How My Experiment in SEO Will Change the Game on Small Business Blogging

small business blogging

small business blogging

I’ve decided that 2012 is going to be the year where the rubber meets the road for my insurance business as it relates to content marketing and SEO.  For a while now I’ve been blogging about insurance buying and social media and more recently I’ve been blogging about content marketing and SEO.  

And all of it has been a great experience…

And I’ve sold some policies and made some great relationships along the way.  2011 was truly a wonderful year, but now it’s time to put the peddle down and GID (get it done) with all this content marketing, social media and SEO stuff.

See I’ve found what I consider a fundamental problem in my personal approach to building the best online insurance resource on the internet, Content Warfare is not an Insurance Agency.

Marketing online is a effort in psychology.  

If you haven’t figured that out yet, take some time and think about your own personal experience with shopping for things online.

The answers to these questions are what motivates you as a consumer.  The psychology of YOU the consumer.  Now look at your own web-presence.  Would you buy from you, if you were someoneelse?

OK, don’t stress on that question too much.  We’ll circle back around to that.

My Psychological Barrier

This website, Content Warfare, has had a decent amount of success over the course of 2011 in both Traffic, Conversions and more importantly Insurance Sales.  I honestly couldn’t have imagined that this website would be where it is today twelve months ago.

But decent isn’t what I’m aiming for.  I don’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking of new blog topics that I want to be decent… I started this website to change the way the insurance industry looked at blogging, social media, content marketing and SEO and to vanquish the belief that insurance is a Commodity (Don’t get me going down that path).

However, despite the success I’ve had there are barriers in place preventing a more rapid ascension to the summit of greatness.

Content Warfare is NOT an Insurance Agency.  I’m an insurance agent.  I’m an insurance agent for The Murray Group Insurance Services, Inc.

The psychological barrier that an insurance consumer must hurtle to click Contact Ryan on Content Warfare is very high.  The barrier is high because I’m not an Agency.  The people that have done business with me through Content Warfare have been reading my material for weeks, months and in a couple cases years before they decided it was time to give me a chance (Thank you for that chance!).

So what is the solution?

Time to ask Dad for the keys to Mercedes… About three weeks ago I was given the OK to take control of The Murray Group website… Uh oh!

See the psychological barrier that I face at Content Warfare doesn’t exist on The Murray Group website.  It makes sense to consumers that if they have an insurance question or concern that they would find the solution on an Agency website.

Doesn’t that make sense to you?  So why would I continue to produce Insurance Consumer content in a place that doesn’t feel natural for it to be or a place where the consumer is uncomfortable taking the next step… The most important step… The “I want to discuss my insurance with you step.”

Why Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What that means is I’m taking my Insurance Consumer content to The Murray Group (TMG) website.  I’m going to take everything that I learned in 2011 about social media, SEO and content marketing (Huge shout out to my content marketing mentor Marcus Sheridan) and I’m going to apply it to The Murray Group blog.

So there has been a lot of build-up and I still haven’t told you what my experiment is SEO is all about… That is called “teasing” and I’m not above it but I agree it’s time to get to the meat and potatoes of this thing.

Forget Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Google+… Forget social media.  We’re talking about generating serious revenue for your small business with a blog.  Social media helps, but if it’s your focus only frustration and heartache lie in your online future.

If you truly want to attract eye-balls to your website then you need to get FOUND and nobody finds you like Google.

Google Search is about Providing Solutions to Problems.

When you have a problem, what do you do?  You Google it.  You type your question into Google and up pops Google’s best effort to answer that question.

So it only makes sense that your blog strategy should be laser focused on solving consumer problems and answering consumer questions.  Blog articles about anything else can be nice for relationship building but aren’t driving traffic to your website.

The Current State of TMG Website

The really cool thing about my SEO experiment from a Social Media Scientist perspective is that TMG website is at a steady baseline for traffic right now.  See below:

seo traffic

As you can see after the initial spike when we first launched the site back in March traffic has been very steady if not declining (I’m going to fix that).

Additional stats I am going to keep my eye on:

I’m going to start “leads” and “sales” both at zero because we haven’t had a process in place to track the few leads we’ve gotten through the website to this point.

My Experiment in SEO

This is the big reveal.  Today Tuesday January 2nd is Day #1 of a 100 Day SEO Experiment called:

100 Insurance Questions Answered in 100 Days!

Check out Day #1.

But here’s the kicker… I’m going to answer those 100 questions in 90 seconds or less on YouTube (Murray Group Channel) and then embed the YouTube video on our website with a brief intro.

There will be a prominent Call-to-Action and some smaller connection and review related calls-to-action.

My goal is to increase the following three items:

  1. Sales
  2. Connections
  3. Reviews

Not exactly mind-bending, earth shattering stuff.  But SOOOO Powerful!  This is SEO heaven.  Creative, solution oriented content, that is unique, original, consistent and filled with the keywords that insurance consumers search.

My theory (and hope) is that Google will lose it’s Google Mind over this.  Because I’m not gaming the system.  I’m literally producing mass amounts of content that solve problems.

Thinking about the traffic potential gets me so jacked-up I want to high-five you through the screen.

Keywords Consumers Search?

Ryan, how the heck do you know what keywords insurance consumers are using to search?  And how can I find out what words the consumers in my industry are using?

Whoa… slow down.  I’m not going to give you all the Kool-Aid on our first date… That, my friend, is the topic of a post to come.

The Results I Expect

Think about it, The Murray Group website is going to go from 2 blog posts to 102 blog posts in a little over 3 months.  That is a lot of content, so I’m going to have to be a very busy beaver.  But I expect the juice to worth the squeeze.

Honestly, I don’t know what to expect.  I have theories…

The theory I see as the most possible is the “Locomotive Hypothesis.” 

The Locomotive Hypothesis theorizes that results will come very slowly at first.  At first it will seem like all the hard work was for naught.  There will be a lot of loud sounds but not much movement.  But over time momentum will build and the pace will quicken.

That’s when money starts to fall from the sky like rain… probably, hopefully, possibly, maybe…

Seriously though, I expect this to work.  To what extent I don’t know.  But if the three most important things to a small business online are Connections, Reviews, and Sales that is what I’m going after.

The only Social Media connections that I care about right now for The Murray Group are Facebook Likes.  I love Twitter and LinkedIn but for TMG, right now, only Facebook matters.  This is also another blog post to come…

My Promise to You

My promise to you is that through this entire process I will be completely transparent.  What’s working, what’s not working, what tweaks I’ve made, stats, the whole nine yards.

Because I want you to be able to do this.  Many of you won’t, but some of you will and I’m willing to help you as much as I can.

Don’t believe me? Read “The Future of Social Media” a post I wrote directly to insurance professionals but it relates to all small business.

Moving forward Ryan Hanley Dot Com will be about Online Small Business Marketing (With an obvious bias towards service oriented small business and the Insurance Industry).  

All my Insurance specific blogging will be done on The Murray Group website and Small Biz Trends (Thanks to the amazing Anita Campbell).

The Rub

I hope you will come along with me on this journey through the content marketing inter-web  jungle.  I’m excited and hopefully you are too.  Content marketing has infinite potential in assisting the success of small business.

We can win the battle against Big Box Marketers… I promise you we can.

Thank you and good luck.

I am Ryan Hanley