Why Local Blogging Works

Filed in Blogging, MY BEST POSTS by Matt McGee on December 26, 2012 4 Comments

local-blog-paper-newsBlogging is great, but does local blogging also work?

If you’re a small/local business owner, that’s a smart question to ask if you’re thinking about using a local blog as a marketing tool.

Note: I’m using the term “local blog” to refer to a blog where the main focus is local content. Real estate agents, travel- and tourism-related businesses, event-based businesses and more might be candidates to have a heavily “local” company blog. Other local/small businesses may have a company blog where local content is a smaller focus.

There are pros and cons to using a heavy local content focus; I’ll address the cons in a future post. But when it’s done right and is a good match with the type of business you have, local blogging can be a great marketing tool. Consider these reasons why local blogging can work for some small businesses:

The Growing Interest in Local “Stuff” Online

My wife and I ran four local blogs for a couple years, and one thing we learned is that people search for everything on the web. I was constantly amazed at the ultra-long tail queries that brought traffic to our blogs. People are looking for local content more and more, and that’s one reason local blogging works.

The Decline of Traditional Media

TV stations are cutting newscasts and cutting staff. Newspapers are losing subscribers, shutting down altogether, or cutting back from daily print delivery to three days or five days a week. That means less local content. This opens up an even bigger opportunity for local bloggers to step in and fill that void as a provider of local news and information.

Local Web Sites are Often Lacking

This may be mostly a small town blogger thing, but local business, government, and organization web sites are often in pretty bad shape where SEO is concerned. In our area, it was often easy to pick a business or event that we wanted to rank for, write about them on our local blogs, and be at or near the top of the search results for those names/terms. Likewise, you can take information that’s buried in a city web site somewhere, rewrite it and get traffic when local people search for that information.

Search Engines Love a Good Blog

Companies that blog successfully often see an increase in search traffic. A good blog has frequently updated content. It correctly uses categories and tags to create topical associations; i.e., a local blog’s categories might be cityname News, cityname Business, cityname Events, and so forth — that’s a very SEO-friendly structure. A good blog links out regularly and receives inbound links regularly. These are some reasons why search engines love blogs.

Conclusion

More people looking online for local information. Traditional media isn’t providing it. Local web sites aren’t optimized for online visibility. Good blogs are SEO machines.

Add these four ideas together and you have an opportunity. Local blogging, if it’s done right and is done by the right kind of local business, really does work.

Comments are wide open, as always.

(This is an updated version of an article that previously ran on Hyperlocal Blogger.)

(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

Comments (4)

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  1. Brenda Robinson says:

    Matt,

    I have been following you for a while and you have helped me help clients a ton. Love this article, I am currently just starting to work on press releases for customers as they seem to help get you in the newsfeed on google and then I use local blogging for them too, for that 1-2 punch.

    What is your suggestion for a carpet cleaning co? In google places you have the option to say that they go to customers so I checked that box and put in their service area but now they show up nowhere when it comes to local search and they used to consistently be #2. Google’s response was:

    Hello,

    Thanks for letting us know about your listing not displaying properly on Google Maps.

    It appears that you’ve verified your listing within the past week. Please note that it may take up to a week for newly verified listings to appear on Google Maps, even if they show as Active within your dashboard immediately.

    If you are still experiencing problems with your listing’s display in a week, please respond to this email.

    In the course of reviewing your question, we took the step of hiding your business address, since it appears that you do not make contact with customers at your physical location. If your business serves customers at the customers’ locations, you can add your service area(s) from your dashboard.

    If you do make contact with customers at your location, you may revert this setting within your Places dashboard. Please note, however, that if you do not make in-person contact at your location and do not hide your address, you risk being removed from Maps.

    You can learn more about service areas in the following article: http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?answer=177103

    If you need any additional support, feel free to contact us again.

  2. Matthew Hunt says:

    Local blogging has worked for a lot of our clients. We usually do the writing for them, so it better. ;) We try to make them the local resource for their industry. For example we have a client who rents dumpster bins used for junk removal. So we’ve focused their blog on anything “Waste Management & Recycling” in their city. We’ll write posts on all the recycling depots in the city, how to and where to recycle TV’s, phones, electronics in their city, how to make a compose, what can go in organics, etc. People have these questions in the city and even though we talk about stuff that they can’t always service, we are helping patrons of the city and expanding the brand online. It’s a very effective way. Check out this blog to see how we do it: http://www.scarboroughdisposal.com

  3. Kent says:

    I agree. The most important is – it is related to local people and they can feel it emotionally.

  4. Tina says:

    I find that local blogging to crucial to a city like New Orleans. We’ve recently seen the Times Pic cut down their staff and reduce the circulation of the print edition. People here are constantly looking for things to do, places to check out, and where to eat. Local blogging plays a big role in the city and it keeps the citizens engaged. You brought up some great points, and I think local blogging can work in a big or small city as long as you find a niche area that attracts people to your site.

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