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Local Business Content: Beyond Google+ Local!

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You probably already know how important local SEO is if you run a business that serves your local area. You probably already have your Google+ page set up, your YELP claimed and optimized, and other local review listings linked in.

If you’re smart, you have a mobile site and are making use of mobile marketing and social media, too.

But what you might not have realized is how important it is to make your content local. That includes content on your own site as well as content you market elsewhere.

The more local you can carve into each page on your site, the better chance you have of getting more of those pages to show up in local search results. But how do you do that? How can you create new localized pages and tweak current pages that scream “Look at me!”?

Localizing Your Existing Content

There are lots of ways you can add a local flair to your already-published content. Many business owners aren’t aware of all the things you can do to make your pages more locally relevant. So there’s a good chance you have some pages or blog posts sitting around that can be tweaked.

Titles and Descriptions

The first things to look at are your titles and meta descriptions. Are they narrowly local to your area? If not, then you need to change them so that they are.

Example: If you have a page for Kansas City Events in 2013, you want that to be specifically portrayed. You don’t want a title like “Local Events in 2013.” You want it to say specifically: “Kansas City Events in 2013.”

Meta descriptions may not be a ranking factor the way they once were, but more often than not they are what’s seen on the search results page. The terms you use will show up as bold text in the title and as the description on the search results page if they match the words that someone was searching for.

Make search result listing bold your keywords

Google Authorship

Do you have a dedicated blog writer? Possibly several people who contribute to your blog? If so, ask them to set up their Google+ profile and start taking advantage of Google Authorship.

If you don’t know what that is, you can read more about it here. It’s a good practice to get into anyway, but there are possibly even more advantages for your local business.

As your writer engages and communicates with others in the area, those local people are likely to notice that your writer contributes to your blog and they’ll check it out. These are local people who could become new customers.

In any case, this can help draw attention to your blog posts, as explained in the link above.

Tweaking Images for Local Attention

Optimizing your images is something you should be doing as well. That goes for every website, but it can work wonders for local businesses.

Next time you’re at an event or out on a job, take photos. Use them in your blog posts. Before you upload them to your site, make sure that the filename, description, and ALT tags mention your local area.

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Using Google Maps can be tremendously helpful for your local site. But most businesses don’t realize just how much you can do with them. Do you offer a service of some kind?

Let’s say that you specialize in kitchen remodeling, okay? Now that you know you should be taking photos on every job, you should have lots of photos of your work to show. This is where it gets good! (I do have to mention that this does cost a bit of money, but you’ll see why it’s so worth it.)

You can use a map of your local area to highlight jobs you’ve done. Each one gets its own placement on the map. Each one will have a thumbnail of the photo for that job and a link to a post or page that goes into more depth about it.

So essentially, you’re creating localized pages for each job, which gives you that many more pages of localized content on autopilot. Each map icon of each job also gets indexed as a page in Google!

The posts that are created for each icon are done so in GEO-Tagged microdata format, which Google, Bing, and Yahoo! all love. So how’s all this possible? It’s done with a WP plugin. (Sorry, you’re kinda outta luck if you aren’t on WordPress). It’s called WP Map Folio.

WP Map Folio for local businesses

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Creating New Local Content

Once you have all your pages localized, you don’t have to stop there. Google loves a site that publishes fresh content often. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas to create localized content, then here are a few to get you started.

Follow Local Social Media

Most news channels, newspapers, radio stations, etc., have some sort of social media presence. Many are on Twitter, some are on Facebook, and some are active on other sites.

Find a few of the leading news sources in your local area and follow them on whatever social platform(s) they’re using. Watch for news that your customers might find helpful or news that you can tie into your business somehow.

Don’t forget to follow any active local bloggers that might live in your area, too. You can follow them on social sites or by subscribing to their RSS feeds.

Follow Your Competitors

This might sound a little odd at first. But it’s something you should be doing anyway. For content ideas, the purpose of following your competitors is mainly to see what they’re talking about.

See what sources, if any, they mention (and you’ve just found out how they come up with their ideas!). See which topics result in the most response from their customers and you’ll quickly start to understand what type of content (blog posts, videos, infographics) and what subjects your customers would most likely be interested in.

[message_box title=”Attention! Bonus Tip” color=”red”]If there’s someone or an organization you want to follow, but you can’t find an RSS feed or a social account to follow — don’t worry. Simply set up Google Alerts to notify you when they’re mentioned.

If you need it, here’s a helpful guide to using Google Alerts.[/message_box]

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways you can help search engines (and people) come to regard your site as relevant to the local area.

Actually, these tips are just that … tips. This is certainly not a complete guide at all, and there are many variable factors that depend on the type of business you run. But it’s enough to get you started.

If you’d like more help or would appreciate a customized local content strategy, then please contact us and we’d be happy to help.

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Veronica

Veronica has been writing online since 2007. She enjoys helping clients with copywriting and content needs, as well helping with SEO campaigns. Her experience ranges from helping small websites succeed with SEO and internet marketing campaigns to writing for Planet Green (Discovery Channel).

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