In the first part of our discussion of small business content strategy we introduced three core concepts that can underpin a small business content strategy to deliver customers to businesses like yours:
- Small business content strategy
- Web design for lead generation
- Web development for small business content strategy
Here we’ll look at a real-life example of the small business content strategy we’ve used with our clients. Our client, Simply Sanding, runs a floor sanding and wooden floor restoration business in Essex. In the first quarter of 2011, we worked with Simply Sanding to launch a new, full featured and purpose built website. We’ve since delivered two quarterly reports as part of our small business content strategy service and while there was no pre-2011 data to compare against, two things are clear from the evidence:
- Baseline metrics of website ‘health’ rose significantly after launch of the new site
- Search and lead generation metrics demonstrate the effectiveness of the small business content strategy applied to Simply’s site
Build a Small Business Content Strategy: Find Your Baseline
Before we develop a small business content strategy for a client we like to investigate the baseline of a site’s performance. We do this by examining a number of metrics.
|Indexed Pages||Search engines love content. The more unique content on a site, the better because Google is better able to ‘learn’ what a site is about.|
|URL Structure||The URL is the web address for a web page. URLs are very important to search engines when they are determining what your site is about. So, your site’s URLs should be descriptive, keyword-rich and human-readable.|
|Meta Descriptions||Meta descriptions are the short blurbs of text displayed under a link in search engine results. Engaging meta descriptions can encourage clicks from search results through to your site.|
|Headings||Headings are one of the top things search engines ‘look’ at when figuring out what your site is about, so keyword-rich headings are a must for your search!|
|Image alt Attributes||Alternative text describes your images so they can appear in Google image search results.|
|Page Titles||The title tag is one of the most important elements on an HTML page that can signal to search engines (and humans!) what a page is about.|
|Text:HTML Ratio||Your site needs a ratio of at least 15%. Higher ratios boost search by increasing keyword density.|
|Robots.txt||A robots.txt file can restrict the access of search engine robots that crawl the web, and it can prevent these robots from accessing specific areas. It also specifies where the XML sitemap file is located.|
|XML Sitemap||A sitemap lists URLs that are available for crawling and can include additional information like last update, frequency of changes, and importance. This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.|
|W3C Validation||Technical errors in your site’s HTML code can harm your search rankings.|
|RSS Feeds||These are streams of content from your site that your customers can subscribe to.|
|Shares on Social Networks||The number of times your site has been linked to on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and elsewhere.|
|Listing in DMOZ||Getting your site listed in the DMOZ directory can be difficult, but it is generally thought to have a major impact on search rankings.|
These key performance indicators give a baseline measure of effectiveness for any site, even one you don’t manage yourself; anyone can collect this information by looking carefully at a public website or using online ‘website analysers’. However, if you have access to install analytics software (e.g. Google Analytics), you can obtain much more detailed data which can be used to track and improve your site. Google Analytics in particular gives access to an overwhelming amount of detail, but for this client we identified a collection of key metrics.
|Search Rank||A site’s rank for desired keywords in Google, Yahoo!, AOL and Bing.|
|Visitors||The total number of visitors.|
|Conversions||Possibly the most important performance indicator; of all the visitors to a site, how many actually converted to leads?|
|Top 3 Keywords||For the visitors who arrived through search, what were the top 3 keywords which accounted for this traffic.|
|Visitors Through Search||Of all the visitors, the number who found the site through a search engine.|
|Direct Visitors||Those who typed your URL into their browser to find your site.|
|Referred Visitors||Came to your site from another (e.g. from a link posted on Facebook).|
|Top Content||Your site’s most viewed pages.|
|Absolute Unique Visitors||Number of visitors who have never visited your site before.|
|Pages per Visit||The average number of pages per visit.|
|Average Time on Site||The average amount of time a visitor spends on the site.|
|Bounce Rate||Measures the number of visitors who view only one page for a short time before leaving a site.|
|New Visits||How many of the visits were from previously unseen visitors.|
A driving principle behind our small business content strategy is to be proactive. In other words, it is not enough just to collect statistics; you need to act on them. One way to achieve this is by compiling your stats into quarterly reports, we find this to be a hugely useful tool for our small business content strategy clients. Quarterly reports measure your site’s performance for your keywords, and helps to make informed decisions on changes to a small business content strategy for enhanced performance. For instance, by looking at your top content as chosen by your visitors you might develop a small business content strategy to create content related to your most popular topic. In this way, you can plan and track continual and measurable improvements to your small business content strategy.
Small Business Content Strategy: The Case of Simply Sanding
Simply Sanding has been using our small business content strategy services since the launch of their site in 2011. This service includes monthly blog posts and weekly Twitter and Facebook activity. This small business content strategy has had demonstrable results over the course of the year including:
- Search rankings within the top 10 on Google, Yahoo!, AOL and Bing throughout Q2 and Q3
- A conversion rate of nearly 4% by the end of Q3 (derived from the number of visitors and the number of request for quote emails submitted). This is well above the expected industry average of around 2% for most websites.
- Steady rises in Absolute Unique Visitors and New Visitors throughout Q2 and Q3
Simply Sanding’s success was achieved through unified small business content strategy, web design and web development all geared towards delivering customers to Simply Sanding. There are three parts to this recipe:
- We used WordPress to power Simply Sanding’s website. We enhanced WordPress’s features with selected SEO plugins to support our small business content strategy.
- We made lead-generation central to Simply Sanding’s new site. Our brief was for a very ‘simple’ site. We fulfilled this with a crisp, fresh design that includes a prominent request for quote contact form on all pages. The Most Important Action for this site is for the visitor to submit a request for quote and thereby create a new lead for the business.
- We used a well-planned small business content strategy to maintain great search results in Google and other search engines.
Are you looking for help in developing a small business content strategy? We’d love to put our experience to work for you – just get in touch!
We have continued to serve Simply Sanding with a small business content strategy. Simply Sanding’s site has maintained top 3 search rankings in Google over the last three years. Simply Sanding’s industry is highly competitive and we’ve collaborated with Simply Sanding to maintain an effective WordPress content strategy.
Our work with another business in Essex, Harwood House B&B, demonstrates the effectiveness of a consistent WordPress content strategy for small businesses. Hospitality is a very competitive area for search rankings and we’ve been delighted to get Harwood House to number 1 on Google in 2 quarters.