As the smartest digital marketer you know, you're well aware that there are plenty of good reasons to learn how to blog for SEO. Not to mention, many people read blogs before they read the daily newspaper: as of 2010, 46% of people read blogs more than once a day, and WordPress claims that over 409 million people view more than 17.8 million of their pages each month. But have you realized how blogging can boost your local SEO? Just in case you haven't, here are four reasons that blogging can improve your local SEO- plus a little pep talk for inspiration at the end.
You'll Create Hyperlocal Content
When you use blogging specifically for local SEO, you'll begin creating hyperlocal content- content that's specific to your exact area. You have the freedom to write about any local festivals or events that bigger businesses might not think are worth writing about, and you can tie in how your business will participate or how your business relates. You can write about how your industry is related to a local attraction that people tend to search for online, and you can write about your company's histories and your roots in your town's community, Finally, you can interview customers for their success stories using your product or service, or you can write about another local business that employs your products or services (and as a bonus, featuring customers or other businesses is a surefire way to get shares on social media and the resulting traffic).
You'll Rank for More Long-Tail Keywords Specific to Your Area
Writing a blog is a way to naturally target long-tail keywords, and for local SEO tips specifically, a blog is a great way to work in keywords like "[your industry] + [your location]." That way, when people in your area need the service or product you offer and search for it on the Internet, your website is more likely to rank in the results. Make sure to use both variations of your industry and your location. For example, if you're an office supply store on the North Side of Chicago, use keyword variations like "office supplies uptown chicago" or "school supplies north side chicago" or "buy stationary 60640."
You Get to Write About Ongoing, Timely Stuff
Google LOVES when you write about ongoing, timely stuff. Remember, parts of Google's algorithm rank content based on recent events or hot topics, so you're putting yourself at an advantage by writing about things that are happening now.Local events happening in your area may not get much national attention, but your audience likely cares about them and wants to read about them- meaning you have an opportunity to give them what they're searching for and thus, rank higher in the SERPs. Google also appreciates when you have frequently updated content, which is easy to create when you have a blog.
Show Off Your Chops
Every now and then, it's perfectly acceptable to toot your own home- and you can do that once in awhile on your blog. Use your blog as a way to showcase your customer success stories or occasionally highlight a review that you got on Yelp or Google+. A word of caution: be careful with the type of self-promotion that you do on your blog. The majority of your blog posts should be helpful to your readers and answer a question they might have. Sounding too self-promotional is a surefire way to turn people off, because there's nothing in it for them. When you do show off a little bit, whether it's through describing an impressive milestone you hit or a case study showing your success with a particular client, try to bring the focus back to how this information helps your customers.
Remember, You're Not Boring
One of the biggest reasons small business owners resist blogging for SEO is because they don't think anyone will read it and they don't have anything to say. If you have that same mindset, you're selling yourself short. Sure, a plumbing small business blog is going to have to work a little bit harder to attract readers, but if you put useful, timely information out there, people will appreciate it. Take a look at these awesome examples of a local SEO blog to see what we mean:
- Bryant Electric Service: This Austin, TX electrician's blog features a perfect mix of resourceful posts and relevant posts. Some of his posts answer questions his customers have ("Why Are My Lights Flickering?"), some offer helpful tips ("Lower Your Electric Bills This Winter!"), and some feature local industry news ("Texas #1 in Choosing Green Electricity Plans"). It's not flashy, but it's incredibly helpful to his customers.
- Premier Roofing Company: I could list the things I know about roofs on one hand (namely, I like having them). But this Midwestern roofing company somehow finds a way to make roofing interesting ("Retractable Roof Open for Superbowl XLIX") and introduce roofing topics I never even thought about ("Winter Roof Gadgets" exist?!). They really "raise the roof" for local business blogging (I'm so sorry for that awful joke).
- Heritage Bicycles General Store: Located right in our Chicago backyard (or thereabouts), Heritage Bicycles General Store designs and constructs custom-made bikes- but that's not all! They also sell unique bike accessories and gift items, plus they have a cafe area for coffee, snacks, and free Wi-Fi. A multitasking shop needs a multitasking blog, so the shop's blog is accordingly split into four sub-blogs: News, Race Club, Cafe, and Bike Room, each regularly updated with content targeted right at its specific buyer persona.
Your local business has something unique to offer, and by blogging regularly about local events and things happening within your company, you'll be able to improve your local SEO success and gain more customers.