JoshuaMackens

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Hey Joy,

Are you talking about service pages? If so, when updating do you see an increase in ranking for that page? And if so, what are you guys adding?
 

JoyHawkins

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Hey Joshua,

Yeah most of these are service pages. Carrie is going through a couple specific case studies/examples at her LocalU session next week that give a bunch more details. We'll also publish them on our blog at some point after the event is over.

If we're able to improve the page (make it more relevant), it definitely can increase ranking. Things like making the page more scannable, adding related content (people also ask questions), making the photo match the intent of the other photos in the SERPs, making the title tag match the query, etc.
 
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The Blog Post Was Stealing Customers From The Service Page, So I Fixed It.

I had a plumber about a year ago that was not getting too many conversions on his plumber service page, the issue was that he had a blog post that was showing up for all of the plumber related search terms and the service page was getting no traffic. The service page is where the company's contact info, phone number, and contact form were prevalent, unlike the blog post page.


So the service page was set up to close sales leads fast, unlike the blog post that just gave some general plumbing information.

Potential Customers Were Bouncing Off The Blog Page Because They Needed Help Fast.
Many people who needed a plumber were landing on the blog post page and not the service page, and the service page was better set up to get calls and contact info. The blog post was optimized well and the service page was not, so the blog post was catabolizing the service page for the target keywords.



Blog Page.png


So, I Made The Service Page Better And Changed The Theme Of The Blog Page.
I focused on optimizing the service page more ( for the plumber related keywords ) and changed the search intent of the blog page to a resource type of page, and in a few weeks, he started getting more calls. It seems that Google saw the blog post as more relevant for the "Plumber Keywords" than the service page, so Google was showing the blog post in the search results instead of the service page.

Someone Explained This Blog Canabolizaton To Me Like This:
Imagine that your website is a football team, and you need to put a player on the field (the players are your site webpages ). If each player (webpage) represents a keyword and you have two different players representing the same keyword: you only hope Google picks the 350lb player (service page) when the keyword is called out and not the 100lb player (blog page). It sounds weird but looking at it like this helped me. I want my service page to be a stronger page than the blog page in relation to the incoming search term from someone on Google.

I think blogs work, but you have to make sure they are not stealing the customers from the pages that are designed to convert and make you money.
 
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Charles Jenkins In your example with the plumber, what if you just put the blog article inside of the service page as a centerpiece (essentially combining the 2 pages together into 1)? Would that work to draw all of those clicks that were going to the blog article page to the service page instead?

I ask because I wonder if there would be any benefit to moving the blog articles on my website onto the services and (more importantly) the town based landing pages in order to benefit those more important pages.
 
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JoshuaMackens

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Charles Jenkins In your example with the plumber, what if you just put the blog article inside of the service page as a centerpiece (essentially combining the 2 pages together into 1)? Would that work to draw all of those clicks that were going to the blog article page to the service page instead?

I ask because I wonder if there would be any benefit to moving the blog articles on my website onto the services and (more importantly) the town based landing pages in order to benefit those more important pages.
Honestly, that would probably work. I see long form pages rank all the time, ie upsolve or thejoint (chiropractor franchise). It's crazy how well it works. But it won't look like a typical service page and I don't know how it would affect conversion. If my clients would let me, I'd do the homepage like that for all of them. But it doesn't look great.
 
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Honestly, that would probably work. I see long form pages rank all the time, ie upsolve or thejoint (chiropractor franchise). It's crazy how well it works. But it won't look like a typical service page and I don't know how it would affect conversion. If my clients would let me, I'd do the homepage like that for all of them. But it doesn't look great.
Thanks for the reply.

I know what you mean about it looking odd. I was thinking to just paste a blog article in at the end of the services and town based landing pages, as just an extension of the page for the people who choose to continue scrolling down. Then delete the existing blog page and 301 redirect it to the page I pasted the article.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Thanks for the reply.

I know what you mean about it looking odd. I was thinking to just paste a blog article in at the end of the services and town based landing pages, as just an extension of the page for the people who choose to continue scrolling down. Then delete the existing blog page and 301 redirect it to the page I pasted the article.

Right. It won't look as bad as a homepage but it will look strange. You should try it though and see if it works. Your drop in conversion might be replaced by a massive increase in traffic due to ranking (if it works).
 
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I would really like to try this. I have been thinking about which article could go on which page all day. Some of the articles would match perfectly with service pages since they are the exact same topic. Other articles could be put on town based landing pages, the articles that currently get the most visitors can be put on the better towns that I would prefer to work.

But I am scared of hurting rankings by doing this :LOL:
 

barnacle27

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I'll dissent and say I don't think it's worth it.

We would write 2 blog posts a month for our client. Did it for 2-3 years. I was skeptical of the impact. We stopped and I removed all the blog posts to see what would happen. Nothing happened. No ranking shift up or down.

Were the posts themselves ranking or driving any traffic?
 

djbaxter

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I'll dissent and say I don't think it's worth it.

We would write 2 blog posts a month for our client. Did it for 2-3 years. I was skeptical of the impact. We stopped and I removed all the blog posts to see what would happen. Nothing happened. No ranking shift up or down.

For national companies who serve customers all over, blogs make a lot of sense. As you mentioned, you can't capitalize on national traffic. National companies can. But a local blog answering a question about your industry will not have any better chance to show up for a local searcher that is searching a national query than if you weren't local. For questions Google does not prioritize location, unless the question itself is inherently local. Which for local business blog content is almost never the case. A good case being someone Google's "should I get a divorce lawyer". The divorce lawyer down the street from this searcher has no better chance to show up for this query than the divorce lawyer 1,000 miles away. Google does not prioritize location here. They prioritize EAT, which will almost never be in a local business's favor vs national sites that invest heavy in their EAT to answer these type of questions.

Blogs can drive backlinks, which is another reason for a blog. But there's a catch 22 there. Blogs that drive backlinks (really high quality articles) are not scalable for most agencies (you should always be scalable) and usually have to be written by the local business themselves. That rarely happens. And even if it does, they don't know how to do the SEO or the backlink outreach. So, those that can shouldn't (agencies) and those that can't, possibly should (local business owners).

Local blogs also do not drive local traffic in most cases. However, they can help with conversion. They can make you look like the expert, etc.

If you had a really thin site then maybe you could do it for quality. But I've seen sites with 10 pages ranking incredibly well. Google knows local businesses don't really have a lot to say typically, so I don't concern myself with thin content unless it's a YMYL site. And even then, I don't know that I would go with a blog and even if you do, it needs to be done really carefully.

Honestly, every time I see another marketing company writing blogs consistently for their local clients I kind of shake my head. Still waiting for someone to prove me wrong but hasn't happened yet.

Were the posts themselves ranking or driving any traffic?

@barnacle27 raises a good point and one which fits with my views on this: it's not all about ranking, or not all directly about ranking, especially in the days of Google results answering questions. It's also about branding and brand awareness and just getting your name out there. Arguably, now that they have become almost generic terms, Kleenex and Nike and Coke don't even need to advertise anymore because their brand recognition is so high.

I have mentioned this before: On my main site, for some two and a half years now, the most popular page has been a blog post I wrote about the persistent problem of Outlook 2010 and 2016 periodically not opening links contained in emails in browsers. That post had to do with a frustrating problem I had personally with Microsoft Office and the fix I eventually found that worked for me (there were lots of other suggested fixes, many from Microsoft itself, but they didn't work for me and apparently they didn't work for many other people).

Now fixing MS Office issues is not what I do and it's not what my main site is about but that page is a set of specific fixes to a very common and specific problem. Google seems to love it and so do the people who find me in a Google search for that problem. And once they find me, and my brand name, some of them stay and explore the site. I don't keep statistics on how many of those become customers or clients and again that's not why I wrote that post. But there's no doubt that it has helped to increase the reach of my brand and added credibility to my reputation as someone who can troubleshoot issues with software and websites.

Has that post increased my ranking? Well it certainly has for that specific search query. As for my general ranking for my main search terms, probably not at all.

Has it increased my brand recognition and visibility? I think so. And for the time it took me to write that post, it has certainly paid its way month after month.
 
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djbaxter, what you are talking about makes a lot of sense, especially for your business. Your business can be used by anyone, anywhere. The same way as Microsoft Office and Coke can be purchased anywhere.

Someone in any town or state (or possibly country) can read your article on Outlook while trying to fix an issue that they have while doing business work. Then they can look around your site and see you are an SEO and contact you about promoting their company.

My curiosity revolves around service area businesses, small ones like mine. I only serve a handful of towns, those are the only people I can market to. So branding outside of the tiny little radius around me doesn't help at all.

The vast majority of people who read my blog articles are people that can't buy my services. So unless Google is going to give me some type of bump on a local level because my articles are getting visitors from around the world, is it worth the investment?

Since I already made the investment into the articles, I will of course keep them. But I would still like to explore moving the articles to the Services and town based landing pages to try to bump those.
 
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JoshuaMackens

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Were the posts themselves ranking or driving any traffic?

Yes, but unqualified traffic ie traffic from different states or even cities within our state that we couldn't service. It was rare to get traffic from our city and was just a coincidence. Google does not rank a local business any higher for a national query because the searcher is local. Which is the point of what I'm saying.

djbaxter, what you are talking about makes a lot of sense, especially for your business. Your business can be used by anyone, anywhere. The same way as Microsoft Office and Coke can be purchased anywhere.

Someone in any town or state (or possibly country) can read your article on Outlook while trying to fix an issue that they have while doing business work. Then they can look around your site and see you are an SEO and contact you about promoting their company.

My curiosity revolves around service area businesses, small ones like mine. I only serve a handful of towns, those are the only people I can market to. So branding outside of the tiny little radius around me doesn't help at all.

The vast majority of people who read my blog articles are people that can't buy my services. So unless Google is going to give me some type of bump on a local level because my articles are getting visitors from around the world, is it worth the investment?

Since I already made the investment into the articles, I will of course keep them. But I would still like to explore moving the articles to the Services and town based landing pages to try to bump those.

Exactly. Blogging for SEO is great for national companies for traffic. Local? Not so much.
 

CarrieHill

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Blog posts are timely - website pages are timeless. I do not like blog posts just to blog - it's a waste of time. If that's valuable content for your customers - turn it into a page.

I am a big fan of service & project PAGES that talk about a service you perform, where you last performed it, with local relevance and problem-solving content.

Instead of a post about how to unclog a drain...write a page about a project you did in a suburb or nearby city to your brick & mortar (if you have one) where the drain was clogged and all the steps you had to take to get it unclogged and working correctly for the client...including a client testimonial and a range of cost for the project. Mark it up with local business schema and make sure it's optimized for your city+ state + service terms.

Anyone in your area looking for the same service is very likely to find that page, see you helped out a happy customer, and call you for the same service... Esp if they see it only cost a few hundred bucks or less to fix it and no hassle on their part. Google might not always return local results for a query - but if you have a solid page on your website - its much more likely to get traffic than a half-assed blog post that doesn't really talk about where you did the work and for who and why they were happy.

Writing content to feed the "google likes new content" machine is not the right reason to write content. Write content to solve problems and explain solutions to your clients. These should be evergreen pages on your website. If products/procedures/techniques are updated - update the page and say "...this was a few years ago - now we'd approach this issue using XYZ system to complete a fast, clean, cost-effective drain cleansing and be on our way" or something similar.
 

JoshuaMackens

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What makes you think blog posts can't be "evergreen"? They are evergreen as long as the problem they solve or the question they answer remains current.

Very true. But local blogs and national blogs are different.
 

djbaxter

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We will have to agree to disagree I think.

I will say it depends very much on the content of your posts. For example, a local mechanic might post reminders about snow tires or other seasonal service, specials they are offering, local charities they are supporting, members of the community they are helping, that sort of thing. That is very helpful in brand awareness as well as important information for existing and new potential customers.
 

JoshuaMackens

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We may have to.

All you would need to do is track the traffic to those pages and resulting conversions. In my experience, they are rare.
 

CarrieHill

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What makes you think blog posts can't be "evergreen"? They are evergreen as long as the problem they solve or the question they answer remains current.
Blog posts get buried the more blog posts you write - IF you've done a good job of internal linking - it might not be so buried - but most of the time, once they hit /page/4/ they're pretty much gone and forgotten by most site owners (and search engines).

The percentage of writers that actually keep up and maintain their blog posts with updates and links is minuscule - the effort for a local biz should be more concentrated on evergreen pages that rank locally and convert.
 
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We may have to.

All you would need to do is track the traffic to those pages and resulting conversions. In my experience, they are rare.
I did this just now.

I looked at my most popular blog article which Google Analytics shows 1083 visits from the United States in the last 3 months.

Out of all of those visits, 17 of them were from my state (NJ, kinda small) and only 1 was from a town that I would be willing to serve if they called, although I don't market to it directly on my website or anywhere else.

I'm willing to bet all of my blog articles are like this.
 

CarrieHill

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I did this just now.

I looked at my most popular blog article which Google Analytics shows 1083 visits from the United States in the last 3 months.

Out of all of those visits, 17 of them were from my state (NJ, kinda small) and only 1 was from a town that I would be willing to serve if they called, although I don't market to it directly on my website or anywhere else.

I'm willing to bet all of my blog articles are like this.
I would maybe challenge you to test building a page about that topic that's very optimized for a location you WOULD service, connect it well via internal linking to your services/product pages and make sure it's very easy for the user to convert.

Measure the results and see which does better for you. I have a guess, but will reserve judgement :)
 

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