Local Consultants: Do you Include Blogging in Your Local SEO Package?


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One of our members here, Brock Kelly, asked a great question at the Local Search Pros Community yesterday. Wanted to get a discussion going here too.

Just wondering if anyone includes blog posts in their monthly seo packages? I have been offering blogging services (1 per week) as an upgrade but was thinking about including blogging into a package as a added value. Just wanted to get other's opinions, thanks!
So far Chris Pistorius and Chad Russell, both say a resounding YES!

What say ye???
 

Rob Hermann

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Yes, blogging/articles are included in all my packages. Content is needed for both the serps and the client. Counting on the client for content is difficult and can strain the relationship.

There is however an upsell that I offer which is an expert interview. The interview takes place via hangouts which can be problematic, or Zoom which is free and smooth.

Publish the video to their sites and social media, transcribe the video as an interview article, and curate the video and article across other social sites.

For a real bonus you can also turn the interview into a PR :)
 

rossicone

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Absolutely! Google loves fresh content and blogs are great places to talk about localized content! Sounds like a win win to me! If only I enjoyed writing... ;)
 
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There is however an upsell that I offer which is an expert interview. The interview takes place via hangouts which can be problematic, or Zoom which is free and smooth.

Publish the video to their sites and social media, transcribe the video as an interview article, and curate the video and article across other social sites.

For a real bonus you can also turn the interview into a PR :)
Wow great tip Rob! Thanks for sharing!

Super good idea. And I'd never heard of Zoom before, so that's a new one on me!

I hate to have this great idea hidden under the topic of blogging.

Would you mind starting a new thread in the <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/local-business-video-marketing/">Local Business Video Marketing</a> sub forum?

With a compelling subject line like: "How I Do Expert Video Interviews for Great Local Video Content".


And then maybe tell us a little more. This is a great topic!
 
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Blogging is pretty essential these days. If you're not adding content to the site, and finding the major questions your customers are asking then you'll be behind your competitors. Google likes new content, yes, but I think it's important to provide great answers for your customers.
 

HoosierBuff

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I'm surprised that so many do this. Clearly, this must be a more succesful tactic than I have thought.

In my head, I figured that writing content for your average HVAC, Plumber, Bike store was kind of worthless:

- Most of the content they would write (or that I would write for them) would pretty duplicative across the country. So, "do I need to change my A/C filter yearly" would be competiting with every HVAC in the country, and google wouldn't tilt the scales in favor of a local business with the same content.

- If you try to create local content, you would either be off topic (not leading to conversions), or just not really local 'do I need to change my A/V Filter yearly in Wichita, KS"

My cynicism usually prevents me from doing some things that I should. What am I missing here?
 

hollypowell

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The content doesn't always have to be local - there are other topics - for example, favorite recipes to beat the heat - this imho is engaging and not so boring.

Can also talk about news when the customer is in the news. One of our clients gives away a heat pump every year at Christmas so we do content, pr's, etc about that.

Maybe that will help? We don't blog weekly for our clients - we do one a month and when something newsworthy happens.
 
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What you really need to do is find what questions people are asking in that vertical. To give a good example, I just got my wisdom teeth out (yes I'm my face is swollen and in pain) and I needed to get some information on when I can switch to warmer foods and when heat compression is best. I Googled it, and a surgeon's blog somewhere out west came up in the knowledge graph box. Super helpful to answer my question, and gave me reassurance that I was doing the right things at the right time in my recovery.

So the blog doesn't have to be generic crap like "5 reasons to choose a havc contractor in chicago" but it could be relevant and helpful information like a checklist of things someone should take care of prior to calling a hvac technician.

Find the questions are asking, and try to help answer them. Don't write for search engines, write to help people.
 

HoosierBuff

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Eric,

Thanks for the insights. I totally get the ask questions for good content, and I do it all the time. . , but, I've always seen as "great for bigger" companies less so for smaller local businesses.

My question is about the smaller guys. Can I really expect my small local jewelry shop to rank for "what should an engagement ring cost?" - I think they will get trounced by the Zales, Jared's etc. . . and I don't think (yet don't know for sure) that Google would want to rank a local site higher, since there would be no value in a local answer.

The second problem is, even if they did rank for "what should an engagement ring cost" - wouldn't they get a ton of non-local traffic that wouldn't be worth anything?

Sorry to be so skeptical, I really want to understand this, I wonder if I am hurting my clients by not writing more.
 
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Hey, if Google determines that your content is better quality than Zales (more informative/useful to users) then I definitely see the smaller guys ranking above them. Going back to my wisdom tooth situation last week, I was reading some awesome information from small surgeons in the mid-west. They just had a very comprehensive and useful article answering my questions.

So can the small guys rank above the giant fish? Absolutely. You just need to target the long tailed keywords, and make the content useful. Thinking more is better and adding fluff won't help you.
 

CodyBaird

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I believe that diversity of serp and localization are important to Google. Google favors brands but search traffic, ie locals don't all want to go to Jared's or relate to their "corporate content".
 

HoosierBuff

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I'm going to continue to disagree with you guys (respectfully). I know it's heretical, but, I think blogging for an SMB has only a small amount of utility, and a questionable overall ROI.

1. When do I broad content searches "how much should I spend on an engagement ring", "how do I improve airflow from my hvac" "should I get my wisdom teeth removed" I see nothing but national brands (well not true, I do get a Dallas dentist - more on this below)

2. The place where it is useful are where there is unique local stuff to talk thru. "Lemon laws in Michigan", "Rocky mountain Tic strategy" etc.

3. I think also the strategy of being a local resource "Ten things to do in Memphis" etc. is valid (but, harder to outsource).

4. Even if you are successful in creating a good article for #1, you probably are going to be pretty longtail, which isn't a problem, but. . . most of your traffic will be out of your service region as an SMB, and so low in your region as not to matter.

5. the goofy thing about #4 is, clients would probably see all the traffic and think you've done your job, when all that traffic may not do squat.

6. I will say, if you do get any links back from the content, then it is a huge win.

So. . .for these reasons, I'm skeptical. I see too many sites that have written blog content, and tell me that they were told that QDF is important, and yet, they get no results at all. I'm not surprised.
 

Tony_DWM

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A resounding "yes!".

One of the ways small businesses can get ahead of their (often larger) competition is to open up and write about their own insights, viewpoints, opinions and industry trends.

So we mostly get the client to write up a post. For trades people and solo's, this could simply be their experience of working with a certain type of client, the work that was done, insights and tips and (as often as poss) before and after imagery of works carried out.

When doing this, from the client we need:

1) Location of work carried out inc town & county (for SEO geo targeting)
2) Details of work carried out (for SEO service targeting)
3) Type of business the work was carried out for (for SEO audience targeting)

Once they've written it, we edit / SEO / market it (incl social).

Personally, we've had a plumber who out-ranks a national utility company, due to the insights and tips they give when writing blog posts. They get between 4 to 5 thousand hits per month that invariably lead to new business (and they can't wait for the cold weather to start settling in again!).

Great topic :)
 
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I assume there is algorithmic benefit to the syndicating to Pinterest & SlideShare? GMB & FB is common but the other two I was not aware of.
I think syndicating to any popular site can be a benefit. The benefit being more traffic, links, views, activity on the original post on your site. All thing Google can see and track.

Regarding insights and tips, is Google able to discern those unique/valuable insights and tips are therein that page/post without doing specific things like in a bigger text size and bold lettering emphatically heading a few paragraphs with 'tips and/or insights'? Are you following me? Basically do the keywords tips and insights have any merit or is it only the true depth of the content and nothing else. Or both?
Google to some degree is able to discern those unique/valuable insights and tips based on user interaction. If it's thin meaningless content, visitors will bounce. If it's helpful engaging content there are all kinds of different signals Google can pick up. People stay longer, visit other pages of the site, cite the post, link to the post. And if people arrive at the post directly from search, they don't bounce right back to search looking for a better answer.

So any way you cut it, it's all about the user and the signals Google can pick up that indicate quality content or content that provided the answer to the question.

Does that make sense?
 

JoshuaMackens

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I'm going to continue to disagree with you guys (respectfully). I know it's heretical, but, I think blogging for an SMB has only a small amount of utility, and a questionable overall ROI.

1. When do I broad content searches "how much should I spend on an engagement ring", "how do I improve airflow from my hvac" "should I get my wisdom teeth removed" I see nothing but national brands (well not true, I do get a Dallas dentist - more on this below)

2. The place where it is useful are where there is unique local stuff to talk thru. "Lemon laws in Michigan", "Rocky mountain Tic strategy" etc.

3. I think also the strategy of being a local resource "Ten things to do in Memphis" etc. is valid (but, harder to outsource).

4. Even if you are successful in creating a good article for #1, you probably are going to be pretty longtail, which isn't a problem, but. . . most of your traffic will be out of your service region as an SMB, and so low in your region as not to matter.

5. the goofy thing about #4 is, clients would probably see all the traffic and think you've done your job, when all that traffic may not do squat.

6. I will say, if you do get any links back from the content, then it is a huge win.

So. . .for these reasons, I'm skeptical. I see too many sites that have written blog content, and tell me that they were told that QDF is important, and yet, they get no results at all. I'm not surprised.
I half agree with this and half agree with the other people weighing in that are in favor of blogging for their clients.

Too often people listen to others claiming you have to do this, or do that, and don't think it through for themselves, and just accept what the masses are saying. Blogging is helpful in some situations for local businesses but you have to know how to approach it and set appropriate expectations for success for yourself (not to mention your clients).

With that being said, we do provide a blogging service for clients who need it. For instance, we provide it for clients who have been with us for a few years, have already maxed out all of their keywords and we need an excuse to get fresh content on the site every month. Do we blog for clients we've just picked up? No.

In those cases where we have mature clients, we write content that will answer large broad questions in their industry, hoping to rank well for those massive queries. Only because of what you said in #6, backlinks.

Has it been successful? Meh. Not in terms of quantity but you only need one authoritative link in your industry from a PA 40+ site to make a huge, huge difference. If it takes you 20 articles to get that one link, it was definitely worth it. Off the top of my head I can't think of an instance where we have gotten that one backlink but I like keeping fresh content on their site and having that small chance it may happen. Also, the more pages your website has, the more authoritative it looks to Google anyway. Anything to help.

"The goofy thing about #4 is, clients would probably see all the traffic and think you've done your job, when all that traffic may not do squat."

That's the exact situation I have with 2 of my clients. We have a roofer that gets 800+ hits a month on their blogs alone. That traffic is obviously worthless because it's national, not local. Same deal for a dentist we have, around the same amount of traffic, same type of worthless. But one of those visits one day may be a journalist, freelance writer, blogger, etc. who wants to link to our content from their content.

And then? Bingo was-his-name-O.

6. I will say, if you do get any links back from the content, then it is a huge win.

P.S. I would be genuinely interested in hearing from someone who has successfully written a blog post focusing on local content that has turned into a customer for that local business.
 

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