Why Blogs are Good for Marketing and SEO
When I was brought on at West Coast about a year and a half ago, one of the goals we had as a business was to grow our website’s organic traffic (visitors to the site from search engines such as Google.) To do that, we decided to take a multi-pronged approach.
First, we wanted to make sure each of our location web pages were optimized for the correct keywords in each market.
Second was to grow our social media reach through consistent posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
The third traffic driver was to create a blog. By writing a blog, we would be creating linkable content for our social media outreach as well as expanding our site breadth with the goal of getting more pages indexed by Google. In case you’re not familiar, Google favors sites that have a bigger footprint on the web, as this tends to show more credibility in regard to the subject matter. Another hope was that these articles would be referenced by other sites, thereby creating backlinks to our site (another major factor in search engine ranking.)
But I know what you may be thinking. “What articles could I write about storage that anyone would care about?” We felt the same way until we started to think about all the topics that are tangentially related to storage such as organization, moving, downsizing, lifestyle issues, and location highlights, among others.
At first, the blog articles didn’t have much impact. They got a few visits and pageviews (tracked through Google Analytics), mainly through our cross-posting on social media. Titles included, “The Top Five Reasons to Rent a Self-Storage Unit”, “Moving Truck Tips: What You Need to Know” and “Tips on Moving to the Pacific Northwest.” As we wrote more and more articles, we started getting more pageviews. This was a consequence of visitors clicking on subsequent posts after reading an initial blog post. Most the pageviews were from visitors that initially came to the site to find out about our storage locations.
The issue with the articles we wrote wasn’t that they weren’t interesting or well-written. The issue was that for most, the subject matter was highly competitive in terms of search. Trying to rank for an article about moving was very difficult when it needed to land in front of moving articles posted by Buzzfeed or U-Haul. As you are probably aware, almost 60% of search results clicks go to listings that are in the top three places on a search results page. After that, the number of clicks to places 4-10 on the first page and clicks on the second, third, fourth and beyond pages are practically nil.
So, we changed our strategy and began to look for article topics that fit our visitor demographic/niche but that we might have a chance to rank for. The topic still had to garner a larger number of visitors to be worth the effort. One could rank well for an article about how to store a baseball collection, but this topic just isn’t searched enough to make the effort worth it. We turned again to our web tools to give us an idea of which topics offered enough monthly searches but that were not highly targeted. Armed with this information, we started writing articles using topics and keywords that people were looking for.
The article that really established our blog was the “7 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Vancouver, Washington.” Within a few days of its publication, the article had cracked the top page of the search results, and shortly after the top three. Along with it came a huge influx of traffic, so much so that it became one of our top viewed pages on the whole site. Last month, the article accounted for 2% of all our pageviews and 4% of all our site visits. These may not seem like big numbers, but for one blog post on a site that has 161 pages, this is pretty good.
Since then, we’ve tried to continue this strategy. And while we haven’t had as much success as the Vancouver article, we’ve definitely been able to grab many more visits and pageviews than we had previously. Our blog now accounts for 7% of all the site’s visits YTD. We look forward to seeing that number continue to climb as we add more blog content.