There is a problem with blogging for local business…
…and it’s twofold.
First, local business owners aren’t bloggers, they often feel uncomfortable with the process and look to local business marketers for direction and advice.
Secondly, these local business marketers may have done the latest internet marketing course, learnt all about search engine optimisation and writing for the web but really don’t get “it”. The problem is often they learn from internet marketers who have for years relied churning out cheap foreign content to satisfy Google bot.
Pages and pages of blog posts, articles and press releases about, “How to Choose the Best (insert trade here) for (insert your city here)” and “10 Ways to Spot if (insert trade here) is the Right One for You”. Content that’s absolutely meaningless. Nobody cares!
Don’t get me wrong, that worked for a long while for traffic generation and ranking. Thanks to Panda, it’s not working now.
Blogging = Being more visible online
It’s getting more and more difficult for a small business to be visible online purely by using search results. Google consistently provide more that 85% of the UK’s search results, so we have very little choice but to be Google friendly. How those results are shown on the screen is changing too, not to mention the algorithms constantly being updated.
The image below is from SEOBook and shows how standard search results are being pushed further and further down the page and out of the natural eye line.
I’ll bet my right arm that your one page business card type website is nowhere to be found either unless you search for your business name. And guess what – most people DON’T search for business names unless it’s well known brands…
Google WANT more than one static page, they want to show relevant websites that have some meat to them. A blog can help with that.
What’s more, very specific local searches aren’t always showing the Google Places results above the scroll either. Often the results dominated by ads and online directory listings. As a local business, your priority is to get listed on those directories and Google Places. If you don’t know where to start just fill in your name and email address on the right or below and I’ll whiz over some instructions.
Back to blogging though and how it can help your local business online. It really does not need to be as complicated as people make out.
Regardless of search engine ranking, blogging for local business is a good move. Your clients, potential clients and your peers are always looking for information. Your blog helps you to become an authority in your field.
You won’t build that authority and trust by using the usual dull posts about, “How to choose the best plumber in Widnes” and other such dirge.
Don’t follow the crowd, dare to do it differently.
Now instead of simply putting out that press release, posting photos on Flickr or Facebook or uploading a video to YouTube – post them on your blog first and then on external sites with a link back to your website.
Use your blog to express your opinions too – the state of your industry, your thought’s on the latest standards, what is happening in your local area. You may not think any of that is relevant but it makes a difference. I know I have had clients work with me because I “know what I am talking about.” Why would they think that if they didn’t see my “ramblings” online somewhere?
Blogging for Local Business Means You Express Your Personality
The great thing about small business is you are not confined to corporate dullness. You’re in an ideal position to connect with people on a human level, show your personality. Don’t feel like you have to come across as some drone in a suit and tie.
You and your staff are a hive of information, knowledge and opinion that people want to know. If readers find your posts interesting they will share them. That’s more links back to your website – and links help rankings as well as leading others to your site without relying on Google.
Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single local business sector that can’t take advantage of blogging to improve their “authority”, show their expertise in their field and start to build that trust and connection. Every business produces information that can be adapted for a blog post – from collecting before and after photos to more complex data analysis to industry presentations.
If you can think of a local business that cannot possibly make use of a blog, please do let me know and share your thoughts in the comments below!
Blogging for local business really can be as easy as adapting information you are already collecting and producing and publishing it on your site. It really can be as easy as sharing your thoughts and expertise. Why not give it a try?Blogging for Local Business – Dare to Be Different? by Jan Kearney