Take your content production to the next level with help from MoreVisibility’s content experts. Learn how to create effective content strategies for onsite, link building, social media posts, blogs, and more, as well as tips and tricks for optimizing every piece of content you create.
Local search is growing in popularity and Google is showing its support by including more and more local style features in the SERPs. Consumers tend to be drawn to local listings, so you definitely want your business to have a presence in this area. Of course, having a rich, optimized Google Places page is a necessity and should be the first place your start to build up you presence in local searches.
However, the algorithm for standard searches and Google Places or local search are not the same thing — the main difference being the importance of “citations.” A citation is any place where your company information is listed consistently, which helps search engines find and identify your business. Citations are to local search what links are to organic search. Similarly, to increase your presence in local search, you need to increase the citations you have. You also need to make sure they are consistent. For example, if you have “Street” in your address on your Google Places page, make sure it’s “Street”, not “St.”, across all your citations as well.
So what are the best ways to increase your number of citations? Social media, directories and aggregators are good places to start.
Social media elements are becoming very strong ranking factors that consistently appear in search results. Naturally, having complete and consistent information across all of your company’s social media sites — like Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, and others — will go a long way in helping your local search rankings.
Aggregators and directories are not just places to get more citations; they also provide an additional way for people to find your company. There are many of these types of sites you can establish profiles for. Some standard ones to start with include Yelp, City Search, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List. On top of that, consider setting up a presence on local directories as well. Your city’s chamber of commerce is a good start. You can also search for “your city + your industry” to bring up even more local directories or aggregators.
These types of sites aren’t the only places you can increase your citations, but they make a great start. You should be able to build more citations as you build links and create content for your site — so keep at it!
There are multitudes of ways to optimize your content for SEO purposes. You perform the necessary due diligence by thinking up a theme for each page on your site and then researching potential keyphrases that represents each theme. That’s only the first part, however. It is then the job of the web writer to apply what has been researched to the actual page; you may have the most optimal keyphrases possible, but they are useless unless the content is constructed in a manner that will engage the reader and the search engines. The search algorithms are so advanced nowadays that they are able to determine the quality of the textual content that is applied to the pages of your website. Listed below are several ways to make your site’s content “pop” for the site visitor and potentially enhance their performance in search:
Writing blog posts with an eye toward search engine optimization, or any other content for SEO, can be challenging, which is why we have prepared the following blog writing tips to guide you through the process.
1. Fresh Content — Do not begin writing for your blog unless you can commit to a schedule of at least one to two posts per week. Also, do not commit to a blog if you do not have your own unique ideas. Don’t worry; the next few tips can help you generate ideas if you are fresh out.
2. Blog Purpose — What is the purpose of your blog? Don’t lose sight of your reason for creating it in the first place. Brainstorm a number of words related to the topic and see if any of these words spark an idea for a post.
3. New New New! — What is new within your company or industry? People love hearing about new information and then sharing time-sensitive content they discover with their networks. Are you introducing a new product or service, revamping an older one, or actively participating in your community? Let people know with a blog post. If you have photographs, images, quotes, or videos to include — even better!
4. FAQs — For whatever reason, you find visitors to your website, prospective clients, or current clients, are asking the same questions over and over again. Besides updating the pertinent parts of your website and your FAQ page, consider writing blog posts that focus on answering each of these questions in depth. Not only are they likely to come up in searches for those looking for answers (which will then lead them to your website), but they can be used to send so the inquirer can read the answer at their own pace or have a reminder of a conversation they had earlier.
5. Events — Is your company actively participating in conferences, tradeshows, festivals, or webinars? Whether physically present, marketing at, or digitally sharing, any events with which you are involved are timely content your readers may be interested in hearing about. Don’t forget that events are good for at minimum two to three posts:
a. Pre-event coverage of where you will be, when, and why!
b. At-event coverage of what is happening.
c. Post-event follow-up, thanking those whom you spoke with, your hope to attend an annual event in the next year or to conduct a helpful webinar again soon, etc.
6. Ask Employees — Those employed at your company have a wealth of knowledge about the work that you do. Ask for ideas about what to post. Sometimes it helps if you ask a prompting question such as “What is something our company is doing right now that prospective clients would be interested in hearing about?” or “Do we have any client satisfaction stories we can pair with a quote and information about that product or service and post to our blog?”
7. Optimize! — Make sure that the titles of your blog posts are both interesting and relatively short. Write a description to be included in the meta-tags of the blog post when it is posted online. Consider asking your SEO agency to conduct keyword research to help you find niche or longer-tail keyword phrases you could write about. Consult your analytics data to see which blog posts are driving traffic (and if visitors are converting) and consider writing more on the topics that are delivering good visitors.
The above blog writing tips are a good starting point when you find yourself stuck before writing a blog post. Good luck with your own writing and if you ever need help conducting keyword research or would like to outsource your writing, we would be happy to help.