Are you a local business owner?
Has your SEO strategy suffered in the last few years?
Keep reading if that describes you.
There have been a lot of Google algorithm updates the last few years.
Many small businesses have suffered for a few different reasons.
Before we get into what might have happened to your small business and website we have to talk about what has changed with Google.
Google: Algorithm Changes
The first thing that’s changed is the algorithm. This is what Google uses to determine the quality and relevance of all the content online. The goal for any small business online is to have Google show your website and its content for relevant keywords that your target customers are searching for.
Google has changed a couple things in the last few years on this front.
Websites that may have had good domain names and basic content have a more difficult time ranking unless they add more useful and relevant content and do it on a consistent basis.
Another update was a freshness update where Google saw that people wanted fresh updates. If your site has old content, Google likely won’t show your pages in many results.
Google also took on many link building efforts that companies were doing for SEO strategies.
Guest posting, infographics and buying links from services that put your page links on forums and in comments and other places have all been affected.
Google: Result Page Changes
As you probably know the standard ten blue link result pages is not as common as it used to be on Google.
There are richer results today. Google is showing more images, video previews and all kinds of information that makes it easier for people to get more relevant results, but also to get the information they seek right on the results pages.
Google: Local Bias
By this point you’re probably wondering what you can do with your SEO strategy going forward.
And there is good news and it starts with the fact that your business is local.
Another change Google has made is to focus more on the local intent users have when searching for information. Google now shows results based on the location where people are searching. This trend should only continue as more people search from smartphones.
Your New SEO Strategy = Content Marketing
So that’s what’s changed with Google the last few years.
If you haven’t done much with your website in terms of design and especially with content then you have probably seen a decrease in traffic.
That’s the why.
Here’s how to fix it.
Step 1: Start A Blog
It doesn’t have to be every day. Pick a frequency that works for you. It could be every month or every week. Stick to it. Start by answering questions your target customers ask you when they visit you in person. If someone is asking in person you can be a hundred more are asking it online.
Write top ten lists for places to visit in your area. Write stories about what’s happening in your area. If other brands are coming to your town then write about it along with your commentary.
Step 2: Create Guides Or Ebooks
People like to download things so they can print them or save them. Guides are longer than blog posts usually. You’re shooting for 2,000+ words with these things.
Take a subject that is important to your target customers and really put in some good suggestions.
For example, bed and breakfast managers get asked where the best restaurants are all the time. They’re already answering the questions. Put together a Best Restaurants guide and publish it.
People will give you their email address so you can send them the guide and you can put that email address into your email program.
Here’s a secret – you can create a series of about ten blog posts on local restaurants. Take those blog posts and put them on a .pdf and create your Best Restaurants Of The Year guide.
Step 3: Use Content Snippets On Social Media
Social media can really help your business, but instead of posting all that standalone content on social media sites, use the content from your blog posts and guides to give people some good content on social media sites while enticing them to come back to your local website.
Take the restaurant guide. When you share that link on social media, share one good restaurant then type something like “get more at” and share the link.
A blogging strategy along with an extended content strategy with guides will give you the kind of SEO strategy that can withstand any changes Google makes.
Even better, content brings in traffic from all different sources of traffic. You get search traffic, social traffic, email traffic and even direct referral traffic.
Google is putting more emphasis on content: both the type of content and the freshness of content. They have always wanted to provide the best results for people.
The best move for your local business is to create content for your target customer. Make it interesting and useful. Design it well (including responsive design for smartphones).
And make sure your local contact information is available on your website for customers and for Google.
That is how you do Local SEO today and in the future.
It starts with content.