A few days ago I was fortunate to hear Dave Polivy owner of Tahoe Mountain Sports speak on content strategy and search engine optimization. Tahoe Mountain Sports is primarily a web commerce company (with one retail outlet in Kings Beach, CA) who have leveraged social media to grow their business.
As an e-commerce business Dave has always recognized that technology changes every day and that change is continually needed to stay ahead of the game. A few years ago Google changed its algorithms lowering many of Tahoe Mountain Sports product search result positions negatively impacting sales. Since the first 3 natural (non-pay per click) search results on any given Google search get the majority of the traffic, changes were needed to improve the positioning of their products. Since the Google algorithm changes rewarded current and timely content, the company decided to pursue a content strategy using their blog as the hub. Here are some of the elements of Tahoe Mountain Sports’ content strategy:
The Blog: Given the greater value Google places on websites that are linked to on other websites, Tahoe Mountain Sports chose to host their blog on a sub domain to improve their website’s ranking. The blog enables Tahoe Mountain Sports to demonstrate their products in a friendly and conversational non-sales manner (with the exception of the occasional ‘steals and deals’ posts). For example they have ‘adventure of the week’ posts on an outdoor activity and gear used is included and linked to. Posts typically align with the products and categories the company would like to come up first in, on a Google search. In addition, the company studies their Google analytics to determine what key words are driving people to the website, then creating posts that include the most popular key words to further drive traffic to the site. Given the timeliness of blog posts relative to the online catalogue, the blog post often comes up higher on a product search than the actual product page, giving the company a targeted short-term search engine optimization boost. To greater engage readers Tahoe Mountain Sports use different writers to add new perspectives and to vary the content and tone. Blog post writers are paid with store credit and such guest posts along with news aggregators syndicating their content have helped introduce the brand to a wider audience.
Facebook: Tahoe Mountain Sports have grown their Facebook following in two ways. First the company teamed up with cause based organization Leave No Trace to donate $1 for every person that liked their Facebook page. Leave No Trace educate people on how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Since Tahoe Mountain Sports sell outdoor gear the partnership helped extend brand reach. Approximately 2000 fans were gained from the campaign and traffic from the Facebook page to the Tahoe Mountain Sports website increased significantly.
The second way Tahoe Mountain Sports have grown their Facebook fan number is to team up with a non-profit or cause based organization and have semi-annual gear giveaways. Entrants must like Tahoe Mountain Sports’ page and the contests are typically set up to be hosted through the non-profit or cause based organization.
YouTube: Prior to the company creating a YouTube account they would receive frequent phone calls from people who had found their website, liked their prices but won’t sure if they could trust the business wasn’t too good to be true. To offer reassurance that the company is legit a cheesy about me video was created:
Creating this video eliminated 95% of concerned phone calls by making people feel more comfortable to order. Tahoe Mountain Sports also have product demonstration videos on their YouTube channel further improving their search engine optimization.
Google+: Tahoe Mountain Sports created a Google+ page to cover their bases. The company recognized that since it’s a Google product, Google will give it heightened awareness in search results.
Pinterest: In recent months Tahoe Mountain Sports have been building their Pinterest pages and experimenting to determine what works on this new platform. The company have received a lot of pins and it is driving a lot of traffic to their website.
Twitter: Tahoe Mountain Sports can also be found on Twitter sharing interesting content and engaging in conversations.
What do you think of Tahoe Mountain Sports content strategy and what tips do you have to improve search engine optimization? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.