Being on the Internet and hoping your site will be found is a losing proposition. If you're a local business you must have local SEO. And that means having great content.
[This post has been updated and revised from an original post published in December 2016]
A strategic mistake many small business owners tend to make is that having content doesn't matter. Not for them. This is especially true for many "brick-and-mortar" business owners. The thought is that for a local business with an actual store, shop or office, just simply having a great looking website and basic information is sufficient.
Not really. In fact, even if you're local, have great signage and great location, you are missing out on a wealth of prospective new customers if you are not being found online. And the sad truth is that, nowadays, with so many businesses pushing to be found and to be seen, without a robust local SEO strategy in play, you probably are not being found.
Even with your great looking website.
What Good Local SEO Can Do for Your Business
SEO, or search engine optimization, is simply employing various tactics on your site, and in other places on the web, to help your website show up higher in organic search results. This is what people get when they look for something on search engines such as Google. (especially Google!)
An organic search - in case you've forgotten or are unsure - is what happens when you type in some words or a question in the search box of your favorite search engine in order to find something. Or it could be a voice search as when you speak your request into your mobile phone. It's as simple as that. On your end, anyway.
What happens on the "other end" with the search engine, say Google, for example, is far more complicated. Just to keep it simple, suffice it to say that there are over 200 various factors that determine the final search results.
Let's say you're looking for a local dry cleaner. You might type in or say, "dry cleaner near me" or "local dry cleaners". The results you get - excluding the paid ads and "sponsored" results - are your organic search results. More than likely, if there are, say, five local dry cleaning shops near you, the one in the first position probably has the most effective SEO going on.
And this is what you would want to happen for your own business if someone local is searching for a business like yours. This means you need to have a good local SEO strategy that will improve the likelihood of your business ranking near the top of that first page of results.
Also, because you are a local business, being found by someone in Smackover, Arkansas probably isn't important. Unless your business happens to be near Smackover! (And, yes, there really is a Smackover.)
The truth about all those 200 or more factors that Google considers when compiling search results is that only a handful of them have the greatest impact on results. And of those few, content is one of the most critical.
What Good Content Strategy Can Do for Local SEO
An important fact that far too many small business owners are unaware of is that having quality, relevant and engaging content on your site in the form of blog posts, FAQs, videos, customer reviews or services pages is what will drive your SEO results.
And not just occasional blog posts or web page update now and then. A strategic content creation and publishing plan that is carried out with frequency and consistency.
"Content marketing without a strategy is nothing more than random acts of content publishing."
We have created this handy graphic to illustrate and highlight this for you:
Share this Image On Your Site
Making Content Work For You
One of the challenges most every business owner faces with local SEO is creating content.
Creating quality content, and creating it consistently and frequently is what's needed for a truly effective local SEO campaign. The problem is that most owners do not have either the time or the ability to produce that kind of content and on a regular basis.
They might knock out a monthly blog post or two, and maybe an updated web page now and again, but consistent and frequent content is usually more than most owners have time for. The result is that a significantly crucial component of their overall SEO strategy is lacking.
It has been shown that quality, relevant content does benefit businesses significantly with their search results. But the question becomes, "Should their content be produced in-house or outsourced?"
For example, companies like HubSpot consistently find that "best in class" websites have double the amount of content than that of lower ranking average sites. And a recent HubSpot survey noted that 72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic.
So it's no longer a question of "Should we?" but "How should we?"
A great starting strategy is to focus on producing two, or maybe three, types of content on a regular basis. This should include a business blog supplemented with videos, local news and events updates, regularly updated customer reviews, or even periodic guides or other types of downloadable materials.
Delegate this work to a capable employee, if possible, or hire someone to take on this role. Once you feel you can make the budget leap to outsourcing this work - along with planning, research and strategy - it will time to consider a good local firm.
You Can Get Help With Local SEO and Content Marketing
An solid local SEO strategy can effectively boost your your business. But achieving your marketing objectives using a content-based strategy does take time. It won't happen with a few blog posts or other great content. The reality of SEO is that people will typically see your content for a while before they contact you.
The good news is that you don't have to figure out alone. In fact, one of the best investments you can make with your marketing budget is to partner with a solid firm like Petaluma-based BroadVision Marketing. We are your local partner for your local marketing needs.
Click the link to get your free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session so you can make an informed decision, or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238. And check out our free Lead Generation eBook to get your started.