National media companies, agencies, and brands could significantly improve their ROI if they found a way to reach a local audience with custom local content. Unfortunately, not every company wants or has the resources to regionalize an entire website, or even sections of a site.
Here are some tried-and-true suggestions that will help you reach your target audience and drive local traffic to your website:
1. Determine your local audience: Before starting to write your article, make sure you know which city or state you want to target with your post. Include the name of the city you select throughout the body of the article and, when appropriate, in the title of the post. This should appear, if not in the title, a couple times within the article body.
2. Sprinkle local information throughout the post: Incorporate local information elsewhere within the article. This can be the name of the county, a neighborhood, a stadium, or a reference to a local landmark. For example, if you are trying to reach people in Boston, you could reference the Red Sox, Beantown, Government Center, or Mayor Menino.
3. Milk the power of Google+ Local: Google has ditched Google Places for what at first sight looks like a more powerful solution. Google+ Local integrates the power of Google+ with search. Local businesses, organizations, and events can create their own Google+ profiles, insert their location, and invite the entire Google universe to provide reviews, comments, etc. The integration of Zagat reviews gives the user insightful information about a place before he or she makes the decision to visit. These profiles are indexed by Google, increasing your chances of winning the search battle.
4. Complement your articles with Google Maps: Including maps of the location of an event can increase local traffic to your content. Google Maps are easy to customize and embed in your site using the HTML code provided by the service. Make sure to customize not only the map, but also the map’s description, incorporating the keywords for which your article is optimized. The map below has been customized to display Skyword’s location and tagline, but you can add more materials to your maps!
Skyword, The Leading Content Production Platform, Boston, MA
5. Pictures can be powerful: Besides making your post visually appealing, images are also excellent drivers of traffic. More and more web searches are starting in Google Images, and if you tag your images correctly, the chances of your content being found through an image can grow tremendously. Every image should include:
Image name: Don’t use generic file names! Use descriptive file names with dashes to describe the photo. For example, if an image is of Boston’s Public Garden, change the image’s file name to “boston-public-garden.jpg.” Google and other search engines will recognize that this image has something to do with the famous park.
Image context: Placement matters! Make sure the image appears in the right section of the article and that the text around the image is relevant.
Alt & Title: According David Mercer, of Business2Community.com, images should include both tags, as they are key in providing context for Google. To increase the local search potential, make sure to include the location or name of the place you have been including throughout your article.
6. Pay attention to analytics: Success with SEO depends greatly on your ability to evaluate your results and adapt your content strategy accordingly. If your goal is to reach local consumers, make sure you are focusing particular attention on the traffic coming in from the location you are targeting. Keep an eye on the keywords driving local Web traffic to your site from that place. Also, track the articles that have worked and those that have not.