We know the statistics well enough by now to understand the critical importance of local relevance in your brand’s marketing. According to Google, 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit or call a store within a day and what’s more, nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. But what exactly are searchers looking for—what is it that inspires them to choose one brand’s location listing over another? The following content tips will help elevate your local online marketing.
We have a pretty good idea of what Google is looking for in the type of result it wants to show searchers. Your GMB optimizations, local reviews, backlinks, on-page SEO, citations and more all factor into Google’s local ranking algorithm. For any given query, Google has one simple objective: to give searchers the best answer possible.
It’s up to you to demonstrate that your location is the best possible answer to each searcher’s relevant query. Regardless of your industry, the only way to consistently accomplish this is through original, compelling and locally relevant content. Content is the beating heart of your marketing strategy. It drives your customer’s journey and fuels your brand’s website, local pages, GMB business descriptions, Facebook pages, email campaigns, and more.
In this post, you’ll find simple content tips and optimizations to help localize your content, making it more engaging, compelling, and effective.
1. Tap into your local knowledge base
Your local owners and managers know best what’s happening at the local level. Engage them in content creation via a content publishing tool that allows for local access with corporate governance. Your franchisees or local owners know the neighborhoods they serve; they know the popular landmarks people use to find their way around, the common vernacular of the city or region, the events and traditions that are celebrated locally.
Enable them to share these enticing details in local pages, Google Posts, blog posts, and more with permissions to facilitate corporate oversight. Local Manager’s Suggestion Engine feature helps brands solicit local information from those who know it best: franchisees and local managers who are on the ground, connecting with customers in person at each location. Brand marketers can also get notifications when there is new local content to review, see if there are conflicts, share deep links back to contributors to facilitate collaboration and more.
2. Let’s get visual
Over the past four years, we’ve seen a massive shift to experiential spending. The trend is particularly true of Millennials, who are spending 4x more on experiences than physical goods. That doesn’t mean you’re missing out if you offer a product—you can help searchers understand the experience you offer, and a great way to do that is with local photos.
Interior and exterior photos help customers understand what to expect of an in-store visit. Pictures of your menu, stock, or services being performed help set an expectation your location then has the opportunity to deliver on. Encourage local owners to share photos from community and in-store events.
Your local owners probably aren’t professional photographers or SEOs, which is another reason a tech-enabled publishing workflow with permissions is so key. When your local owner uploads photos for their Local Pages, for example, you can ensure the quality is there and add descriptive alt text (which is both a search optimization and an accessibility aid).
It’s also important to make sure photos will display properly in various types of search results, from the Local Pack on desktop and mobile to the local listing itself and on to the Google Posts carousel, etc. Your corporate team likely has a better handle on how images appear around the web and can assist in cropping and optimizing photos prior to publication.
3. Enrich content with local context to inspire consumers.
No one likes to be “sold.” In a 2019 consumer survey, an experiential advertising agency found that “inspiration and meaning” was the most sought-after quality in brands. Keep this objective in mind as you are crafting content for Google Posts, email campaigns, social media and more. As you are planning content, your customer’s needs and experience should be top of mind.
How does your product or service help solve a problem for them? What information or perspective can you add to make it locally relevant? You can talk about the durability of a piece of outdoor furniture, but the conversation becomes much more personal and locally relevant if your messaging is about how it stands up to the intense sun and heat of a San Diego summer. You can write all day long about the warmth of a jacket, but it becomes a story when the focus is on how it feels on while hiking Mount Elbert (for Colorado residents) or Humphreys Peak (in Arizona).
Challenge yourself and your team to go beyond what you want consumers to know about your product. What does it mean and do for them, and how does that experience vary by location? This needs to be reflected in your content to bring that compelling meaning and local relevance that search engines and customers crave.
4. Intelligently and creatively repurpose local user-generated content
Customer reviews are great, but consumers shouldn’t have to go looking for them. Empower local managers to respond to all reviews with new review notifications and a single dashboard for monitoring and response. Integrate local reviews in Local Pages so that important social validation is right there while searchers are making a decision about your location. Get more mileage out of these reviews by featuring them in Google Posts and social updates, too; create a branded graphic with the review text and share to the local properties.
Republish customer photos or Q&A, from local GMB listings to the location’s social accounts, blog posts, or email newsletter. Obtain permission to share, cite the person who uploaded it as the source, and include a link to the photo or Q&A on GMB.
Be selective about which pieces of content to repurpose. They should be in keeping with your brand’s image and offer some utility or interest to your audience.
5. Showcase local accolades and achievements where they matter most
National awards and recognition are great, but local awards and citations can carry a lot of weight for your individual locations. A ‘Reader’s Choice’ award from The Woodburn Independent isn’t going to mean much at the national level. But to customers in Hubbard, St. Paul, and surrounding Marion County, Oregon, this is a distinction that instills trust and respect.
Get creative in how and where you share this information. It could be a graphic on Local Pages in the region, with descriptive alt text to help search engines understand its relevance. You might include a line of text in regional GMB business descriptions with this information. It could be included in a Google Q&A response, or in local review responses.
These are the kinds of rich, local information that local managers may bring to you through the publishing approvals process. Or, you could have a repository of this information at corporate and use it to optimize local content at the approvals stage of your workflow. You can completely customize this process according to the unique needs of your brand and its local stakeholders.
6. Dig into local long-tail keyword terms
Words matter! And when it comes to search, the words people use to find solutions to their problems are as varied as the people themselves. According to Ahref’s, 92% of the 1.9 billion search terms in its US database are long-tail keywords that get fewer than 10 searches per month. These queries tend to more accurately explain the searcher’s motivation and intent, as they are often four words or longer. They can bring back different and interesting types of search results, too.
Thankfully, you don’t have to know each and every one of these individual terms and use them in your content. Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to understand the relationships between words that are commonly used together. Incorporating relevant long-tail keywords can help you better demonstrate the relevance of your content to deeper expressions of search intent, which can assist in improving conversion.
Use long-tail keyword terms naturally throughout your text content on Local Pages, in business descriptions and blog posts, in image alt text and video descriptions, and more. See our Go-to Guide for Long-Tail Keywords Strategy For Local Success to learn more.
7. Inform your content strategy with comprehensive local search insights
Zero-click search is here to stay. So much activity happens outside of your website now that site analytics is just one component of a truly insightful reporting strategy. Local Pack insights, review sentiment and volume, local rankings, and engagement metrics such as click-to-call all help tell the story of who your brand is connecting with at the local level, and how.
For brands with many locations, the ability to see local reporting insights across the brand and dig into specific data points in a single dashboard is key. While website analytics can tell you which existing web pages and blog posts get the most activity, local search insights can tell you a great many things, including:
- Whether your content has what it takes to rank and get seen
- Which topics resonate with various audience segments
- How your business makes people feel
- What questions people have about your brand and its products/services
- How locations perform against local competitors
- Which messaging and content inspires searchers to convert, and much more
Use your local search insights to inform upcoming content campaigns, ad targeting, and even operations.
Want Even More Content Tips?
Want to learn more? Download your copy of Rio SEO’s 7 Elements of a Winning Local SEO Content Strategy for Enterprise Brands whitepaper today: