In a word: Conversion.
That’s the main problem with local blogging and local content. It’s often easy to get local traffic to your website or blog, but in a lot of cases, you’re going to have trouble converting that traffic into customers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m generally a big believer in local blogging but, as I said in that post a month ago, it definitely has its pros and cons. I promised an article about the “cons,” so here’s me fulfilling that promise.
The Pros & Con of Local Blogging/Content
As I said in that first post, local blogging and content can be great for driving traffic because
- people search for everything online — I’m talking serious ultra-longtail keywords
- as traditional media declines, that’s less online coverage of local events, businesses, etc.
- local websites are often terrible when it comes to SEO
- search engines love a good blog
So driving traffic can sometimes be pretty easy. The problem — the “con” — is converting that traffic.
An Example of Poor-Converting Content
Several years ago, my wife and I launched four local blogs — one for each of the main towns in our region. My wife is a real estate agent, so being an expert on the local area is a big selling point to buyers and sellers.
Blogging, of course, is a good way to show expertise, so we wrote about local news, local events, local businesses, schools and all kinds of other local content on these blogs. Here’s a good example of one of our posts:
CREHST is a well-known museum in our area and they regularly put on events like this. Their website wasn’t updated very often, so our blog posts often collected all the search traffic for people wanting information about events.
As you can see, the posts ends with the museum’s phone number … but it also has that yellow content box, which was a piece of default content that appeared on every blog post to encourage people to contact Cari for real estate help. We put that on each post because, well, what’s the point of local blogging if you’re not trying to earn new business, right?
The problem is obvious, isn’t it?
People looking for museum event information aren’t looking to buy or sell a house.
So we had no trouble getting traffic to the blogs, but it was unqualified traffic. And making matters worse, the more content we posted, the more phone calls Cari got for everything except real estate. Even though we always put links and phone numbers on these blog posts, she got calls every week from people wanting directions to the museum, opening/closing hours, admission costs and you name it.
No matter type of content we posted, she consistently got off-topic phone calls that kept her from doing her regular real estate work. In retrospect, some of the posts we wrote were actually detrimental to her business.
A Better Example of Local Blogging/Content
Dr. Michael Dorausch is a chiropractor in Los Angeles and a really smart guy in the area of local search and local content. I had him speak on my local panel at SMX Advanced last year and he talked about creating local content to drive traffic and conversions.
Here’s an example of the type of local blog content that he spoke about:
If you click through, you’ll see lots of great information about the LA Marathon. And, at the end of the post you’ll see this:
At SMX, Dr. Mike explained that content like this helped bring runners into his practice because they needed his services before/after the race. So it was good, at least to some degree, for conversion.
And did you notice? No phone number in his post.
I emailed Dr. Mike and mentioned the off-topic phone call issue that my wife had to deal with and he said, yep, same thing happened with his content at first, so he decided to stop putting phone numbers on his local content posts.
I’m focusing on the inclusion of phone numbers above, but this is about more than that — it’s about making sure that you create local blog content that not only attracts visitors, but does it in a way that the traffic has a chance to convert into customers.
That’s the main problem you have to be aware of when creating local content: You may struggle converting traffic into customers. And don’t make the same mistake that we did when we made it easy for that non-converting traffic to distract us with phone calls and emails that weren’t business related.
So, your To-Do item is this: As you create local blog posts and content, think about what type of visitor each piece of content is going to attract. If it’s a visitor that can be converted, try to convert them. If it’s not, either don’t create the content at all, or make sure those won’t-ever-convert visitors don’t get in the way of running your business.
Your turn: Have you had similar struggles in converting some of your local traffic? Let us what your experiences have been — good or bad. Comments are open.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)