In the past, local marketing was easy. You paid for a listing in the Yellow Pages, printed flyers, and possibly placed an ad in the local newspaper. People were aware of who you were and where you were.
Then came web marketing, and everything changed. At first, the advice was to focus on general keywords. However, Google and other search engines’ algorithms have evolved over time. They now prioritize local search above all else.
Why does that matter? In short, creating compelling local content is not optional. It is as essential as oxygen. You need to demonstrate to potential clients that you are an active participant in the neighborhood, which requires you to go beyond simply providing an address.
The Fundamentals of Local Marketing
I’ve already written a lot about local marketing, but I think it’s important to include a short summary of how to optimize your website and content for local search. Keep these things in mind:
- Optimize your site for mobile search and make sure it looks great on mobile devices.
- Optimize your site for local voice searches and “near me” searches.
- Choose local keywords with a high search volume that are highly relevant to your business. The name of your city, state, or neighborhood, as well as keywords relevant to your business, are the best local search words.
- Use rich snippets to include important geographic information in your Google search results.
- Obtain links from important local sites to your site. Remember that when it comes to link building, quality trumps quantity. To build your local SEO “cred,” focus on local business guides, the Chamber of Commerce, and related local businesses.
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews and link to your review pages on your website. Customer testimonials, which go into a bit more depth than reviews, are also very important.
Following these tips will help you get started, but you’ll still need to create compelling local content to attract customers.
Local Content Creation Tips
Once your site has been optimized for local searches, you should concentrate on creating local content. This entails more than simply incorporating local keywords into general content. You’ll need to demonstrate to site visitors that you’re a part of a local community.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Determine your audience’s interests and then write about them.
Of course, you don’t want to stray too far from your business, but there’s nothing wrong with getting excited about topics that are important to your audience. You could, for example, write about an upcoming community event or the year’s first major storm. If you already have a customer avatar, this should be even easier.
Write a blog about local events.
Local events are important in every community, from small rural towns to large cities. As a business owner, you should be aware of these events and look for ways to write about them that are relevant to your company. It will be simple if you plan to sponsor a booth at your local fair.
However, local charity events and holiday celebrations allow you to talk about your community and why you love it.
Create case studies that are relevant to local prospects.
One method is to create an “insider’s guide to….” that demonstrates your knowledge of the area. A landscaper in Southern California, for example, might discuss the risk of wildfires or provide advice on how to get rid of black widow spiders.
Discuss local news.
Did your neighborhood Little League team advance to the playoffs? Was your town featured nationally somehow? Is there going to be a new business in town? Any of these things could be turned into blog posts, and they’re especially effective if you can find a natural way to connect the story to your business.
Staying connected to your community online is a great way to get ideas for local content. You could like your local Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, subscribe to your local newspaper, and go to the library to see what new flyers have been posted on the bulletin board.
What is your content’s intent?
When creating local content, one of the most important things to remember is that every blog post or social media update you write should have a clear intention that is related to your business.
What exactly do I mean? Simply put, you can’t waste time blogging about something if you don’t know why you’re writing about it. Sometimes the intention is obvious. You own a hardware store, and blogging about winter snowfall predictions might help you sell some shovels and snowblowers, or at the very least some Ice Melt.
At times, however, the intention may be a little more difficult to pin down. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t skip this step. If you’re inventive enough, you should be able to connect any piece of content you create to your company.
For example, suppose you want to blog about a local charity event but can’t think of an organic way to connect it to your business. Instead of giving up, consider donating a portion of your sales to charity or organizing a fundraising event with other local business owners.
The key is to make your local content relevant to your company and its target audience. You can still share general content, but if you want your business to grow, you must share local content.