The rise in the importance of local SEO has been dramatic – once only a small niche in search, creating content and optimising for local search terms has become essential for businesses with any kind of physical presence. 46% of all searches are looking for local information, which shows just how vital it is for any business to ensure that they rank well around location-based terms.
Content writing has an important role to play in the deployment of your local SEO strategy – and many of the most useful ways to improve your rankings are commonly overlooked. Here we take a look at how written content can boost your local SEO.
Optimising your Google My Business
Google My Business has become a vital aspect of local SEO, as Google has looked to encourage businesses to provide it with the most up-to-date and accurate information about the company. GMB is considered to be Google’s specific tool to help businesses appear as they should in the listings – and an authentic and updated GMB profile should be rewarded with a position in the sidebar space.
But content can also play an important role in optimising your GMB profile to ensure that the description of your business includes relevant keywords and phrases. These won’t affect your search rankings in any way, but they can help your profile stand out and reinforce to potential customers what you do.
Strengthening meta descriptions and title tags
Sometimes overlooked, meta descriptions and title tags are still important – especially to local SEO. When a customer makes a location-based search, they are shown the SERPs and at that point in many searches it is still only the title tag and meta description that provide any information about what is contained on the page.
A well-written meta description should include the location term you are targeting so that it shows up in bold in the SERPs. And a strong title tag reinforces and reassurances the potential visitor with what they are clicking on.
Expert local content
Google is getting smarter and is increasingly learning what constitutes great content on a website – and how to best serve up that fantastic content to searchers. Writing remains an absolutely invaluable form of content that is useful not only from Google’s perspective, but also for the user. Providing great local content related to your industry can be a huge benefit from a local SEO perspective, as Google begins to associate your site with valuable local information.
This could include anything from educational content to local events and news – anything that is relevant to your business and incorporates the local area. Creating this kind of content is a fantastic way to discover a market niche that can bring visitors back to your site again and again. Spend some time conducting research into who your local customers are, and what they are interested in. This will allow you to develop a smart content strategy.
Content for local intent
It is also important that you should create pages and support content around local keywords and search terms. This is vital in narrowing the competition for the terms and reaching the audience that you are interested in. Ultimately, Google needs a good number of signals that your website serves a local audience – when the algorithms understand this, they are more likely to rank your page highly for local results.
It is important here that you should utilise local schema markup as this is still underutilised by businesses; this can be a great way to gain competitive advantage over them.
Local link building
Links are still arguably the most vital currency in SEO – and this is no different in local SEO. In fact, it is magnified. Local links have fantastic relevance to your business, as Google is able to understand that a local site linking to another is a great indicator of the quality of that site. The sophistication of Google’s algorithms continues to grow, so the importance of gaining high-quality local links will only become greater.
Creating excellent resources and useful content is still an excellent way to earn high-quality links back to your site from authoritative local websites.
Reviews are absolutely essential to local businesses, so it is no surprise that they carry a lot of weight from an SEO perspective too. But many businesses can be accused of not really doing enough to encourage customers to provide reviews of their products or services.
However, high-quality content writing can help here too. Smart messaging and strong calls-to-action (CTAs) can have a huge effect on customers, and can be the difference between them leaving a five-star review for your site, or clicking away.
Writing for specialist local directories
There are many directories that your business should be listed in as a matter of course – this differs by industry but could include anything from TripAdvisor and Yell to Yelp and Thomson Local. But many businesses fail to utilise strong local directories with a good reputation. These can be an extremely valuable place to list your business.
On these directories you will need a short description of your business, and content writers can create these for you. Good business descriptions should include all of the relevant details about your organisation. And in case you’re thinking of copying the text from your homepage, be aware that many directories will not allow the use of duplicated content.
Content writing has a major role to play in all aspects of SEO, and it is certainly true of the work you are doing to get your business ranking on local search terms. It is a great idea to work with specialist content writers who understand the needs of SEO, as well as how to write excellent content.
And of course, it should also be stated that while content is extremely important, there are a huge number of other elements that make up a strong local SEO strategy. At Artemis, we have years of experience in SEO, keeping up-to-date with best practice and helping businesses with all aspects of digital marketing.
If you would like to learn more about our range of services, get in contact with our friendly team today.