If you’re like a lot of local business owners, one of your main SEO goals is to have customers find your business easily when they search for “services near me”. Certainly this is a wise goal. According to Social Media Today, “46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information and 97% search engine users searched online to find a local business.”
Yet, as a writer, adding the key phrase “near me” to your content is tricky. “Near me” doesn’t easily fit into sentences and saying it too often in your copy feels forced. So the question remains, how can you write for local search and grab the highly coveted “near me” spots in search without cheapening your ideas.
Let’s unpack this a bit more by starting with what you don’t want to do in your local search strategy.
The #1 thing you want to avoid doing is duplicating your local landing pages.
It’s tempting to think that you can write pages for each city or zip code that surrounds your business using the same copy. You should not do this. Why? Because duplicate content produces a question to search engines: which one is the right one to promote? Content that is highly duplicative of other pieces on the same website run the risk of being seen as the same piece, even if the city or zip code is changed.
In 2019, Google set a new prescient for how many results from the same domain can show on the first page of search. In short, according to Search Engine Roundtable, it boils down to this, “for most queries, they will begin only showing up to two listings per domain in the top search results.” That translates such that if you use the same copy for multiple local listing pages, Google will pick which ones are highly valued enough to rank them for that page’s keywords.
If the only copy changes are in the SEO backend/coded details, it’s not enough of a change for the individual pages to be seen as unique from one another. Thus limiting how many will show highly in search.
Instead, Try This Alternative Strategy To Create Content That Will Grow Your Local Landing Pages
Create unique articles on topics consumers search for on the road to hiring you. All sales start have a starting point. Knowing how your customers think, explore, research, and then eventually hire someone to help solve their issue is data you must understand if your marketing strategy/SEO strategy is to make sense.
And be repeatable.
Because repeat strategies are the key to simplifying your marketing and easy up the challenges around acquiring new customers. In the world of SEO, we often discuss different content strategies that align with the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey travels along a predictable path that includes everything from searching for basic information/definitions, exploring what services are available to help and ultimately researching what to purchase.
In other words: informational, navigational and transactional searches.
As a business owner, you want to know where your landing pages and your blog articles fit into this predictable customer journey. It’s worth the time and effort to explore this because you will learn what your client’s unique buying profiles look like.
Doing this work will help you understand your customers:
- Are you selling to people in immediate need? AKA “roadside mechanic near me”
- Are you selling to clients who are value shopping? AKA “5 star hairdresser near me”
- Are you selling to people who are investigating and still figuring what they want/need to buy? AKA “does mindfulness help anxiety”
- Are you selling to clients who try to fix things themselves before every buying anything? AKA “how to fix my instapot DIY”
Creating Local Content That Works
Once you know how your customer’s buying habits/style, you will have a sense for what they need to read on your website to aid them in the buying process. This can include everything from local topics that relate to the product you’re selling, to deeply informative content that teaches the reader what they require to feel prepared for their next step.
Likely, this offers you a bounty of ideas for what to write about. So where should you begin?
Start with the topics that align with your biggest goal first.
If you need clients and immediate sales, write articles that answer a customer’s buying questions, such as:
“What Signs Should I Watch For To Show My Hybrid Battery Is About To Die?”
“Signs A Leaky Pipe Needs To Be Fixed Now Before It Ruptures & Cost Much More To Fix”
If you want to help move clients out of thinking and into a decision, write local articles like these:
“XX Ways Hairdressers From (Insert your business name here) Get Reviews From Clients”
“XX Ways (Insert your business name here) Ensures Your Families Safety With Our 2022 COVID Policies”
If you know your client needs data/information to clarify what services to buy (and why you’re the one to buy from), write articles like these:
“Can Therapy Work If Your Spouse Is Unwilling To Go?”
“What To Expect From (Insert your business name here) When You Request A Roofing Estimate”
Whatever the topics you choose, be sure to include internal links from each article to the single “next step” you want readers to take. This should ideally link to a local landing page that’s uniquely optimized for your city, state, zip code and the services sold. Over time, this simple strategy will elevate not only the articles in search, but the simple linking to your few local landing pages will give Google a clear picture of what matters to your business.
It says clearly: we want traffic to go here.
This is the opposite strategy of having hundreds (I’ve seen thousands) of duplicate pages each with a different city or zip code. That is old thinking and will hurt your site.
Be smart when it comes to growing your local search landing pages buy understanding that what Google really cares about is the person using their search engine. They want to give the absolute best search experience to customers so they do everything possible to understand what the search customer is REALLY looking for so the customer continues to choose Google over other search options.
The way to get ahead is by creating unique content that connects wisely to your customer’s buy habits. Then, link to your more optimized local landing pages so the right action steps can be taken. That’s how you win in local search, by creating a body of work that your customers use to flow through the buying journey and you stop stressing about your marketing plans!
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Have questions? Ask. You’re invited to request a complimentary SEO audit of your website whenever you’re ready. Once we have your request, we’ll be in touch to discuss the results we find + how you can grow your local SEO wisely and efficiently.