You already understand how important search engine optimization is to your company. About 53.3% of website traffic is from organic searches. You want to be at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) so that all of that traffic goes to your business. Quality improves your brand reputation and creates credibility.
However, while optimizing for general search engines is a great way to start, a more effective approach would be to employ local SEO. This is especially useful if you’re a business operating within a specific location.
Diving into local SEO can be daunting, but in this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to create a winning local SEO content strategy.
Local SEO is a strategy in search engine optimization that gives your business or brand more visibility in local Google search results.
A local SEO strategy can benefit your marketing and growth efforts if your business serves a specific geographic location or has a physical location. Let's illustrate this with an example.
Say you run Betty’s Bakery in Albany, New York. Customers searching for bakeries in New York might be a general query, but customers searching for bakeries in Albany localize that query. They’re not just searching for bakeries; they are looking for bakeries that operate within a given location. Local SEO is that strategy that would help Betty’s Bakery appear as a top result for “bakeries in Albany”.
Google provides local organic search results by using a proximity factor. In simple terms, this means that Google factors in your location whenever you enter a local search query.
When people search for businesses, they are often asking for results closest to their location. The search algorithm now provides SERPs that include results within the searcher’s immediate area. This is why you still get results for your location even when you don’t add a “near me” or specify which city you are searching for.
You can easily test this by entering a search query from two different locations, and see that the results will vary. Every SERP will contain listings closest to the location the query came from.
Despite it being nothing new, local search results have been limited due because people mostly used search engines on desktops. With more people switching to mobile and handheld devices, local SEO’s importance has risen dramatically to become a critical factor for a company’s success and marketing.
58% of all Google searches come from mobile devices, a statistic that can’t be ignored when you’re considering search engine optimization.
Having established that local SEO is important, should it be something that your business can adopt? Does local SEO fit with every business?
About 90% of customers have used the internet to find businesses near them. However, not all businesses can adopt local SEO; in the same way, some types of SEO techniques and strategies won’t be so effective for certain types of businesses. You have to ask the question “does my business need local SEO?”
The answer? You should adopt local SEO if your business serves a particular location(s) and you need to rank in local search results.
Businesses like bars and restaurants, handymen, local consultants, coffee shops, marketing agencies, and medical service providers are examples. Essentially, any business that offers products/services within a specific area and wishes to be found by potential customers should implement local SEO as a strategy.
A follow-up question would be to consider what benefits your business can get from local SEO.
The benefits of a local SEO strategy for your business aren’t very different from what search engine optimization would offer. An obvious one is that your website gets more organic traffic. Some other benefits include:
Before you can reap the benefits of local SEO, some things need to be in place, along with your strategy which we will consider next.
There’s something called a (Google) map pack, which is the top-ranking position on the SERP for a local search query. The map pack is where businesses are itemized along with their profiles (locations, contact details) on a map. They are usually identified with place marker icons. Over the years, the Google map pack has become a determining factor in how customers make purchase decisions (what to buy, and where to buy them from) online.
The map pack is just one aspect of local organic search listings, with the other being algorithms that rank the results themselves. Local SEO allows you to appear in both the map pack and the organic results on the SERP too.
You just need to know what to focus on to achieve this.
Google has never really indicated what exact factors improve visibility on search engines, but certain ones fit the bill.
For instance, focusing on factors that are based on location is a great place to start. Listing your business on Google My Business, for one, definitely ‘puts you on the map’. Having reviews from local customers also puts your business in view, in a manner that is similar to word-of-mouth referrals.
You should also pay attention to SEO tools designed for local searches. These are essential for:
Now that we’ve covered ranking factors that could help improve your local visibility, let’s focus on local SEO content. We’ll discuss how to create a winning local SEO content strategy.
Search engines look at different aspects such as website performance, content quality and relevance, as well as websites that link back to your business.
A major aspect of a successful SEO is your content. It can help you rank high in the search queries and attract much more traffic.
Here are actionable steps to take in creating your winning content strategy:
One of the first things you’ll want to do is to make your content relevant for a specific locale. This ensures that whatever content you put out attracts your target audience. After all, someone searching for flower shops in Wisconsin won’t care about flower shops in Florida.
Your first step would be to identify who your target audience is, and what they want. You should ask questions like “what are the top products and services customers are looking for?” and “what questions are they asking about these products and services?”.
Providing answers to these questions is the most effective way to optimize your content.
How do you get these questions? The ‘People Also Ask’ section on a Google SERP is a great way to do so. On no account should you rely on your predictions or assumptions, or else you’d be creating content that just misses the mark by a long shot. Rather, you could also use a search engine (most people use Google, but Bing also qualifies) with terms specific to your location. These are much better approaches.
The questions asked by people make great foundations for new, localized web content. Ensure that your answers in the content pieces use the same words/ terms as what was asked at least once. This makes sure your content is recognized as a relevant result to that query.
No winning strategy is complete without keyword research. They are the solution to SERP ranking equations, and if implemented properly can see you tower above your competition.
With keyword research, you aim to identify specific keywords that you can use to optimize your web pages. Some great tools to help with keyword research are SEMRush and Ahrefs.
But to start with, you need to have an idea of what topics are trending; something that is made easier when you use tools like Google Trends.
You can use Google Trends in search analysis, as the tool provides data on popular topics. It shows you the search volumes for topics and uses graphical representations to examine how popular interests rank in each location over time. To process the data easier, you can rely on Google Trends API for your business.
With these tools, you now have a handful of keywords that are related to your business. You can then use as many of them in your content to boost its relevance. Just be sure to avoid keyword stuffing, which is you cramming keywords into the content. Let the keywords appear naturally in your web content. Otherwise, you could have a counter-effect.
Take note of the popular words and phrases in your specific location. These terms can give you better insight into what the people in your location are interested in. Beyond looking at it from a content standpoint, it’s a great way to grow your business and make it more profitable.
You could also purchase a keywords database, complete with up-to-date data on cost-per-click, competition, and search volumes.
A better approach would be to provide value in some form without actually marketing to audiences. A blog can help you achieve this. On the blog, you can share relevant content that is related to what your business is offering, and this is what will attract traffic to you. With their attention gained, you can then work on converting them into paying customers.
A perfect example of this would be a Thai restaurant in New York creating a blog on “The Best Thai Restaurants in New York”. This blog would tell readers about the best places to get Thai food in New York, and also help draw attention to the restaurant itself.
Creating the content isn’t all that there is to it. You have to set up content management to ensure your blog remains relevant and valuable.
One of the things you need to manage is the frequency and consistency of your posts. You could start with at least one article weekly, prompting Google’s algorithms to recognize your blog more regularly. The more your posts are regular, the more likely your blog will rank. Consistency is key, after all.
The most important thing to remember is that your priority is your audience. Your responsibility to them is to create value through your content, and that should be your priority.
Managing content doesn’t end when you publish on your blog or website. You must create relationships with other businesses or stakeholders in your chosen industry. A crucial ranking factor for Google, especially for local businesses, is how much others talk about them.
If your business or content is mentioned regularly in conversations and shared within your industry, it tells Google’s algorithm you are valuable and worth looking at. While you may have considered all other businesses as competitors, it’s time to look at them differently. They are an opportunity to boost your rankings on search engines.
But that’s not all you can get from cross-promoting. It also gets you in front of more customers, because you now have more hands pushing out your content and your business, the same way you are doing for theirs.
You can also submit guest posts to other bloggers in your locale. When your guest posts are published, it is a great way to draw traffic from these bloggers’ audiences and gain them as new targets. Look out for local bloggers that share similar interests with your business or operate in the same niche as you.
Finally, you shouldn’t limit the platforms you use. That said, never neglect social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the usual platforms, but if you’re creative enough for other forms of content, you should take a look at TikTok as well.
The reason social media is important in creating a winning local SEO content strategy is that it’s an avenue to connect with more people. Sure, social media connects people all over the world, but it is more likely to connect people who are within the same location. So, why not leverage this and apply social media to your business’s advantage?
When you have a local audience on social media, remember to always engage them. There are lots of other accounts - business and individual - to keep up with, and community engagement is a great way to keep you at the top of that list. Besides, you can also consider sponsored ads on these platforms to reach even more people. Ads on Facebook and Instagram, for instance, let you pick a target audience for these ads, and you can set your preference to your location. These ad placements are also cost-friendly.
Here are some local SEO tips for social media:
SEO is a fantastic way to generate organic traffic and grow your business. With these tips, you’re on your way to creating a content strategy that brings great results for your business locally. With great content comes great traffic; with great traffic comes great sales.
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