While content is a foundational aspect of any SEO plan, it can be overwhelming for a local business to produce.
An HVAC company, hardware store, or real estate agent may not have the time, budget or capacity to roll out an exhaustive content marketing program that a B2B SaaS startup would implement to gain market share.
To heed the advice of creating content, many local businesses default to blogging.
Yet the results are usually underwhelming: a few 300-word articles that are read by a total of three people.
Local content: More than blog posts
Local content can be product or service pages, case studies, client testimonials, and other content pieces that:
- Drive people further down your sales funnel.
- Answer every objection they have.
- Convince them to take the next meaningful action in their buying journey.
Local content doesn’t even need to be written content.
The rise of iPhones, GoPros, and user-friendly editing tools means local content can include images, videos, podcasts or stories on your website.
The most important part is that you are creating content that helps you build authority and trust with your potential customers.
Dig deeper: How to use location-specific authority content for SEO
Below are the different types of content a local business should invest in.
1. ‘About’ content
The old adage is true: “People do business with other people, not businesses.”
That is especially true with local businesses.
Customers often seek out local products or services because they can get to know the sales staff, management, and owners.
A priority for any local website should include presenting your business authentically and helping your potential customers know, like, and trust you.
Use your website to introduce:
- Who you are.
- What you do.
- Why you do it.
Your company’s story is unique and helps set you apart from the rest of the competition. Make sure it is front and center on your website.
Here are some types of content you can create to introduce your company’s story:
‘About us’ page
- What is the story of your company?
- What makes you unique?
- Why should someone trust you instead of the big national brand or your crosstown competitor?
- What does your company stand for?
- Talk about your company’s core values and mission statement. How are they lived out in your work?
- Does your company have an interesting history?
- Maybe you are a fourth-generation, family-owned business that has weathered major changes in the industry.
- Perhaps you have pivoted from a small operation to a larger regional presence.
- Showcase the interesting parts of your history that the general public would be interested in.
- Would anyone in your community notice if your company closed tomorrow?
- Tell the story of how your company has impacted your local community.
- This may include charitable work your team or individuals perform, events you sponsor, scholarships you fund, or partnerships with charities and organizations.
- People like knowing who they are dealing with.
- Whether you are a retail store, a local manufacturer, or an HVAC company, you have public-facing team members whom you can highlight on your website.
- Depending on the size of the company and the number of public-facing employees, you may want to highlight the executive/leadership team, sales or customer support team, or individual technicians.
- If it makes sense, include a bio for each – highlighting their skills, experiences, and training – and contact information.
- Not all your website visitors are future customers. Some are potential employees.
- Have a dedicated page on your website to tell your story to job seekers.
- This is where you have employees share your culture and how you differ from other employers.
- You can list job openings from this page or link to your third-party hiring software.
2. Products and services
Potential customers searching for a specific product or service will start at Google; your goal is to get your product or service page to appear in their search results.
One of the most common mistakes I see local service businesses make is that they have a single page listing all their services.
For instance, an exterior remodeling company only has a single service page with a paragraph – or, even worse, a bulleted list – mentioning that they install roofing, siding, windows, doors, and decks.
At a minimum, you must have dedicated pages for every service you offer.
Going deeper and having specific pages for sub-services would be even better.
So you don’t just want a roofing page – you want pages on roof repair, roof replacement, hail damage, and even pages for each type of roofing material.
Here are some additional types of content you can create for your products or services:
- What services are only offered regionally?
- What restrictions, insights, or specifics can you give about your services in your target market?
- For example:
- Pest control companies should focus on the most common pests in their region.
- Builders and remodelers can mention local building codes.
- Pool companies in colder climates will lean into winterizing pools.
- You need insights from your sales team, technicians, or customer service reps to see what people struggle with and how your solution is the best.
- You cannot outsource your service page solely to an agency, freelancer or ChatGPT and expect it to stand out.
- Do you carry certain brands in your store or prefer certain manufacturers for your materials?
- Creating content around these brands can help you rank locally for any brand-specific searches:
- Why are they better than others?
- How long have you worked with them?
- Why do you like them?
Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.
Any business can make claims on their website:
“We are the best…”
“We are the most affordable…”
“We are the most responsive…”
But what separates great local websites is how they make a claim and back it up using social proof.
Social proof is a psychological principle in which you help people take action based on the actions of others.
In practice, social proof shows that others have purchased from you and are satisfied with the results.
There are plenty of ways to highlight social proof on your website:
- The best type of social proof is to hear previous customers share their experience of buying from you.
- Showcasing these testimonials will help answer questions, alleviate doubts, and build trust with potential customers.
- These are must-have proofs to showcase your work and design aesthetics.
- Depending on your industry, you may consider:
- Case studies (B2B).
- Featured projects (construction or remodeling).
- “Before and after” (lawn care).
- Galleries (custom furniture, roofer).
- Adding trust symbols to your website is a great (and underutilized) type of social proof.
- Industry awards and recognition, manufacturer certifications, and local business awards can help you stand out from your crosstown competition.
4. Your difference
Why should someone choose your business? In a world of sameness, what makes your company different?
Your website should clarify who you are, what you do, who you serve, and what makes you different.
Here are some ways to introduce the difference in your website’s content:
- If you offer something that doesn’t involve frequent purchases – like a car, divorce, or kitchen remodel – chances are you have to conduct a lot of customer education.
- Make it clear on your website the steps in your process, from initial inquiry to completion.
- Give as many details as possible, answering common questions people have along the way.
Comparison against competitors
- As people research, they are bound to find your competitors – whether they are the local business across town, the national brand, a big box store, or an online ecommerce platform.
- What can you say about your company, product, or service that none of those can say?
Comparison against other products or services
- Sometimes, your competition is not a similar business down the street. You both might be competing against other choices.
- If you are a contractor, you are competing against DIY or handyman options.
- If you are a retailer, your products are competing against other products at higher or lower price points.
Pricing is one of the touchiest areas in local content – especially for service businesses.
I get it. There are legitimate reasons why you don’t want pricing on your website.
But your potential customers are looking for it.
Who do you want to control the pricing discussion and help them justify their budget – you or your crosstown competitor?
While you may not be able to give exact pricing on your website, there are still plenty of ways to broadly discuss pricing.
This will help set proper expectations and even better pre-qualify prospects, often resulting in improved lead quality.
Here are some ideas on how you can create content on pricing your services:
Give a price range
- People researching online before purchasing are not looking for exact pricing; they want to know ballpark numbers.
- You can provide potential customers with a price range for a typical project. This works well in combination with featured projects.
- One of the biggest reasons local business owners don’t put pricing on their websites is because there are too many variables. So talk about these variables.
- What goes into pricing a product or service?
- What things can affect the pricing – either positively or negatively?
- What things do people not know about that get added to the purchase price?
- This could include taxes, fees, permits, delivery charges, or installation costs.
Why businesses charge more or less
- As people research, they may discover that some companies charge a lot less while others charge a lot more.
- Own it and explain these differences in pricing.
- If other companies charge significantly less, use it as an opportunity to show your value, why you charge more, and why it matters.
Local content: Presenting your business to your customers
Creating local content is not about creating thousands of spammy content pages to hack your way to the top of search results.
Nor is it thin blog posts that don’t get read by anyone.
This guide has plenty of content ideas to fuel your local content strategy and help you best present your company to Google and your potential customers.
Dig deeper: Local SEO in 2023: 5 simple ways to dominate local search
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.