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30-Day Blog Post Challenge – Day 3: Thoughts on Lead Generation

After I published my last post yesterday I got a commentary on Facebook from an old friend of mine asking to write about lead generation.

I cannot say that I am an expert in lead generation (there are people who specialize in lead gen and this is what brings food on their table). I’ve always focused mostly on driving organic traffic to my clients’ sites. However, there is something that I know about lead generation and this is something I would like to share with you.

My first true exposure to lead generation happened when I got hired as an SEO Specialist by a lead generation company. It was back in 2011 and I didn’t know much about lead generation back then. My task was to optimize a number of financial websites that the company maintained. There were two problems with these websites:

  1. They were built on a custom CMS.
  2. There were a few hundred of them and all of them had the same layout and were pretty shallow on content.

I had to do something to rank these sites organically. Obviously, these websites did not present any value to consumers from the SEO standpoint. There was no helpful content on them at all. Google didn’t rank them well. Also, the company was running an affiliate marketing program and had hundreds of affiliates all over the world who did everything they could (everything you can imagine) to generate leads to these sites using their unique affiliate ids. That added complexity to SEO work because I could not control the links that affiliates generated to these sites.

We did a couple of experiments back then related to lead generation.

Experiment 1: On one of our major websites we had a rotating slider at the top. We used Google Optimizer to run an A/B test experiment to see which image would have the highest lead conversion rates. It turned out that a certain static image outperformed the rotating sequence version and other static images.

Experiment 2: We used a custom framework and about 20 domains with a combination of auto-generated and duplicate content on certain topics. These sites got banned by Google in 2 weeks or so.

I remember that trying to solve this issue I attended my first SMX West conference on SEO in San Jose and asked Chris Boggs from Rosetta during an open table session what to do with these websites, how do I rank them at all? I remember that Chris recommended me to find any differences or prominent features on these sites and attempt to focus on them. That was pretty hard to do because these websites were all the same, just the colors and the main pages were different. So I failed to rank organically the websites in financial vertical that the company had.

I came back from the conference and told our CEO about the SEO methods that I learned during the conference. They listened to me and gave me another site to rank, InsuranceFiles.com. The purpose of that site was to generate leads by attracting insurance agents who’d need to buy insurance leads.

With this one good website instead of hundreds of low-quality sites, I had much more options. I had an opportunity to build it from scratch, and this is exactly what my team did. After interviewing a few web design companies we posted a web design project on CrowdSpring (or maybe it was some other website based on the same model). After selecting the winner whose design we all liked we sent that PSD file to a company that converted PSDs to WordPress.

Now I had a live website built on WordPress that with a nice design that Google would like. Then I optimized this website by outlining the content structure and posting content strategically. The idea was to have content silos. For example, we picked a certain topic within the overall theme of the website. I then asked a content writer to create content on five subtopics related to the main topic. So I got 6 pages of content – one main one, about the topic and 5 supporting pages. I then interlinked these 5 pages with one another and also each of these 5 supporting pages was linking back to their main parent page. This method worked exceptionally well and we started ranking in Top 10 Google for many related keywords.

Other than my personal lead generation experience I’ve also worked as a consultant with other people who ran lead gen websites in different niches. For example, a friend of mine used to own a few domains in landscaping niche. The domain names he purchased would look something like this: landscapingdallastx.com. He would then use a WordPress theme tailored for lead generation and also purchased phone numbers related to the area of service. Then he would call local contractors in that area and offer them to work with him. The contractor that agreed to work with him would get the leads redirected to their phone number from the phone number that my friend purchased.

Leads are generated from traffic that comes to your website or another web asset that you own (a Facebook page for example). Therefore the question becomes: “How do I get targeted traffic to my website?”. There is a number of ways to do that. I always like to recommend a book called “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” This book contains a number of proven ways to do that.

This blog post in #3 in the series of 30 blog posts called “30-Day Blog Post Challenge”. Check my first blog in the series here. In short: I encourage you to write and post one article on your website every day for 30 days straight on the topic of your expertise. There are multiple benefits to doing that. Read more about it in the original post. Additionally, amplify the content you create by sharing it on social networks with hashtag #30dayblogchallenge. If you support this idea feel free to get in touch with me on Instagram and on Twitter.

Also, let me know if you would like me to cover any particular topics related to business/marketing.



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