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


spadilla

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May 5, 2014
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I know this is an old(ish) thread, but it has some good insight and it's on topic with regards to something I have been milling over in my head. So, instead of starting a new thread, I hope it's okay to tag on to this one :)

I have clients who rank nationally for well written articles and because they are a local service area businesses (the only work within a certain area), they have never (to my knowledge via analytic data) gotten a single customer from these articles. They get plenty of traffic, but when I narrow it down to regional visits, only a tiny portion would even be able to use their services.

Now, I totally understand the benefits of writing something resourceful to get links and that's not the issue I am struggling with here. I am trying to make sense of the value in blogging on topics that may be completely related to services they provide, but not geographically unique to reach out to the long tail and/or in cities they service, but don't reside in.

I am wondering if people here have seen that maybe other local signals from the site help a site rank for city + service related searches or if in fact we have to title the blog post, service name in location to get any local traction.

I see people blogging all the time with topics like "3 signs your air conditioner is leaking" for a local HVAC tech without mention of a locale. If that even were to rank, in my experience it wouldn't rank mostly for anything geographically relevant to the client.

It seems to me, that while getting tons of traffic looks great on paper and the client might think it's a win, when they realize it's not worth much due to it being out of their locale it's not really worth the effort. But, maybe I am wrong?
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
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Sep 12, 2012
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I know this is an old(ish) thread, but it has some good insight and it's on topic with regards to something I have been milling over in my head. So, instead of starting a new thread, I hope it's okay to tag on to this one :)

I have clients who rank nationally for well written articles and because they are a local service area businesses (the only work within a certain area), they have never (to my knowledge via analytic data) gotten a single customer from these articles. They get plenty of traffic, but when I narrow it down to regional visits, only a tiny portion would even be able to use their services.

Now, I totally understand the benefits of writing something resourceful to get links and that's not the issue I am struggling with here. I am trying to make sense of the value in blogging on topics that may be completely related to services they provide, but not geographically unique to reach out to the long tail and/or in cities they service, but don't reside in.

I am wondering if people here have seen that maybe other local signals from the site help a site rank for city + service related searches or if in fact we have to title the blog post, service name in location to get any local traction.

I see people blogging all the time with topics like "3 signs your air conditioner is leaking" for a local HVAC tech without mention of a locale. If that even were to rank, in my experience it wouldn't rank mostly for anything geographically relevant to the client.

It seems to me, that while getting tons of traffic looks great on paper and the client might think it's a win, when they realize it's not worth much due to it being out of their locale it's not really worth the effort. But, maybe I am wrong?
I agree with you.

There are 3 reasons to blog:

1) traffic

2) backlinks

3) on-page SEO

4) conversion

---

1) As you're talking about traffic, no, blog articles will not generate significant local traffic. When you're answering broad industry questions like "Why is my HVAC unit leaking?" that's great but you'll be getting traffic on a national scale, as you mentioned. Even when local customers in your area Google that question, there is no local intent so Google won't show them someone local (you) who answered the question. They will show the article on the internet that answers the question best regardless of location. So, queries that local blogs show up as search results for are 99% of the time going to show web search results, not localized results.

No one should expect to be able to generate local traffic with local blogs unless it's a very, very unique topic or unique location which isn't as valuable to Local SEO companies such as ourselves because this cannot be accomplished at scale.

2) Now, as for backlinks, I would also say a local business blogging for backlinks isn't really worth it either. We've written hundreds and hundreds of blogs, answering numerous common industry questions. Heck, for one of our dentists one of our blog posts alone gets 1k+ visitors a month. How many backlinks did that turn into? Zero. We've had a handful of articles generate a handful of links for a handful of clients over the years we've been doing this. It's not enough to justify the cost in our experience.

3) The theory goes that the more pages you have on your website, the better. I'll make this point short. While this is true, unless you plan on writing 10 blog posts a month, I would drop it. We would write 2 a month for each client and I can't say I saw a huge benefit SEO wise that I could attribute to blogging. I had theorized more quality content would help you have more staying power, making you more resilient to penalties possible but as we don't commonly get penalties, that would be difficult to prove.

4) Conversion is really the only redeeming blogging quality. A current blog may give the impression to a customer that visits it that you are the expert. People want to do business with the expert. Also, the more information you can give people about your industry and the more questions you can answer for them, the better they feel about buying from you. And, to a lesser extent, an updated blog is like an updated Facebook page. It shows you're around and may hint toward a higher level of attentiveness and end up projecting into the perception of a higher level of customer service. This also normally cannot be scaled as it needs to be unique to the practice and have a unique voice. Customers can spot boiler plate content.

In conclusion, it's been my opinion for awhile that blogging for local businesses is ineffective in general and definitely at scale. I'd love to hear some opposing views though.
 

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