It all started with the release of the Pigeon. Sometime on July 24, 2014, Google released a new algorithm that generates useful, relevant and accurate local search results. Before the algorithm, web search and map search would generate different results. But with the release of Pigeon, the results of searching Google and Google Maps are now closely tied to each other. Not only that, but Google also gives more credit to other local directories. The algorithm increased the visibility of sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and various listings.
How does Pigeon work?
One of Google’s aim, when they released the update, is to connect the connect the local algorithm with the traditional web algorithm. That way, it can have access to the ranking signals that helps web algorithm identify which websites have a strong organic presence. The update makes the criteria for the local ranking uniform to that of regular web search.
It also improved the search engine’s ability to measure distance and location. It favors businesses that are closest to the physical location of the searcher. It also decreased the number of local business listings it displays the local results pack. The downsizing of the results packs added to the challenge of gaining local visibility.
Still, the Pigeon update is not flawless. At the beginning of its release, it pushed spam listings on the first page of Google results page. It even featured these listings in the packs. Users have to voluntarily report violations as Google is still unable to differentiate legitimate establishments from spammy business names.
Why pay attention to Local SEO?
The release of Pigeon changed how SEOs do local SEO. But, the essence of local SEO remains the same. The goal is to rank your site for local search. You want to invite people from a specific neighborhood, village or town to visit your store. That way, you are ensuring they don’t go to your competition who are entrepreneurs in the same city, region or country.
Local SEO helps you position your brand as a local community leader. When you post the right content on the right social channels, you create opportunities to build linkable assets. Lastly, you come up as a reliable and trusted brand. Customers are likely to choose a business that provides the products or service along the information they need. Thus, you have to ensure you understand your market to personalize their experience with your company.
Why write for local search?
Providing the right content is one way to personalize the customer experience. Creating a material that resonates with your audience shows that you understand their needs. You lead the user to what they are looking for without pressuring them. Moreover, it’s also a way of showing that you are creating a space where your content can thrive.
But, local search isn’t only about the customer. It’s also about your business and what you can get out of it. When you write with local SEO in mind, you are considering visibility. You want your listing to show up in local searches. You want your local ranking to increase and get more traffic to your website. The only way you reap these benefits is by coming up with suitable content for your business.
What are the strategies involved in finding topics for local content?
Writing for local SEO is different than writing with a general audience in mind. First, you must think of your audience. You must be able to pinpoint what they are searching for, so they pick your website over other sites on the results page. You must also be able to provide timely and relevant information. Most local searches often involve events happening in a specific area.
These are only a preview of the strategies on how to identify which topics to write for local content. Below is a comprehensive guide in finding topics for your next article.
1. Focus on local keywords
Most local search queries are long-tail keywords. It’s because people tend to search for specific items to get the best results. Google Trends is one of the tools to use to find which words or phrases are popular a state, city, or country. It even suggests related key phrases you can use instead or your chosen set of words.
For intensive keyword research, you should use Google’s Keyword Planner. The tool helps you measure the search volume of your selected keywords. It’s a useful tool for finding out which things people are interested in and for checking if other users are into the same thing as well.
2. Identify your target audience
The key to a successful outreach is knowing your market. You must understand the demographics and psychographics of your target market. You can take advantage of Facebook’s Audience Insights to get an analysis of your brand’s audience and behavior.
Once you identify the needs and characteristics of your audience, you can come up with articles that would spark their interest. For instance, soccer moms would be interested in a list of lunch ideas or safety tips to observe when doing sports. Meanwhile, newlyweds would have different interest. They are likely to look into investing tips, marriage advice or a home buying guide.
3. Talk to your customers
Take time to engage with your customers. Think of your customers as your loyal visitors. They are likely to visit your site now and then to check for updates and fresh content. This is especially true when you are an e-commerce site. Your customers are the first ones to visit your website whenever you restock or release a new product.
If you have a shop, you should speak with your customers face-to-face. Ask them what they think of your business. Gather ideas and opinions. You’ll get plenty of ideas to write about when you interact with different types of people. You should also consider asking for feedback and reviews. You can ask people to send it through your feedback email or convince them to fill out a form. Feedback and reviews are not only a gold mine for ideas. It’s also a way of gathering intel on how to improve your service or business.
4. Be part of a local event
You should take part in a local event. It doesn’t matter if it happened in someone’s backyard or the town’s center. Being in the moment is what’s important as it gives you something to write. You can use Eventbrite to look for activities and programs happening near you. Facebook even has a specific section that lists different events happening near your location. DoStuff and All Events in Cities are some of the apps you can use to spot events happening in town.
However, you shouldn’t go to an event for the sake of creating content. You should still think of the repercussions of being part of the activity. As much as possible, you should stick to events relevant to your industry or niche. If there aren’t any events in the area, you can sponsor one from a nearby town or stage one for your business.
5. Join the bandwagon for spreading local news
Most people are interested to know what’s happening around them. If you lack inspiration for what to write, you can use local news. A lot of blogs and websites stay relevant by spreading the information you get from the media.
6. Answer local questions
Don’t limit your articles to the common queries. Whenever you are stuck with your writing, you should check out Q&A sites, forums, and online communities. You can spot lots of people who are seeking answers to their random questions. You can use your expertise to shed light on a particular subject by writing about it.
Local SEO became a must-do for a digital marketing agency Philippines after the Pigeon update. Since traditional web algorithm place value on content, it’s only right to ensure you write an article that matches the preferences of your audience. It will not only boost your organic traffic, but it also increases your local search results rank. Thus, knowing how to write for the local search is critical to the success of your local SEO campaign.