Local SEO Content Marketing Tips

Imagine for a moment that you’re in a new town, and you really want to grab a quality bite to eat. You have a penchant for Thai food and BYOBs, so you whip out your phone, open your browser and type just that – “Thai food and BYOB”.

Luckily for you, local search results pop up giving you a quick list of restaurants that fit your requirements within a 10-block radius, including their hours of business, menu, some photos, and thankfully, some helpful reviews.

Local SEO ServiceIn some way, shape, or form, that scenario happens hundreds of times a day in cities across the United States. In fact, 60% of smartphone users are using their devices to find information about local products and services and 50% of those users will go to that store and make a purchase.

The moral of the story? Local search, known as local SEO, is a necessity for brick-and-mortar businesses.

Like any search result, local search is directly tied to relevance. However, a successful local SEO campaign includes a few additional considerations, among them it’s relationship to your content marketing strategy.

To explore that relationship, let’s break local SEO content marketing services into three fundamental, relevance-driven parts: Accurate and complete info, concise and descriptive keywords, and local relationships.

Accurate and Complete Info

First, for obvious reasons, is the need for accurate and complete information. If SEO success hinges on relevance, and local SEO is hinges on finding relevant results in a specific location, then it makes sense that if you want to build a successful local SEO campaign, you’ll need to include things like your company name, the address, and the phone number – a trio that has been dubbed NAP.

When a user engages in a geo-targeted search, a company’s NAP is what signals relevance. Make sure yours is accurate across the board, including on your Google My Business account (you need one), company URL, and any social media accounts you have linked to your business. The more times your accurate and complete NAP shows up across the internet, the more credible your listing become.

Of course, if you’ve participated in a local search, you know that your decision comes down to a lot more than a name, address, and phone number. Companies that maintain a competitive ranking in local search results also include their URL, menu (if relevant), photos, and customer reviews.

Concise and Descriptive Keywords

Let’s skip back to our imaginary dinner search from earlier. Now you’re standing in front of your hotel (you’re on a business trip) and you need to know if you head left or right in search of your next great meal. You search for “Thai food with BYOB”, and see a few results to your left. They’re all 3 stars or less (yikes), but you don’t really see any other option. So, against your best judgment, you decide to test your gastronomical fate and head left to pursue one of the local search results.

Unfortunately, what you didn’t know was that there is a 5-star Thai restaurant one block down to right. You didn’t know because the restaurant recently set up their Google My Business Account, but only included words like “dining” and “wine selection” in their information. Additionally, their website only includes a general, non-descript menu with little to know content (a place where they could have included descriptive keywords like the town or section of town they service, their famous Thai food accolades, and the fact that they’re one of the best BYOBs in the area.

I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say the end of this imaginary scenario leaves you wishing you turned right. Sorry.

Keywords are CRUCIAL to a successful content marketing strategy, specifically when you want to increase traffic (digital and physical) to your business. A page title, a few sentences in your information section, or a blog post may not seem like the be-all-end-all of your local search efforts, but I’m here to say they very well could be and often are. Concise and descriptive keywords will have an inescapable impact on where you rank for relevant searches.

Local Partnerships

Accurate and complete information and concise and descriptive keywords are necessities, but as is often the case with necessities, everyone is using them. What if there are 17 businesses that do exactly what you do all within 20 blocks. Assuming you have similar reviews, how do you get ahead? How does your business become numero uno?

A fastidious content marketing strategy and solid local partnerships. That’s how.

Before we move on, I want to say that I’m using the term “partnerships” loosely. In some cases, this partnership will be fairly one-sided; in other cases, you’ll need to actually work at it.

Local SEO Content MarketingLet’s go with the easy, one-sided partnerships first. These partnerships consist of online directories like Yelp!, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List, Auto Trader, Open Table, YP etc. Directories may not offer plenty of space to build your robust content, but they do serve a purpose.

Remember NAP? When Google ranks your business, and in doing so determines relevance and credibility, it takes into account the number of citations, or references.

Every time your NAP appears on a website, including all those online directories, Google sees it as being more authentic and more useful to users.   It doesn’t take much time to obtain and control citations, so the payoff for local search can be pretty handsome if you do a little bit log leg work.

Those online directories also can be a great source of user-created content. So keep that in mind as well.

I started with the easy part, so you probably know what’s come next – the hard part. I know, I know, but really, all good things in life require a challenge. Right?

If you really want to take your local search efforts to the next level, start working with local organizations, publications, or bloggers who can either create or post your relevant content. There are a few ways to go about this, but here some ideas to get you started:

  • Work with a local blogger by offering a product or service in exchange for a guest post.
  • Invite local publications or community figures to attend events or openings.
  • Find and contact local complementary merchants to partner with (i.e., if you’re a BYOB, maybe your local wine retailer would be a great, mutually beneficial partner).

For brick-and-mortar stores, local SEO traffic easily and frequently turns into actual foot traffic and ultimately sales. Having accurate information and concise and descriptive keywords is essential to any local SEO effort, so make sure you take the time to cultivate and maintain it. However, what sets you apart is the way you build your local SEO content marketing plan. Create quality, locally-focused content, and while you’re at it, strike up some meaningful partnerships.