Why Should My Reno Business Have a Blog? April 11, 2019“The biggest mistake I see, is that people tend to give up…SEO (blogging) is a lifestyle, it’s a practice, it’s not a transaction…You just gotta keep going, you’re building your castle, you’re building your moat, it’s going to take time.” – Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz Publishing a blog may be the biggest thing you do for your Reno business this year. No, really. Blogs are cash cows when done right. A lot of our clients go for the “quick fix”–the “easy money” and fast results achieved by paid advertising. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, we encourage it! But a well-crafted blog–one that has “made it” on the first page of Google–is there to stay. We’re talking no additional ad spend, just results–Reno internet users pouring into your website through a top-ranking blog and converting to leads. At least, that is what we have seen in our marketing for our clients and ourselves! Find out more about what we are seeing in the blogosphere, how we make it work, and the proven blogging strategy behind the curtains. Warning: It may take some time and intentionality to get this down. Why Publish a Blog for Your Reno Business? Great question. Let’s start where we always do at Beacon: the results. Case Study: Beacon Blog Last year, our team came up with a plan to work with more functional medicine clients in the future. We started a blog on digital marketing for the functional medicine industry. Our writers began covering topics like social media, website design, and more, using “functional medicine” as a keyword in all of our blogs. Just months later, we were ranking in the first two spots on Google for the phrase, “marketing for functional medicine:” This was not a mere coincidence. In all of our blogs, we were intentionally placing the keywords “functional medicine” and “marketing” (or “web design,” etc.) in key places for search engine optimization (SEO), such as the title, H tags, and metadata. We will talk about SEO in a moment. The point is, these blogs bring in many of our functional medicine sales leads. Through tracking software, we are able to see the exact blog URLs that internet users clicked before they reached out to us. I cannot tell you the number of times we have had clients work with us after first discovering us through one of our blogs. These blogs are a key part of our sales funnel. Case Study: Mandanas Dental Blog Two years ago, a local dental client of ours pivoted her practice to focus on integrative dentistry. It had been challenging to rank for general dentistry terms in a competitive market up to that point. With the new niche, we were able to rank her practice on the first page of Google for her industry: Whenever we get the opportunity to implement blogging strategies like these for our Reno clients, we are all for it. We have seen the success of blog marketing and we want to share it with you! How to Make Blogging for Your Reno Business Work Let’s peel back the curtain on this proven process. The Inbound Strategy of Blogging Another popular term for digital marketing is “inbound marketing.” The core tenant of inbound marketing is this concept: If you go where people are and provide value to them on their terms, they will come to you. Take a few moments to think about where you and most of your friends spend your time. We’re not talking about work, home, or school. It’s the digital age, and most of us spend more time absent on Facebook, Google, and other online services than present in any particular building. Pretty much every moment of every day we are either acting on our last Google search or thinking about the next time we can check Facebook. What does that mean for Reno businesses looking to enter the blogosphere? It means that if we want to get in front of new customers, we have to be where our customers are. And it isn’t enough to simply “be there,” we also need to provide value in those places. The Power of Answering Reno Residents How do we provide value? Google is a search engine, so we answer searches–questions! What kind of questions are your Reno customers asking? If you are in the restaurant industry, maybe it is something like, “What are the best restaurants in Reno?” How awesome would it be to rank a blog among these first several organic results? At Beacon, we use a fantastic tool called Answer the Public to discover what people are asking about a particular topic. The way people phrase a given question in search is often the exact title we give our blog. Key Tactics for Blogging in Reno Now that we have the inbound philosophy down, let’s give you the technical requirements for ranking a blog on the first page of Google in Reno. Blog Topic – Must be Reno Relevant! Remember the case studies we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, how they each required a niche to be successful? In order to rank a Reno blog on Google, you are going to need to write on something more specific than just “x services.” Instead, consider “x services in Reno” or “x services done x way,” like “integrative dentistry.” Why does this matter? Competition. General terms and phrases are more competitive than specific ones, because there is a broader range of businesses publishing content about those topics. Niching your blog topic can mean the difference between competing with 100 million other blogs and 1 million. Specificity matters. Blog Headlines There are three kinds of headlines that you need to worry about in a search engine optimized blog, the title (H1), subtitles (H2), and those subtitles, subtitles (H3). H tags (H1, H2, H3) may come across as confusing, but really they are just designations you can set in any blogging software worth its weight. For example, “Blog Headlines” at the top of this section was set as an H3 tag in our WordPress editor. All three of these headlines should include your keywords throughout your blog for SEO. It is especially important that your Reno blog title contains all of the keywords you are using. That said, it shouldn’t read clunky. At Beacon, we use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to score our headlines, taking advantage of their algorithm of successful headlines across the internet. You will want to shoot for a score at or above 70. Blog Content When most people start thinking about blogging, they get an idealized picture in their mind of perfecting their brand’s voice and writing show-stopping content. Style is only a small part of the equation. It is true that your content should be free of common spelling errors and grammatical mistakes–It also should be engaging enough to draw your customer in for the sale after the click. That in mind, one of the most important parts of blogging for business in Reno is keyword optimization. This means that whatever your keywords are, they are incorporated naturally throughout the text in a way that tells Google you are staying on topic. Keyword optimization is an important part of getting your Reno blogs in front of people (on the first page of Google) in the first place. Write clearly, with authority and authenticity to keep people engaged… …use keywords to impress Google. Note: Every blog you write should have one important ingredient at the end–a call-to-action (CTA). A CTA is a request for a client to make a particular step forward based on the information they have just read. You want to convert from your blogs, don’t you? Then include a gentle call-to-action like, “If you are in Reno and interested in partnering with us on (x services), give us a call at (775) 123-4567.” Blog Metadata What is “metadata?” No, you did not just step into a sci-fi novel. Metadata is the information you provide Google alongside your blog, to let the search engine know what you are trying to rank for, and how your Reno blog should appear on the results page. This information includes a title, description, URL, feature image, and the keywords you are targeting. Many blog software solutions auto-populate some of this information, including WordPress, but good Reno bloggers are intentional about customizing their metadata. At Beacon, we install an intuitive WordPress plugin called SEOPress that allows us to set our blog metadata with easy-to-use form fields. Here is what the title and description look like on the Google results page: The feature image is important for when you are sharing the blog on social media, and the keywords are for Google’s use in ranking your blog. Blog Schedule An important part of achieving rank for your Reno blog is publishing consistently. This lets Google know you are an authoritative site in your topic area, and that you mean business. The current recommendation in the industry is 1-2 times per week, however, this can be too overwhelming for some of our Reno clients. At a strategy of as little as 1-2 times per month, you can see some growth over time. Word count depends on how competitive your topic area is. On the low end, you should be writing 400-600 words each time. On the high end, 1,600-2,000 words. With a decent strategy, you should see results within 6-9 months’ time. The Waterfall Method of Blogging in Reno We’ve saved the best for last. One of the most important parts of turning your Reno blog into a cash cow is backlinking. Backlinking involves associating affiliated content for Google using hyperlinked keywords. Let me explain. We are currently writing an entire series of blogs on digital marketing in Reno that looks something like this: Digital Marketing in Reno Branding in Reno Logo Design ” “ Graphic Design ” “ Website Design in Reno Landing Pages ” “ Website Hosting ” “ Social Media in Reno Google Advertising in Reno Blogging in Reno – THIS BLOG! Video Marketing in Reno Do you see how these blogs cascade into one another, much like a waterfall? Do you also see how they are all in the same topic space, e.g., “our services in Reno?” We tell Google that these blogs are related by linking to them using relevant keywords in the text. So the blog “Digital Marketing” has links to “Branding,” “Website Design,” “Social Media,” and “Google Advertising” currently. The trick is that these hyperlinks in the first blog land on the very keywords we are trying to target in the second blog! A backlink is like a referral, it tells Google that the blog it is linking to does indeed know what it’s talking about, boosting the blog’s rank. That is, so long as all of the blogs in the waterfall system are related! ~ If you want to see the kind of traffic we are achieving for some of our clients, it’s time to start blogging. This blog should get you started on the right foot as you begin to dominate your topic area in Reno! Interested in hiring Beacon to get your Reno blog going? We would love to chat! You can schedule a free consultation with our President Adrienne Wilkerson directly using our Acuity scheduler.