If you want to rank in local SERPs, you need to write long-form local content.
This is especially true if you run a local business.
In fact, it’s an absolute necessity if you run a local business.
When you write local content, you fulfill two key points:
First, you communicate to your readers that your business is aware of and involved in the community they’re searching for.
Secondly, you show Google and other search engines that you’re a relevant local company with your thumb on the pulse of local events. This, in turn, helps you rank in local SERPs and get noticed on the phones, mobile devices, and computers of your customers.
In this way, local content helps you stand out both in your community and around the web as a whole.
To learn more about why local content matters, and how you can create it to improve your local presence online and dominate the SERPs, read on.
Local Content by the Numbers
Yes, local content is essential to help your customers understand where you’re located, what your hours are, and what you specialize in, but it’s also critical for making sales, and for drawing customers to your company in the first place.
Check out these stats (created by our awesome lead designer):
According to HubSpot: 72% of customers who conduct local searches visit a store within five miles of their location. What’s more, 50% of mobile users who make local searches visit a store within 24 hours, and 78% of local searches initiated on mobile phones result in an offline sale.
Finally, Google reports that, today, 30% of all mobile searches are geo-specific.
Massive numbers. It’s critical today for marketers with brick-and-mortar companies to dominate local content, and master the approach to geo-targeted pages.
USSelfStorage.com: Local Content Dominating the SERPs (Express Writers’ Client)
Local content is critical, but what exactly does successful geo-targeted copy look like?
With so many components, factors, and foundations, it can be tough to identify what works as local content and what doesn’t.
We’ve got a terrific example to help point you in the right direction.
USSelfStorage.com is a client of ours, here at Express Writers. When this client came to us, our team created more than 100 geo-specific landing pages for this company, and each features all of the components of a good piece of local content.
A strategy they used was to build multiple search results pages, and at the bottom of the page, plug in 500-1000 words of locally optimized content that we wrote up for them.
Using this strategy, they gained top positions in the SERPs for local keywords, and they dominate in the rankings with an organic search volume worth six positions per month. Check out the screenshot we pulled on their organic domination (circa November 2016):
Here’s a specific example of how they rank.
#3 for “nashville storage units:”
The page that earned this organic position has a search result listing at the top:
Below the listing of results, the ranking site page has a long-form locally optimized content piece, if you keep scrolling.
More long-form content that we created for them includes this Montana landing page, for example.
In addition to being conversational, this piece of material also features local keywords and helpful links. It’s a great example of what a geo-targeted page should look like, and it’s a wonderful model to base your local content on when you begin writing it.
5 Key Rules for Writing Local Content
Now that you know why local content is so important, let’s talk about how to write it. Here are five rules to live by:
1. Write 1,000 words of content on each page
According to Search Engine Land, geo-targeted pages should include at least 1,000 words of quality content. This is long enough to provide relevance and context for users, and also long enough to provide a home for the local keywords you use in your content.
Any shorter than 1,000 words and you risk being too brief for search engines and for readers. Any longer and you risk sounding spammy by trying to make long-form content more geo-targeted than it wants to be.
While you don’t have to hit 1,000 words on the head, be sure to write at least that on every geo-targeted page you create. This will give your audience more to interact with and help ensure that you’re getting the largest possible level of SEO from each of your local posts.
2. Include city-specific keywords
City-specific keywords are critical for getting your local content to rank, and they can spell the difference between local content success and failure. With this in mind, use a tool like KWFinder to research local key words that you should be including in your content. By finding these and integrating them naturally throughout your copy, you can communicate to both humans and search engines that you’re relevant, local, and authoritative.
If you’re looking to rank in nearby cities, as well, you may consider researching varied city-specific keywords and including them in your material, as well. This will help expand your rankings beyond your immediate zone and may serve to draw in customers from neighboring areas.
3. Keep it conversational
Updates like Panda and Hummingbird have made it essential to feature conversational content on your site. This becomes all the more important as things like voice search rise to prominence. Today, conversational content is not only more attractive to your readers, but it’s also better positioned to help you rank in the world of semantic search.
With this in mind, keep your local content conversational by including mention of a current event, happenings, or promotions in your given area. Don’t be afraid to write blog posts that mention specials in your city or surrounding cities, or make announcements whenever you extend service into a given area.
By keeping your content conversational, friendly, and hyper-local, you can help search engines interpret your content as relevant and helpful. More importantly, however, conversational content appeals more deeply to readers, and can help brand your company as an approachable, focused, and positive one that puts its customers first.
4. Keep it fresh
Local search is dynamic, and local content needs to be accurate, relevant, and current enough to keep up with it. With this in mind, ensure that you’re updating all of the local details included in your local content on a regular basis. This could include your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information, your business name and specialties, and your hours of operation.
In addition to those things, however, your local content should also reflect your current promotions, sales, and campaigns. If a customer hears about something you’re offering on the radio, they should be able to visit your website and see the same promotion reflected there. This contributes to a sense of continuity and seamlessness within your content and helps it reflect well on your company.
By keeping these things current, you make it easier for customers to find the information they want while also ensuring that Google knows exactly how to rank you at all times.
5. Optimize your title tags, headings, URLs, and meta descriptions
Local content is as much a technical pursuit as it is a creative one. By optimizing everything from your title tags to your headings, URLs, meta descriptions, and alt text, you can give yourself an added SEO boost and ensure that none of your well-researched, long-tail keywords are going to waste.
For best results, input your local keywords into your title (preferably toward the beginning of the tag), and include it throughout your headings, URL, and meta descriptions, as well. Not only does this help ensure that your content will feature prominently in local SERPs that rely on that keyword phrase, and that people searching for products, goods, or services in your area will quickly be able to decide whether or not your content is relevant for them.
The Case for Local Content
For many marketers and SEOs, local content is just something companies have to do in order to be successful.
The reality, however, is that it’s much more than that. When local content is done right, it can reflect well on your entire company.
Here’s why: local content creates ease.
With the rising numbers of mobile and local searches happening today, good local content acts as a touchpoint for on-the-go customers who need help finding answers to questions, locating services, and connecting with relevant retailers. In this way, companies that create local content succeed not only at meeting their customers’ needs, but they also demonstrate that they’re aware and concerned enough to acknowledge those needs in the first place.
By creating local content that meets the needs of a customer base, companies can gain trust while also helping their company rank well in the local SERPs. Because good local content features geo-targeted keywords and is optimized to feature in local search, it’s a great way for companies to build visibility and recognition all at once.
While local content can be tough to create, it’s well worth the time to follow best practices and learn to create local content that helps your customers and reflects well on your local business.
Do you need quality writers to help you craft local, geo-targeted content? Look no further than Express Writers! Check out our content shop.