How to Create Local Content the Right Way
How do you help your clients “localize”? Local SEO is one of the best ways for a business to stand out from the competition. But many SEO pros are using outdated methods which don’t garner great results. We’ll take a look at what works and what doesn’t with local SEO
The Wrong Way to do Local SEO
Localization used to be pretty easy. Basically, all you had to do was stick the name of the city and state into the content a few times. If you were attempting to reach a large area, you could basically just spam the content with local cities.
Here’s an example:
“Welcome to Joe’s Plumbing! We’re Denver’s number one home plumbing solution. We offer plumbing services through the Denver metro area including Lakewood, Arvada, Aurora, Littleton and other Colorado cities.”
If Joe’s Plumbing was a franchise with locations across the country, you could use the exact same content only with different city and state names. It was as simple as cutting and pasting.
“Welcome to Joe’s Plumbing! We’re Milwaukee’s number one home plumbing solutions. We offer plumbing services through the Milwaukee area include Menomenee Falls, Brookfield, Wauwautosa and other Wisconsin cities.”
Believe it or not, such a blatant approach used to work pretty well. But the search engines have changed. In order to get great local results now, you have to insert local content in a different way.
The Right Way to do Local SEO
For the main content on the page, your content needs to follow two rules. First, you need complete originality. This means no “cookie cutter content” across multiple locations as shown above. Also, you can no longer simply list city names in such a direct way. Doing so flags the content as low effort by the search engines. Fortunately, the solution here is easy.
First, create a list of keywords related to the business. For “plumbing,” we’ll go with “home plumbing,” “residential plumbing,” “sink repair,” and “water leakage.” These are all common terms someone would search for when they needed a plumbing professional.
Next, you want to create a list of keywords related to the location. For “Denver,” some similar terms would be “Denver Metro,” “the Mile High City” and “the Centennial State.” These are terms associated with the city of Denver. While it’s unlikely that people search for, say, “the Centennial State,” the use of this term helps the search engines understand the location you’re talking about.
Finally, you take a term from the first list and pair it with a term from the second. This mix-and-match approach reinforces your business and location. Here’s good ol’ Joe’s Plumbing once more:
“Welcome to Joe’s Plumbing! We’re the number one choice for home plumbing in the Mile High City. For sink repair in the Denver Metro area, turn to Joe’s. We’re also available 24/7 for emergency water leakage anywhere in the Centennial State.”
This new content is far more effective at associating the name and type of the business with the location they operate in. Search engines will rank the site higher in the results page.
Local content is also a great way to create a connection with your customers. You want to create a page dedicated to your staff. This helps your customers create a connection to the employees behind the brand. This connection increases feelings of trust and confidence in the business.
Aside from describing each person's job duties, you also want to highlight some fun stuff such as their hobbies, background and families. Whenever possible, you can include some local keywords. For example:
“Barry Johnson is a proud California native. Born and raised in San Diego, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles. In his free time, Barry enjoys taking the family for hikes in Runyon Canyon.”
You can use this same technique in testimonials. If you’re posting the testimonial on your page, you might find it easier to create your own. This way you can insert keywords as appropriate. Many businesses insert a few fake testimonials alongside the real ones.
The testimonials you create should focus on the local aspects of the business. Here’s an example:
“Here in Wyoming the snows can be pretty rough. This is just par for the course here in the Cowboy State. But when a pipe in my basement burst, I needed help quickly. Joe’s Plumbing drove all the way from Cheyenne to my cabin in Pine Buffs at eight p.m. They were a real lifesaver!” – John Smith, Albin, WY
See how we used three different cities as well as a state nickname? This is the type of local SEO the search engines love.
You should already have a NAP page. This is the contact page on the site which lists the name, address and phone number of the business. You want to add a map to this page.
Adding a map helps customers find the physical location of the business. This is especially important if the website’s main purpose is to drive customers into the store. Adding a map will also help localize search engine results. (Along these same lines, make sure the phone number on your NAP page has a local area code.)
If your business is virtual, you still want to add a map. This will most likely be a home or office. Even if this location isn’t open to customers, search engines will still read the map on your page as a location indicator.
The Power of Local SEO
Local SEO is effective for all types of businesses. A physical business can be boosted when a website helps drive customers into the store. A franchise business can use original content to help avoid penalties from the search engines due to duplicate content across multiple locations. Finally, a virtual business can use local SEO to target specific markets related to their business.
All businesses will see a boost in their SERP when they implement local SEO correctly. So say goodbye to the old, ineffective localization techniques. And say hello to these new ways to localize!