“I have a dream…”
You know, when Martin Luther King Jr. was writing that speech I bet he had a nightmare too – that he wouldn’t finish it.
Any writer – good, bad, the best – has, at some point in their scribing, encountered the dreaded “writer’s block”. It lives within us all and manifests slowly as we become more and more calloused to our unique methodologies of writing.
Why are we talking about this though? Isn’t this supposed to be a marketing blog…
Well before you doubt the relevancy of the article let me just say one word – blog.
Why are blogs important for online marketing?
- They give your site a consistently, interactive aspect encouraging repeated visits.
- They allow users to read about what’s going on in your world, reminding them subtly you are up-to-date.
- They present the opportunity to explore topics related to FAQ answering any extra questions passerby’s may have.
- They provide a more informal setting, promoting a more personal relationship between your business and its customers.
- And most importantly – they are a hub for the SEO hungry.
If you don’t know by now, and you own your own business – whether small or large – blogging is one of the major ways of raising your rankings through search engine optimization. That is because the content is never ending and can be loaded with keywords at your will.
Great! So blogs are THEE way to ensure your site is always climbing in ranking, but what if you fail to produce? What if writer’s block onsets and you’ve nothing to post for months on end?
Should you just stop? No!
Remember when I was talking about writers’ unique methodologies? Well, when your own strategies are worn or depleted, the best way to move on is to use someone else’s!
- Use other blogs similar to your own for generating ideas.
- Use multiple sources for content research once you’ve chosen a topic.
- Copy-paste helpful excerpts to organize your thoughts.
- Give examples or pictures and provide detailed explanations of them.
This is applicable to nearly any topic you end up writing about. You can always find a relevant picture/model or graph to help support your idea, and if not that you can at least provide solid examples of the main points your hitting on and then give explanations as to why they seem to be successful ideas.
That’s it! There are plenty more ways to fight The Block, but these are just a few methods of mine to help you in case you find yourself in a lexical bind. I myself can’t use these in the event I get stuck, for sadly they are my own and cease to function once writer’s block impedes, but like I said before – using other writers’ methods is always a great way to help keep those juices flowing. So if you’re stumped at the moment, then wallow no longer! Go pump out that blog and boost your SEO!
If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it, does it still make a sound?
Why are you hearing such clichés in an SEO blog post…because the implication of the adage is actually quite relevant.
If no one hears the sound, then it may not exist at all. As brilliant as the fall may have been, as many animals as it may have taken down beneath its mighty trunk, no one may ever know its story. So how exactly is this relevant to SEO? Well, imagine your company’s website and blog page – they sit silent, with little to no traffic, yet they are designed with expertise and the content is practical and intriguing. If you don’t use SEO, then no one will ever be able to appreciate the usefulness of them, let alone the effort that was put into creating them.
Search engines really don’t have an easy way to discover and direct people to your content without your help and the help of others. Although some of us would love to type in Google.com and see results for everything that we were planning to search for before we even typed it in – that’s just not a luxury in our generation. Unfortunately, it takes other humans to run the query, dig through 1,000′s of search results, and come across your page – all just to get a view. It takes those same people to also provide a reaction and give comments and then link the page for their friends, just to get a few more views. It only makes sense then that useful and superior content must be marketed, and not just created and left to be found deep within the crevices of our favorite search engine databases.
Trust this: your content isn’t being paid any mind hanging out on the 10th page of the search results. In fact, 50% of users will click on the top two results on the first page. It’s also reported that 60% of total clicks go to the top three results, and 62% of clicks are dedicated to the first page results. Therefore, only 2% of clicks truly go to anything besides the top three results on the first page. Additionally, only 23% of searches will actually progress to the second page. That’s 85% of clicks allocated to the first two pages of search results. Where’s the last 15% go? I’d argue, confidently, that the remaining percentage of clicks are scattered between the first three pages of results, and no further. If you haven’t got the hint – get your business page on the first page of results for keywords that apply to it. It’s absolutely necessary if you’re ever planning on expanding your local reach through online marketing; otherwise, you may as well be holding off on online investments until you can figure out a way to increase your rankings.
What about Pay Per Click advertising though? Isn’t that what all those businesses who lack rankings use in order to appear in those fields above the actual search results? Sure, PPC is a great way to get your site noticed when users search keywords that you typically don’t appear for, or want more traffic from, but it has its flaws. Economically, PPC makes no sense without some sort of SEO support. First off, PPC can be quite expensive, especially if you’re website’s content is hard for Google to recognize as relevant to the keywords you are buying. Essentially, this means that the more SEO work you do, the less you’ll actually have to bid (pay per click) in order to appear in the top rankings for paid advertising.
If this seems like minor obstacle to you and you’re still alright with not investing in SEO, but instead investing everything into PPC ads, let me break it down a bit more with some graphs so you can see the situation from a more economic perspective.
The graph above represents the cost of PPC advertising compared to the amount of traffic you receive by paying for it. Initially, the investment is extremely useful for capturing traffic that wouldn’t normally find a link to your website; however, over time, as you pay more and more to stay in those paid rankings, the amount of potential traffic for your ads really doesn’t fluctuate. Now let’s look at a graph with the same variables, but one that applies to SEO’s value instead.
In this graph you see that the average cost of SEO diminishes over time. This is because the fixed costs of SEO are quite expensive, whether finding a partner to do the work for you, or spending the time yourself, the first steps of SEO are quite time consuming and require a lot of detailed work. After you’ve tweaked all your site’s content to be keyword rich, and went through your html to list descriptions and do alt-tagging, you’ll most likely be creating local online listings through Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Eventually, once you’ve touched on everything possible and went around link building for long enough, there won’t be much “cost” to you besides maybe keeping a weekly update of your site’s blog that touches on keyword rich topics. As you can see though, the traffic you receive only becomes more and more as your search rankings increase. The graph is slightly flawed in that “traffic” would probably be more of an S-shaped curve because if you ever got your website to be the #1 search result for all your possible keywords then traffic would only increase exponentially if a significant amount of new people were using the internet for searches. Basically, the curve would peak out towards the top, but regardless the general idea of the graph stands, which is that SEO is only going to become less costly over time while your traffic keeps increasing, as opposed to PPC advertising – which only gets more expensive while traffic stays stable.
Hopefully that helps explain why SEO has a better return on investment than PPC ads over the long run. The combination of the two online marketing tactics is really something else completely though. If you’ve invested enough into good SEO work, you can really rake in the traffic with some solid PPC ads. Remember though, more often than not, PPC is only going to hurt your overall ROI without some quality SEO backing it.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and many of us are excited, not only for the food, family, and good tidings, but also for the great shopping opportunity that has become an annual tradition on the Friday after. That tradition is better known as Black Friday, but as of last year a new, more localized tradition has emerged – it’s called Small Business Saturday. Black Friday is more widely known and focuses on knocking down prices in larger, more corporate based stores. Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, is more aimed towards bringing attention to local businesses that might not get as much traffic over the weekend of Black Friday. American Express sponsors the new tradition that started last year and has its first anniversary this coming Saturday. The goal is to spark interest in local businesses, in lieu of Black Friday, and inject money back into smaller, more local economies.
The American Independence Business Alliance (AIBA) out of Texas ran a study that showed that out of every $100 spent in nationwide chain stores, only about 13% ($13) makes it back into the local economy where the goods were purchased. However, the study also showed that a whopping 45-50% of the money spent at smaller, more local businesses ends up staying within the same local economy. That’s nearly four times the amount of money that would end up supporting your city, or town, directly if you were shopping through big businesses instead of locally through smaller shops. The difference is indeed significant, and as such it is important that we start to support our hometowns more, not only on this coming Saturday, but as much as possible and whenever possible.
American Express sponsors the special event in order to bring more credibility to the new underdog of holiday shopping days. Local businesses everywhere are participating and you can be sure to find all sorts of coupons and discounts throughout your town or city’s local storefronts. For those that shop using their American Express card, a $25 credit is being given if used at local, participating businesses. That’s not the only big name backing this Saturday’s shoppers though. Google has been giving out $75 in free advertising to lucky businesses who signed up through their service in order to advertise their deals for the upcoming event. Similarly, Facebook has been offering $100 in free ads for local businesses who have a fan page on the Facebook platform and want to spread the word about their special offers for the big day.
Black Friday will undoubtedly still be the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but Small Business Saturday is becoming more and more recognized especially with so many notable companies giving it support. The Facebook fan page for the big event has nearly 2.5 million ‘likes’ and there are 1,000′s of tweets, articles, and blogs (like this one!) floating around promoting this Saturday. If you’re just hearing about it now, it may not be too late to advertise (if you’re a local business owner) and it surely isn’t too late to plan on which businesses you want to go out and support this Saturday. The moral of the story? Think local this holiday, and if you’re not big on Black Friday, at least make it a point to go out and spend a few bucks at your favorite non-corporate stores this Saturday. Who knows, you may find that holiday gift you were searching for and get it cheaper than you imagined – all whilst keeping most of those dollars in the local market!