This is part of the Digital Marketing Insights series — featuring tips, analysis and recommendations from marketing experts on how to become successful online. Co-authored by Chris Rowe, owner of Jet DM.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to optimizing a website so that it ranks highly on search engine results’ pages, making it easier for users to discover. Local SEO, then, is the optimization process for local results — if your business is in Salt Lake City, Utah, for example, then a focus on local SEO for Salt Lake means that anytime a user searches for your particular business type in Salt Lake City, your business’s website is ranked as one of the topmost results on a search engine’s page.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is essentially the process of creating valuable content that is designed to attract and engage the user, ultimately generating leads and sales.
While the two strategies are often talked about independently of one another, content marketing and a local SEO campaign often go hand-in-hand. Here are five ways to combine them for optimal results:
- Keep a Blog
- Social Media is a Must-do
- Images and Video
- Cultivate Online Reviews
- Stay Consistent
Keeping a blog is one of the most essential aspects of content marketing, and most businesses that have a strong online presence blog on a regular — even daily — basis. Search Engine Land even refers to the blog as the “secret weapon” for local SEO. However, while keeping a blog can be a great way to locally optimize a website for search engine purposes, and provide readers with great content, the effects of a blog can take awhile to come to fruition, and blogging requires a long-term commitment.
If your business isn’t already using social media as a way to reach out to your audience and attract new customers, then realize this: social media content can be key to building a brand and enhancing a local SEO effort. While you don’t need to be posting on social media 10 times per day to be effective, sending out regular Tweets and status updates (and mentioning location within those) can help to grow a business and an online presence.
Content doesn’t just refer to the written word; instead, content is everything that’s written, posted, or displayed on or about a business website or business. As such, images and video are two of the most important types of content, but the two that most businesses forget about or tend to prioritize last. However, both images and video are known to attract a large audience, and when title tags and alt tags are optimized with great keywords and a local focus, both can improve search engine rankings.
If you want to focus on local SEO, then you need to be cultivating online (local) reviews. Yelp and Google+ currently dominate the world of online reviews, so make sure you business is listed on both. Also encourage users to leave review of your services or products on your own website. The more reviews you garner, the higher that your business will rank when a user searches for products/services in your area similar to what you offer.
According to a January 2015 article published by contributor Jason Demers in Forbes Magazine, the biggest problem with local SEO efforts is inconsistency. To clarify, Demers states that he’s not referring to inconsistency in a posting schedule or branding; rather, the inconsistency that may be bringing your organization down in terms of local SEO are inconsistencies in your NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number.
Google and other search engines use a business’s NAP to categorize the business, which in turn helps the search engines find it when a similar product, service, or business’s name is searched. When there are inconsistencies in the NAP, rankings can take a hit as a result. As such, go through all of your online content and make sure that your NAP is the same across the board — even a misplaced comma in name or title, i.e., Law Offices of John Smith, P.C., vs. The Law Office of John Smith PC can have a major effect.