Do you ever get sick of reading post after post online filled with general tips on how to do something when all you want is to know exactly how someone else made it work? Me too.
While I love tips and tricks that make it easier to market your small business online (or use social media or have a better website), sometimes you want a real example that tells you, “Here is a person in the same situation as you. Here is what they did. You can do it too!”
That’s precisely what I’ve got for you today. Here’s the story of a Clever Client of mine (we’ll call them the Wedding Photographer) who used a straightforward SEO strategy to help their small business appear again and again in Google search rankings.
How One Clever Client Improved Their Seo By Not Writing About Their Business
Client: The Wedding Photographer
This client had a solid business.
The Wedding Photographer had been working for a long time, had a beautiful portfolio, had lots of excellent reviews on Wedding Wire and The Knot.
Their business blog was filled with short write-ups about weddings they had photographed, each with search terms worked in and tons of gorgeous images to catch their customers’ eyes. Their web pages were all written to get visitors’ contact information.
They had everything going for them… except their SEO wasn’t cutting it.
The Situation: Seo That Was Only Good Enough
The Wedding Photographer had decent search results.
If you searched for “wedding photographer + a specific geographic region,” and if you didn’t count all the big websites like Yelp and the pay-per-click ads, their website would turn up on the first page of results.
When you pulled back to general geographic area or other specific geographic areas, though, they were bumped down several pages.
Plus, their market was so crowded with other similar businesses that it was hard to target search terms related to wedding photography; it seemed like everyone else had already staked their claim, and there was no room for the Wedding Photographer to jump up the search results.
They could have paid upwards of $10,000 for a complete site overhaul, new branding, and all the back-end SEO marketing tricks in the book. But Wedding Photographer was a small business. They didn’t have that kind of money to spend, and besides, they liked their site.
Their marketing just needed a little boost.
That boost came in the form of some clever content marketing.
The Seo Solution: Writing About Other Businesses
What do you think about when you think of search engine optimization? (If you think about it at all, you SHOULD if you are a business on the internet!)
Probably a lot of writing about your small business. Or, more specifically, writing about how your business benefits your customers.
That’s generally an excellent way to add search terms and keywords to your site, making it easier to find online. Writing about your business is also a great way to connect with your customers and help them understand what sets you apart from your competitors.
But do you also think of writing about your customers’ other interests?
Here’s the thing: writing just about your own business gets boring. Boring for you and boring for your customers. After all, no one is interested in that guy at the party who only talks about himself, right? We want to talk to that other guy, the one who asks questions and seems genuinely interested in everyone around him.
And we also want to talk to that girl over there, the one who’s got the scoop on every pizza place in town and can tell you all the coffee shops that have both wi-fi and enough outlets and happens to know someone who works in a high-profile position in your career field, would you like her to put you in touch?
The best content marketing is being that other guy and that girl simultaneously. And that’s precisely what the Wedding Photographer did.
Instead of worrying about more blog posts, or more pages about their business, they hired me to write about other businesses.
Specifically about wedding venues and photoshoot spots where they had worked. They created an alphabetical listing of locations, put up some of their best photos for each one, and asked me to write a description of each one that told the story of why a couple would want to have photos of their wedding taken there. Each description was 200-300 words long.
It was a fantastic plan and fantastic use of SEO to promote their business.
Now, when someone searches for a such-and-such wedding venue in their region, those descriptive pages are some of the first results that pop up on Google.
And since nearly every couple planning a wedding these days is also looking for someone to take pictures of their big day, the Wedding Photographer is ahead of the curve in terms of putting their work in front of their ideal audience.
Writing about someone else’s business — and about their customers’ other interests — provided more keywords that lead directly to their website, keywords that other photographers aren’t using.
When someone clicks on that page and looks at that description, the Wedding Photographer gets the chance to show off their beautiful photos and demonstrate how connected, and authoritative they are in their local wedding scene.
Instead of competing with other photographers for the exact keywords and search results, they decided to play a different game entirely.
And it worked.
The Takeaway: What Else Can You Write About?
Now you have a specific example of how my clever client put SEO to promote their small business in an unexpected and incredibly successful way.
But an example does nothing if you don’t take ACTION.
So here’s your action item for the week: come up with a new topic — NOT your business — that your customers are interested in and which you can use to add multiple pages and many keywords to your site.
It could be…
Something your customers are searching for. If you are a nutritionist, customers looking for you might also be searching for help exercising. You could write about your favourite workout. Or you could devote multiple pages to profiling local gyms or outdoor spots to exercise.
A parallel service your customers need. If you are a pet groomer, your customers probably need somewhere to leave their pets when they go out of town. You could write an article about things to know when you leave your pet overnight. Or you could put together individual pages on all the local kennels and pet hotels.
A related interest your customers have. You could write a single post about your favourite desk accessories if you sell personalized office supplies. Or you could start a long-term, multiple installment series on work habits and productivity tips.
There are so many content topics to write about other than your business. And there are so many keywords and search terms out there other than the ones all your competitors are vying for. So why not use them?