There's a reason we talk about content as though it's royalty. You can have the best products and services, but if you can't present them, talk about them confidently or tell your target audience how these things help them locally, you'll find your strategies landing you on page 2 of SERPs.
The current sophistication of search engines means the importance of quality content only continues to increase. Local-focused marketers have to leverage opportunities by creating content of genuine interest and value to target audiences, whether through blogs, video, social media marketing or other methods.
Here are seven strategies to supercharge your local content
1. Make the Most of Your Content with the Right Medium
Content comes in multiple formats and depending on your industry and category within it, you'll find certain media and certain voices fit best. While some wider-reaching and easily accessible formats, such as the humble blog or social media post, are often suitable for any industry, other formats have specific audiences. For example, local brands which rely on visual appeal, such as fashion or travel, should focus more on visual content and social networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
And with video, especially short-form, easily-sharable video, ever on the rise, it's an excellent choice for presenting your content, if it makes sense for your business. As with all content, ensure your media choice and substance are relevant and serve to help your target audience.
2. Your Content Has to be Accessible for You to be Successful
Accessibility is one of the most important ranking factors of all, particularly in the case of local businesses that tend to be heavily reliant on visibility in mobile search results. The rise of the mobile Web and the fact that many consumers are now connected everywhere they go has completely transformed consumer habits to such an extent that brands now need to prioritize the mobile experience when presenting their content. I know this may seem simple, but remember algorithms, and thus searchers, can only find what you release access to on the Web.
3. Local Content on Local Landing Pages
The 2010 recommendation from Google's Matt Cutts still stands - businesses with multiple service areas, stores or venues need to have separate Web pages for each one. However, to improve engagement rates as well as increase visibility in local search results, it's important that the content is localized for regional audiences. For example, a heating contractor might want to address the local climate when creating content, while a hotel might want to address local attractions and activities. Don't forget to share your carefully-crafted website content on social media to engage with the locals.
4. Segment Your Audience
One size fits all doesn't work for clothing, and it definitely isn't a good approach to digital marketing. It isn't likely to lead to impressive results, even for businesses with very narrow focuses. When you consider that relevancy is a key ranking factor in both local and traditional search results, it's important for brands to segment their target audiences and publish personalized content for each group, particularly with regard to direct mail and social media marketing. Speaking of social media, this is the perfect opportunity to use your various channels to get the pulse of your target audiences as you engage with them via surveys, Q&As, live video broadcasts and more.
5. Keep Your Content Geared Toward Your Community's Needs
Maintaining a strong presence on social media provides many benefits, even if social signals only play a relatively small role when it comes to search engine ranking signals. Social media allows even big brands to build and maintain meaningful relationships with target audiences and gain valuable insights into their needs and desires. It also plays a major role in any content strategy, since social networks are great for sharing and amplifying your content.
This is where your brand gains fans and friends for life. Carefully handle issues when they arise because everyone is watching. How you care for your social community will resonate and further enhance or hinder your online reputation.
6. Encourage Feedback
Carry out any search for local businesses on Google, and you'll see that the top organic search results tend to have better reviews and more of them. Google tells us in its local ranking factors document that customer ratings and reviews are important ranking signals. This tidbit of knowledge means local brands should encourage clients and customers to leave feedback. Remember, however, once your customers provide this information the pressure is on, greater than ever before, to continue to offer excellent services or products to ensure that reviews are largely positive.
7. Unique Content Shows You Off
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages about local SEO is that it doesn't require quite as much effort as traditional SEO. Local brands typically face a lot less competition than those with a national or global reach, making it easier to provide unique and location-relevant content. A key pillar of any sustainable content marketing strategy is content uniqueness, this adds genuine value and helps to boost visibility in the search results.
Keep Your Content, Content
Those of you working with businesses that only serve a single geographic area will typically have a bit of an easier time of maintaining rankings in local search results. Brands that serve a large number of regions will be best served by having multiple landing pages and with localized content that is relevant and useful, especially in your most important regions.
Your content marketing strategies don't end on your website, and social media is the best place to expand on your original content, remix it and test it with its intended audience.
Which of these tips do you use most often? Has it helped your local strategy and boosted you in search. Tell me about it in the comments.