At our November LocalU event, I geeked out about Helpful Content For HelpFul Local Businesses, sharing tips and tactics to help you provide unique value with your local content.
During the presentation, I talked in depth about a few types of content local businesses should be creating and publishing to drive traffic and conversions from their website. One of the most powerful, but in my opinion underused, online tools a business should be utilizing is a strong, local blog.
Create Your Local Blog With Intent, Or Face the Perils of Mediocracy:
In 2021, Sterling Sky wrote about the effects a blog can have on a local business website including the positive impact it can have on traffic and conversions. The “problem” most business owners have with their blog is it doesn’t drive as many conversions as their core pages. Of course, we want as many pages to drive conversions as possible. We also need to keep in mind that top and middle-of-funnel content is just as important as bottom-of-funnel content.
The blog needs to be built with intent, and the desire to satisfy a user’s curiosity, answer questions, and solve pain points. Sometimes these questions and topics can’t be fully fleshed out on any other pages of your site, thus it’s best to write a one-off blog page about it.
Even if the traffic does not convert, if the traffic is relevant and/or local it is a win for overall site authority. Plus, the more real value you can provide your target audience (think DIY, cost info, step-by-step guides) the more trust and authority you build with them and Google.
Start By Auditing and Consolidating the Content You Have Before Creating Any New Content:
Before you create a single new blog page, take the time to go through your site’s blog and consolidate as much as you can. If you have a big, sprawling blog make sure to invest the time to get it into better shape before creating a bunch of new content.
Check for keyword cannibalization across your whole site, this is the best way to identify content you can combine and redirect. Often I find clients have blog pages actually competing with service pages. Don’t be afraid to take blog content, work it into a service page, and redirect that blog page to the service page.
See the image below to see what happened when we combined 3 underperforming blog pages with a service page on the same topic and redirected the URLs to the service page URL.
The same is true with city pages or even home pages. You don’t want any of your blog content targeting keywords like “service in city” lest you run the risk of cannibalizing these other important pages on your site. Link blog pages to service pages to provide more context when needed instead of regurgitating the same stuff over and over.
Aim to Create Value with New Blog Content:
For businesses without a ton of blog content, focus on creating content that is going to provide value to your target audience. A content gap analysis is one of the best ways to see what the competition ranks for, but your site doesn’t. The best place to do this is with the Ahrefs content gap analysis tool. Find the keywords, then do a site search to see what pages the competitors have that are targeting these keywords.
Pay attention to long-tail keywords, since the SERPs for those are usually less competitive and you will see quicker wins that way. See the image below for an example of a new blog page targeting a long-tail keyword we created for a law firm client. This is typically a competitive industry, but we chose a keyword the rest of the competition wasn’t necessarily optimizing for.
Do you want to know which of those keywords triggers a map pack? Export your keyword list, pop it into the Keyword Explorer, and check off “Local Pack” under “SERP features.” Now you know the valuable local pack keywords your site is missing out on rankings for.
Analyze the pages to see how you can emulate them on your own site. Don’t copy what they do, learn from them and elevate it. What is their content missing that you can create to provide even more value than them?
Types of Local Blog Content You Should be Creating:
These are specific types of local content we see that get a ton of traffic, and also can drive conversions:
- DIY (especially with videos)
- Step-by-step guides
- Cost and price
- How to guides
- Case studies
- Interviews with experts
- Product/service reviews (experience)
- Providing solutions to specific problems
Create Infographics and Video Content To Provide Value to a Wider Audience and Increased Organic Visibility:
No one likes a blog page that’s a wall of text. Create infographics that explain the main points of your blog post. These will be easy to digest for readers, shareable, and indexed in Image Search for extra visibility. Go the extra mile and create video content for blog posts where you notice the search results feature videos.
Colan Nielson recently shared on Twitter that looking at the search filters at the top of the SERP is a great way to suss out what Google thinks the intent of a search is. If you see filters for “images” or “videos” for the search, you should be creating that type of content for your blog page.
- Build your blog with intent and desire to provide helpful information in an organized way.
- First, do a full blog audit. Then, combine, organize, and optimize the content you have before creating any new content.
- Make sure each blog page has a unique (long tail) keyword focus that does not cannibalize another page on your site.
- For creating new content, use a content gap analysis to determine what topics your competition ranks for that your site is missing. Fill in these gaps with UNIQUE perspectives and visual content the competition is lacking.
- Create visual content like infographics and videos for blog pages, especially when the SERP is full of visual content.