If you own a local business, you want to dominate the local search results of your niche. But how do you write content that’ll pop up in those local search results? On what aspects should you focus? In this post, I’ll give tips you can use in order to set up your very own local SEO content strategy.
Local SEO is for local businesses
When you’re aiming to rank for local search results, you want people in a specific neighborhood, village or town to find and visit your website. In most cases, your goal is not to sell directly through your website. Instead, your website probably invites people to come to your store, to your practice or to hire you for your skills. Websites focusing on a local audience are different from those focusing on a national or global audience. In most cases, when visitors are interested in your services, you’ll have a face-to-face interaction with them. Your competitors are the other local entrepreneurs in your specific niche. Perhaps you actually know your competitors.
Which local queries do your audience use when searching for your type of business? You should get inside the heads of your audience and figure out what they’re searching for. For most local search queries, people will actually use the name of the town or village when searching for something. For instance, they’ll type in [hairdresser Amsterdam] or [therapist New Hampshire]. But even if people do not use a local term in their search query, Google will probably recognize their query as a local search intent. Searching for [dentist] in my hometown Wijchen will give me similar (but not identical) results as searching for [dentist Wijchen]. Google will give search results based on your location, if they recognize a query as a local search intent. This also counts for near me searches.
Keyword research can be hard. But since you, as a local entrepreneur, regularly meet with your audience, you have a big advantage. Ask them about their search behavior! Ask your favorite customers what they were searching for when they first visited your website. Or what they would be searching for if they’d be looking for your type of business. That’s valuable information. Don’t stop there, though! Think about other search terms as well (as you might be missing out on an audience).
Write ‘local’ headlines
Make sure that the snippet of your web page that Google shows in the search results is optimized for local SEO. You want to do that because Google will know you’re focusing on a local audience, but you also want to do that because your audience will recognize you as a local business.
Your audience is searching for that hairdresser nearby, the bakery around the corner, or that carpenter that’ll come to their house. They’ll click on those results that indicate that they are situated in their proximity. That’s important for local search. Make sure your snippet is clear about where your business is. Make sure the title of your posts and pages is clear about that. Use the Yoast SEO snippet preview to see what your snippet will (probably) look like in the search results.
Make an awesome first impression
Once you’ve convinced people to click on your snippet in the search results, you should convince them to stay on your website (and to not click away). A high bounce rate will eventually result in lower rankings, so you want to make an awesome first impression. When you’re a therapist, a doctor, a hairdresser or a carpenter, you basically have to sell yourself. People want to know who they are dealing with. A good picture is key in making a strong first impression. Your website should reflect your business. If you have a practice or a physical shop, make sure to publish some high quality optimized photos of your business – and perhaps your employees – on your website. Videos are also a great way to present your business to the audience.
Write about your business!
To rank in the local search results, you want to write content related to your local business. A blog is a great content strategy, also for local SEO. Write about what you know! If you’re a carpenter, you should write about your projects. If you’re a dentist, you should write about the most common problems concerning teeth. If you’re a florist, write about your beautiful bouquets! Write about your customers too! If people are exceptionally satisfied, they should surely be able to leave a review on your website. But perhaps their story could also be told in a blog post. Writing about local events is also a great content strategy for local SEO.
In any local SEO content strategy, you should make sure that your blog posts relate to your local community. And of course, optimize your post for the keywords you came up with in your keyword research.
Facebook should definitely be part of your local SEO content strategy. People connect with others from all over the world but are most prone to connect with people in close proximity. We interact most with people we also see in real life. If you have a local business, you can benefit from this.
Make sure to keep your local audience informed with lots of Facebook posts. If you can write about your customers (of course check with them first!) that’ll increase chances your audience will share and engage with your posts.
Advertising on Facebook could also be truly profitable. You can narrow down your advertisements to a specific (local) audience. That could be a great method, as costs for local advertisements on Facebook aren’t very high.
And: the Yoast Local SEO plugin
Last, but not least: the Yoast Local SEO plugin makes implementing your SEO strategy easier. The local SEO plugin covers all kinds of technical things, like schema.org for local business, you need to be doing in order to rank in the local search results. On top of that, it will help you set up excellent local landing pages, and will allow you to add functionalities you’ll need as a local business, like a store locator, to your website.