Building a Local Content Marketing Strategy

By:  stanventuresadmin

September 1, 2022

Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a mom and pop operation in a small town, creating a content marketing strategy is a powerful tool for attracting business. In not even a decade, brands have gone from experimenting with the occasional blog post to pouring millions of dollars into sophisticated content marketing campaigns. 

It’s estimated that by 2021, content marketing could be an industry worth $400 billion. Those are some pretty big numbers, and you’re probably thinking, “How am I supposed to compete with a company that has millions to throw around?”

Well, unless you’re a huge national brand, reaching a global or national audience, probably isn’t realistic. That said, there is some good news for you. With the right SEO and local content marketing gameplan, you can reach the customers closer to your home base. 

It’s all about making the most of the tools at your disposal to create content that not just reaches local customers, but offers something of value. Are you ready? Great, let’s get started!

Building a Local Content Marketing Strategy

What is Local SEO?

Okay, so you’ve probably seen “SEO” mentioned in business journals, but what is it and how can it help your local business? SEO is “search engine optimization” and it revolves around increasing the quality of a website and its content so that it’s more visible to users of web search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo. Okay, yes, Google is the only one most of us use. 

Local SEO is simply optimizing a website so that it’s found in local search results. There are a lot of ways to beef up your local SEO — which we’ll get to in a minute — but it’s important that we point out why it’s so crucial and who can benefit. Spoiler alert: Your business can benefit!

Why local SEO matters: 

  • 60% of North American adults look for local goods and services on their phones or tablets. 
  • 71% of people said they search for local businesses online to confirm the business’s physical address. 
  • 88% of people who search for a local business on a mobile device call or visit within 24 hours
  • 97% of people learn more about a local business through the internet than any other medium. 

We know, those are some serious statistics and any business that isn’t capitalizing on that information will almost certainly be left behind. 

As for who benefits from a robust local SEO strategy? Well, that’s kinda like asking what sort of business benefits from satisfied customers. Restaurants, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, contractors, clothing boutique owners, auto shops, museums, alpaca groomers… you get the idea. 

Digital PR

As we mentioned, there are several aspects that factor into strengthening your local SEO strategy and building content for it.  One of the essentials that your business needs to nail before anything else is ensuring that Google has your correct business name, address, and phone number. If it’s not accurate, fix it before proceeding to move forward. 

Google’s algorithms are incredibly helpful for both local businesses and the customers they serve. If you search “tacos,” the very first thing that’s going to pop up is a map of nearby taco joints, the name of those taco eateries, contact info, and their ratings. The taco places that are highlighted in those results have a real advantage over the competition. Creating good content with your business name and address on your web pages will help Google identify your business properly. 

Let’s talk about using some tactics in your content strategy that will help you connect with local customers. Bring in local experts to help with your content. If you run a landscaping company, reaching out to an arborist about the importance of certain native trees gives your business localized input from an expert. 

A whopping 92 percent of consumers trust third-party recommendations over brand content, and by taking this approach, you kill two birds with one stone. 

Get your name out there

Make sure local customers know about you by being visible in the community. This means sponsoring local events, donating goods or services, and keeping the local media informed about what’s going on with your business. And yes, this does tie back to the digital part of content marketing. 

For starters, it allows your business to share photos from the event, create blog posts, and highlight your visibility to customers who visit your website. For example, Canadian law firm Diamond & Diamond’s website lets customers know about the various local media outlets where they’ve been featured. 

Finally, you should be taking the time to respond to any Google reviews and highlighting those happy customers on your various web pages and social media posts. The vast majority of customers say reviews impact their decision and responding to those reviews not only builds customer trust but makes your business more credible to Google. 

Customers respond to local relevance, and by incorporating these tactics, your digital public relations will be that much better.  

Location, Location, Location

Like how they say in real estate, “location, location, location” is of the utmost importance for a good local content strategy. The landing pages of locally optimized websites should make finding the right content for your users easier. This, in turn, of course, makes your website perform better with search engines. 

A local landing page is essentially a web page that pulls in visitors from a specific location using an SEO strategy. Think of it as a magnet for customers in your area. The key is that the content on a particular page is specific to a certain geographical area of the business. 

For example, let’s look at a page from the insurance website BrokerLink:

As you can see, they allow visitors to select insurance quotes by both province and city. If visitors click on Alberta, they’re directed to a landing page focused around “car insurance in Alberta”. Each page of content is 1,000+ words and can hit up to 100s of long-tail keywords for each specific location page. 

Let’s use an example of an insurance company in NYC. Using Frase.io, MarketMuse, or any other SEO tools, we can find some awesome location-specific keywords:

Based on the above, we want to incorporate topics and sections on “[Location] Motorcycle insurance costs”, “What’s Coverage is Provided in [Location] Motorcycle Insurance Policies”, etc/

The same concept also applies to affiliate sites and wants to capture local traffic.  For example, a website based around “pest information” can build out 100s of location-specific landing pages for “pest control”. The person performing the search doesn’t necessarily have to have a specific physical location setup. Businesses with strong local landing pages will register better with Google’s algorithm. 

The better these tables on your website interlink with locations, the better your local SEO content marketing. 

Building out the URL Structure

We like to break out each company into one of the following:

  • Single location business
    • i.e. Barbershop who only services one city/region
  • Multiple location business, single service
    • i.e. Legal firm that operates across various regions, and offers 1 area of law (i.e. personal injury)
  • Multiple location business, multiple services
    • i.e. Health company who operates in may cities and offers massage, physio, rehabilitation, etc.

Single Location Business

For these types of businesses, we typically want to rank [region] identifier keywords (i.e. barber shop Toronto) and non-region identifier keywords (i.e. barbershop) for either:

  • Specific service page (i.e. xyzcompany.com/barber-shop)
  • Home page (i.e. xyzcompany.com)

Multiple Location Business, Single Service

For service-based businesses that serve multiple cities, we typically want to build separate location-based landing pages for each city that the business services. To rank for region identifier keywords for a personal injury firm based out of New York City, with services in Connecticut, we’d want to build out a sub-page: 

  • xyzcompany.com/personal-injury-lawyer-connecticut

However, for non-region identifier keywords (i.e. personal injury lawyer), we’d want to rank either the:

  • Specific service page
    • I.e. xyzcompany.com/practice-areas/personal-injury
  • Home page
    • I.e. xyzcompany.com

To determine which one of the above is most appropriate, you’ll want to see how the page (and competitors) are ranking.

Multiple Location Business, Multiple Services

For multi-service based businesses that serve multiple cities, we typically want to build separate location-based landing pages for each city that the business services. To rank for [region] identifier keywords for a law firm based out of New York City, with services in Connecticut, we’d want to build out a sub-page: 

  • xyzcompany.com/[location-1]/[service-area-1]

However, for non-region identifier keywords (i.e. personal injury lawyer), we’d want to rank either the:

  • Specific service page
    • I.e. xyzcompany.com/practice-areas/personal-injury
  • Home page
    • I.e. xyzcompany.com

Why do we use the location first?

One of the challenges that we run into is trying to rank general keywords for a specific location. For example, let’s say an insurance company offers car insurance, home insurance, etc. in multiple cities, how do you rank for a broad-based keyword like “insurance NYC”? By having a location at the 2nd level in the URL, you’d want to map the keyword to xyzcompany.com/[location].

Building out the proper URL structure is key to a successful SEO campaign. While there may be fringe cases that don’t fit the above, it provides a solid guideline for executing the most effective URL structure for your specific business.

Building out Service Pages

There’s a good chance that your business doesn’t just do one specific thing well, but actually does a number of things. Don’t you want your customers to know about all the other great things you can provide for them? We know the answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” 

This is precisely why you should be building other service pages that relate to each service or good your business provides. We could definitely write a book on the power of internal links — or at least a lengthy pamphlet — but the fact of the matter is, they do work. 

One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating what’s called the “hub and spoke strategy.” Here’s how it works, the “hub” is a unique piece of content, whether it’s a blog post, infographic, quiz… you get the idea. The spokes are the pieces of content related to it that link back. Dollar Shave Club did this to great effect, prompting visitors to enter their contact information while showcasing all the products they offered through strongly linked blog posts, videos, and just solid content.

It’s not just something that national brands are doing but works incredibly well for local content marketing too. 

Activa Clinics, for example, includes sub-service pages that link out to the various services they provide, such as massage, aqua therapy,  and mental health. And within their content, of course, are internal links to those other services.  

“A common mistake for local businesses is to list sub-services that the company provides,” says Chris Porteous, founder at My SEO Sucks, “this reduces the potential options and ability to rank those sub-services, and decreases the overall value of the hub page”. In these situations, building out those spoke pages (i.e. sub-services) provides “authority” to the main service page, improves internal linking, and provides more information for your potential clients.

This brings us to our next topic of designing a killer locally optimized content strategy.

Topical Blogging

Last we checked, it was 2020 and everybody and their brother had a blog. So does this mean that because blogs are so common, they’ve lost any power they once had for a local content strategy? 

Not at all!

Once again, the key here is – “local.” By that, we mean writing about things that are local to the people your business serves. If you own a roofing company, then yes, you could simply write a blog about “How to Protect Your Roof During the Winter,” or you could title that blog “How to Protect Your Roof During Toronto Winters” and provide relevant information regarding past snowfalls in the Toronto area and how the city’s residents can best keep their roofs in good shape. All while including internal links and applying the local SEO strategies we’ve mentioned above. 

If you think this doesn’t work, just check out the real estate site Movoto. They went from 2,000 visits per month to over 18,000,000 in just two years by applying this method and creating blog posts like “10 Boise Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate.”

They start with an idea for a blog, research how to make it local, link it up, and share it via their social media and email lists with a call to action to follow through and click a link. From there, the content snowballs. 

Creating a finely-crafted blog that is local and topical can take time, but if done correctly, it can certainly still generate real business results. 

Conclusion

There’s certainly no shortage of content out on the internet and in 2018, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were uploaded online every day! That’s a lot of noise to compete with if you want your business to attract more customers to its website and social pages. It can certainly be done though, and to great effect. Making it happen all starts with building a local content strategy that provides value, makes the most of local SEO, and appeals to its target audience.

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