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August 25, 2014
How To Win At Local SEO Optimization Through Content
By Julia McCoy in SE Optimization
There are many ways content is beneficial today for Google rankings, but one fail-proof ranking opportunity can be found in original, well-written local keyword optimized landing pages. If someone was to search for “Atlanta bathroom plumbing,” a written 800-word landing page for an Atlanta plumber’s website addressing bathroom plumbing could be top of the results. Other technical SEO elements, useful in their own ways, do not come close to the power of a locally optimized landing page for local SEO keyword search ranking. Let’s explore this a bit. So, the formula for local success looks something like this:
Content + Optimization = Local SEO Win
Do you know why I hated math back in my school days? It was because almost every equation had variables. If you didn’t understand the basic formula and the variables, you weren’t going to ace your test. Local SEO optimization is similar. It’s like a specific variation to the basic search engine optimization formula, and everybody needs local SEO. If you don’t have it, you’re missing out on an incredibly targeted audience, as well as a strong local presence—both vital to the success of every business.
The key to the local SEO variable is the optimized landing page. When it comes to creating a landing page that knocks the ball out of the park, a very simple formula is used:
Long Tail Keywords = Local Keywords = Ranking Opportunities
Locally-focused keywords are also called your long-tail keywords; as long-tail keywords, they are often easy to rank quickly for because of the low competition amounts, if you utilize one of Google’s favorite ranking elements: an original, well-researched, 800-word-minimum landing page.
According to Search Engine Watch, long-tail keywords automatically put you in the one-hit-wonder search ranking category because by nature they have less competition. Unlike “heavy-hitting core keywords…they don’t have a bull’s-eye on them.” Google’s first-page table only has 10 seats. You can basically RSVP your spot on a local level by leveraging long tail keywords.
Examples in Action
We can talk about winning at local SEO optimization through content all we want, but the proof is the most compelling evidence. Let’s compare a bad example to a good one. Here’s an example of a bad locally optimized landing page:
This landing page isn’t even showing up in the first pages of Google (it’s indexed poorly). First, the landing page itself is less than 100 words — the company is using footer text (in the About sections) to boost rankings, which means content will be duplicated across multiple pages.
Second, there isn’t much on this page as far as local search engine optimization. Landing page text is the perfect space to offer up naturally placed long-tail keywords and engaging information about the business, including why the viewer should click into the About or Services sections. The single paragraph of text on this page doesn’t do any justice. There just isn’t enough information (or dedicated content space) for a search engine to pull from and rank well.
Now, here’s an example of a well-written local optimized landing page:
What makes this page a local SEO optimization winner? Content. Look at the copy. It’s relevant, engaging, informative, inclusive, AND it contains natural keyword and long-tail keyword optimization. It’s not skimpy on the word count either.
This landing page content is unique; it’s not duplicated throughout the website. There’s plenty of meat for search engines to sink their teeth into and rank. THIS is how you win on the local SEO level and take one of those 10 coveted spots on the Google search results page.
How to Do It
You can obviously hire an expert team to create a winning landing page. It’s a smart move, and an investment that will save your time and money while fostering the right environment for higher conversions and sales. But what else can you do? According to Moz, there are simple optimization techniques that can win you strong local rankings:
- Optimize your tags. Title tags, H1 headings, alt tags, and meta descriptions are all vital exponents in the SEO formula. To win on a local level, one simple addition to all of these tags can make a huge impact: add your city and state.
- Pay attention to the URL. There’s no tweaking your homepage URL. It’s an established address. A change — no matter how minor — would be catastrophic on every level. But you can tweak the URLs to other pages on your website. Adding in city and state info to your URLs can help land you on the local search result scene.
- Plan your content for local optimization. Good copy is a staple of good content, which is key to search rankings. One super simple way to optimize locally is to build your city/state info into your content. Be sure to build it in naturally, though. A strong copywriter or agency can be a savvy tool in this area.
- Embed a Google Map. Moz points out that including an embedded Google Map is important for your local SEO strategy, but it is vital to do it correctly. Don’t just embed a map that points to your address. Instead, embed a map that points to you actual Google Plus Local listing. It’s far more effective.
- Buff up your citations. Moz also points out that local citations are important to improving your rankings. Citations are commonly called NAP information. They include your name, address, and phone number. Google expects this info to be on your website and other important sites, like Yelp, social media, etc. If your info isn’t spread around, it can really hurt your business rankings.
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The core of your landing page is your content. Optimizing that content for local SEO with long tail keywords is surprisingly simple, but there are pitfalls to beware of from forced keyword insertions to duplicate information. As you boost your local SEO, be sure to include the tips we’ve shared, and don’t be afraid to ask an expert for help.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.