Marieke van de Rakt
Marieke van de Rakt is the CEO of Yoast. Her main focus is on growing the company. She attaches great importance to maintaining an open and friendly corporate culture. Marieke is also heavily involved in the marketing of Yoast and with the Yoast SEO Academy, the online course platform.
When you own a local business, you want to dominate local search results for your niche. Nowadays, maybe that’s even more important. But how do you write content for your local business that shows up in search results? What aspects should you focus on? In this post, I’ll share tips that you can use to set up your very own local SEO content marketing strategy.
Local SEO is for local businesses
If your goal is to rank local search results, you want people in a specific neighborhood, village, or city to find and visit your website. In most cases, your goal is not to sell directly through your website. In general, your website is likely to help people find your business, practice, or hire you for your skills. Websites that target a local audience are different from those that target a national or global audience. When visitors are interested in your services, in most cases you will have a face-to-face interaction with them, be it through a video call, or a phone call. Your competitors are the other local business owners in your specific niche. You probably know your competitors.
What is local content marketing?
Content marketing means creating content (written, audible or visual) that catches the attention of potential customers, arouses their interest and shows them what your business is about. The goal is not to get people to click and then promote your business. Content marketing is about delivering content to people that they like or find helpful, so that they can get to know you and keep coming back.
Local business content marketing and local SEO work exactly the same way. As a local business, you may face different challenges than a larger company, but you are likely to have other advantages too! For example, a large company can spend a lot more resources on content and SEO. However, they probably don’t know their customers as well as you do as a local business. Customers can only be numbers on a screen for them! And their clients may also have no idea who is really doing the work behind this big corporate website. By leveraging your local knowledge, showing your personal approach and being visible, accessible and authentic, you can create great content for your local business.
What local searches will your target audience use when searching for your business type? You should get into the minds of your audience and find out what they are looking for. Most of the local searches actually involve people using the city or village name when searching for something. For example, they enter [plumber Amsterdam] or [therapist New Hampshire]. But even if people don’t use a local term in their search query, Google will likely recognize their search query as local search intent. Looking for [dentist] in my hometown Wijchen gives me similar (but not identical) results as the search [dentist Wijchen]. Google will return search results based on your location when a search query is identified as local search intent. This also applies to searches near me.
Keyword research can be difficult. But since you, as a local entrepreneur, are regularly speaking to your audience, you have a huge advantage. Ask them about their search behavior! Ask your favorite customers what they were looking for when they first visited your website. Or what they would be looking for if they were looking for your type of business. This is valuable information. But don’t stop here! Think of other search terms as well (as you may miss out on targeting an audience).
Read more: Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research »
Make ‘local’ headlines
Make sure the snippet of your website that Google shows in search results is optimized for local SEO. You want to do this because Google knows you are targeting a local audience, but you also want to because your audience will recognize you as a local business.
Your audience is looking for the plumber nearby, the bakery around the corner or the carpenter who comes to their home. They click the results that indicate they are near them. This is important for local searches. Make sure your snippet makes it clear where your business is. Make sure the title of your posts and pages is clear about it. Use Yoast SEO’s Google Preview to see how your snippet will (likely) look in search results.
Makes a great impression
Once you’ve convinced people to click your snippet in search results, the best thing to do is to convince them to stay on your site (and not click away). A high bounce rate ultimately leads to lower rankings, so you want to make a great first impression. As a therapist, doctor, hairdresser or carpenter you basically have to sell yourself. People want to know who they are dealing with!
As mentioned earlier, content marketing for local SEO can really benefit from your personal touch. One of the downsides of large corporate websites is that they can feel distant and impersonal. Even real pictures of your employees can end up looking like stock photos. And that means that you are just yourself and have a slight advantage!
A good picture is the key to a strong first impression. Your website should reflect your business. If you have a practice or physical store, make sure to post some high quality, optimized photos of your business – and maybe your employees – on your website. Videos are also a great way to showcase your business to the audience. In addition to great pictures or videos, you might also want to start writing!
Write a blog
To rank in local search results, you want to write content about your local business. A blog is a great content strategy and works just as well for local content marketing and SEO. Write what you know and what your target group might be interested in! If you’re a carpenter, write about your projects and how happy they made your customers. When you are a dentist, you should write about the most common dental problems. If you are a florist, write about your beautiful bouquets! Write about your customers too. Local testimonials are great, as are ratings and reviews. If people are exceptionally satisfied, they should certainly be able to leave a review on your website. But maybe her story could also be told in a blog post. Writing about local events is also a great content strategy for local SEO.
With any local SEO content strategy, you should make sure that your blog posts are related to your local community. And of course, optimize your post for the keywords you found in your keyword research.
Read On: How To Get Blog Post Ideas: 11 Tips To Find Inspiration »
Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram should definitely be part of your local SEO content strategy. People connect with others from around the world, but are most susceptible to connecting with people in close proximity. We interact most with people we see in real life. If you have a local business you can benefit from it.
Keep your local audience up to date with lots of Facebook posts and share your pictures and stories of your projects on Instagram. Being able to write about – or better yet, collaboratively – your clients increases the chances that your audience will share and interact with your posts. Advertising on Facebook could also be really profitable. You can easily limit your ads to a specific (local) target group. This could be a great method as the cost of local advertising on Facebook isn’t very high.
Whatever you post on Facebook, always make sure to preview your Facebook post first to see if it looks good. With Yoast SEO Premium this is super easy; You have a Facebook preview in your post in the WordPress admin!
Read On: Social Media For Small Businesses: 12 Tips For Your Local Marketing »
And: the Yoast Local SEO plugin
Last but not least: The Yoast Local SEO Plugin makes it easier to implement your SEO strategy. The local SEO plugin covers all kinds of technical stuff like Schema.org for local business that you need to do to rank in the local search results. Additionally, it helps you set up great local landing pages and allows you to add features to your website that you as a local business need, such as: B. a branch finder. When that’s done, you can really focus on improving your SEO by writing the best content for your local business!
Read On: The Ultimate Guide To SEO For Small Businesses »