SEO

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

How to Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

How to Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine 900 600 Kari Switala

Apple chips, hummus, Ninja warrior, the naughty list…these are not topics you’d normally connect with a content marketing company. And yet, these are some of the keywords we ranked highly for in Google searches back before we really understood keywords and search engine optimization (SEO)

Relevant keywords and good SEO can work wonders for your blog, as can consistent posting, using quality images, and visitor engagement. Without utilizing these tools, it can be difficult to get much traction. But with them, you can transform your blog into a traffic-generating machine.

First: What Not to Do

Since those early blog posts, we’ve learned a lot about the importance of optimizing our blogs for SEO. Now we can easily see why we ranked for those crazy keywords: the blogs we were writing had fun titles with analogies that drew the reader in once they got to our site, but they didn’t help people FIND us in the first place. They introduced topics that were totally unrelated to what we do. Here are a few prime examples (it’s ok to laugh…we think they’re pretty funny now too):

While these articles did cover relevant topics (smart marketing strategies, customer experience, and differentiating yourself from the competition), they weren’t written in a way that helped us attract the audience we were looking for: businesses looking for great content marketing.

Keyword Research is, Well…Key

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

The main thing those early blogs lacked was relevant keywords that signaled to search engines what the blogs were about. Keywords essentially represent the main ideas of your content. They are the words and phrases people would type into a search engine when looking for the topics you are discussing. When you use keywords on your page that are relevant to what people are searching for, they have a better chance of finding your content. The goal is to rank highly on search engines so that your content will show up among the first options people see when they enter your keywords. This drives organic traffic to your site. 

Before you write your content, you need to determine what keywords you want to rank for. Keyword research tools like Semrush, Moz, and Google Keyword Planner are helpful when determining the keywords that will be most relevant to your audience. These tools allow you to see what keywords are the most popular and drive the most traffic, as well as how much competition each keyword has. Ideally, you want to choose keywords that are highly relevant but don’t have so much competition that you have no hope of ranking for them.

Focus On Long-Tail Keywords

You’ll want to focus your time and energy on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases—typically 3-5 words or more—and are almost always a better choice than broader keywords. They are more targeted in their approach, so they help you connect with an audience that is more likely to engage with you. For example, a person searching for “content marketing company in MN” is much more likely to engage with us, a content marketing company in Minnesota, than someone simply searching for “marketing” would be. Long-tail keywords help you find the RIGHT traffic, not just a lot of traffic.

Make a Plan For Your Content and Stick To It

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

To get into a good rhythm of content production, you need to lay out a clear plan. Pumping out articles just to have something on your site won’t get you the results you want. You need to know where you’re heading with your content and what kind of schedule you need to keep to get there.

Use the keywords you’ve researched to determine what topics you will write about. One easy way to do this is to start typing your keyword into the Google search bar and watch what search suggestions pop up. These suggestions indicate topics that people are regularly searching for. Or you can scroll to the bottom of the search page to the “searches related to” section for more good ideas. 

Make a list of the topics you think will be the most relevant to your audience. Then, create a schedule for yourself, setting deadlines for creating the first draft, editing, and publishing the finished content. Creating and sticking to a content schedule will help you post more consistently. And posting consistently will help you rank higher with Google and other search engines.

Create Relevant, Well-Written Blogs

Next comes the writing. Good writing is just as important as using the right keywords. Done well, a blog can help establish you (and your business) as an authority in your field. Plus, Google and other search engines aren’t just looking for keywords—they’re looking for relevant content that answers the questions site visitors are asking.

Your blogs should be well-thought-out, well-written, and grammatically correct resources for your audience. If you have a wealth of ideas but aren’t the best writer, it’s a good idea to hire out your writing (we know a great writer or two if you’re looking!). Mediocre writing won’t draw the traffic you’re looking for.

The length of your blogs makes a difference with SEO as well. Currently, the ideal blog length for the best SEO is around 2,100-2,400 words. Long-form content like this performs better in search results than short blogs. This is primarily because longer posts are naturally more keyword-rich and go into more depth on their topic, making them more likely to answer visitors’ questions or solve their problems. This, in turn, makes them more likely to get shared on social media or to get backlinks from other sites—both things that drive up web traffic. 

Place Your Keywords For Optimal SEO

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

As you write your blog, you’ll need to include your chosen long-tail keyword throughout the copy. There isn’t a set number of times to use your keyword in your blog, but don’t overdo it—less is more in this case. In fact, don’t focus on counting your keywords at all. Instead, check their placement and make sure they’re built naturally into your topic. Carefully work your main keyword into your title, first paragraph, a header or two, and the closing paragraph. If you’ve chosen your keyword and blog topic well, this shouldn’t be difficult to do: your keyword should resonate with or serve as the entire topic of the post.

In addition to your main keyword, you’ll also want to use secondary or synonymous keywords throughout the body of your blog. Secondary keywords are related terms that help support your blog’s main topic. For example, if you were writing a blog titled “Best Winter Coats For Below-Zero Temperatures”, your long-tail keyword might be the entire title, and some of your synonymous keywords could be “winter coat”, “parka”, “down coat”, and “cold weather gear”. Make sense?

But don’t overdo your secondary keywords either. Ultimately, search engines look for high quality, highly relevant content when ranking for keywords. So it’s better to naturally work your keywords into your content less often than to stuff them in as many times as possible.

Make Your Posts Pop With Great Images

Keywords are vital, but they aren’t the only thing you can use to boost your SEO and drive traffic to your blog. Incorporating great images throughout your blog posts can help as well. Good quality images do four main things:

  1. Help readers get a sense of what you’re writing about. Visual aids like infographics and photos invite the reader in and can help simplify complex concepts.
  2. Attract more clicks. Your post’s main photo will typically show up when readers share your post on social media. A great-looking photo will make viewers want to click on the post to read more; a dull one won’t.
  3. Offer another chance to optimize for better search engine placement. Your images themselves can be optimized to help your content show up in search results. Adding your main keyword into an image’s “alternative text” field, file name, and caption gives search engines a better idea of what your post is about.
  4. Make your content look authoritative. A post with attractive photography or well-designed infographics is more likely to be taken seriously by potential readers than one using old clip art.

A couple of notes on images: First, when choosing photos for your blog, make sure to keep an eye on the file size. Image files that are too large can make your page load slower, which search engines don’t like. Second, never use photos you don’t have the rights to: you could end up paying hefty fines. To avoid this problem, grab photos from one of the many royalty-free stock photo sites available, such as Big Stock, Unsplash and Pexels.

Encourage User Engagement

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

Once you attract readers, those readers can in turn help attract more traffic to your blog. Encourage readers to engage with your posts by leaving a comment (make sure you respond to comments!) and by sharing them on social media. The more engagement your post receives, the better it will rank with search engines and the more traffic you will see on your site.

Also, include an invitation to join your email newsletter in every blog post. This allows you to notify visitors when you post new blogs, which can result in even more traffic and shares. Make sure to include an email signup form somewhere in each blog post—this can be in the form of a pop-up box, a form at the end of the post, or simply a call-to-action line within your post that is linked to a signup form.

Update Existing Blog Posts

Another way to increase traffic to your blog is to optimize older blog posts for better SEO. If you have older posts that are relevant to your audience but haven’t generated much traffic, take the time to go back and update them.

Start by using what you’ve learned here to improve those old posts: include well-placed relevant keywords, add great images throughout, make sure the post invites comments and shares, and add an invitation to join your email newsletter somewhere in the post. Also, if the post doesn’t have headers throughout the body copy, add some to break up the text (and include your keywords in them if you can do so naturally). One note: when refreshing an old post, don’t forget to update any information that has changed since you first wrote it.

Transforming Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine Takes Time

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

Your blog can be a great way to draw visitors to your website, but it will take consistent effort and time. Be patient—you likely won’t notice a huge influx of new site visitors from just one blog post, no matter how great it is. But over time, creating and consistently executing a solid plan for your content will transform your blog into a traffic-generating machine. 

And if you’re thinking, “Who has the time to do all of this?”, we’ve got your back. We know it can be difficult to find the time to create consistently great blog posts for your website. That’s why we offer blog writing services here at Wild Fig. We can do your keyword research, brainstorm blog topic ideas, research and write your blogs, find great images to complement them, and post them on your site for you. Plus, our writers are SEO pros who will make sure your blogs meet the standards that search engines like Google are looking for.

Ready to grow your blog and generate new leads for your business? Contact us today to get started!

Repurposing old blogs

HOW CAN I REPURPOSE MY CONTENT?

HOW CAN I REPURPOSE MY CONTENT? 900 600 Kari Switala

It can be a struggle to consistently come up with new content that is relevant to your audience—content that makes them want to engage with you.

Did you know you can repurpose your old blog posts and other resources rather than constantly creating new content?

Repurposing past blog articles, ebooks/guides, or even webinars can help you get more value out of the content you’ve already worked hard to create. When you adapt your content into different formats—combining several blog posts into an ebook/guide or creating new blogs out of the content from a webinar, for instance—you extend the reach of your current content, allowing you to engage new audiences.

Getting Started With Repurposing Your Content

If this sounds intriguing to you, there are two things you will need to do before you can effectively repurpose your content:

1.) Complete a content audit.

Auditing your current content is crucial. It will show you the topics you’ve already addressed and any related content you could link together. It will also show you what content has been the most engaging and what has fallen flat. (Spoiler alert: you’ll want to focus on the more engaging content and let the duds go).

content audit

To audit your content, start by gathering your blog posts, ebooks/guides, worksheets, videos, webinars, and any other resources you’ve offered in the past. Organize all of this content into a spreadsheet, keeping track of the following categories:

    • content title
    • topic
    • buyer’s journey stage
    • lifecycle stage
    • content format
    • targeted buyer persona
    • and any additional notes that could be helpful as you search through your list in the future

Use this helpful worksheet from Hubspot to help you stay organized as you gather your current content. The content audit is by far the most painful part of this process (especially if you’re a creative type who’s not a fan of spreadsheets!), but trust us, having all of this information gathered into one place will be a vital resource for future content creation. You won’t know how you ever functioned without it.

2.) Decide what you want to be known for.

Which topics do you want to become the go-to expert for? Who is your ideal client? Asking yourself questions like these will help you hone in on what content you should repurpose. It doesn’t make sense to repurpose pieces of content that are not going to attract your ideal work or client, so let those go and focus on the ones that will.

Finding Content to Repurpose

Once you’ve done your content audit and chosen the topic areas you want to focus on, it’s time to find some content to repurpose. Search through your completed content audit worksheet, looking for content or topics that stand out, such as:

  • Top performers. Use Google Analytics to determine your top performing blogs over the past 6-12 months. These are your best bets as far as increasing engagement—if your audience enjoyed them, they’ll probably want to hear more about those topics and will be likely to engage with them again in another format. Consider creating webinars, ebooks, or email campaigns addressing your most popular topics.
  • Topic Clusters. Notice which of your blogs could be combined into long-form content such as ebooks, guides, or webinars. Can you reuse past blogs to create bigger pieces of content that could benefit your audience in some way or answer questions they have?
  • Common Questions. Do you have a blog (or several) that answers questions you often get from your audience? If so, repurpose them into a Q&A video and/or downloadable guide.
  • Helpful Statistics. Are there certain blog topics that involve a lot of numbers? Repurposing those numbers into eye-catching and relevant infographics will give you great fodder for social media posts and provide a way to link back to the original blog to boost engagement further.

You get the drift. Focus on the content your audience is already gravitating towards and ask yourself if there is new information you can share that relates to those topics or if there is another way to deliver the information to your audience. Do you see how effective this can be?

Bonus: Optimizing Old Blog Posts

As you’re working through your content audit and choosing old blogs to repurpose, take a few moments to optimize those old posts to improve your SEO. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Consider adding a short list to the top of the blog—doing so can help with snippets and SEO ranking.
  • Update the title to include a long-tail keyword that aligns with the question(s) your target audience would search for online.
  • Look for other blog articles you’ve written, videos you’ve created, or other resources you offer (ebooks, downloadable pdfs, checklists, etc.) that are relevant to this topic and include links to them in the post.
  • Make sure every blog includes a call to action (a link to view more content, follow you on social media, book an exploratory call, etc), and update the CTA as needed to keep it relevant.

We hope this quick intro to repurposing your content was helpful. Now all that’s left to do is to get started! Repurposing your content effectively will help you reach your audience, increase engagement, and get more out of the work you’ve already done. Need help creating ebooks, guides, or other content from your old blog posts? We know someone who could help. 😉

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

Online Reviews

WHY ONLINE REVIEWS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF BUSINESS GROWTH

WHY ONLINE REVIEWS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF BUSINESS GROWTH 900 600 Jen Hiltunen

Your online reputation plays a crucial role in attracting new customers. The look and functionality of your website, the content on your blog, and how active you are on social media all contribute to how you are seen online, but the biggest factor affecting your online reputation is customer reviews. Reviews on social media or sites like Google and Yelp can have a significant effect on whether a potential client chooses to work with your company. Let’s take a closer look at why reviews are such a powerful tool for business growth.

Social Proof

Online reviews are the biggest source of social proof your company can have — and an effective one at that. Direct customer feedback in the form of reviews creates social proof trust, encouraging others to buy. We are all much more likely to buy from or even engage with a company if others (even complete strangers) say the product or company is a good one.

Reviews have become so much a part of how we make our buying decisions that these days we’re more likely to consult online reviews when we’re checking out a new business than anything or anyone else — even our friends and family.

In case you think we’re overstating the importance of reviews for social proof, check out these statistics from Invespro:

  • 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Customers are likely to spend 31% more money on a business with “excellent” reviews

If people like what they see in your online reviews, they are much more likely to choose your company over others.

Stand Out Online

Stand Out OnlineHaving a steady stream of new reviews also makes your company more likely to show up when consumers are searching online. Google and other search engines all have their own algorithms and ways of indexing content, but every one of them values fresh, original content — and customer reviews fall into that category. Companies with many positive reviews rank higher with Google than those that have poor reviews or no reviews at all.

A consistent influx of fresh reviews from your customers will help your business rank higher with search engines, making you more visible online and easier for potential customers to find.

Build Trust

Build TrustA regular stream of positive reviews helps build trust and credibility with your audience, positioning you as an authority in your field. Positive reviews build consumer confidence in your company, which results in more sales. They bring legitimacy to your business and let potential customers know who you are, what you do, and why you are a better choice than your competitors.

According to Invespro:

  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 92% will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating
  • 56% of customers read 2-6 reviews before deciding to trust a business
  • 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review

In addition, a whopping 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews! But note that it says they will “hesitate to purchase”, not that they definitely won’t purchase. Even the way you respond to critical reviews can help build consumer trust — a timely and appropriate response shows that you care about the experience your customers have with your business. Taking the time to respond to criticism in a positive and helpful way will go a long way with potential customers.

Get Valuable Feedback

Customer reviews can help you discover where you excel…and where you don’t. Reviews can give you an idea of what’s working in your business, what’s not, and what your customers are actually experiencing when they work with you (including the things they won’t tell you in person). They can give you tangible ways to improve as well as successes to boast about in your marketing.

While no one wants negative reviews, if you take the opportunity to learn from them they can actually be quite valuable. Knowing what problems your customers are experiencing with your business gives you the chance to fix the problem, make amends with the customer, and invite them to try you again. And as we mentioned above, our response to critical reviews can build trust with current and future customers.

Make sure to respond to every review — positive and negative alike. Offering personalized responses to reviews gives a friendly face to your company and shows that you are open to feedback.

Generate Leads

Since people use websites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and LinkedIn to conduct research before they buy, these sites can be powerful lead generation sources. Ranking high on sites like these will help you stand out to potential clients, give them the information they’re looking for as they do their research, and show them that you are worth their time and money.

Make sure to completely fill out your profiles on these sites. If you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, set one up today (it’s free and easy). Claim your business on Yelp and complete your profile there. Fill out your profiles on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn as well. The more complete your profiles are on these sites, the more legitimate you look to potential clients. Once your profiles are complete, start asking past and current clients for reviews.

How to Ask Your Customers for Reviews

Asking For ReviewsWe know it can be difficult to know how to ask your customers for reviews. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. First, decide when to send your review requests. The ideal time to ask for a review is right after your customer experiences a success with your product or business. This is when they will be most excited about your business and have the most to say. But the end of the quarter or year can also be a great time to send out requests, since many companies are reviewing how their business has done over the past several months or year.
  2. Next, capture their attention by offering an incentive for submitting a review or testimonial — like a gift card for coffee or some company swag. Offering a little something in return for their time can convince people to take action and write a review. (Note: Some review sites may have policies against offering incentives for reviews, so check the site’s policy before offering these perks).
  3. Make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Include a link to the site you want them to leave a review on right in your email, so all they have to do is click and start writing.
  4. Prompt them with questions to answer in their review. Give them a list of simple questions to answer that will help them quickly get to the heart of why they are happy with your product or service. Use open-ended questions to avoid one-word responses.

Still feeling stuck? We’ve created a resource to help you get more reviews and recommendations from your clients. Click here to download a template you can use to write an effective review request email.

It can feel awkward asking your clients for reviews, but the benefits far outweigh those brief moments of discomfort. Plus, you might be surprised at how eager your clients are to sing your praises — if working with you has helped them or their business thrive, they will want to share that with the world.

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

STRATEGIES TO HELP CUSTOMERS FIND YOU ONLINE

STRATEGIES TO HELP CUSTOMERS FIND YOU ONLINE 900 600 Maddi Koenig

Did you know that 67% of a customer’s journey happens online? More and more, consumers are doing online research before making any kind of decision to purchase products or hire services. If you’re not showing up prominently in online search results and social media, it’s unlikely that potential customers will find you. To really attract an audience, you need to make it as easy as possible for customers to find you online. Let’s go over a few strategies to help you do that.

Stake Your Claim on Your Name

Claim your name on every social media platform you might ever want to use, even if you don’t plan to use them all now – if you wait, they may not be available later. Create a custom URL for each social network whenever possible (most platforms allow this). This makes it easier for others to find you on social media and allows you to point people to a customized name that is easy to remember. Use the same name for your website domain and social media networks if possible (or choose a second name to use when the first isn’t available). Ideally, this name should include your business name.

Title case your website domain and social media URLs on all of your marketing (capitalize the first letter of each word). That way they will be easy to read and remember – you want them to be recognizable with a quick look.

For example:

facebook.com/WildFigMarketing 

is much easier to read than

facebook.com/wildfigmarketing 

Do you see what we mean? This is especially helpful if your URL is lengthy.

Note: how people enter the URL into their browser won’t matter – whether they use capitals or lower case they’ll still get to your website or social media page. Title casing just makes it easy for people to see your name at a glance.

Consistently Post New, Relevant Content 

Your website and social media accounts don’t have to be flashy but they do need to cater to your target market. Think about what your customers need from you:

  • Why have they come to your site?
  • What do they want to know?
  • Is the most important information easy to find?
  • Is your main message highly visible?

Relevant content will grab your customers’ attention and keep them coming back for more.

Another important element in your online presence is consistency. You want to post on your blog and social media networks as often as you can to keep the momentum going, but you also need to think about how often you’ll be able to consistently post. If you start posting daily, your readers will come to expect that and will see you as less reliable if you suddenly drop down to once a week. If all you have time for is a weekly post, then do that – just be consistent.

Boost Your SEO With Keywords

Believe it or not, the text content on your website is even more important than visual elements. It conveys your message of course, but it’s also how Google finds and ranks your site. Make sure all of the text throughout your website is keyword-rich. (Check out our blog on keyword strategy here). Keywords – the words people would use to search for your product or service online – are how you get noticed by Google search.

Keyword-rich content will boost your SEO (search engine optimization) and help you appear prominently in online search results. The goal is to rank on the first page of Google search, as people rarely look beyond the first page. Since it is difficult to rank on the first page for every possible thing your customers would search for, focus on a few words or phrases that reflect what’s most important to you and use those keywords throughout your website copy. You can also use keywords in page titles, meta tags, image descriptions, and page descriptions to help boost your SEO.

Stay Active on Social Media

Stay in front of your audience by being consistently active on social networks. To start with, figure out which networks your target market uses most. The most common are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, but the ones you focus on will depend on your target audience’s demographics. Regardless of which network or networks you choose, our advice is the same – stay active and use these networks to interact with your audience.

That doesn’t mean you have to post your own new content every day. Do post some relevant content of your own, but also share content you find and want to pass on to your followers, post polls and questions to gather opinions and increase engagement, respond to comments people post on your page, and comment on others’ pages and posts.

Also, keep your finger on the pulse of what others in your industry are doing online by joining groups, following other accounts whose content you find useful, following people who follow you, and subscribing to blogs in your industry. These things will all help you become an online resource in your area of expertise and get you seen by your customers.

Sprinkle Your Website and Social Media Addresses Like Confetti 

In other words, put them everywhere! Add icons or clickable links to your email signature, website, eNewsletters, ebooks, and other online documents. Add this information to all of your social media networks too, so people can connect with you on multiple sites if they want to. If you’re short on space or the platform only allows for one or two sites, include only your top ones. Don’t forget to make sure all of the links work, and if possible set them to open in another tab.

On your website, make your social media icons easy to find. Generally speaking, the top or bottom of the page (or both) is the best spot for them. Make sure the icons are big enough or spaced far enough apart to be able to easily click or tap on them.

You should also include your website and social media URLs on all printed materials, including business cards, brochures, ads, product packaging, letterhead, invoices, and more. Make sure your customers can find your accounts easily.

All of these tips will help you stand out online so your target audience can easily find and engage with you. Need help with your online marketing strategy? We can help. Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!