Throughout my work writing with niche websites, I’ve discovered an unfortunate trend where many sites for small, local businesses haven’t been updated in years.
While it’s clear they attempted to execute a content strategy at some point of time, they’ve since given it up for other marketing tools where a return of investment is more apparent.
Content creation is an essential investment in the visibility and authority of your business. Other than the value that your content offers readers, it also increases the chances that consumers will discover you in search engines. But when you’re competing with countless other sites dealing with your subject matter, any amount of success in attracting traffic on search engines can seem like a long-shot.
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Why bother with content when you can use that marketing spend on advertising channels that targets potential consumers looking for you?
The answer is that most of your potential customers aren’t looking for you – not yet. Recent research conducted by Penn State illustrates that 80 percent of searches are informational in nature, 10 percent are navigational, and only 10 percent are transactional.
While your business’s website may otherwise target keywords consumers use when they’re interested in your product or services, it could be ignoring the vast majority of internet searchers looking for information. Content is a pillar to any serious SEO strategy; without informational content, you can’t practice effective SEO.
However, simply targeting the highest volume keywords in your posts and expecting new customers to begin flooding your website isn’t feasible – it’s too competitive. To reach a local audience interested in your niche, you need a local, niche content strategy. I’ll this post, I’ll explain what this means, along with reasons why this approach is better for your SEO efforts.
Build Your Local Relevance
One of the fundamental principles behind how search engines work is that they establish the relevance of content to serve users the best possible results for their specific queries. Since keyword relevance of a domain’s content boosts rankings for related searches, it makes sense for businesses to write content related to their field.
However, Google also cares about content relevant to the searcher’s location. In Moz’s Top 50 Localized Organic Factors, geographic keyword relevance of domain content ranked in the top ten factors along with topical keyword relevance.
By discussing local interests and concerns in addition to topical content, you’ll naturally incorporate local keywords that Google will identify as relevant when serving search results to users in your service area.
For content ideas on location and niche, it helps to recognize search trends in your area. By letting local searcher interest guide your content ideation, you’re best positioning yourself to appear when locals search. For more tips on local content creation, check out here.
Target Long-Tail Keywords
To understand the advantage of this approach to content strategy, it helps to know the difference between what are called ‘broad’ and ‘long-tail’ keywords. Broad keywords can be general topics like ‘plumbing’, ‘restaurant’, or ‘marketing’, and they receive a great deal more traffic than long-tail.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer and more specific, like: ‘plumbing services in Boise, ID’, ‘Italian restaurants in New York City’, or ‘internet marketing services in Los Angeles’. These keywords receive much less search volume, meaning you’ll certainly cast a smaller net ranking for them; but they present the best ranking opportunities.
By creating hyperspecific content within your locale and niche, you’ll have a far easier time ranking for these specific keywords. This is a great strategy since searchers using long-tail keywords are much more likely to convert, considering the fact that they’re already interested in your topic and location.
Create Unique Value for Your Audience
The greatest benefit in writing specific local content for readers is that your posts will more likely provide unique value over broad content which rehashes generic industry tropes. The reason this results in SEO benefit is that unique content is more likely to provide:
- higher engagement,
- higher click-through rates,
- longer dwell time,
- better backlink opportunities,
- more social shares, and so on.
While factors are always being debated, these are all perks that can, directly and indirectly, boost how Google ranks your content.
If you're interested in learning more, Rand Fishkin at Moz demonstrates how user behavior can result in higher rankings for unique content in this episode of Whiteboard Friday, titled “The Impact of Queries, Long and Short Clicks, and Click Through Rate on Google’s Rankings.”
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While SEOs are always learning what exactly results in higher rankings, there’s always an unmistakable correlation between user value and rankings. Google has always valued content that provides the most relevant and authoritative solution for users’ needs. When you consistently offer users that unique value with a local, niche content strategy, it can only mean great things for your rankings.