I’m bullish on hyperlocal blogging. It’s already popular in many larger cities; Seattle, for example, has a great community of bloggers who are not writing about the city, but writing about their own neighborhoods — and doing it well. Local blogging is also big in the real estate industry, which is a natural fit: Real estate agents are expected to be experts on the cities, towns, and neighborhoods they cover, so they should have plenty of knowledge and experience to rely on when blogging.
When David Mihm interviewed me earlier this month, one of the great questions he asked was about emerging trends in Local SEO. I said that I think hyperlocal blogging is going to become very important for small business owners:
I think blogging is going to continue to trickle down to the so-called Average Joes, and those people are going to blog about what’s happening around them — their street, their neighbors, their neighborhoods, their towns and cities. It will become incredibly pervasive because it’s so easy to do. There’s almost no barrier to entry for starting a blog.
We all know that a good blog is a powerful SEO tool; the quality of content and links brings trust fairly quickly. So it makes sense that a good local blog would become a trusted source for local information.
Hyperlocal blogging can work for many businesses and many industries. All it takes, really, is a sincere interest in your community and reasonably good writing skills. My “Small Is Beautiful” column next week on Search Engine Land will profile a very successful real estate agent who’s using hyperlocal blogging to attract clients and sell houses. I’ll also be writing more about local blogging here on SBS in the coming days and weeks. But the main point I want to make in this post is a simple one:
If you’re a small business blogger, it’s not enough to only write about your industry. If you hope to capture local traffic, you have to write about the location, too.
If you’re a real estate agent, write about real estate … and where you practice it.
A blogging plumber? Write about plumbing … and where you practice it.
Bike store owner? Write about bikes and biking … and where you bike locally.
1.) For your human visitors. Because no matter how much you love what you do, your customers and prospects won’t be as interested in your business and industry as much as you. But we’re all interested in our communities. People won’t read post after post about real estate, but they will read post after post about their hometown, written by someone who knows the ins and outs.
2.) For search engines. If you hope to get visibility for phrases like “cityname plumbing” or “cityname real estate”, you need to be writing about the “cityname” part of those phrases, not just the industry part (plumbing, real estate, whatever). That’s basic SEO: target your on-page optimization towards the keywords you hope to rank for.
So, when small business blogging, blog with helpful information about your industry … but don’t forget the local stuff, too. I’ll be writing more on this soon. I invite you to stay tuned.