For many years now the whole haze of web rankings and talk of keywords has seemed a necessary evil for some businesses and a straight up enigma to others. How can customers buy from you without finding you online? But how can you compete in that space with the big dogs that have seemingly endless ad budgets? Thus has been the frustration for local businesses for years.
When Google made some heavy algorithm changes that favored both local results and quality content more so than ever before, the SEO playing field began to look a lot different.
The evolution of local search through content
Many of these "forgotten" businesses are very good at what they do, and have a lot of industry knowledge that their customers would find useful. The content focus leveled things a bit, making it easier for well-built sites containing a lot of relevant information to be found by those looking for those very details. No longer is it the case where large companies own the space so easily by drowning everyone else out in sheer brand recognition-based traffic and ad spend.
In fact, providing an impressive amount of quality information is a [not so] secret weapon for local businesses as Google's local foundations evolve. Many of these large companies are slow to adapt and are still relying on older methods of acquiring businesses, assuming that their long-built reputations alone will garner them all the web traffic they need. For the small to medium sized business, that's a moment to strike.
No signs of slowing down
We've seen this more times than you might think: certain kings of the hill complacent in their tactics analogously falling asleep at the start of the race. When other smaller, more nimble businesses notice the pause they can rush ahead, and by the time their opponent realizes what's happening it's tough to stop the momentum built by the busier site. And as much as it keeps happening, like any phenomenon, it takes quite awhile to become passe.
Sure, the heavy traffic larger brands enjoy by name recognition still means something, and it doesn't mean their sites don't still have clout. But if they have a small number of pages and don't run any sort of blog, particularly, it's a glaring opportunity for others to hedge in.
The best content for readers and for Google does these things:
- Answers the questions frequently asked by customers
- Shares information readily, clearly, and non-deceptively
- Uses a voice that relates to the readers and shows an openness to have a conversation
- Balances research with delivery
Does your site do these things? Many businesses are either very sale-focused or are simply too comfortable with their own expertise, and it comes across in the content on their sites. It might manifest as being too pushy or not informative enough, or it might simply mean throwing buzz words around while forgetting that not everyone understands all that.
Take inventory of what you've crafted thus far and it will help you plan what to add next. And if you're not sure what types of material would be useful for your customers, ask them! Pay attention to your meetings in what things people seem to need clarification about most, or what types of things seem to be sticking points for them.
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