For small business owners there are so many local marketing methods to use these now it’s almost overwhelming: Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google AdWords, etc. but one of the simplest methods is perhaps one of the original internet ideas. The one that once started will never stop paying dividends.
Local Blogging: What is Small Business Local Blogging?
Local blogging is writing about your area in reference to the services that you do. For example a plumber in Tempe Arizona.
I am sure that you have heard that it’s relatively difficult to rank on the first page on Google. Although this is technically true it’s also a big lie. That statement assumes that you are attempting to rank on the first page for national organic search. We are not talking about that.
First off, there is not just one type of Google search. People obviously search for word topics that they are interested in, but they also search for videos and images. Both of those are essentially different search concepts. One additional type of search feature that Google brings is local search.
If you type pizza into Google it will likely bring up both local results and perhaps a few national organic results. Why? Because Google knows that when someone types in ‘pizza’ they probably want to order one more than read about the history of it. Now take that same pizza search and add the name of your hometown: Pizza Tempe, you will now see all pizza options for Italian type dining in and around the Tempe Arizona.
That the pizza shops should focus on this seems rather obvious, but for plumbers and CPAs, this technique may be less obvious.
Step One: The Exact Same Listing, Every Time
Before you go and spend tons of money hiring people to do all sorts of search engine marketing, the very first thing you should do is to claim your operation on Google, Yelp, & Hotfrog. Don’t fret if your operation is home based, just follow their rules.
Use the exact same way of writing your companies name and address for each and every internet listing moving forward. In other words, do not change up the name of your company from Johns Plumbing to John’s Plumbing; those types of slight differences can wreak havoc. Now don’t forget to associate your website with hot frog, Google local, yelp, and any other free web directory that you feel so inclined to.
Step Two: The Local Contact Page and Contact Form
If you already have a company name and website established you are in lucks way. Make sure your website clearly states your contact information that exactly matches the address of the Google Local listing – on your Contact page. Preferably your website will also have a ‘contact me form’ which will easily allow potential clients to reach out to you for a request for service. I prefer to keep the contact form as simple as possible.
Step Three: Blog about Business, Blog about Local
The first blog post that many people write can seem extremely scary, get over it. Just write it. Your first blog piece should shoot to be over 600 words and contain information about what you do and where you do it. Depending on exactly what you do, people may or may not care about the quality of the writing. For instance a tutor might want to make sure their grammar is in order. But a handy man…. Perhaps not so much. Giving in depth detail about the differences between PVC and PEX is likely much more important than your grammar for plumbers.
Now you will want to repeat this exercise each and every week for about six months, changing up topics and locales, the more specific the problems of the area the better. Getting back to our Tempe based plumber, he may get lots of phone calls and requests to fix plumbing associated with summer heat. A short blog about how the heat in the phoenix area can ruin your plumbing if your air conditioner is turned off might could be a great idea.
You will notice in this article the absence of suggestions about doing keyword research. This is because your local towns, county and even sub divisions are your keywords and when these are combined with specifics about plumbing information than this can prove to be a powerful marketing tool.
If you are struggling with what to write about, start off by writing about the most common questions that you get. Share some free knowledge with the hope that many consumers may give up trying to solve the problem themselves and call you.
With customer’s permission you may also be able to do a blog post about a past job and how you helped solve the client’s problems. Perhaps you can get ideas from others in your field online.
As a general rule, whatever you blog about does not need to be perfect, very few will read your entire post. The goal here is got get someone with a problem specific to your area that will find your post and click your contact me button. An extra idea is to add in photos, graphics, and charts to help break things up and lure more visual clients in.
Step Four: Link your Local Articles
I really wish this step was simpler, but alas it is not. The finished URL of each blog piece needs to be placed in a couple of places throughout the internet. Some of the locations are easy to explain such as putting it on your Facebook page, twitter account, and linked profile.
But others are more complicated. Those would include Quora, Guest Blog Posts, and various business specific forums. The general idea with this is to place a small piece of information about what the article is and who it is for in numerous places on the internet. It is kind of like a directional beacon explaining why someone should read it – such as “Why PVC plumbing is a problem in Tempe Arizona, go to this article here.”
Your Fifth and Final Step: Give it Time
As you steadily write each and every week, you may notice that it gets easier with each publication; you may even start to have too many ideas of what to write about. Now comes the hard part, letting your articles sit there as they gain trust with the major search engines. The more specific, the more original, and the better the content, the more Google will like your site. However, it takes time for this to happen.
Yes there are more things that you can do, such as setting up an Analytics account with Google to understand the flow of clicks. Setting up a free Canva account to create unique graphics, and using Pinterest to graphically advertise your website, but none of these steps are actually required to be done.
The Final End Result of your Local Blogging Campaign
The genius of local blogging is that not that many businesses regularly do it. Once your article is written and live on your website, it can serve up clients for a decade or more. Many business’s blogging efforts start, but most fade away after a year, not recognizing how much business it may be bringing in for them. Assuming your end goal is to attract new clients, it is really hard to see the negative in starting a local site.