Improving Your Local SEO by Getting Involved With the Community (Getting Regional Pt 2)
Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of local SEO tends to fall a little flat? Many businesses understand the need for local SEO and generally how search engines pick up on keywords, but they often miss the forest for the trees when it comes to implementation. The focus becomes on sticking that city, neighborhood, or region name into every stretch of copy on the website, but there’s no actual value added. Writing an article about buying a new refrigerator in Duluth doesn’t actually make it more valuable to Duluth residents and, honestly, no one talks about the town they bought their refrigerator in so doing so in your copy doesn’t make a lot of sense.
If you just realized that your website content has fallen victim to a well-known local SEO pitfall or you’re wondering how to get those keywords in without simply stuffing them around other content, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Digital marketing for local businesses is tricky because it’s actually more complicated than globally targeted marketing. Rather than aiming at ‘everybody’, you need content that both organically mentions your region frequently and appeals directly to the kinds of people who live near you and within your service radius. The key is not to bring the community to your business with regional keyword-stuffing but to instead bring your business to the community.
Here’s how it’s done:
1) Celebrate Regional Holidays
Every region has a few special holidays that no one else celebrates or cares about. Some regional celebrations come from the cultural backgrounds of the founders who may have brought a few of their favorite foreign traditions with them. Others come from the natural ebb and flow of your region dating back to the days when everyone would leave work to bring in fish or harvest the local fruit. You might also have a special festival or two that celebrates the city founding story.
Whether these traditions are still enthusiastically celebrated or have been mostly forgotten by modern locals, they are a great opportunity to write a few articles and even throw some fun promotional events that celebrate being a local business. This will fill your blog with regional keywords and delight your customers as they remember how proud they are to be members of your unique local community.
2) Join In Local Events
Of course, writing about local events and celebrations isn’t your only option. One multi-level marketing technique available to local businesses that is not available to the digital global brands is the ability to get involved. Roll your sleeves up and pick a few annual local events to get involved in each year. A hardware store or construction service might offer to build a few stands for the local faire, a restaurant might set up a stall at the summer music festival, and even white-collar services could set up a table at the weekly farmer’s market to offer local financial advice. Just make sure you’re out there getting seen, take lots of pictures, and write about it.
Write about preparing for the events beforehand to get people excited, then post all over your social media and website about how fantastic each event was after-the-fact. You can even stream some portions of the event live for anyone who can’t get away from work during event hours.
3) Put Together Local-Themed Sales
Sales and promotional events that include sales are everyone’s favorite time to visit your venue, but they don’t necessarily help your local SEO unless you plan your sales correctly. It’s easy to throw a generic sale based on percentages, but why choose generic you can go local? Instead of just putting out the big red sale signs, custom-design your promotional sales. You can double your local celebrations as sale events and put special items relating to the mini-holiday on sale or you can work to conform to the regional ebb and flow of activities.
The key is to lock your promotion to something about the region. Rather than just putting your fishing gear on sale as the fishing season is getting started, instead make it the “Lake Babcock Bluegill Blowout” or something similar. When the sale has all the local SEO you need, promoting the sale itself generates organic local SEO! This can be done for any region, any event, and any season. Just choose something locals love (and tourists come for) and make a sale or promotional event for it.
4) Spotlight Loyal Customers
You may have heard of customer spotlights in social media, often enacted by large digital companies looking to personalize their remarkably impersonal ad campaigns. Spotlighting a customer involves writing a blog about them, featuring them in your social media campaign for a day, and announcing something that makes them great.
Rather than choosing a random stranger in your online community, as a local business you’re better off choosing individual customers you’ve gotten to know over the years. Loyal customers deserve a reward and if you appreciate their years of business, you can give them that reward with a spotlight. With their cooperation and permission, you can write an article about how long they’ve lived in town, who their family and connections are, how long they’ve been your customer, and a few fun anecdotes about being your customer over the years.
You can also spotlight new customers if they have just moved into the region as a fun way to welcome them and invite the community to welcome them as well.
5) Promote Your Local Business Practices.
Every region produces something special or is known for a special production even if the plants have since closed. You might live in a town with a strong tradition in steel, paper goods, certain kinds of produce, or unique regional cuisine. Wherever your business model allows, associate yourself with as much local flavor as possible. Keep your business local and blog about the importance of local economy maintenance. Use local products and advertise which of your offerings are local-only. If you’re a restaurant or even if you just provide catered events, make sure local cuisine is part of your menu.
6) Partner with Local Schools and Youth Groups
Finally, perhaps our favorite thing about local businesses is the opportunity to help out the local children. Every year, dozens of scout troops, school choirs, bands, and theater classes, and church youth groups go out into the community seeking fundraising for trips and equipment. This is your perfect moment to get involved in the community, generate some stellar PR, and boost your local SEO all over again. Let the local middle school choir sing carols for tips outside your venue or offer to match community donations for a mission trip fundraiser. Then writing about these events and the efforts you’re taking to help are not only great local SEO for you, they also help the cause of local children.
For more tips on how to be a great local business both on and offline and boost your local SEO every day, contact us! We’re always excited to work with a new local business to find the exact right approach for your brand, industry, and community.