Eighteen months ago my website, which had historically ranked quite well, was fast dropping down Google’s front page.
Natural search engine traffic is my main source of new business other than referrals, so I was concerned to say the least.
There are a lot of opinions out there on search engine optimisation (SEO) but for my business I saw only two options. Either I could keep the site as it was (basically a place to sell my services) and build as many links as possible to it, effectively getting into a links race with the others on the front page of Google. Or I could do something my competitors weren’t.
I decided to dump my typical sales-y site and launch a blog instead.
As a small player in my market, to me this was really the only sustainable way to keep my rankings in Google. The big companies would have beaten me easily in a links race and I’m a reluctant salesman, so I was up for trying a different approach.
My blogging strategy is to write articles that teach people things and solve their problems instead of creating pages that explain my products and services. I want to build up a natural following in social media and on the blog and have a constant stream of content (which I know Google likes as well).
After a year and a half and a considerable amount of effort, my site has become a useful resource for small business people looking to get ahead online. I’ve posted close to 150 blog posts, undertaken case studies, released videos and published free e-books.
But has it helped my business? Here are some of the specific results:
• At the time of writing, my site ranks number 1 in Google for 'website design' and is on the front page for 'web design' 'website development' and many more big ticket keywords
• Aside from these big ticket keywords the number of smaller keywords I’m getting traffic from has tripled
• The average number of monthly visits to my site has tripled and I now get around one web enquiry per day (plus phone calls)
• My email list has doubled and I’m getting close to 100 new subscribers per month
• I now have a bit of a point of difference when compared with other web companies and I no longer have to focus on the aspect of my business I enjoy least - sales
It amazes me how few small businesses put real effort into content marketing. I guess you have to love it. In my experience it represents a great way to stand out from the crowd and start to build your own following.
Have you taken to the idea of blogging or content marketing too? What have the results been for your business?
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For more from Dan Norris, head to www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's community for solo and micro business owners.