Results From the Ultimate Small Business SEO Experiment

seo experiment

Are you wondering how the heck your small business is supposed to make money from the Internet?

Do you tell yourself that Digital Marketing is a waste of time because you haven’t seen any real results?

Well, I’m about to show you REAL RESULTS from an SEO Experiment I did with my own small business (an Insurance Agency).

I’m not going to throw theory at you or tell you something that could happen, possibly, if the Moon aligns properly with the sign of Aquarius.

This blog post is a testimonial to exactly what I did, how I did it, why I did it and the SEO driven Dollars the experiment put in my pocket.

Does that sound like something you could use in your business?  More dollars?

Sure it is.

Keep reading…

The Baseline for the SEO Experiment

For background, The Murray Group Insurance Services is an independent, family-owned insurance and financial services firm located in Albany, NY.  From 2002 until March 7th of 2011 we had a brochure style website with four web pages that hadn’t been updated since sometime in 2008.

In March of 2011 I convinced ownership that we needed a blog and to start utilizing social tools and that WordPress was the solution.  They listened and we updated the site to Studiopress’s Genesis Platform and the Streamline Theme.

However, after our initial post announcing the switch to a more modern website (with built in blog management system… love WordPress) we didn’t post another blog article, not one.  The website just sat there, (me frustrated for internal political reasons), sucking…

Baseline Traffic

What I didn’t realize at the time was this inaction was setting up the perfect case study in small business SEO success.  The inaction created a baseline for traffic when fresh content isn’t being added.

As you can see, after the kickoff traffic died down and we continued to do nothing, our website got ~90 visits a week.  The vast majority of those visits were people looking for our address, directions to our office or our contact information (I know this because of the web pages visited).

During this time period we wrote ZERO New Business from the website.

Internet Scientific Inference:

Picture me banging my head off a wall for six plus months… That’s what I would do every week when I checked our Google Analytics and stared a flat, lifeless line.

The Plan for SEO Success

In December of 2011, fed up with the lack of results I went back to ownership and pleaded my case to begin blogging on the The Murray Group website.  They relented and conceded that it was time to see what I could do.

So I came up with a plan.  Our website needed a Pulp Fiction Style Adrenaline Shot to the Heart.

My plan… 100 Insurance Questions Answered in 100 Days in two minutes or less on a YouTube video.

I would then take that YouTube video and embed it on The Murray Group website and share the blog post across the Internet.  For social media sharing I mostly focused on Twitter, Facebook (uploading videos directly to Facebook and adding blog post link), LinkedIn and Google+ (Google loves Google).

I did this every single day for 100 Days.

The Questions

If you read Why No One Buys From You Online then you know that the real secret to getting found Online is content that aligns with how consumers actually search.

So I got all the questions from my current clients.  I tweeted, posted on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and I also emailed a lot of clients as well, one simple question:

“If you could only have one insurance question answered what would it be?”

I got about 135 responses… I paired down the list and  took the questions I thought would work the best and used them exactly as they were asked.  I added a couple more that I thought needed to be in the list and Boom… I had my questions.

So Does SEO Work?

Look at the chart below from my Google Analytics account and tell me if SEO works…

SEO Experiment Begins

You see an immediate spike in traffic as of Day #1.

Now to be real, most of that initial spike in traffic is the Social Media action.  Sharing our first post for the first time on different social platforms brought attention just because people to see what we’re all about.

So it’s easy for me to say that SEO works and then show you results that are tainted by Social Media activity.

But wait we have the technology to pull out specific search related results…

The Blue Line is search traffic.

See where that blue line starts to rise?  See how it’s still rising?

That is SEO my friends.  That is an Insurance website designed to capture insurance related search traffic.

And the beauty of SEO… It just keeps working for you.  Now every post I do is Gravy on top of my initial SEO experiment adding to the authority of The Murray Group website.

This is the power of Long-tail Keywords (setting up search keywords for phrases instead of single terms).  In the insurance industry I have to compete with some pretty stiff competition for search engine real estate.  Names like GEICO, AllState, State Farm and Nationwide spend Billions of dollars on advertising.  Our entire website including hosting has cost us less then $1,500.

If it wasn’t for Long-Tail Keywords I would not be able to compete.  I will never rank for the term “Insurance.”  There is simply too much money thrown at that term.

However, I can and do rank for the Long-tail Keyword phrase, “When do I drop collision coverage?”

…you know what, I think that is just the coolest thing about the Internet.  The little guy is given a voice and power the compete against Big Box competition.  And not just the opportunity to compete but by doing the right things the possibility of winning.

Results That Matter

I know what you want.

You want the numbers… You want to know how much money we made.

The answer is $4,975 in new business revenue.  Not Gross Premium… Revenue to our business.

15 minutes a day

7 days a week

100 days


That’s $3.32 cents a minute or…

$200 an hour

I was doing $200 dollar an hour work.  That’s pretty stinking good if you ask me.  Additionally that’s just the business that was closed during the 100 days I’ve done a bunch more since then…

That’s Success Online People…

The Rub

I have two topics for The Rub today.

The first one is for all the Independent Insurance Industry peeps that read this blog.  This Stuff Works!  It works and it’s repeatable… Don’t tell me you can’t build relationships Online and don’t tell me you don’t have time.  You have time at $200 a Hour!

You want more details… You want to know how your business or Association Members (Hint Hint) can see these results?  Hire me to speak to your organization.  You will not be disappointed.

Number two… I know you’re all wondering what that huge spike in traffic was about a month ago… I would want to know as well if I was you and that story is coming so subscribe to my blog and get the posts in your email.

You can have small business success Online.  It’s very achievable.

Seriously, the 100 Day SEO Experiment was not that hard to do.  You need to understand some relatively simple principles behind getting found Online, after that it’s just cashing checks my friend.

No go kill it Online!

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley and this is Content Warfare.