at a more reasonable price. She found that most things were a little “too used,” so she moved on.
  • Etc: If all of the items aren’t found in the first shops, many will move on to places such as Etsy or reach out on Facebook until they find what they want.  This process will continue until all desired items are located.

You are probably thinking that any rational person would just use Google to search for all of the desired items.  However, if a particular platform, such as Etsy, is known to carry a very specific item, it is probably easier to cut out the middle man and bypass Google.  No one wants to take more steps than they have to.  In addition, these other platforms may be simpler for the searcher to use.


The point I’m trying to make is this:

It’s no longer just about optimizing your website for Google. It’s about optimizing your business and enhancing your presence across the web.  By first, understanding who our target audience is and second, where that audience spends their time, it is easier to attack those platforms and build your organic presence.  As an example:

  • If you’re a local business, Yelp and Thumbtack are a great place to be.  You may even consider Angie’s List.
  • If you run an e-commerce store, you need to get your product on as many platforms where your customers are as possible (E.g. Pinterest, Etsy, etc.)
  • If your focus is large-ticket B2B services, other platforms are better suited for you (LinkedIn, Google+, and SlideShare). Many C-level execs connect in these places and are on them looking or information.

These are just a few examples, but the list goes on and on.

Summing Up SEO

It is no longer just about SEO.  There is so much more that needs to go into your marketing plan.  No, SEO is not dead!  It is very much still a necessary part of digital marketing.  But, keep in mind it is only part of a much larger game plan for enhancing the presence of a business across the web.

As Google gets more intelligent, and it will, we need to get more intelligent about how digital marketing is approached. That doesn’t mean looking for ways to beat the search engine algorithms. Rather, it must be learned how to use those algorithms to our advantage.

Why Should I Use Case Studies

Why Should I Use Case Studies

Referring back to a previous article about case studies, in which I said that most were overrated and flawed, I wanted to go a little deeper and add a little more content to help you understand why case studies are important and provide more detail on how to do them correctly.  Simply put, when case studies are done correctly, there is no more powerful way to promote your business than to demonstrate the success your customers or clients have had using your products or services!

When your prospective clients/companies are able to see the results you’ve generated for others, they are much more likely to consider you as a valuable resource. This is a key note to remember; if you can’t prove to be a valuable resource, no one will want to do business with you.  The primary purpose of demonstrating your past successes is not only to generate interest, but credibility as well. Case studies (or success stories) are effective marketing tools. They rely on a story framework which describes how you solved a problem or challenge for someone else. They generate empathy and create a mindset that says, “If they can do it for others, they can do it for me.”

The key elements of an effective case study include:

  • An engaging headline and a branded format.
  • A brief, concise description of the problem or challenge faced by a customer
    • Be sure to include why this particular issue required urgent attention.
  • The role you or your company’s product or service played in in providing the solution.
    • Highlight the positive business impact generated, including implementation, training, use, and quantifiable results.
  • Supply quotes and testimonials from customers that express the benefits your product or service have provided and the positive experience of working with your company.
  • Visual representation of the problem and solutions.
    • Show things such as employees using the product or solution, company logos, and graphs/charts illustrating the results.
  • A call to action complete with contact information for your company.

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Consider some of these important opportunities you could be missing by not generating case studies on a regular basis:

  • Unique Value Proposition. Prospects identify with success stories that relate to similar problems they are currently experiencing.
  • Multi-Channel Promotions. Case studies can have a long shelf life and a multitude of uses. It is easy to share case studies with customers and prospects via email, posted on your company’s web site, discussed in blogs, mentioned in social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and handed out at trade shows or in one-on-one interactions.
  • Trust and Empathy. Building trust in relationships can begin with the sharing of case studies.  They personalize the experience of using your company’s products or services to solve a problem or fulfill a need. At the same time, your prospects are more likely to believe a case study based on a credible, third-party experience rather than that of a self-serving sales representative.
  • Bring Products/Services to Life. Success stories are just that – stories. Telling an engaging story that demonstrates the effectiveness of your products or services is more interesting than looking at facts and figures. Breathing life into your stories will increase the probability that the reader will remember the story.

When all is said and done, well-crafted case studies can assist the sales team in closing more sales.  And, if you’re not looking for opportunities to grow, you are probably in the wrong line of work!

case studies on websites are good seo.

Key Questions for Any Case Study

Make sure you know the answers to these key questions when writing a case study:

  1. Who is your customer and what is the nature of the their business?
  2. What problem(s) is your customer experiencing? How is the problem affecting the their business?
  3. What solutions were previously attempted? Why were those attempts unsuccessful?
  4. Why did the customer choose your company to solve the problem?
  5. What happened during the implementation of the solution?
    1. Did any problems arise during implementation?  If so, how were they solved?
  6. What results and benefits can be expected by using your company’s product or service to solve the problem?
  7. Were any of your company’s employees exceptionally helpful during this process?
    1. How did your employees go above and beyond the normal scope of their jobs to help?
  8. Why would the customer recommend your product or service?
  9. Why would the customer recommend your company?
  10. What steps should be taken by a prospect to implement this solution?
    1. What information should the prospect know before starting this process?

Case Study “Do’s” and “Don’ts”

There are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to successfully using case studies.

  • Include a date on your case studies so that prospects and customers see your track record of success.
  • When presenting data in a case study, don’t let it get outdated. Readers may not find the story relevant if they believe the material is too old.
  • Refresh the case study on a regular basis by updating the data and statistics.
  • Regardless of the technical nature of your product or service, write the case study in a reader-friendly format. Use enough words to communicate clearly without burdening the reader.
  • Don’t hide case studies! Especially don’t hide them on the company’s website. Be proud of your work and put them in a prominent position.
  • As they become available, actively promote and publicize new case studies.
  • Be strategic in how you design your case study.
    • Don’t give away the results of the case study immediately.
    • Present it with a beginning (description of the problem), a middle (implementation of the solution) and an end (did the solution work?).
    • Make the reader want to find out how the solution worked.
  • Use proper grammar and syntax.  Nothing turns a prospect away faster than reading a sloppy, boring marketing piece.
    • Don’t present the prospect with content full of errors and inaccuracies.
Stimulating Questions for Your Blog

Stimulating Questions for Your Blog

Whether a business owner or marketer, it is easy to feel as though you are fresh out of marketing ideas and worthy content about which to write.  The good news − a few simple questions may be all you need to get your creative juices flowing again. As a marketing consultant and SEO guru, I plan many blog posts and content assets each week. And, just like you, I run into temporary roadblocks that impede my progress. The most common that come from myself or my clients are:

  • I don’t know what to blog about.
  • You’re the expert.  You figure it out.
  • I have written about that before.
  • That’s too basic.

Though these are common thoughts to have, in reality, they are only true if you allow them to be.  I am always more than happy and capable to create some content and post it to the site of my client’s.  However, no learning ever comes from that.  The fact of the matter is that the real gems come through self-discovery and not by simply having the solutions provided.  Even though you may be paying a substantial amount to have a marketing agency work its magic and do everything for you, it is extremely beneficial to learn along the way.

More often than not, it is not a matter of who has the most technical data available.  In fact, it is more about who has the most relevant information.  The search engines are looking for content that establishes you as an expert.  They want information that is relevant to the search query.  That sounds easier than it often times is.  It isn’t always easy to come up with material that speaks to a level your current and prospective clients will understand.  You must keep in mind, though, that the material you blog about needs to be on a level that makes sense to current and potential clients.



Writing at an understandable level is what got me thinking that it was time to simplify online marketing and present it in a way that almost anyone can start marketing their business with just a few basic steps. In actuality, just like any good salesman will tell you, it is all a matter of asking the right questions. Business owner and marketer needs to figure out how to sell themselves. Finally coming to the point of this article, let’s jump into the short questions you can ask yourself or your staff to help inspire the kind of content you can be proud of as you post it to your website.

  • What is/are the problem(s) we solve?
  • What are the common questions or concerns I encounter on a sales call?
  • What do I do better than my competition?
  • What specialized knowledge do I have?
  • What are my unique goals?

You may think that some of the questions are basic and elementary.  In most cases they are.  Simplicity is beauty when it comes to marketing.  When you realize that you do not need to reinvent the wheel and only need to provide what your customers want, you will excel over your competition.  If you find yourself stumbling, remember to go back to the basics and ask yourself these questions to jump-start your content creation.  Good luck!

Top 3 Reasons to Use Google Analytics

Top 3 Reasons to Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides information that any business can use to understand and improve website performance. Making sense of traffic data is the first step toward getting the most out of each customer visit. In many cases, website owners can make changes that will improve results based on the information gleaned from Google Analytics. My three point method for analyzing website traffic information involves the questions of who, how, and when.  That is to say, the information you need to obtain from Google Analytics will help you to:

 

Understand who visits the website.
First, and foremost, Google Analytics provides details on website visitors. It can identify them by useful characteristics such as location, time zone, operating systems, browsers, and type of access − not to mention many others that will be of great help to your business and relate more directly to your industry. As an example, many people today utilize mobile devices for connecting to the Web.  It is important to ensure that the site works well across all platforms. Google Analytics will help you understand how many people coming to your site are using mobile devices and how that may be impacting your business.  Another helpful metric to look at is the location. If you have an important message you want to provide your customers, localizing the messages based on geographic area is easier with Google Analytics.  It may even help with the translation and localization for promoting your product and supplying good communications if you are working in more than one language. In short, the data you collecta bout those who visit your site will provide detailed snapshot of the audience and help you learn how to more effectively market.

Understand how visitors interact with the website.
It is not enough to know how many visitors you have or where they are from. It is just as crucial to understand how they interact with your site. For example, how long do they stay on page?  Which pages are they visiting? What percentage of visitors click on the links and take the actions that the owners design the site to receive? Conversions are the test of website effectiveness. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, interaction is a measure of success. Tag Manager provides an easy way for marketers to set rules for the site and apply Google Analytics to the pages. For example, the thank-you page can capture conversions, and every page can apply the Analytics. Goal attribution is another inside view of the data. It focuses on matching the important clicks with the conversion and not just the last click. When using several channels to get conversions, it is important to know which are effective, which are not effective, and not simply lumping them all into the final click. Attribution helps display the differences and make better decisions on resource allocation.

Understand when visitors are using the website.
Knowing when people are visiting your site is very useful for maximizing the impact and return on investment. Google Analytics reveals the time of day when visits occur. This information can guide the choice of AdWords bids and purchases and other efforts to take advantage of the busiest times and avoid the slack periods. In other words, knowing when people are on your site, when they may be looking for your product or service, will help you maximize your Return On Investment (ROI).  Time of day data also sheds light on the composition of visitors group and consumer preferences. The international settings reveal an important local time of day and usage effects. For example, it may be important to bid higher on midnight EST time slots for AdWords when that slot coincides with seven A.M. in an important East European market. The time of day for high levels of activity in a given market is an important piece of information.  Again, knowing when to effectively market based on when people are searching the web for you product and visiting your site will only help you receive the highest possible ROI.

 

 

SEMrush

 

Get The Most From Your Website

Setting up and applying Google Analytics on web pages with Tag Manager, and using Goal Attribution to parse the true source of positive engagements, enables marketers to improve website performance. Google makes these layers of data accessible and has done so while providing easy user interfaces. It is possible to control tags and identify the productive channels without IT experts. The above described three-part approach provides a better understanding of website data for any business. With a better understanding of website information, they can use it to improve website performance.  Get the most out of your website and maximize your ROI by properly implementing Google Analytics and using the information therein to make decisions regarding your resource allocation!

If you need some help setting up your analytics account or want to be sure that it is setup correctly, Best SEO Masters would be happy to help you out.  They have a reasonable, one-time fee that will be well worth the investment if you don’t want to waste your time only to discover Google Analytics was not setup correctly.   Contact An Expert to discuss options for help with the set up your Analytics.

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