Content Marketing For Small Business
Content marketing has a colorful history. I love the infographic from the Content Marketing Institute that illustrates how back in 4200 b.c., we find perhaps the first sign of content marketing in writing on cave walls. These writings can be loosely translated to “6 Ways A Spear Can Save Your From A Wild Boar”.
But back in 1895, John Deere published a magazine called The Furrow, which was published solely for the purpose of being a valuable resource and guide for their customers.
Note the key term here — valuable resource.
When John Deere published the The Furrow in magazine form, mainly because this was the only way to get content into customers (and potential customers) hands, their focus was to teach farmers how to be more productivity farmers, and more profitable business owners. Defining the core essence of content marketing.
Dive a bit deeper here with John Deere and The Furrow, and you really have an example of B2B content marketing. After all, John Deere was marketing their farming equipment to business owners (the farmers).
How Far We’ve Come With Content Marketing
John Deere is a great study of the long standing value of content marketing. Although they started back in the 1890’s with their printed magazine, they have evolved the delivery of the The Furrow to be effective in today’s digital landscape.
You can find The Furrow now in digital form. And taking one look at this digital publication and you’ll see how it is, quite simply, a blog. You can find other forms of their digital content being shared on the John Deere Facebook page and Twitter profile.
This highlights the ‘lack of barriers to entry’ that exist for anyone – small businesses, enterprise companies, even individuals – to get started with a content marketing campaign. All it takes is:
- a desire to provide valuable content to an audience of existing or prospective customers.
- consistent, high quality production of content over time.
How Content Marketing Impacts Your Business Website & Brand
As John Deere discovered back in the late 1800’s, producing valuable content that “helps”, is a great way to build brand authority. Translate this into today’s modern age of digital content and websites, and it likewise contributes to building authority into your website.
Here’s a quick, simplified workflow for how content marketing contributes to building brand authority in today’s digital world:
- You write helpful blog posts from your business website.
- Google crawls and indexes your new content.
- People on the web see your new content, like and share it across social media.
- Other websites link back to your content.
- All of this activity (like’ing, sharing, linking) builds authority in Google’s search algorithm.
- More authority means higher rankings for a wide range of relevant, high impact keyword phrases.
- Higher rankings translates into more traffic from a high quality targeted audience.
- Your audience grows, and this cycle is perpetuated.
It’s the exact same workflow that John Deere implemented back in the 1800’s, except in today’s digital landscape, the workflow directly impacts the growth of your brand through your website.
Local SEO for Small Business
Content marketing for small business becomes an important strategy when you consider the recent changes in the way Google displays search results for locally targeted queries.
Most small businesses, and even large enterprise companies, find their customers centered around specific geographic areas. This is certainly not always the case as you have natural online / e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Craigslist.
But for the most part, small businesses or all types find their customers centered around specific geographic and metro areas.
Google understands the relevance of this, and as such, has altered their search results to favor locally targeted businesses.
The local search results in Google, when Google determines a search has local relevance, now takes precedence over the traditional organic search results both on desktop computes and mobile phones.
Here’s an example showing the impact and presence of the local search results:
As you can see, for the local search phrase “atlanta personal injury lawyer”, the local search results are displayed above the organic search results on both the desktop computer and mobile phone.
Even more important, Google now displays only the top 3 local search results for any given search phrase. And from my perspective, the top 3 local search results are really the new #1 search result in Google.
Why Local SEO is Relevant For Small Businesses Today
All of this points to the relevance of local SEO for small business. When your small business desires to have a presence in a geographically targeted market, the local search results become extremely important to reaching new customers.
- a popular location for tourists and visitors from around the world.
- located on the New Jersey shores.
Our taxi cab client repeatedly reminds us that their only concern is being found in the local search results of Google. That is, when someone searches something like “taxi cabs toms river nj”, their only concern is being found at the top of the local search results.
And as I mentioned already, the top 3 (letters A, B, & C), are the default display for local search results. So when the taxi cab company says they only care about the local search results, what they are really saying is they only care about being found in the top 3 local search results.
Fortunately, we’ve been able to drive this client into the letter A / #1 local search result for their targeted keyword phrase.
Our client is “Toms River Exclusive”, and as you can see, they are ranked letter A / #1 in the local search results for one of their most profitable keyword phrases.
Mobile Local SEO Search Results
Even more important are the mobile search results for locally targeted searches. The screenshot above shows the search results from a desktop computer. But when you view the same search results from a mobile phone, you get an even more relevant display, especially for this particular client.
The mobile local search results in Google prominently display a “call” button. This means, when someone makes a locally relevant search, more than likely they will be presented with the top 3 local search results, and in more cases, they will only be given the option to “call” that business.
Here’s the same search results from my iPhone:
One important observation here is that in order for me to see even the #3 / letter C search result, I would have to slightly swipe down my screen. So, in this case, it’s perhaps even more appropriate to say that the top 2 local search results (letters A and B) are the most prominently displayed local search results for this particular query.
How Content Marketing Impacts Local SEO For Small Business
There’s been an unfortunate disconnect in the past that puts content marketing and SEO in two different spheres. Some have even stated that “content marketing” is overtaking “SEO” in Google.
But the disjointing of content marketing and SEO is completely false.
In fact, the most authoritative SEO technique is one that is founded on a strong content marketing initiative.
Neil Patel at Kissmetrics did a great job of illustrating the relationship between content marketing and SEO.