There are a TON of steps that go into successful content marketing for local SEO purposes, but overall the process is pretty simple. Most newbies in digital marketing, search engine optimization, and online reputation management understand what can greatly benefit a business online and in the search engines, but a lot of them have poor time management skills to effectively complete all parts of the equation.
The purpose of this article is to get you started with a basic content marketing plan that will benefit your clients in a number of ways online, from outranking local market competitors on Google to sniping sales (or service calls) from competitors both local and national.
Step 1: Brainstorming
This is either a digital marketer’s favorite or least-favorite step in the overall process: brainstorming. Every great piece of content has to come from someone, right? If your creative team is small, the best bet is to gather the whole gang around the conference table and spitball a few ideas related to the client and their market niche. If your team is large and projects are assigned to smaller groups, direct them to have their own meeting for the content ideas.
Important questions to ask yourself and the team during the brainstorming process:
- Will this be a landing page or a keyword-driven article?
- What topics within a niche does this client address, provide, service, etc?
- Which of these topics can be concisely written upon?
- Which of these topics are too broad and can be discarded?
- What are your search metrics using Google Keyword Planner?
- Where is your search geographically targeted?
- What are your targeted demographics?
- Which topic-based keywords have low to medium keyword difficulty?
- Which of the remaining topics & keywords have high enough search volume?
Keeping these things in mind during the brainstorming process will help you and your team stay focused on creating an engaging, focused, and targeted post or page designed entirely to capture search traffic and drive your conversions, whatever they may be.
Step 2: Content creation
Now that you have a keyword-driven topic for a new piece of content, the next step is to actually create the content!
This is a step where many digital marketers and search engine optimizers get hung up. There are many ways to accomplish this task, and it assumes that you have one thing in place already: An existing blog or landing page template design.
If you don’t yet have a template or design, you should really get one of these in place [Insert Link].
Assuming now that you do have one in place that is structured optimally for search engine optimization…
Decide if a member of your creative team is going to compose the text (copywriting) for the page or post you’re trying to create. In our case, we don’t have a dedicated copywriter… however one of our team will write content if it’s a subject in which one of us has a wealth of knowledge.
I’m not going to detail for you how to write content. Everyone has a unique writing style, and not everyone’s writing style is particularly great nor catered to an intended audience. This is something that either you have it or you don’t, and you know it if you do.
There’s a great quote from the FX series “Justified” that explains this process.
“It’s called subcontracting. And it’s how business is conducted in the 21st century.”
That’s right; most content on the internet is contracted and ghostwritten by subcontractors, and there are PLENTY of willing writers available on the internet willing to write for you for virtually any subject or topic. Here are just a few sources to find ghostwriters:
- Black Hat World Forums
- Your Broke Unemployed [Insert Family Member Here]
Regardless of where you commission your content, you’ll have to prompt the writer as if they were an extension of your creative team. That means sharing with them the notes, keywords, topics, headlines, etc the rest of the team agreed upon in the brainstorming step. This is to guide the writer so they keep your SEO factors (like keyword density, proper spelling, proper tags… all structured properly from your design/template) in mind during the copywriting process.
Make sure to regularly stay in contact with your writer to ensure that they are on par for their deadline and the work remains the highest quality possible.
Final step: once the content has been submitted to the rest of the team by the copywriter, edit the copy for proper grammar, readability, and optimized keyword density. No matter what you do, do not forego this step. Once your content is polished properly, it’s time to publish it
Step 3: Content Publication
Now we move into the fun part, – Design and build a landing page to focus on 1-2 keywords for the location you are trying to get ranked.
Your landing page should have the keyword in the page name, and if it is not too long, display the city name there too.
Make sure that your landing page has the keyword and location in the page title and meta description.
Make sure that you have at least 350 (recommend 550+) words on the landing page and that you have included the keyword 2-3 times for proper density. As of late, Google actually prefers varying keywords that are all related to your primary keyword, so get a little creative, however ensure that they make coherent sense for your topic.
Include 2-4 images and use proper alt tagging in your images here as well.
Include a local phone number and address. Link to your Google My Business page as well as a few other internal links pointing to various services or products within your site.
When including the phone number add an href=”tel:” to make the phone number clickable on mobile devices and some desktop devices.
It is also recommended to include a contact form and Google map of your location.
The next thing I recommend is building 3-4 posts entirely about your services and business in the area/location you are targeting, and link these posts to these pages and vice versa.
Same rules apply when it comes to the amount of text you want to include: title, meta, link density, etc…
You should not go for the exact same keyword on each landing page. Instead vary your keywords around the same subject and interlink each page together.
Step 4: Syndication
Once you have your landing page built out along with your content pages, ensure that they are indexed in Google by submitting them to GSC.
You can do this by going to Google’s search and typing: “site:domain.com/page.html”
If your page is indexed you can move to the next step..
If it is not indexed, you can submit it to Google’s index by searching… “Submit Page To Google Index” or just click here. If it is not indexed, do not submit it more than once.
Your last step is to promote the page as well as all of the associated pages. You can do this through a press release, social media posts, Google AdWords, and a solid back link strategy.
These are all subjects for another time… For now we have to run this strategy through for one of our clients with 10 different office locations, so it is time to get to work.