Search optimization helps blog drive traffic

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Challenge:Objective Management Group is a service company that provides sales organization assessments and sales candidate evaluations, including personality testing. The company sells its service two ways: directly and through 110 resellers.

OMG wanted to add resellers and track leads better. “We had no way of determining where these people came from, whether the leads were any good, and we weren’t getting enough [leads] to make everybody happy,” said CEO Dave Kurlan.

Kurlan maintained a blog about sales assessment, hosted at Blogger, but traffic was not extraordinary, averaging about 800 visits per month. He wanted more visibility to attract more business.

In his blog, Kurlan inserted links back to the company’s Web site. “I’d post an article and nobody would see it and nobody would come,” he said.

Solution: Enter HubSpot, a company that combines search engine optimization with blog strategy to help its clients generate and convert leads.

HubSpot’s first order of business was to optimize both OMG’s blog and Web site, and set up a mechanism to track visitors.

“They did some search engine optimization, they tweaked the corporate Web site and they added tracking tools and analytics so that I could continue to play with it and change my writing to increase the traffic,” Kurlan said.

The tracking gave Kurlan the insight he needed to determine which topics were of interest to potential customers and which were falling on deaf ears.

“I go in and look at the data relative to my blog, because it tells me whether I am writing things of interest [to our prospects],” he said. “We get a lot of real world information about their behavior. We actually get the trail they leave behind, so we have a lot of intelligence about them before we contact them.”

OMG’s customer service staff also reviews the tracking data in order to get qualified leads out to the resellers.

Moreover, Kurlan has adapted his blog writing significantly. Now instead of writing about sales assessment and the business of sales assessment, he writes about things like coaching, motivating and recruiting salespeople.

“Most people doing searches weren’t looking for information about sales assessments,” he said. “They were looking for information about selling strategy.”

Simply marrying the search terms that most people were using and writing more about those topics, OMG managed to attract a greater number of qualified prospects.

“One third of our traffic is coming from the Google search engine, and [HubSpot] optimized our site so that we show up in the first page of search results,” Kurlan said. “The search traffic we’re getting from Google has been increasing exponentially.” OMG also does some paid search with Google AdWords.

Interestingly, Kurlan said the nonpaid search is working better than paid search. “We measure it in terms of quality of the leads,’ he said.

The keywords HubSpot used to optimize OMG’s site included “evaluating a sales force,” “sales force objectives,” “competencies for sales people” and “sales competencies.”

Results: With HubSpot’s involvement, OMG’s business is booming.

Page views on the blog jumped from an average of 800 views a month to 5000 views every month. In addition, with the tracking tool, OMG has learned that its blog generates a whooping 25% of the traffic to its corporate site.

“There were no leads coming in from the blog when it was posted on Blogger, and now we’re getting 40 or so leads a week,” Kurlan said.

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