Small business owners are always taking on an uphill battle when going against big brands and a ranking system that favours them. But there are ways to be smart about your marketing campaigns and there are ways to use content tactically in order to take on the competition.
We’ve said it more than once and we’ll continue to do so – SEO is a changing landscape. The term SEO isn’t entirely straight forward in definition any more, and encompasses a wide mix of marketing techniques and practices. With that changing landscape some a variety of questions and debates, and we’re on the cusp of hearing more and more about whether there is “any point in local businesses doing content marketing?”.
With regard to the above, we can firmly say that “Yes, there is”. In particular, we’d like to discuss:
- What to focus on with content marketing for local business.
- How it can help rankings and engagement.
- How to get great results on short time frames and even smaller budgets, which is critical for smaller SEO agencies.
Do local businesses really need blogs?
Recent research has found that only 68% of SEOs believe that local businesses need to have a blog in 2018. Whilst that’s still a majority vote, it’s surprisingly low in the grand scheme of things. A whopping 98% of respondents did believe that the blogs for local businesses should be updated at least once a month, though.
The traditional “blog” is far less common on websites nowadays however, and blogs are more often used as repositories for content that doesn’t quite fit as a dedicated page on a website but it still useful or important information. But the real question is, are your blogs really going to generate you any new business? It’s unlikely.
But you still need content and you need to keep it fresh. So what else can you do to keep your website relevant and prominent without always resorting to loading up your blog? Let’s take a deeper look at what works well for local businesses.
Let’s make it very simple; local businesses are exactly that: local. That aspect can certainly be used to your advantage, after all most visitors to a town or city often want to find out information about the place they are visiting. Creating evergreen or event-specific content is a great way of getting organic traffic and it’s often content that gains a lot of links. Some ideas for useful resources to create:
- Attractively designed calendar of local events (conferences, meetups, concerts, festivals, sports games and so on).
- Lists of the best things for families to do in your local area (attractions, kid-friendly places to eat, parks and so on).
- Lists of best things to do tailored to visitors to a specific event (sports, bars and hotels, art show, galleries and so on).
- Extra information for visitors to an event (If the event hosts aren’t doing a great job of collating all event information in one place, go one better and write it all up yourself).
These types of resources are great at baiting links and they often take very little effort to put together.
Creating useful and accurate “how-to” guides and content will give you a great change of enticing Google’s featured snippets. Featured snippets come mostly as answers to questions, so what you need to do is answer these questions better than your competitors and in a format that’s structured up with schema so they’re voice search-friendly.
It’s true that video content is the fastest growing form of content online, but after that fact came to light it was obvious that platforms like YouTube became flooded with unimaginative videos from marketers. But YouTube has been changing its ranking factors and algorithms quite dramatically over recent months – no longer do subscribers and views count the most. Instead, YouTube now focuses on “watch time”. But even that isn’t as simple as it sounds. This isn’t the amount of time people have spent watching your videos; instead, it’s the average length of time a visitor watching your video stays on YouTube.
Simply put, you need to figure out how to keep people on YouTube for the longest time possible. Here are some tips on getting people to stay on YouTube once they’ve seen your video:
Quality videos only. By quality, we mean useful and informative. Answer a question and keep to the topic.
Longer videos. Plan to make your videos longer, put slice them into relevant parts. Viewers who watch Part 1 are more likely to stick around and watch Part 2 if they’re interested in the subject. Segmenting video content into shorter but more numerous clips is far more likely to generate Watch time than a single 30-minute clip.
Utilise Playlists. Again, like the above, users will not only be more likely to want to watch what’s up next, they will have a far easier time finding your content if it’s organised correctly. You can even include other content-creators videos! This will still affect your watch time and is easy content.
Don’t put all of your SEO eggs into one basket (i.e. your blog). Create content that is useful and spread it across a multitude of platforms. Do your research and find out what questions people are asking and create your content around that topic, or create content that is specific to your local area. Monitor your performance, tweak and repeat where necessary.