Blogging for local client got 189 visits last month, 9 from their home state


HoosierBuff

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I've always had a rather dim view of blogging for most of my local clients. There is a real expense to it, and I'm uncertain of the benefits.

This latest client is a great example. I put in a google filter to see what the traffic from the blog was coming from. This a client that is centrally located in their state, and has NEVER served a client out of their state.

In the last month, the client has seen

- 180 visits to blog content from out of state ( 60% to one good article)
- 9 visits to the blog from in state

I checked the site in WMT, and according to Google, none of the blog content has garnered any links - opensiteexplorer agrees. They have done no outreach with the content.

So, I wouldn't ever delete this content. But, am I wrong to think that they are getting very little value from this, and that the next $500 they spend, shouldn't be on blog content?

I feel that this is probably not uncommon. . . and I'm suspicous that some SEO's use this 'blogging as a traffic driver' to show good traffic growth, even though it probably doesn't help the client much.

I fear I'm too cynical here. Does anyone else think that this a good use of time?
 

Ben Bowen

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I am not a marketer with multiple clients, so I can only speak from my own experience. I started blogging for our family landscape design-build firm in early 2013 (I think). My take:

- Links. My content has produced very few, directly.
- Authority, credibility have soared. Blogging led to guest, and now recurring, posts on industry sites. The first time one went live, with the associated link to our website, most of my primary keywords jumped to page 1 and have stayed there.
- Traffic. Huge increase in traffic, with a high percentage being out of state. However, as I have gotten better at targeting local interests this has shifted. For example, I did a post profiling 5 great area nurseries. It is not the second most popular landing page on my site, just behind the homepage.
- Conversions. My site is designed to heavily pre-qualify potential clients. Most of my clients mention a specific post during our initial consultation. And very rarely have my clients contacted another firm. They find us, look at our portfolio, read the blog and decide they want to work with us. The initial consultation is now about me deciding if I want to work with them! I also link to my posts during the design/sales process in a way that builds trust.
- Blogging has also helped me find new niches, some that I didn't even know existed. For example, I did a little post on Mid Century Modern homes, and immediately saw it rank and result in calls. Who knew people were searching for "MCM landscaping"? I do now and it has been a very lucrative niche for us.

So has it been important to us? Absolutely. But what are the chances of a SMB (with a limited budget) having the same results if they are paying someone to produce the content? Probably not too high...

You can't just pump out a stream of "6 ways to make your lawn greener" type stuff and expect to get a bunch of targeted and motivated clients from it.

Just one guy's experience, for what it's worth...
 

HoosierBuff

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Ben,

Great answer, just what I was looking for. I loved your point about a client paying someone to blog and not getting the same results. Most of those "2 blog posts a month" are not worth much.

WHen you say "credibility and authority" increased - are you saying by some quantifiable moz/ahrefs sort of measure, or just qualitatively. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something.

-Steve
 

Ben Bowen

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WHen you say "credibility and authority" increased - are you saying by some quantifiable moz/ahrefs sort of measure, or just qualitatively.
Qualitatively. Both clients and other industry pro's view/treat us as such.

Glad I could help :)
 

50Bubbles

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I have to disagree. It sounds like you're taking a very general approach to blogging and while effective, that hasn't generated the local traffic you'd hoped for. My two cents is to "blog local". By your own standards, blogging has increase traffic to your site. Make sure your blogs are locally relevant and you'll get the same results but much more targeted traffic.
 

Laustin1878

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Also, you aren't going to hit every single blog post out of the park. Some are going to gain more traction then others. In addition, it doesn't start & end with creating a blog post. You need to utilize social media to give the content legs, to find influencers in your industry, etc.

There are many methodologies to blogging. Start by creating content that answers some of the most common questions asked by customers. Experiment with word counts. Try some 150 words, 300 words, 500 words, 700 words, etc. and see if there is a trend with post lengths.

Blog posts generally turn into landing pages and with good internal linking, can turn into new and returning customers. It's not easy and takes a lot of experimenting, analyzing, washing, repeating. Don't throw in the towel yet.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I'm a stickler about this topic, so take what I am about to say with a grain of salt.

But throughout this whole hubbub of "local content" I have yet to see even one example of a local blogging strategy return its investment.

Blogging is great for national brands answering national questions. Its impact, in my opinion, is severely diminished when turned to focus on local.

Best case scenario for a client is you spend a ton of time researching their specific market to come up with a lot of hyperlocal blog posts, take the time to find someone who is a local authority to write them, and get some traffic from it. Even if that were to happen, this is not something you can scale. You can do it for a client here or a client there but it can't be scaled because of cost and process.

Now, if you're in the local business, like Ben is, it can be done. If you're in the business, you're the expert already in both local area and your service. You have the tools you need to get this done. And the cost of doing so is drastically reduced.

I loved Ben's post. He is right, local content is not going to provide you with many links if any at all. There's just a smaller pool of people interested in linking to your content locally. It can help with conversion though if it's well written. You can also parlay that into guest posts on other sites as you reference your blog posts as writing samples. And Ben brought up a good point I hadn't even thought of, it can lead you into a different part of business by showing you what people need/want and providing a service to meet that need/want.

But all the benefits I mentioned above for blogging are negligible for an agency. If your content isn't getting linked to, it's not working. You don't need those blog posts to parlay into a guest post. Write a few guest posts and just pitch them. Much more cost effective than writing 5 blog posts for every client and using them to pitch. And as an SEO agency, your job isn't to help them come up with extra revenue streams and chances are you're not enough of an expert on their business and industry to have that insight anyway. And even if you were, convincing them to open up a new product/service? You're taking on a lot of responsibility for something outside of the scope of what your core competency is.

Honestly, I think local blogging is a complete waste of time for an agency unless its for conversion. But how many of their customers are actually even looking at the blog? Use Google Analytics to find out. If 25% or more are, then I would write maybe 5 blog posts answering major questions customers have like Ben mentioned.

Again, in my opinion, blogging is a national SEO tool that just doesn't convert well to local. I would love someone to come along and prove me wrong though.
 

Tim Colling

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This is a topic that I've been thinking about a LOT lately.

Almost (but not quite) all of my clients are either single-office local companies or else larger companies with multiple real offices in several cities.

I have begun to shift the focus of our new content creation work for these clients away from overly frequent blog posts and more toward adding pages elsewhere on the site with useful content for those who are searching for the services offered by the clients.

For now we're still also publishing blog posts but less frequently, and the reason for continuing to do them have more to do with trying to create opportunities for guest posts than with anything else.

By the way, we still "share" new content out to Facebook, since our target audience is on Facebook to a significant degree, and we "share" both new blog posts AND new pages that we add to the site, using a WordPress plugin that is able to share both pages and posts.
 

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