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SEO Blogging Strategy for Small Business: Keyword Research & Content Pillars

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SEO blogging strategy for small businesses is a must, not a necessity. Your small business, in Nigeria of today, may not really need blogging with consistent fresh contents that are fully optimized for search engines, if you are monopoly in the game.

Yes, NEPA was monopoly of electric power supply in Nigeria as at the time I was in Loyola College, Ibadan. But now, NEPA does not exist anymore.  PHCN that replaced NEPA is not even monopoly of power supply.

Thus, SEO blogging is compulsory for your small business, if you don’t want to go the way of Never Expect Power Always (NEPA). Lol!

In essence, what I mean is SEO blogging is compulsory for your small business in order to achieve increased brand awareness, high website traffic that is sustainable and measurable, thought leadership, cheaper lead generation, among other objectives that can make your bank alert go ‘gbaga-un’!

How can SEO blogging make money for my small business?

Market your business using great content that more prospects will find valuable, share and ask for more. The more leads connect with your content, the deeper they go into your marketing funnel without realizing it. Target your audience with content though. Don’t just do content because everyone does.

Let’s say you have spent so much advertising budget on your business. After which you get triple website traffic you used to have. How can you optimize this surge in traffic, if your website does not have great SEO content that will bring these casual visitors back?

From awareness stage, to consideration, to conversion, you can use SEO blogging to generate new website visitors, nurture them into leads and keep them in touch till they buy from you.

It is based on logistics though!

SEO blogging for small business requires effective, sustainable strategy and consistent follow through to achieve any business objectives you have set out for.

SEO BLOGGING STRATEGY FOR SMALL BUSINESS-objectives

I actually had a friend in mind when I thought of putting this post together. She started a small real estate business. She was her only staff. She needed an intern, preferably one with good knowledge of Digital Marketing, to assist her with online awareness creation for her brand new brand, also create engagement on social media, in order to stay fresh and relevant in prospects’ mind.

All her effort to get a good digital marketing intern was frustrated because the good digital marketing interns she found were well trained and were not ready to take what she had to offer.  She resorted to learning digital marketing, so she could help her brand online till she had enough money to pay a digital marketer, whether executive or intern.

You may be richer than my friend, of course. You may have digital marketing expert or team on your payroll. Maybe all you can afford is a content guy who ‘churns out’ content after content daily. If you do not have a proven SEO blogging strategy for your business, ROI may be farfetched.

To show you how SEO blogging strategy can help your small business get good result at any stage of your online marketing funnel, whether you are a startup or speedup, I have put together this SEO blogging strategy for small businesses in Nigeria.

This will be useful to my newest real estate CEO friend, at least. A smile on her face, a smile on your face will make my face a smiley.

I am always happy to help. So, let’s go!

My SEO blogging strategy for small businesses in Nigeria is a bag of tricks. Wondering what I have inside?

What is the best SEO blogging strategy for small business?

My SEO blogging strategy for small businesses in Nigeria has five parts:

  • Blogging strategy
  • Effective keyword research techniques
  • How to publish SEO content consistently to boost organic ranking
  • On-page optimization to assist search engines in finding and displaying blog post
  • Content promotion: distribution via forums, blogs, email, social, influencer outreach

Trust me, this is not yet another regular SEO blog post meant for traffic baiting. Get your pen, or pull up you Sticky Note. There is something new, fresh from the oven, to learn . Make sure you go to work with this though. Share with your digital marketing team or content guy.

You know what? You are reading this because I put this strategy to work!

Take that to the bank!

Blogging Strategy for small business

Your small business needs a documented SEO blogging strategy for driving traffic, increasing brand awareness, generate more leads, getting more conversions, building backlinks, thought leadership. Start with the end goal in mind.

Your specific business objectives, at any point in time, determines whether you want to target people who do not know about your business at all, those who already know your brand but are indifferent, your competitors’ customers or someone who is NOT buying what you sell at all at all.

This is the reason, as in ‘reason’.

You would laugh out louder than LOL, if you got the ‘reason’ I meant right there.

To effectively target the right people with the right content at the right time, SEO blogging strategy for your small business must include two things: audience definition and content pillars.

Audience Definition for SEO Blogging Strategy

Identify in clear terms, who you are creating content for, just like you were embarking on a marketing campaign. You sure would not target everybody in a Pay-per-Click campaign or Facebook ad campaign. Would you?

If you target everybody in a marketing campaign, your target audience will be so large that your budget will be humbled. If you manage to pull the budget to target large audience, you will waste money on those your offer is not meant for in the first place.

So, why should you target everybody with your content?

Whoever is creating content for your SEO blog posts should know clearly who your target audience are for that particular period.

It is not easy, but, try. Try not to create or curate content for everybody. Know specifically who will consume your content and what you want them to do after consuming your content.

Will you be happy if your guest runs to the restroom after eating your meal?

If not, know who your content is meant for and what they should do after consuming your content, BEFORE YOU START creating content

How do I define audience for my SEO blog content?

These questions will help you define target audience for your content:

  • What business objective(s) do I want to achieve?
  • Who do I need in order to fulfil these business objectives?
  • What do these people need?
  • What do they seek information about?
  • What do they need to know in order to buy?
  • Where do they want to go, to do what?
  • What problems do they seek to solve?

Answering these questions will help you define who will consume your content and how you can help your target audience with content. People are always grateful to those who help them.

SEO BLOGGING STRATEGY FOR SMALL BUSINESS-audience definition

People who feel helped tend to return favors. If they don’t buy from you, those who find your content valuable may share it or mention you to someone who will buy.

After answering these questions to define your target audience, as part of your SEO blogging strategy for your small business, you will know if your content is for new customers, leads, casual web visitors, existing customer or your competitors’ customers who may have issues with what they currently receive as service.

Apart from customers, you should be aware of influencers who may put your content in front of their audience. If you are targeting audience of these influencers, you had better created your content specifically for their audience too.

Influencer Definition for SEO Blogging Strategy

Influencers are reluctant towards content they don’t consider relevant to their audience. Even when they are paid to promote it. Relevancy is key to making influencers in your industry share your content, for free or paid.

This means, you should define who your influencers are during ideation of your content. Clear understanding of who would like to share your content may ginger you to raise the quality of your content.

Audience definition as part of SEO blogging strategy for your small business should consider influencers such as social media influencers, top bloggers, industry thought leaders, and possible link sources.

How do I identify influencers for my content?

To identify influencers for your content, answer these questions:

  • Who are the influencers, content promoters, I need to attract?
  • What topics are my influencers already discussing?
  • How can I corroborate my influencers’ existing content?
  • Can I re-purpose my influencers’ ready-made content and share with them?
  • What questions do my influencers seek answers to?
  • What current topic(s) has divergent views of influencers in my industry?

When creating  SEO blogging strategy for your small business, ask your sales team, customer service, marketing teams, and PR firms relevant questions that will help define target audience and influencers for your content.

Content Pillars for SEO Blogging Strategy

The second thing your SEO blogging strategy requires is to have lucid content pillars, around which your content will be built. It is easy to get lost in the ocean of topics after a while, content pillars are categories of topic or type of content you choose to write about.

Content pillars help you define the purpose of your SEO content.

What purpose can my SEO blog posts fulfil?

Your SEO content may

  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Entertain
  • Do industry roundups,
  • Address controversial issues within your market space
  • Teach new skills
  • Solve common problems for customers

Look in this direction when selecting content pillars for SEO blogging strategy for your small business. You can start by listing as many content pillars as possible, then narrow down to those relevant to your target audience based on questions you asked during audience definition.

Better still, you can factor out your content pillars from most popular topics your audience are already following versus topics your influencers are already discussing.

Let’s say you run a restaurant, and you want to use SEO blogging to engage your customers online and create more awareness. Food is a gigantic topic idea for SEO blogging. But you have to narrow down what about food you want to write.

What are content ideas (or pillars) for food business?

Content pillar suggestions for a typical restaurant business may be

  • How-to’s: how to cook different types of food
  • Funny Food Story: write/curate funny stories people have to tell about food
  • Fitness: how food can be used for fitness
  • Dating tips: first date, blind date, places to hang out, and so on

These are just random topic ideas around which a restaurant can plan, research and publish content, in order to keep the SEO content cycle flowing. If you publish one great SEO content a week, as a restaurant business, you already have four content pillars. One content from each content pillar will do for a month.

SEO BLOGGING STRATEGY FOR SMALL BUSINESS-content pillars

Content pillar keeps SEO content marketing cycle going round and fresh. It is hard to get stuck when you have content pillars. You can easily plan for months ahead when you have content pillars and you stick to them.

How do I select content pillars for my SEO blogging strategy?

These questions will help you choose good relevant content pillars for your SEO blogging strategy:

  • What topics are related to my product and services?
  • How can I create content around some of these topics?
  • How do I tie my content to what I offer?
  • Does my content idea/topic teach new skills?
  • Does my content idea/topic solve a problem?
  • What is your blogging voice, tone or character?

You can choose content pillars before or after you have done keyword research for your business. Relevant keywords, search terms, or questions you want to rank for will also help you to choose very relevant content pillars.

Keyword Research for SEO Blogging Strategy for small businesses

Now that you know who you are writing for, how to help them with your SEO content, what topics  they are interested in, it is time to find out what search terms or questions your target audience use to find your content.

Keyword research is critical to SEO blogging strategy for your small business. You will learn shortly, different types of keywords, why each type is good or bad, different offline and online keyword research techniques and tools. Above all, you will be able to figure out how to optimize your SEO content for keywords.

Take keyword research for your SEO blogging strategy seriously, so you don’t waste time, money and effort creating content that your target audience won’t be able to find.

Keyword research is like match-making. You use keywords to match your content with search terms or questions that target audience are using to search for it. There are different keyword research techniques you can use both offline and online to identify what target audience use to find you and your content.

How can I do offline keyword research for my small business?

These are Offline keyword research techniques you can use:

  • Brainstorming
  • Industry jargon
  • Competitor research
  • Customer survey/feedback

Brainstorming keyword research technique

If you have the resources to organize an offline event to hear directly from your target audience, please do. Go with members of your team to discuss your line of product, your competition, industry and so on. Among others things you need from the conversation is the keywords they use to call your brand, business, product.

Brainstorming with your target audience will help you learn their language. Companies who speak customer’s language keep more customers. Do you agree?

Industry jargon keyword research technique

Take note of what terms professionals within your industry use to call your offer. Adapting industry jargons for your content will make it familiar. Industry jargon may not actually give you keywords to optimize for, but it can give you keyword suggestions which can be the base for your online keyword research.

Competitor Research keyword research technique

Learning from your competitor will help you know keyword that customers can easily relate with. Average people resist change in some mild way we do not all notice equally. But, when you use keywords/terms your competitors have already introduced to your market, audience who see such SEO content can relate it to something they know already.

Customer survey/feedback for keyword research

Periodic survey to get feedback from customers could be a good keyword resource. Customers use your product, they have certain ways of talking about your offer. You could tap from this. Customer survey looks more of a traditional marketing researching tool, but it could guide your online keyword research.

SEO BLOGGING STRATEGY FOR SMALL BUSINESS-keyword research

Online keyword research techniques for SEO blogging strategy

There are many keyword research tools and techniques available online. It is quite important to learn which tools to combine to make keyword research very effective.  I do not believe a particular keyword research tool is the best. It is always good to master combination of keyword research tools that work for your small business overtime.

What are the best Online Keyword research tools for small business?

These are some of online keyword research tools and techniquess for your SEO blogging strategy:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Google Search Suggest
  • Wordtracker
  • Keywordtool.io
  • Google Trends
  • ‘Searches related’ under SERP
  • Use Wikipedia in search query
  • Use competitor top pages for keyword research
  • Leverage on hot topics on Quora, Google+ communities, niche forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Twitter search

Google Adword Keyword Planner is part of Google Adwords platform. It helps you use location and duration to narrow down your keyword research. You also get to know the search volume (average number of times the keyword is searched for monthly), level of competition and budget.

It may not be your best bet for SEO keyword research because it does not give detailed data for totally free Google Adwords account, that is, Adword account that does not run paid PPC campaign. While some online marketing thought leaders are of the opinion that Google Keyword Planner is biased towards paid campaign.

But, I recommend it for the sake of keyword search volume and level of competition of selected keywords. Thus, you can use it to ascertain volume and competition for keywords you got from other tools.

You don’t want to create content for topics that nobody searches for. Ensure keywords for your content have at least 300 monthly searches. My 2cents thou!

Moz Keyword Explorer may not be very popular, it is very effective with keyword suggestions. I prefer to take all my random keyword suggestions I can think of to Moz Keyword Explorer. It will suggest close to 1000 keyword variations, with an idea of how often the keyword variations (search terms) have been used.

Your offline keywords will be of great use in Moz Keyword Explorer. You can also configure it to show you questions people are asking concerning your keyword suggestions. You can tweak your keyword suggestions based on closeness to the topic, exclude query terms to get broader ideas and so on.

Take your top keyword suggestions from Moz Keyword Explorer into Google Keyword Planner to get monthly search volume and competition level.

And you will be alright. Seriously, you will be very alright!

Google Search Suggest is great tool for keywords suggestions. As you type into Google Search bar, you get variations of your search queries. This is another source of keyword ideas. Add these suggestions to your pool of search terms to be further pruned down.

Wodtracker is keyword tool you should try as well. It has some data about keyword suggestions and its SERP preview too gives you a fair idea of websites already ranking well for the keyword you want to create content around.

Wodtracker lets you add more suggested search queries with click of a button. Free version offers 20 keywords suggestions though. It is a good tool to initiate your keyword research, especially when content ideas stop pouring in.

Keywordtool.io gives you 750 longtail keyword suggestions. You can target platforms such as  Google, Bing, Youtube, Amazon for your keyword research. That is, if you are creating a content you plan to make video for, you should do keyword research for topics and questions about your topic idea on Keywordtool.io, while you target Youtube.

Keywordtool.io allows you to further filter your keyword suggestions using Location, Negative keyword and questions related to your search query. For paid version, you have access to CPC and Adwords Competition data.

Google Trends shows what search term is trending. Its algorithm updates every hour based the volume of searches made for particular topics. If you aim at creating content around topic everyone is talking about at the moment, Google Trends is a go-to.

You can use Google Trends to examine pattern of particular search query in a particular location over a particular period of time. You can subscribe to get latest trends on the go.  Help yourself with ‘Related Topics’ and ‘Related Queries’ for more trending content  ideas.

‘Searches Related’ under SERP are good sources of long tail keywords many people don’t explore. The sweet thing about ‘Search Related’ is that people are already searching and website are already ranking for them.

‘Searches Related’ can provide you with base keywords to start your keyword research, form your content topic/idea and write SEO blog title.

Try it!

Use Wikipedia for keyword research. Wikipedia has 30 million articles and gets 18 billion page views monthly, it is the Internet encyclopedia with daily input from many people globally. It may not give you keyword you want to rank for point blank. But it is a great starter for keyword research, content ideas and related search terms you can sprinkle in your content.

Neil Patel explains deeper how you can use Wikipedia for keyword idea suggestions. Read up!

Use competitor top pages for keyword research. Your competitors want your customers badly, I am sure you know that. You can follow their trail to see what prospects are using to find them. Yes, you can!

You are not copying content idea from your competitors, you are learning from what works them, since you target the same audience. You can get your competitors’ most performing web pages by using Moz Open Site Explorer.

Data from your competitors’ most performing web pages will show their most visited page, who is linking to those top pages, your competitor’s Domain Authority and that of their link sources. This Rand Fishkin’s video will show you how to Use Competitors’ Data to Bolster Your SEO Efforts

You want to create great content, and you already have a clear idea of works best with your target audience and who is sharing such content. What else do you need to create awesome SEO content for your small business?

Leverage on hot topics on Quora, Google+ communities, niche forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Twitter search. This is called active social listening. Keywords from conversations on these platforms make your content search friendly because your target audience are already searching and talking about them.

After creating your SEO content, you can go back to those conversations and share your content. Quora does great in this regards. There are so many questions you can answer with your content and link back to your website. Some of these hot questions get on top of Google Search for related topics.

Stick around for the next in the SEO Blogging Strategy for Small Business series to learn how to publish SEO content consistently to boost organic ranking,  on-page optimization to assist search engines in finding and displaying blog post, organic content promotion, distribution via forums, blogs, email, social, influencer outreach and many more.

Hope you have learnt something new in this SEO Blogging Strategy for Small Business post. The next post will be up in a twinkle of an eye. We are here to help you with your digital marketing headache, always!


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