This is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.
People are always talking about how SEO affects the quantity and quality of traffic your blog receives, but you’ll rarely hear local SEO discussed in terms of blogging. Most people feel like local SEO is reserved for physical businesses, but your blog could also benefit from some strategic tweaks and adjustments.
Understanding Local SEO
Local SEO is essentially a sub-segment of search engine optimization that focuses on enhancing local visibility within a specific geographical market. By following certain tips and including specific data and information, pages can rank higher in these markets. While you may want to hire an SEO company that’s skilled at local search engine optimization, there are some important things worth knowing if you’re considering local SEO for your blog.
- Domain authority. While there are a lot of different nuances to local SEO, one thing doesn’t change: the importance and significance of domain authority. The strength of your blog – in the eyes of the search engines – directly impacts local and organic rankings. Some of the factors that go into determining domain authority include the age of the website and the number/quality of links pointing to the website. Domain authority is constantly being updated to reflect changes and developments, so it’s important to keep an eye on this aspect of SEO.
- Accurate NAP info. The biggest issue for blogs – if they aren’t directly connected to a physical business – is the challenge of listing accurate contact information. Local SEO depends on this to verify location and geographically organize search results for users. NAP stands for “name, address, and place” and it’s an important factor for local searches. If at all possible, it’s helpful to secure a local phone number and mailing address for your blog.
- Local content. Google pays a lot of attention to the keywords and topics you discuss on your blog. While you should avoid keyword stuffing, it’s helpful to include valuable local content on your blog. By discussing topics that are rich in local keywords, you’ll naturally enhance your local SEO efforts.
- According to the 2015 Survey of Local Search Ranking Factors, the fourth most important localized organic factor is the click-through-rate of your search results. In other words, when users do click your SERPs, are they bouncing or sticking around for more? The only way to ensure users click through is to offer valuable content that answers questions and provides fresh insights.
- Domain wording. If you have a geographic keyword in your domain name, you have a much better chance of ranking for that location. This isn’t possible for every blog, but it is something worth considering when launching. If you can’t get the geographic keyword in the domain name itself, consider including it in as many titles and headers as you can.
While local SEO is designed for pointing users to local businesses and services in their area, bloggers should also be paying attention to these techniques. By studying some of the ranking factors and understanding what goes into local SEO, it’s possible that you can enhance your blog’s visibility.
The Inverse Relationship
On a related note, it’s pretty interesting to study the inverse relationship between blogging and local SEO. While up until this point we’ve discussed how local SEO tweaks can impact your blog, it’s important to note that blogging can also impact local SEO for physical businesses. We’re at a point where many local businesses are investing in blogging, but very few are doing it well. By mastering blogging and giving it the attention it needs to thrive, a business can really excel in this area.
The biggest thing blogging does for local SEO is attract relevant traffic. By writing timely, local content that pertains to a particular geographical market, you can encourage natural back linking and sharing. This is how you begin building organic traffic.
Looking at the Big Picture
Whichever angle you look at it from, blogging and local SEO are intertwined. Local SEO impacts a blog’s visibility and quality of traffic, and a company’s blog can directly impact local SEO efforts.
It’s a very real, tangible relationship that all bloggers and business owners need to be aware of. By looking at the big picture and understanding this connection, you can better understand the value behind what you’re doing.
Do you pay much attention to local SEO?
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Perfect timing! I am just starting to look into doing more local SEO for my web design business. I have had a few clients that are local, but most are all over the US.
The hardest part for me so far is figuring out how to get a physical address. I obviously don’t want to use my home address even though that is where I work from. Any tips? Is a PO box good? Will a virtual office do the trick?
Thanks in advance,
Very nice Darren,
In regards to domain authority, would you advice a local business to try and find and buy an “aged domain” assuming they follow best practices?
Neat stuff on local SEO and blogging Larry. I made zero connection. Really. Because I always think of business websites trying to grab local SEO results. Here in Nicaragua I met a biz owner who registered/set up her page on Google Plus, for her eco lodge. She got the mail from Google verifying her address and all that good stuff. I had not thought of potential for my blog but it does exist. I do blog from paradise and change time zones or spots every few months usually yet if someone wants tourist info concerning any one spot they can find it through my older, travel themed posts.
Now I focus on offering blogging tips but I just got an email the other day from someone looking into Bali. They needed to know connection speeds for their business. I offered my advice. Nice fit. I guess local could definitely work for me, advising tourists or aspiring digital nomad bloggers on all things tropical. I have a store of info to share about Bali and Fiji and Thailand and Costa Rica, so it’s time to get my local down a bit more even if I don’t have a tangible biz in these spots.
Hey Mike, awesome post. Thanks much for sharing.
Signing off from Nicaragua.
Meant to sign off with Larry too, sorry ;)
As a noob and continually learning this stuff to grow my companies DA I appreciate this sort of article. Thank you for providing this assistance.
Whenever I come across a blog that talks about local SEO I usually skip it. Now you gave me a different perception of how it can benefit. It won’t work for my blog in general, but I can see how you can get ahead of the game since there’s not a lot of local business applying blogging to their marketing. It’s one thing that small mom and pops stores can look into which will help those of us who do Google Map search or any type of search engine search for local businesses.
Thanks for sharing Darren! Have a good one!
I have a question about this optimization tips. Where is the line between keyword stuffing and using geographical names for local SEO – point 3 in your article? I’m afraid to use the name to often to avoid the wrath of google.
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