I work with many small businesses who are primarily locally targeted, and one of the questions I get most often is “Do I have to blog?” In the world of SEO, they say “Content is King” and many people are sold that they need to keep blogging to succeed, and there is some truth to that, but blogging just to blog is not necessarily the most efficient approach. The phrase should actually read, “Good, Useful Content is King”. Many companies sell you constant blog posting that ends up being completely generic and doesn’t really serve a purpose. There comes a point where you aren’t getting the value that you may get by putting your limited budget in other directions.
Content and Pages Matter for SEO
One thing I tell many small business owners is that you should have a page on your site for any specific service that you offer. You should have nice, thorough, but digestible content that explains how you solve your customer’s problem with your service, your process (without giving away your secret sauce), and why someone should choose you over another business (your experience and expertise). In many cases, it is a better use of your budget to build out pages for your individual services than to blog about your musings for the week. Blogs are just an easy way to add more content to your site, but I would say it is more important to have pages for your important services or target markets before blogging if you had to choose. I have seen business owners with blogs, but that listed all of their services on one service page. In some cases, they are paying for blogs that don’t really bring in the most relevant traffic when they are missing the chance to target market their key services.
Don’t get me wrong, blogging can be extremely useful when you do it right. Just make sure you take care of your service pages first and make them easy to read and understand. Though you want your pages to be thorough, they should also be very easy to read, with a helpful image or two breaking up the text and clear headers for each section that will tell the visitor what they will find in that text. Though visitors want all of the information to be there, they only want to read about that specific thing they are interested in at that moment. That may be price or the length of process, or even how easy it is to make an appointment. Use paragraph headers to make sure it is clear where this information is on the page.
Blogging with Local Businesses Helps SEO When Done Properly
When you have covered your bases with good content about your products and services, blogs are a great way to pinpoint target very specific searches and generally offer useful information to your customers about your activities in the local community or specific issues or areas where you may help people. I help business owners with creating blog posts if they need it, but if you do it yourself, try to aim for at least 400 words. You don’t want a blog full of two sentence announcements. That can get your whole site in trouble for being mostly thin content. You will find if you are passionate and knowledgeable about the subject, you will get to 400 words pretty quickly. In fact, I am over 500 with this post already.
Blog about specific success stories with different customers or specialties you have that maybe don’t warrant their own page. In local search, proximity is still a very big ranking factor, so if you want to get business in towns nearby where you aren’t necessarily the closest to physically, writing a post about a successful job you did in that town can give you the opportunity to pop up in the organic rankings on some of those searches and get found.
Blogging about tactics and strategies used by businesses in your industry is another option. I’m sure you have a take on “how it really should work”. I complain about Google and new things they are doing on here regularly, but try to do it in an instructional manner. We all know that when you are close to it, you know the details and the granularity that people don’t see from a high level. Use that for your content. There may be specific challenges or benefits to doing your type of work in the geography where you do it. Possibly state or local laws that you have to adhere to that are worth mentioning. There are many things to talk about, including your activity in your local community. Google is getting better at rewarding businesses for that from reviews and mentions. It doesn’t hurt to blog about that little league team you sponsor or about the booth you had at the local fair. Customers want to see you out there and a part of the local community. A blog is a place to show that.