How to Use Big News Stories to Improve Small Business Search Engine Rankings

Disclaimer: I certainly don’t pretend to know all of the intimate details related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), in fact you probably know more about it than me.

The purpose of this post is to help small business owners who might be struggling with their search engine rankings, which is part of an effective overall social media plan.

We all know that for any small business that relies heavily on web traffic, it’s important to rank well in Google for various terms. Certainly, it can be difficult (not to mention frustrating!) to crack the front page at times. Fortunately:

Big News + Your Small Business Blog = Improved Rankings

One area where I have had some SEO luck (with my business blog) is capitalizing on various news stories and headlines that are somehow relatable to my business.

For example, yesterday while I was helping our guests and cleaning rooms, I was checking in with Twitter every once and a while just to see what was happening in the world.

At about 1:00pm I happened to notice a Tweet from Stacy Monk, which almost knocked me off my chair. The message stated:

Upon further investigation, I learned that JetBlue would be conducting an All-You-Can-Jet promotion from September 8 until October 8. Essentially, for $599 (+ taxes if outside US) you can fly as much as you want on JetBlue for a month.

Not only was I interested in the offer, but I also figured that this announcement had the potential to make headlines.

Knowing that JetBlue has regularly scheduled flights to San Juan (the hub to get to Culebra) from many cities within the U.S., I immediately drafted the following post on my small biz blog, Thinking About Coming to Culebra, Puerto Rico? – JetBlue $599 Unlimited Flying Special, to try and get some search engine juice.

What did I do exactly? And what were the results?

Below are the steps that I undertook and the search engine results from just about twenty-four hours after the post went live:

Step 1: The Title – I chose a title that had some key words from the news story in it and made it relevant to my small business niche.

Step 2: Reduced Title Length – Next, I shortened the post title with the “post slug” feature in the older version of WordPress that I am using to read -

(Note: the whole thing reads: all-you-can-jet-blue-special-culebra-puerto-rico)

Step 3: Drafted Post – Once the title and ‘slug’ were all set, I drafted a post that I thought might sincerely help someone who is looking for a great deal to get down to Culebra or the Caribbean. Even if people don’t have any vacation time, with the $599 All-You-Can-Jet offer, you could theoretically come down for four weekends in a row. That’s amazing!

Step 4 Relevant Categories – With the post now done, I checked off some relevant categories that the information fit into.

Step 5 Provided Keywords – From what you read and hear, supposedly keywords don’t really matter that much, but I am not convinced. (Perhaps an SEO expert can weigh in on this.)

After that, I hit the publish button, let the Google algorithm do its job, and waited to see what happened…

The results?

After less than twenty-four hours my business blog now ranks on the front page of Google for what I hope will be some key phrases:

The great thing about targeting various news stories to fit your niche is that it should not take you a lot of time. For instance, the post that I highlight above only took me about twenty minutes to put together.

If you are a small businessperson, whether you own a steakhouse, are a social media professional, own a liquor store, develop web apps, or perhaps, even an SEO wizard, YOU can do this!

You might not be able to land on the front page of Google for every key term or phrase, but what you can do is refine large news stories that are related to your business in some manner, make them fit your niche, and hopefully capitalize.

What do you think? What am I missing?

36 Responses to How to Use Big News Stories to Improve Small Business Search Engine Rankings

  1. Joe Jacobi says:

    Great story and yet just another example how technology is moving to the side of the little guy. Well done, Mark!

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  23. Shayra Norat says:

    Hey Mark!

    So I’m doing this project on SEO and read your post (great, by the way) and was wondering if you had any statistics on how this helped you out. Specifically, how many hits did your post receive after the story published? Do you have more traffic on your blog due to this? Any information would be helpful. Thanks!

    -Shayra

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