And so are your competitors.
Has your listing effort yielded any positive outcome? If so, congratulations. And if not, you’re probably in a highly competitive niche.
So, how can you stand out from the crowd and get more visible to your target audience? Start a business blog.
Chris Silver Smith is the president of Argent Media, a search marketing agency, and this is what he has to say about business blogging:
“The cool thing is, a great many local businesses still are not blogging, so use of it as a search engine optimization tactic is still something of a secret weapon. Here’s how.
Many local businesses in highly competitive categories have already done the straightforward things for optimizing their businesses to rank for local. They may have optimized their sites, obtained local citations and links, optimized their business profiles, finessed their Google+ Local (a.k.a. Google Places) listings, encouraged customer reviews, and more.
Since all these businesses are doing essentially the same activities, they end up barely trumping the listings just below them in Google Local search results, and they may be frequently jostling, month after month, for the same slots.
But, if one of them begins blogging consistently, that business may rapidly become top dog, accruing advantages that the non-blogging businesses lose out on. It gives some distinct advantages, and can become a secret weapon that may allow the first company using it to develop a lead that the others might not quickly imitate.”
The good news is that, with a viable plan, business blogging shouldn’t be difficult to initiate.
Dominate your local search with a blog by following the tips below.
1. Discover What Your Potential Customers are Searching for
Keyword research is vital to creating content that meet the needs of your potential clients. It’s like getting into the minds of your target audience to discover their pressing problems.
According to Michael Brenner, Author of B2B Marketing Insider, “I often talk about the importance of putting our audience at the center of everything we do and creating customer-focused marketing plans. Keyword research is fundamental to that process because it allows marketers to get inside the minds of our buyers – not just in understanding what they’re looking for, but the actual words they’re using. Magic happens when businesses create content that maps directly to their needs and uses our buyers’ own language (keywords).”
Keyword research involves the use of specific tools to find out the search terms that people utilize for seeking information about their needs. Through keyword research, you’ll be able to discover what your potential clients are searching for, and the problems they’re yearning to solve.
This will enable you to create articles that are tailored to their wants. Instead of writing articles that you deem will be of interest to your potential customers, keyword research will empower your to create blog posts that resonate with their predicaments, and make them feel that you understand them perfectly.
Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool is a popular and widely used tool for conducting keyword research. And it’s free.
If you’re a dentist, for example, and you decide to conduct keyword research in order to discover what your target audience are searching for about your products or services.
Start by typing the name of your service, such as “teeth whitening” in the search box. Hit the search button. And wait for the result to load. Next, click on “Keyword ideas” below the search button.
The output will be a list of various search terms that people use to seek information about “teeth whitening”. Take a look at the screenshot below. There are about 800 keyword ideas, and the number of local monthly searches per keyword on the right column.
With these numerous search terms, the sky is the limit to the number of articles you can publish on your blog. Not only that. Embedding the keywords in the body of your articles – you’ll learn how to do that below – will help your blog rank appropriately, and increase your visibility on search results.
2. Develop an Editorial Calendar
One of the challenges of blogging is the regular creation of content. Ideally, a blog should be updated regularly – daily, weekly or monthly. Particularly, if you have lots of article topics that you intend to cover.
Once you’re able to gather a list of targeted search terms through keyword research, you may become overwhelmed by the number of potential article topics at your disposal. This is where an editorial calendar becomes crucial.
An editorial calendar will help you develop a clear schedule for your blogging tasks. You’ll be able to outline your activities either on a daily or weekly basis on the calendar.
For example, you may decide to publish an article on Monday, another one on Wednesday, or however you deem suitable to your schedules. The idea is to help you have a blogging plan that will allow you to update your blog with relevant content consistently.
The beautiful thing about having a calendar is that, once it’s developed, you’ll have substantial time to concentrate on other important areas of your business, while following your blogging plan on the calendar.
3. Create SEO-friendly Content
specific search terms that you want your website or web page to be known for. To help Google rank your articles appropriately, it’s essential that you add relevant keywords to your articles. This is where SEO content creation comes in.
SEO content writing is a way of embedding specific keywords in the body of an article. The number of keywords allowed is 2-5. Going beyond that can lead to penalization by Google.
Ideally, include a keyword in your article’s headline, one in the first paragraph, two to three in the body of the article, and one in the last paragraph. This will tell Google what your article is about, and help it rank your post properly.
If you want to write an article about plumbing in LA, for example, strive to add the keyword – plumbing in la – in your article using the above tips. Google will rank the article for that keyword. And when someone conducts a search using “plumbing in la”, your article has a higher chance of showing up on search results.
When you start updating your blog with helpful articles, and incorporate relevant search terms within the articles, it will increase your business’s visibility on search results. Additionally, if you use images a lot on your blog, ensure that you name the images with appropriate keywords.
4. Integrate Calls to Action in Your Content
Creating valuable content on your blog is one thing, encouraging readers to take action is imperative for your business.
A call to action is simply a few sentences that encourage readers to take specific actions – leave a comment, click a link to a certain page, share an article on social media sites, send an email for more information about a product or service, or call a certain number for inquiries about your offers. And any action that you deem vital for your business.
Blog readers will be inclined to take any action that you want them to take if you provide them with useful content that can help them solve their problem. Include a persuasive call to action at the end of every piece of content that you create on your blog.
Following are some examples of calls to action that you can add to your articles:
Call us now to claim your free plumbing report
Contact us today for a free consultation about your teeth
Get your teeth whitened today by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Joe.
Get your business listed on the top spot of local search results by calling us on
833 456 7758.
This is just to give you a glimpse into how to craft compelling calls to action at the end of your blog posts.
5. Convert Your Readers into Subscribers
When potential clients reach your website or blog via search engines, chances are they are interested in your products or services. They may not be ready to buy instantly, but might want to get more information that can help them make a prudent buying decision.
You can help them in this situation by converting them into subscribers. It will allow you to stay in touch with them, and send them valuable information regularly. And when they’re ready to buy, they may look nowhere else but to buy from you.
But how do you convert readers into subscribers?
First of all, you’ll need an email subscription form to capture the emails of your readers.
To get their contact information, offer a free gift – report or ebook, free subscription or consultation for your products or services – in exchange for their email addresses. Make the subscription process easy to increase conversion. Request for a few information such as the first name and email address, or the email address alone.
Once your readers become subscribers, you’ll be able to provide them with valuable content that can help improve their lives or businesses. And consequently, convert them into customers.
In addition to getting your business listed on various local search directories, business blogging is another powerful tool that can be used to increase your brand recognition. The above tips will help increase your local visibility, attract potential customers, improve the SEO of your website, and make you stand out from the competition.