[IMAGE left medium] If you own or manage a business that competes for customers on a local level, you need to take advantage of local search engine optimization, or SEO. There is a lot that goes into an effective local search campaign, including online pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media and keyword-rich website copy.
You can also significantly boost your local SEO efforts in an organic way by offering readers—and potential customers—valuable, informative content through your website, blog and social media platforms. Your number one goal is to appear toward the top of the results when someone searches for keywords related to your business, and strong content helps you achieve that goal.
It’s important to know that Google and the other search engines have made significant changes to the way they rank pages over the past couple years. According to Entrepreneur Magazine's Jaysen DeMers, Google now focuses more than ever on lengthy content, engaging videos and images, strong outbound links, proper grammar and formatting and “shares” through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.
On a local basis, good SEO and content marketing has become more of a challenge recently, says Michael Sheridan, known as “The Sales Lion.” Because you’re focused on a specific area, you likely need to include location-specific keywords, such as “Cleveland” or “Cuyahoga County,” if that’s where you do business. It can be tough to write content that incorporates these keywords, but there are some tricks you can use to develop topic ideas.
Sheridan suggests focusing topics on different aspects of a community, such as the “Top 5 Restaurants in Cleveland.” Even if your business has nothing to do with dining, this can help you integrate geographical keywords and phrases into your content, while also offering some interesting and compelling information to your readers.
Offering strong, keyword-rich content has a definite, measurable impact on SEO, but it also offers additional long-term benefits. By giving your current and potential customers information they can actually use in their everyday lives, you build a level of trust that cannot be measured in dollar signs.
Let’s say you’re a partner at a law firm focused on helping clients with personal injuries. In addition to strong, benefits-oriented content on your website, you should also have a blog where you explore many of the issues associated with this area of practice, leveraging your expertise. For example, you could write a blog post about what people should do after an automobile accident, outlining the various steps they need to take to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. Another great topic would be how to deal with insurance companies.
With as much as you know about the law—or whatever industry you’re in—there’s likely no shortage of subjects you could cover.
When it comes to attracting customers to your website on a local basis, be sure to factor in the benefits of strong, informative content. You’ll be surprised at the traffic it can bring, both to your website and your business.