A lot of business owners, even the old fashioned ones, have surely heard about blogging and the potential advantages it can provide their business. However, some of them may not fully grasp the true nature of blogging and how it can positively impact a business website’s visibility and accessibility, especially when it comes to local searches.
If you are a local business owner, and you want to improve your website’s local search rankings, then you better read the rest of this article. Maybe it can shed some light on some of your questions, doubts, and reservations about blogging as an effective tool to improve SERP rankings. SERP, by the way, refers to “search engine result page,” in case you’re wondering.
Blogs are much more than just about content, or generating targeted content so your website can rank first on certain keyword searches. The benefits of a well written blog, with relevant content, to local businesses and their websites are quite remarkable, not to mention the significant impact it has on the search engine rankings.
Facts to Consider about Local Searches
- 97% of consumers use the Internet to search for local products and/or services.
- 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines like Google to look for local businesses in their area.
- 95% of smartphone users search for local information through their devices.
- Half of these smartphone users actually visited a store that very same day.
- 18% of consumers who conduct a local search do make a purchase within the day, based on the results they find.
With these facts, it’s easy to see why so many local business owners scramble to make their website more mobile-friendly and optimized for local searches. Among the most basic local SEO strategies include actively engaging on social media (social media marketing), getting in on local listings and local review websites, and of course, content generation through relevant blogs.
Nine Basic Techniques Using Blogging to Improve Local Search Rankings
1. Use themes, subject matter, and keywords that are of great interest to your target audience.
Using targeted keywords and incorporating them in your content on a page-by-page basis is no longer as viable a technique as it used to, not since the majority of consumers began using their smartphones and tablets to access the Internet and search for information. Nowadays, you can’t just flood your web pages with key terms and phrases and hope that it’ll help rank your website. As a local business owner and a blogger, you need to realize that most smartphone users today use natural language, instead of a broken down 1- to 3-word key phrases when searching for information via their mobile units. Thanks to intelligent personal assistants like Google Now, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana, consumers are more likely to use natural language when conducting local searches.
2. Consider incorporating street names, neighborhoods, and neighboring towns into your content.
Locations can help a great deal when it comes to ranking websites on local searches. And although most local searches may incorporate your city name, you have to realize that there a number of other possibilities and matches when it comes to locations. When you incorporate specific neighborhoods, street names, and other unofficial terms many locals might use in their search, you increase the chances of your website appearing higher on the search results page.
3. Take time to write about issues and events happening in your locale.
Local news and events can generate a lot of traffic. If you incorporate this kind of content into your blog, you have a greater chance of pulling in more visitors to your website, thus increasing its relevance. When done properly and consistently, this can be an effective SEO technique. In addition, you are also essentially providing a valuable service to your loyal readers, while winning over prospective followers. Take advantage of the popularity of upcoming community events in your town. Cover it like a professional journalist, but from the perspective of a local business owner, of course.
4. Host your blogs on your business website’s main domain.
Keeping your blog posts on your main business domain makes for an efficient SEO technique. Your blog site should have a URL similar to www.exampleyourbusinesswebsite.com/blog. This will ensure that you are not only getting inbound links to your blog site, but you’re also gathering significant clicks to your business’ main website. This is important because one of the major correlating ranking factors for websites in search engines are links. This is why link building is an essential element in search engine optimization (SEO). As your blog site’s popularity and search engine rankings improve, so will the ranking of your business website.
5. Remain consistent in providing relevant and useful information.
Just because you’re writing a blog for your business website does not mean that you have to talk about your products and services in every single post. Self-serving blog posts will not win you any followers or potential clients. You need to understand that readers don’t like to read about products or services; they want to read informative content that relates to them and their issues. Stop treating your blog like a catalog filled with product codes and prices. Instead, aim to write about something that empowers your readers. Be a trusted source of industry-related information for your followers. This is how you gain loyal followers and eventually increase inbound links and search engine traffic.
6. Engage in fruitful conversations occurring in other local business blogs.
As part of your efforts to solidify your followers, thereby improving your search engine rankings, it is vital to participate in conversations in other local business blogs. Look for blogs that closely associate with your business and engage readers by posting thoughtful comments. If you like the blog post, you may also mention the post on your own blog. This is a subtle, yet effective, way to attract potential links back to your own blog and capture the attention of more established businesses and websites.
7. Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) remain consistent across all your web pages and business listings.
Your business’ NAP has to be accurate and consistent, because this is how potential clients and customers can track you down in case they need to reach you. Wherever you post your company’s contact information, whether it’s on your blog site, local directory listings, or your social media profile, you need to make sure that all the info is accurate, consistent, and follows the exact format that allows for optimal SEO efficiency. NAP lists are often found on a website’s contact page, “about us” page, and footer, so make certain that each of these NAP locations follow a consistent format.
8. Utilize the right schema markup for your local business.
Schema markup is an evolutionary SEO tool that can help boost a website’s search engine rankings, including local searches. This relatively new type of optimization technique is among the most powerful and effective, but the least utilized forms of SEO so far. This method helps search engines return more informative results for users. It basically tells search engines what your data actually means, instead of just what it says, adding more value to your content when displaying results. By using the appropriate schema markup, Google will know that your business is local and not an international brand. Using this technique, you may also specify the exact type of business you are in, be it retail, restaurant, car service, and storage, among others.
9. Understand your target market and develop a writing persona that suits your audience demographic.
It’s going to be tough writing blogs or articles when you have no idea who you’re actually writing for. Although you may already have a good understanding of your target audience, you still have to understand the market and your neighborhood/local demographics. You are, after all, trying to optimize your website for local searches. You can do a simple research online to figure out the specific demographics in your locale, like the median age, average income, and consumer expenditure. By learning about a few specifics in your area, you can create and deliver your message to your target audience more effectively. Understanding your target market is one thing, knowing the type of consumers you are trying to serve is another.
Using blogs to boost your business website’s local search rankings is very effective when done the right way. Of course, the right way means putting together relevant and informative content your followers are actually going to read and find interesting. From a creative writer’s point of view, what you need is to come up with a content plan that you can stick to. Make it interesting and useful to your readers. Don’t just write blogs for the sake of creating content. Readers can sense this and instead of winning over potential customers, you’ll just end up getting lackluster results from all your equally lackluster efforts.