Marketing for a local business is a complex balance between internet visibility and a tight focus on local markets. At one time, you need to show up at the top of the most relevant searches from potential customers while not wasting your clicks on people too far away to become customers. This challenge leads every local business market to the quest for Local SEO.
This is the art of tying your SEO keywords to the names of your city and region. Why compete for your best keywords in worldwide or even state-wide searches when your business really only has customers across a dozen local neighborhoods? Effective local SEO can streamline your marketing efforts and make it far more practical to tightly focus your campaigns on gaining the attention and favor of people close enough to be your neighbors.
Local SEO is Harder Than It Looks
The problem is that it’s surprisingly challenging to do local SEO correctly. The concept alone sounds very simple. All you need to do is associate your keywords in sequence and in variable close proximity to the names of your city, region, and neighborhoods you serve. However, doing this in a way that doesn’t look completely awkward and unnatural is a rare treat in the many examples of local SEO on the internet.
All too often, brands simply decide that the best way to generate their marketing content is to simply stick the targeted local names into otherwise generic inbound marketing work. Simple industry how-to and best-practices articles become articles like “How to Hang a Door in Tulsa”. And let’s face it, hanging a door in New York and hanging a door in Tulsa are exactly the same. These associations have no purpose and no added value for local readers. Usually, there is not even an additional tip related to the climate or local trends.
Good SEO isn’t about pairing two words together to appear on search engine results. It’s about writing content that is effectively targeted at your local region. This is more challenging, but it also makes your content a much more powerful marketing asset by adding value for the customer.
The Power of Organic SEO
What most examples of local SEO are missing is an organic origin. Organic SEO is when content naturally covers every desired keyword instead of working the keywords in after the fact. This is done in the same way you might hold a conversation that covers a few specific topics. Let’s say your target keywords were “AC maintenance” for obvious reasons. A creative organic SEO article might skip past the “5 Reasons Your AC Needs Maintenance” to a more value-adding and content-rich topic like “What is the Best AC Maintenance Schedule for Homeowners?”
Most marketing professionals have mastered at least the basics of organic SEO because it epitomizes how SEO should be: Focused on providing content that your target audience can really use. The most effective organic SEO naturally incorporates your keywords so they are said in multiple ways throughout the article and, at the same time, gives real informative reasons for readers to consider becoming customers. What most people seem to struggle with is how to add location relevance to this formula.
Organic Local SEO is About Being Local
What’s missing from all the basic local SEO attempts isn’t helpful tips or even an understanding of organic SEO. It’s the locality itself. One of your strongest appeals to local customers is the fact that your business is uniquely attuned to their needs and your content should reflect that. Simply because the proprietors themselves are local, it follows that choosing a local service will provide better and more finely-tuned service than if your local customers decided to try some distant online alternative.
This is what people think when they search for something like “prevent basement flooding” and see an article titled “How to Prevent Basement Flooding in Atlantic City”. They’re hoping for some in-depth, area-specific tips on how local basement experts prevent the exact kind of flooding they are dealing with. In this case, being a local would suggest that you are familiar with the weather, soil type, and common basement issues that the readers are dealing with.
However, if leads then see that your article is the exact same five tips repeated everywhere else on the internet with “Atlantic City” pasted in every third time “basement flooding” appears, this lowers their opinion that your company really has any local knowledge to offer them. Writing genuine organic local SEO is about thinking like a local and offering real local-relevant content.
Your Customer’s Pain Points
As with the flooding example, what local leads really want from nearby businesses is unique understanding. You are a local, and to write more effective local SEO, all you need to do is think like one. How does your every-day life, not as a marketer, interact with the industry you’re writing about? Plumbers in a district with hard water, for instance, can genuinely write about how frustrating home plumbing problems caused by mineral buildup can be, then offer some expert plumbing tips on how do cope like a true local and when its gone too far.
Customers will trust you with their problems if you show that, as a local, you already understand them. Offer ways for locals to solve problems that you know are regionally specific. One great example is local roofers writing about the consequences of the region’s stormy season. A few familiar references to what storms are like for locals adds that touch of color and connection that builds trust in your business.
Write About Local Events
Of course, if you really want a reason to mention your location several times throughout interesting and relevant content, just write about what’s going on in your community. As a local business, things like regional festivals, sports games, and community events are all immediately relevant to both you and your customers. Just covering the local summer fair is a great way to build SEO and support your community but, of course, it can always get better.
Consider ways to write an industry perspective on the local events going on in your community. A family restaurant marketing their locally sourced menu might write about the weekly farmer’s market and the community benefits to buying locally grown produce straight from the farmers who grew it nearby. This simultaneously writes about your community and your business while also promoting the value of something your business proudly offers.
That is why organic local SEO is so powerful. And all you need is to think creatively like the knowledgeable local you already are. For more local SEO advice and tips, contact us today!