What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising online presence to increase ranking, visibility, and brand awareness for local searches on Google and other search engines.
Why is content important for local searches?
There are many reasons why content is vital for local SEO. While content is crucial for all kinds of businesses, it can also help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) compete with the big dogs – when executed correctly.
Avoid getting lost amongst the competition – content can help local customers find your business. Knowing what kind of compelling content to create and how to execute it makes a massive difference in amplifying your small business’s voice online.
Three reasons why content is king
1. Provides relevant results
Accurate content helps fulfil search intent by reaching audiences across all stages of the buyer’s journey.
The five types of search intent are:
- Informational: What is this? Example: What is a calming dog bed?
- Navigational: Take me to this website. Example: Petbarn login
- Commercial investigation (compare products and services): Which is better, X or Y? Example: What’s the difference between a regular and calming dog bed?
- Local queries (geographically): Where can I find them? Example: calming dog bed Sydney CBD
- Transactional: Take my money. Example: buy a dog bed online in Australia
2. Helps website indexing
Website indexing is the process of registering a webpage’s content to be considered for rankings. It’s almost like submitting an application for an award – where the award is the number one search result on Google.
3. Provides clear call-to-action (CTA)
A clear and compelling CTA is instrumental for local SEO.
Well-optimised CTAs can:
- Improve user experience (UX): faster page load times help increase conversions. The sweet spot is anything under 2 seconds for optimal results.
- Drive click-through rates (CTR): despite the CTR crisis, we discovered that lower-ranking positions (6-10) on desktops are increasing. This is crucial for underdog websites (like your SME) to climb the Google ranks.
- Maximise conversions: CTAs guide users along the buyer’s journey, helping convert them from visitors to customers.
Tips for creating winning local SEO content in 2023
Understanding the customer journey and marketing funnel can help source local SEO opportunities.
By producing content tailored for a specific local audience, you can guide them further down the funnel and increase your chances of conversion.
Let’s identify some examples of content types according to where they sit in the marketing funnel.
Top of the funnel
Awareness: thought leadership pieces, infographics, intro blog posts.
Middle of the funnel
Consideration: FAQs, whitepapers, templates, interviews, and comparisons.
Bottom of the funnel
Conversion: products, service pages, case studies, testimonials.
Crucial content for local SEO:
Content spans all corners of your local SEO strategy. So, what kind of content should you create to attract local customers? Let’s dive deep into the good stuff.
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
Considering Google’s ever-increasing focus on search intent, it’s unsurprising that Google Business Profiles (GBPs) have become a highly effective starting point for putting your business on the map. Not only is it free to use, but research shows that almost half of local businesses receive over a thousand views on their GBP listing.
Make sure to update your details if they change to maintain relevancy, like opening hours and contact information.
Featuring local elements in your video content not only with your audience but with Google, too. By aligning video content with local search intent, you can attract a more targeted audience and improve your local SEO efforts.
Plus, video content is exceptionally versatile and could even help you reach a wider audience.
Edit footage into shorter clips so it can be:
- Embedded on your website
- Shared across social media
- Featured in blog posts
- Uploaded to your Google Business Profile
Don’t forget to highlight your location and primary keywords in the video title and description to help climb the SERP ranks.
Hey Google, where’s the best puppy school around here?
Vocalised internet searches differ in many ways compared to search bar queries. People use longer sentences and more colloquial phrases. We reckon this presents more opportunities for your local SEO.
According to the folks at BrightLocal, their stats discovered that 75% of people who own smart speakers use integrated voice assistants to search for local businesses weekly.
Crank up the volume on your local content with the following tips:
- Target long-tail keywords and geo modifiers to match specific user intent.
- Optimise for Featured Snippets and People Also Ask sections by succinctly answering question keywords.
- Use conversational language while remaining authoritative.
- Maintain an up-to-date Google Business Profile because most voice search results are pulled from GBPs.
Schema markup is a type of structured data. Think of it as the good bacteria of your website’s gut. It is not visible to the human eye but is effective in promoting healthy interactions. Embedded into your site’s code, schema markup informs indexing bots what your content is about.
Here are some recommended schemas for local SEO:
- Opening hours
- Price range
- Contact us
- About us
- Speakable schema for voice search
Spread that you’re the best in the business by encouraging customers to leave a review. Positive reviews aren’t just an ego boost; they also help improve your local ranking.
Benefits of reviews:
- Strength in numbers: The more (positive) reviews, the better, as they provide Google with more content to crawl. Encourage existing customers to leave a review and try to make the process as fast and easy as possible. For example, email recent customers with a direct link to your GBP review section.
- Count your lucky stars: A 4.5 rating is the sweet spot as 5-star ratings might be construed as fake news. Aim to maintain a rating above four stars, as Google will filter out anything lower and not appear in the “best dog groomers near me” results.
- Avoid old news: Customers and Google appreciate recent reviews. An active profile reassures audiences that your business is healthy and thriving.
- Case studies and video testimonials are great for bolstering service and product pages, reassuring customers with unique, quality content about unique selling points, why you’re qualified to offer these USPs and how you do it better than your competitors.
- Respond to reviews so Google understands that you endeavour to engage with your customers to provide exceptional customer service.
Mobile First Strategy
Local searches are predominantly performed on mobile, meaning you should ensure that your site is optimised accordingly.
Picture this. You’re famished after an intense fetch session with your golden retriever at the local dog park and need sustenance. Not all cafes love your furry friend as much as you do. When you search “dog-friendly café near me open now”, you want to be able to choose from a list of results that cater to you and your pooch’s needs.
Make it easier for customers to find you from an impromptu search by ensuring your site is optimised for mobile. When considering rankings, Google rewards websites for their responsive designs, so it’s worth considering how you can make your site more user-friendly.
The better your website’s performance, the more you’ll appear in search results for local queries like “near me”.
Here are some ways in which to improve UX on mobile:
- Faster load times
- Concise content
- Mobile schemas
Written byBrid Flynn