Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the driving power of digital marketing today. Without SEO, there would be no inbound marketing because there would be no search engines to direct your content to the users. Search engines are like old-school phone operators. Users ask to be connected to the content they want and search engines do their best to make the connection. Only instead of one phone line, you get to choose from dozens of different websites that might be what you're looking for.
What Determines Good SEO
This is done through a two-prong assessment of result candidates. The first is keyword matching or "relevancy". Words on the web page, particularly in the headers, must match the words used in the search. The second assessment is site prominence. Websites with more traffic, conversions, activity, and networked linking will show up higher in the results. This means that for your business website to show up at the top of the search results for, say, "Tile roof installation", you'll want to have a lot of pages that mention tile roof installation and a competitive amount of daily traffic on your website.
The Goals of Local SEO
For local businesses, SEO becomes a more complex challenge. While global, e-commerce and remote service businesses can all seek a nearly infinite audience and create conversions from anywhere, your goal is different. Local businesses are looking to either bring customers through their door or earn local clients who will require services throughout the year. Not only are you looking for local customers, but your target audience is searching for local businesses.
What this results in are searches that include neighborhood names or searches that rely on the search engine's ability to sort businesses by location and distance. Therefore, the goal of "Local SEO" or SEO practices to boost local business is to associate your business and website with every region, neighborhood, and nearby city you consider your service radius. You want to mention your localities as many times as is reasonably possible. But if you're not already an SEO-pro, actually doing this right can be a lot harder than it sounds.
Organic SEO vs Keyword-Stuffing
The problem with implementing local SEO is that it requires more than just understanding the goals to achieve the effect you're going for. Take a look around the internet for blog articles aimed at localities near you and time and time again what you will find is not good organic SEO, but keyword stuffing. Businesses want to write about their industry and their region, but somehow the concepts never quite meld.
The Location Keyword-Stuffing Fallacy
Instead, we see examples like "5 Reasons to Inspect Your Roof in Minneapolis" or "10 Denver Carpet Cleaning Tips". The place doesn't have anything to do with the article and the tips or points could have been for any customers in the country, if not the world. Yet still, the location keyword will be jammed into the content at almost random and jarring moments just to get it in there. This, friends is keyword-stuffing at it's finest.
Organic Local SEO
It's true, fitting your closest city and a dozen different neighborhood names into blog posts about plumbing or furniture can be a little awkward, especially if your company policy is not to stay away from any kind of overt self-promotion. The keys to organic local SEO are to diversify, think creatively, and actually become a part of your community instead of simply referencing it. Organic SEO occurs when all the keywords naturally come together in the process of creating engaging, relevant information your target audience enjoys.
Write About the Community
The first piece of advice we can give you is to branch out. You don't have to write only about industry topics in order to bring in interested readers and create conversions. Remember that your audience isn't a faceless internet mass, they are your neighbors and everyday customers who happen to also be online.
To start building a strong and diverse collection of content that mentions local communities, why not just write about the community? Be proud of your local school teams, support youth groups, and get involved with the annual festivals then write about your business's involvement. Simply having more pages that mention local communities will boost your local SEO.
Give Your Expert Perspective on Local Events
Most local businesses that make the keyword-stuffing mistake are simply looking at the topic combination idea from the wrong angle. Rather than trying to bring the location to your industry pieces, bring your industry to the locations. Write about local events from an industry expert's point of view. Write about how much electricity it takes to run the local carnival or how to manage the finances of a regular farmer's market stall. Whatever is going on in your community or that your target audience cares about happening nearby, write a professional perspective piece. It might even be one of a kind.
Connect With Other Local Businesses
Local businesses have an SEO secret weapon that is not available to global and digital brands: each other. Because you share a region and customer base, you and other businesses nearby that are in no way your competition can act as allies, working together to build SEO by talking about each other and any brief collaborative efforts. If, for instance, your fencing business partnered with a landscaping business to create a beautiful new public park, both companies can write an article about the collaborative effort, link to each other's sites for link-SEO, and talk about the community benefits for inbound marketing.
Spotlight Work or Customers in Each Neighborhood
Finally, even if you're averse to promoting your own services in the blog, there's nothing stopping you from doing something nice for your customers and getting a little local SEO back in return. If you have a customer who has been with you since the beginning or clients who are going through something special, consider doing a spotlight testimonial article or featured video interview. Just don't forget to mention the neighborhood or region they are from and their compelling story will take care of the rest.
Local SEO isn't about mentioning your locations, it's about being a part of your community. The Google and other search engine algorithms reward websites and companies that are more than single-mindedly promoting. Connecting with local businesses and writing genuine articles about the community is the best way to build organic local SEO. For more local business marketing tips, contact us today!