Remember the early days of the Internet, when you’d do a Google search and click on a page that sounded promising, but really had nothing to do with your search? What it did have was your search word inserted within every other sentence. It was frustrating, a real time-waster, and fortunately, the algorithms have banished that type of gamesmanship to the very last pages of the millions of search results that are found. That type of improvement means that in order to attract local visitors, you need to be on top of your game when it comes to your content. Attempts to game the system by substituting in your town’s name simply won’t work – locals can tell when you’re faking it, and they’ll move on to what they see as a better fit.
- Mastering local content isn’t hard, you just need to know what to do. In this article, we’ll provide some of our most valuable tips, including:
- Mixing it up when it comes to the content you provide. There’s no need to stick to a blog when you can attract just as much (or more) attention by posting videos, photos, events, and reviews of local interest.
- Make good use of available tools to make sure you know your audience.
- Monitor the response that you’re getting out of your efforts to make sure that you know what’s working – and what isn’t.
- Establish benchmarks and guidelines that are appropriate for your specific business and marketing goals.
- Include highly specific, recognizable and useful local content.
- Create a reasonable, doable schedule for your content, and stick to it.
Item #1 – Mix Up What You’re Posting
Think about the different ways that you tell people who you are as you go about your daily life. It’s not just the way you talk … it’s the clothes you wear, your chosen mode of transportation, the hobbies you choose and the way you spend your free time. Your story is more than your words, and the same should be true of the content you provide on your site. That means you don’t want to limit yourself to writing paragraph after paragraph of blog posts – you want to use videos, images, charts, and email. Generate a newsletter, create events and publish announcements about them. The more interesting and varied your content, the more comprehensive and accurate the story you tell – plus, you’ll generate a lot more interest, and your audience is likely to be much broader and much more engaged.
Item #2 – The Tools for Understanding Your Audience Are Out There – Make Sure You Use Them
- Your business does not exist in a vacuum, so your local content strategy shouldn’t either. The more you know about who your clients are, the more targeted your content creation can be and the more people you can attract – and hold on to. Here are some of the best tools for assessing and pursuing your specific audience:
- Facebook Insights – To use this invaluable tool, all you need to know is a few common interests that your typical customer has. You may know this intuitively, or you may want to ask people to fill out a quick questionnaire to find out where their interests lie – whatever route you go, by plugging it into Facebook Insights you are able to pull out, even more, information to help you understand their interests, their likes and their dislikes, as well as where they are located – providing you with a target area for future growth.
- Neilson Prizm – This tool allows you to plug in a specific zip code, then delivers demographic information including median age and income, how much the average household spends and more. You can also search to find out which zip codes match your desired demographic to find ideal markets for your services or product.
- Google Keyword Planner – Not only is this a great tool for use in composing content, but you can also use it to learn more about what your audience is searching. Use it the same way that you do Facebook Insight, plugging in the interest words that you already gathered to learn what other words the group is searching – and how frequently.
Item #3 – Make Sure That What You’re Doing is Working
- Just as there are tools to help you pinpoint who your audience is, where they’re located and what they’re looking for, others exist to help you make sure that your local content is doing the job you want it to. Start by making sure that your content isn’t filled with errors, poor coding and duplication by running it through tools like ScramingFrog and Siteliner, then move forward to get greater insights by using some of these:
- BuzzSumo – This helpful site allows you to check out the pages on your site to see what links connections are coming from, as well as social data about the impact of your pages. It helps you see which of your pages are generating more buzz, and why, as well as similar information about your competition.
- urlProfiler – This simple tool is particularly helpful for large sites, pulling data about shares, page authority, number of links and word count (among other things) quickly, without investing hours of research.
Item #4 – Understand and Establish What You’re Trying to Achieve
When you started your business, did you begin with a plan? Did you have a mission and goals? The same careful process you followed when you first initiated your project should be followed when creating local content. Put together rules and guidelines for what you want to say and how you want to say it. Having a roadmap helps make sure you don’t get lost.
Item #5 – Take Time with Your Local Pages and Make Sure That They’re Relevant and Engaging
Creating local content is much more than putting words on a page. To make sure that you’re appealing to a local demographic, use local photos and information. The less generic and more specific what’s on your page is, the more the local people visiting will find it relevant, authoritative, and worthy of their consideration. More importantly, the more helpful local information you include (think weather, directions, events, and reviews), the more people are likely to value your online presence – and keep coming back for more.
#5 – Establish A Regimen and Stick to It
If you want to make sure that your content calendar is of high quality and stays that way, you start with a commitment. The level of commitment should be reasonable and doable – don’t bite off more than you can chew based on the size and scope of your company and the limitations of time and responsibility. But once you’ve made that commitment, create a content calendar and take it seriously, scheduling the most important pieces first and then adding in weekly projects and deliverables assigned to specific individuals. Some projects will be repetitive and some will be novel, and all assignments should be based on availability and strengths. Most importantly, once you’ve created your content and established your rhythm, make sure that you make sure that it’s working. Measure your efforts against traffic data so that you understand what you need to do more of, or do better with.