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Vontoo’s blogs naturally enhance search performance

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Vontoo, which was launched in September 2005, sells permission-based voice marketing and messaging services. The company's application service provider (ASP) model lets other businesses create, send and track voice messaging marketing. Before last August, Vontoo used paid search as the No.1 way to get its message out to prospects, buying search terms such as "voice messaging" and "custom phone messaging."

Though paid search was working, said Dustin Sapp, the company's president and co-founder, he knew that potential clients are much more likely to click on an organic search result than a paid search one.

"Nine times out of 10, people are going to overlook the paid search results and click on the first few Google results," he said.

Add to that the fact that Vontoo has a lot of competition on the paid search side, and it was clear that Sapp needed to find a way to raise the company's profile in organic search results. After doing some research, Sapp added blogging to Vontoo's overall marketing plan, starting with a blog he intended to write. However, the blog wasn't updated often enough—"I'm not a natural blogger," Sapp said—and the company still wasn't getting traction on the first page of Google results.

Compendium comes in

So Sapp turned to Compendium Blogware, a company founded by e-mail service provider ExactTarget co-founder and CMO Chris Baggott.

Using Compendium's service, Vontoo was able to create five blogs written by its employees. Vontoo gives its employees lists of keyword suggestions that describe its voice-messaging services, and they blog on their own.

Compendium monitors blog posts and makes suggestions on optimizing the content; it also notifies Vontoo if employees aren't blogging often enough. The resulting blogs are then approved by a Vontoo marketing person, and published both as stand-alone blogs as well as aggregated blogs that glean topic-specific posts from the individual blogs. This strategy ensures that there's lots of Vontoo-related content and that it's posted often—two characteristics that help boost a page's Google ranking.

Natural search results up

Today, the Compendium blog posts are the third-highest source of natural search clicks, behind a Wikipedia link and a story that was published in NetworkWorld, Sapp said. But even more important, about 75% of Vontoo's paid search terms now show up as first-page natural search results on Google, with many of them garnering the top three spots, he said.

Vontoo's paid search costs are down 40%, and Sapp attributes about 5% to 10% of the decrease to the blogging, he said.

"If you go Google `sports marketing technology,' our blog comes up fifth out of 11.1 million," he said. "And we're not a sports marketing agency. This is a really big deal. We've definitely saved money and increased the number of our leads because of the blogs."

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